WeaponLord
   
          
 
STORY
On a battlefield a demon spirit enters the body of a dying mercenary. He is reborn and defeats twenty rulers in bloody combat. He goes on to found the reign of the Demonlord Raith. At the height of his power, his doom is foretold by a shaman: "When the night turns violent and the moon bleeds, gripped by the skeletal fingers of death...a child will rise to face the demon in combat...and the lord of demons will fall by the hand of...the WeaponLord."


Against the advice of his lieutenants to kill the children born that night, the Demonlord waits to face his foretold killer in fair, one-on-one combat. Years later the Demon Zarak overthrows Raith and becomes the new Demonlord. 25 years after the prophecy was made, Zarak holds a great tournament of champion warriors. The winner will face the demon in a final battle. The Demonlord prepares to meet his destiny head on and to destroy the Weaponlord.

   

WeaponLord's character select screen design is so metal.

 
REVIEW
Released only on Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis in 1995, WeaponLord is a 2D weapon-based fighting game developed by Visual Concepts and published by Namco. As one of the few "console-only" fighting games of the mid-90's, Weaponlord was a lesser known title from the time period, but became a cult classic with SNES / Genesis owners. While not nearly as visually impressive as other 1995 arcade fighting games, such as: Killer Instinct 2, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, Samurai Shodown III, and many others... WeaponLord had heart and polish in places one might not expect. The game features Arcade and Story mode.
 

Flashbacks of playing Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior on Amiga.

   
WeaponLord features 7 playable warriors, each armed with their own deadly weapon and fighting style. In addition to basic attacks, each character has 9 to 12 unique special moves - performed with familiar motions common in other fighting games (charge moves, circular motions, holding down & releasing buttons). However, rather than performing the directional input followed by hitting a button, WeaponLord's controls has players move the directional pad while "holding" an attack button. This gives WeaponLord's controls a unique and distinctive feel compared to nearly all other fighting games.
 

  

The dark setting was catchy. Where's Conan as a guest character tho?

 
Each character also has their own Deflect Move (a special counterattack) as well as a Take Down move (knocking the opponent onto their back). Other gameplay mechanics include: Thrust Blocking - an offensive blocking system comparable to Street Fighter III's Parry system, Catchers - freezing opponents and partially breaking their weapon, Openers - breaking an opponent's guard, and Double Overs - stunning the opponent and opening them up for a combo. Near the end of a battle, characters can initiate a Death Combo combination that finishes off the opponent with a violent and gory fatality. In retrospect, WeaponLord's gameplay systems were more advanced than quite a few other "me too" fighting games of the era.
 

  

Yeah, WeaponLord is metal. *Throws up the devil horns*

   
FUN FACTS Weaponlord was compatible with online multiplayer service Xband, making it possible to use dial-up internet to play SNES and Genesis games online. Before the release of WeaponLord, Visual Concepts was resonsible for making Clay Fighter. Amazingly, the WeaponLord project, then still called “Melee”, was initiated by Ken Lobb (Killer Instinct). Early on, the Weaponlord project (then called Melee) was lead by Ken Lobb Killer Instinct), but he left the team before the game took its final form.


Originally, Weaponlord was originally planned as a SNES exclusive, but Visual Concepts began the Genesis port during work on the SNES version. Aesthetically, the SNES version is superior to the Genesis version with brighter colors, more detailed backgrounds, and vastly better sound quality. However, the Genesis version played a bit smoother and changed the AI's behavior to be less exploitable using cheap tactics by the player.

 

 

  

Nicely detailed stages for 16-bit! 

Page Updated: April 26th, 2020
Developer(s): Visual Concepts
Publisher(s): Namco
Platform(s): Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis
Designer(s): James Goddard
David Winstead
Steven Chiang
Artwork By: Alvin Cardona
Simon Bisley  
Cover Art
Release Date(s): October 1995
Characters Korr, Divada, Bane, Jen-Tai, Talazia, Zorn, Zarak

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Featured Video:
Related Games: Golden Axe: The Duel, Killer Instinct 2, Killer Instinct Gold, Samurai Shodown 2, Samurai Shodown 3, Mortal Kombat 3, Ultimate MK3, Ninja Master's, Savage Reign, Kizuna Encounter, Double Dragon, Fighters History, World Heroes, World Heroes Perfect, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, KOF '95, Primal Rage, Warzard, X-Men: Children of the Atom, Marvel Super Heroes, X-Men Vs Street Fighter, Virtua Fighter 3, Tekken 2, Soul Blade, Darkstalkers 2, TMNT: Tournament Fighters, Justice League: Task Force
  

Gameplay Engine  6.5 / 10
Story / Theme  8.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  5.5 / 10
Animation  4.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  7.0 / 10
Innovation  7.5 / 10
Art Direction  8.5 / 10
Customization  5.0 / 10
Options / Extras  5.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  6.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  5.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  6.0 / 10
Characters  7.0 / 10
BOTTOM LINE

 6.1 / 10

 Review based on SNES version     

 

Final Words:

Weaponlord is an interesting title for more than a few reasons. For one, 1995 wasn't the best time for a new SNES game to come out, with PlayStation & Sega Saturn releasing in late 1994. To put in in perspective, N64's KI Gold released just 1 year after WeaponLord. You could say this game was late to the party. I have to admit I sometimes scoffed at the idea of a "console-only" fighting game at the time... considering home ports of arcade fighters were advancing rapidly, and going to the arcade to prove your skills was still very much a thing in '95. (Being in grade school, spending your hard-earned hours on games at home were tough choices back then. Had to make 'em count and make those quarters last at the arcades!)

Comparatively to many arcade fighting games in '95... Weaponlord definitely looked "dated". The choppy animation and old-style spritework looked to me like 80's Amiga / Commodore game, rather than a modern mid 90's console game. That's why I gave this game a hard pass, back then. In retrospect, the character designs, art direction, stages, and theme of the WeaponLord were all strong points. The hit sparks and speed is perhaps most reminiscent of Samurai Shodown. On that note, when you compare WeaponLord to SamSho III (released the same year) or even SS2... well, I don't need to state the obvious. The SNES had clearly met its limitations in terms of what it could do with a fighting game in 1995.

If you could get past the game's rugged visuals and tiny character roster, WeaponLord's gameplay mechanics and parry system was ahead of time. I know some FGC peeps who enjoy this game and still play it from time to time, and I can see why. The music & sound design was also more than decent (on SNES), along with the sick heavy metal box art by Simon Bisley. If you were looking for another violent 90's fighting game besides MK & KI... WeaponLord had your gore fix. In several ways, WeaponLord was technically an early version of SoulCalibur - and perhaps didn't achieve its full potential. Even so, you have to respect the effort and polish they managed to put into this 16-bit gem. 
~TFG Webmaster
   

 
 
 

 


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