Monday, November 24, 2003

Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance Reviewed

"Set in 106 A.D. after the death of the great emperor Trajan, Vengeance begins under the ruthless leadership of Arruntius; a former despotic consular and the man suspected of bringing the previous ruler to his untimely end. Egomaniacal and convinced that he's a god among mortals, Arruntius has banned the worship of other gods besides himself and is in the midst of destroying Rome so that a new city named after him may be built. As a bit of self-congratulations, Arruntius has staged the world's most elaborate gladiatorial contest amidst the city streets hoping that the bloody spectacle will appease his people and gain him favor among the crowds.

But as stories of this sort usually go, there's one man who defies the emperor with everything in his being. A former slave and faithful servant to the dead emperor Trajan, this man is the gladiator known as Invictus Thrax; an undefeated warrior whose power overcomes every opponent that he confronts. That is, until he's slaughtered in front of thousands of people by the evil demon gods Phobos and Deimos-- halting the hero's plans of revolt and securing Arruntius' place on his throne unopposed.

Strangely enough, Thrax awakens in Elysium only to be greeted by the sons of Mars, Remus and Romulus. Chosen by the pair to become their champion, Thrax is recruited and granted the ability to return to the mortal world to stop Arruntius and the demons that aid him before all of Rome is consumed in their darkness. And from there things really start to get interesting..."

Similarities aside, Sword of Vengeance is neither a remake of the Oscar-winning motion picture or the brainy strategy RPG that we saw in Gladius. In all truthfulness it's an uncomplicated romp through an alternate Roman history that, while a tad on the flawed side, turns out to be just as much fun as it is familiar.

No comments: