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Customer Review

on 7 February 2005
I've had my ear to the ground for a long time waiting for the definitive 'Gladiator' game, so when Shadows of Rome emerged, needless to say I made the purchase straight on release.
Now that I've committed some serious gaming hours to the game, I can say that the 'Gladiator' part is certainly up to my expectation. Believe the hype about beating your opponent with his own limbs. Weapons are extremely varied, from body parts to maces to swords and on, and the two-hand-weapon system is a nice touch, especially when considering the combo attacks. The well-designed combat engine sees to it that you never fight the same battle twice. I'm quite finicky when it comes to combat, and this in particular impressed me greatly.
The other side of the bat, the 'sneak about and uncover the plot' part of the story was a little less convincing. While Agrippa is a solid fighter type, Octavinius is a bit weak and rubbish by comparison. Granted, that is kind of the intention ... but I don't think it works as well as Capcom hoped it would. It's a shame, because the plot is quite good, loosely based on the fall of Caesar, with plenty of twists and turns to keep the player interested.
Another aspect of the game I appreciated was the sound and graphics. While motion was a little jerky at times in cut-scenes, I found that the level of detail Capcom had put into both characters and backgrounds was excellent, and really helped create the feel the game was aiming for. The background scores and sound fx work well, especially through a good sound system.
Ultimately, my opinion is that the game's saving grace is the superb combat system, and this really holds up the weaker stealth elements of the game. It really is the best gladiator look-alike about - far better than the likes of Gladius - and it's just a little let down by a case of mixed identity. However, I think it's well worth buying. A solid result from Capcom.
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