Kabuki Warriors

Ever play sword fighting in your backyard with your little brother or best friend? Ever wish that you were a samurai and that your entire goal in life was to strike down enemies who had trashed your honor with the cold, sharp blade of a sword? Well, in Kabuki Warriors, you only find some of the old nostalgia and possibly some of the more intricate fighting that you may have seen in Bushido Blade and Kengo. The XBox, in all of its glory manages to deliver a game that doesn't necessarily treat the gamer to a spectacle of swords and blood, but more of an exercise in patience and timing!

The story line behind Kabuki Warriors is something that you really have to take with a grain of salt in order to understand and work with correctly. There isn't much of a prize at the end of your journey and you have to really get into the mode of having to carefully choose and place your attacks accordingly. Although you may think that the game is boring, Kabuki Warriors is not a game that features excessive special attacks or fireballs, but more of a technical way of sword fighting. You'll start in the Japanese countryside and move forward into different towns, making money and claiming fame before you get the main tournament in Kyoto, and attempt to win the championship.


Visually, Kabuki Warriors isn't all that spectacular and I'll admit to you right now that the game looks more or less like the original Bushido Blade for PlayStation. From time to time you may see that the animation is stiff and forced with the special attacks being little more than twists and turns of your character attacking in different ways. Ah, if you're looking for small details in the characters, then don't bother because much like actual Kabuki, all of the character faces are painted on and do not move! The locations that you fight in are typically the same, so without really noticing what the backgrounds have to offer in terms of scenery, you may find it to be a little more repetitive than you are willing to stand.


Audio wise, you have little more than some sort of attempt to be traditional with a lack of music and overall soundtrack to accompany the game. Where you'll hear most of the music is with the different menu selections and you really won't find too much to go along with your fights unless you play a CD in the stereo. The sound effects also tend to drag on with the most prominent of them all being the stomping of feet on a wooden floor and some sort of scream being played every time you do something in either the game or the menu. When you place these two things together, you'll find that there really isn't much here to offer and there can be some serious muting going on.


The game play is something that you really have to understand in order to enjoy and the moment you pick this game up, you need to understand that this game is not fast and furious, but more about timing and patience. Although the game attempts to give you a very challenging time, the only challenge is to work with the combat system and learn how to defend and attack accordingly. Now, the offensive moves that you have in your battles are pretty basic, with different skills coming through with the different teams that you decide to work with. Almost like Kengo, you have a couple of different sets of characters that allows you to fight in different styles. However, the lack of moves in each group is nothing of the depth that Kengo offers, and you'll have to learn to work with what you have.

The main mode of the game is the Tournament Mode in which you travel from town to town in order to get through the game. Now, by performing in each of these towns with the fighting, you can earn money in order to travel onto the next town or further along the route to Kyoto. However, what you'll find is that money isn't just earned by winning a match, but rather by impressing the crowd with your skills and getting them to thrown coins at you for successful demonstration. All in all, this little feature is something that makes up for the lack of fighting, in which you have to use what you have successfully in order to make your money instead of just pounding on your opponent.

Control is a little strange in this game, simply because you have the four buttons to work with and then the analog stick. Because the XBox controller is heavy and large, you may have to work with the game a little bit in order to get the desired effect that you're looking for. Attacks and otherwise are simple to pull off with enough practice, and if you're a veteran of games such as Bushido Blade and Kengo, then you shouldn't have a problem working with this title. Something that does come up as a challenge though is getting the defensive rolls and otherwise to work correctly, and you'll have to practice your timing to get them down!

Bottom Line:

Kabuki Warriors is for the Samurai at heart that really don't need too much to go along with the overall feel of the game. While there really isn't much to offer you in terms of audio and visuals, there are some pretty cool concepts here that have to be realized in order to enjoy the game. Even though this isn't a fast paced game and you may find it to be a little more dragging than your usual fighting game, the different objectives that you complete in your fights are something that is fairly new and innovative. For anyone else looking for a top notch fighting game, you best look elsewhere, because this is for hardcore fans only!

-Drew Guirey