Ehrgeiz: God Bless The Ring

REVIEWEhrgeiz is a 3D fighting game made with a joint effort from Squaresoft and DreamFactory, a subdivision of Namco. It was first released in arcades in 1998 and later ported to the Sony PlayStation in 1999. One of the game's most notable aspects is the inclusion of many characters from Final Fantasy VII, including: Cloud Strife, Sephiroth, Tifa Lockheart, Vincent Valentine, Yuffie Kisaragi, and Zack Fair.

Ehrgeiz offers a very unique 3D fighting game experience, with characters that can move freely in 3D inside of various closed-in environments. Stages vary in elevation, with multi-level platforms that characters can jump onto, and also various interactive elements. Instead of the camera being "fixed" on the characters like in most fighting games, the camera in Ehrgeiz zooms in and out with the action. Ehrgeiz's free-roaming 3D engine borrows concepts from wrestling games and Dream Factory's own Tobal series, giving the game a unique look and feel among other 3D fighters of the era. 

Godhand... the forgotten Mishima.

3D gameplay engine gives players the option of circling their opponent in 3D, or freely running in any direction. While some "traditional" fighting game players might scoff at the game's lack of depth, Ehrgeiz's unorthodox gameplay engine offers a very unique experience to players able to open their minds to it. Characters have a variety of attack options at their disposal, including: high attacks, mid attacks, low attacks, special attacks, projectiles, jumping attacks, and ground attacks. There's also a targeting button, a jump button, and combined button commands for other special move variations. Along with the token priority attacks, throws, and special moves, fighters can also pick up weapons from the ground and use them at any time during the fight once they become available.

Graphically, Ehrgeiz is a decent looking PS1 game. Character models and environments are on the blocky side, but they were considerably better rendered than some other well known PS1 character models of the time. The game's frame-rate, resolution, and textures were also fairly impressive when compared to other PS1 titles. The animation of Ehrgeiz is one of the game's strong points, with many cool-looking attacks and hard-hitting throws to check out. Right off the bat, Ehrgeiz clearly takes inspiration from Namco's TEKKEN series and even appears to reuse certain assets and animations from past TEKKEN games. Not only the animations but the character designs themselves subtly but clearly show Namco's influence. In retrospect, it would be fair to say that Ehrgeiz was sort of an under-appreciated "crossover" title at the time - the game itself being a unique joint effort from DreamFactory and Squaresoft.

Interesting 3D mechanics that look familiar on PS1.

was a halfway decent arcade fighting game in 1998. It certainly managed to stand out at any arcade that had it, as it was pretty rare in North America. However, it also felt like the game was missing something, and couldn't really compete technically with the top competitive arcade fighting games of the era. Thus, the later improved PlayStation version added new characters, tweaked gameplay, new features, and also included an interesting "RPG style" Quest Mode (comparable to Tobal No. 1 and Tobal 2).

The Fighting Game debuts of Cloud and Sephiroth!

Ehrgeiz's Quest Mode was one of the most ambitious and interesting bonus modes seen in a fighting game to date, and featured a respectable amount of depth. Quest Mode is basically a "Hack and Slash" style action-RPG which begins in a dungeon in a parallel universe, and later moves to a nearby inn.
The player can explore the town and enter the dungeon, which contains randomly generated maps, in search of artifacts and power-ups. It's pretty addicting the first time through, though it lacks any real storyline. Ehrgeiz also features an entertaining (but random) Mini Game Mode, including track & field events, as well as a version of the board game, Othello. These extra modes added a lot of personality and replayability to the home version of Ehrgeiz.










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Page Updated: May 14th, 2024
Developer(s): Dream Factory
Publisher(s): Namco   Arcade
Square Electronic Arts  
Square Enix   PSN
Designer(s): Seiichi Ishii
Platform(s): Arcade, PS1, PSN
Release Date(s): Feb. 26th, 1998              Arcade
Mar. 19th, 1998             Arcade
Dec. 17th, 1998              PS1
May 30th, 1999              PS1
Feb. 8th, 2000                 PS1
July 9th, 2008                  PSN
Characters Godhand, Yoko Kishibojin, Wolf Girl Jo, Dasher Inoba, Prince Doza, Koji Matsuda, Sasuke, Lee Shuwen, Clair, Han Dae Han, Django, Cloud Strife, Tifa Lockheart, Vincent Valentine, Yuffie Kisaragi, Zack Fair, Sephiroth

Featured Video:

Related Games: Tobal No. 1, Tobal 2, TEKKEN 3, TEKKEN 2, Bushido Blade 2, Soul Blade, Soul Calibur, Battle Arena Toshinden 3, Bloody Roar, Guilty Gear X, Mace: The Dark Age, Fighting Vipers 2, Fighting Layer, Street Fighter EX2, Power Stone, Granblue Fantasy Versus

Gameplay Engine

 7.0 / 10

Story / Theme

 8.0 / 10

Overall Graphics

 8.0 / 10


 8.0 / 10

Music / Sound Effects

 8.0 / 10


 9.0 / 10

Art Direction

 9.0 / 10


 6.0 / 10

Options / Extras

 8.5 / 10

Intro / Presentation

 8.5 / 10

Replayability / Fun

 7.5 / 10

"Ouch" Factor

 8.0 / 10


 8.0 / 10


 8.2 / 10

 Review based on PS1 version      


Final Words: Ehrgeiz was a very unorthodox yet very interesting fighting game project from Namco & Squaresoft. That said, what a cool collaboration this was for '98 (and very before its time). While the free-roaming gameplay may've not appealed to everyone (least of all traditional FG players), Ehrgeiz was respectably ambitious and innovative for a console fighting game.

Ehrgeiz's diverse character roster, great art direction, stylish CG intro, and entertaining bonus modes made the console version a fighting game package you'd feel proud to own in the late 90's. To not call this game a "rare PS1 gem" would probably mean you didn't own a PS1 (and didn't know what you were missing).

Of course, the fact that Final Fantasy VII characters were playable definitely added hype to the game. For any sort of FFVII fan, it was epic at the time to see FFVII's well-known characters in an actual fighting game... even though their movesets and in-game personas came up a bit short.

Either way, Ehrgeiz's roster was attractive and unique. The game's exclusive character designs aren't half bad themselves, but some are a bit underdeveloped. In retrospect, Ehrgeiz was a particularly "fun" and innovative title that stood on its own. It did a lot of things right. Maybe if the game got a sequel, the gameplay could've taken the step forward it needed to stay competitive in the late 90's. By the way, "Ehrgeiz" means "ambition" in German. Random Fun Fact: I am part German.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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