Ahh, the Roman coliseum. Home of the manliest of men... and, in this case, manliest of women... the world has ever known. Glory and honour abounded, yessir! Not a wanton waste of life involved in the coliseum whatsoever - particularly if your coliseum happens to be digital.
Sand of the Coliseum is an RPG. You, presumably, play the role of a Roman noble who happens to enjoy making money from gladiatorial fights. You create an initial slave, you equip him, you send him into battle, you see how that goes. If it goes well, you earn money, additional equipment, and the cheers of the crowds. Once you have enough money you can purchase additional slaves (to a maximum of three at a time) and wage prolonged team battles, often to the death. Do so in every city on the map and you become the top contender in the gladiator world.
Novel enough concept, I suppose. I haven't seen a ton of coliseum-based games before. Sands of the Coliseum could reeeeeally stand to have some kind of story, however, as it's just battle after battle after battle. Heavy repetition, not a lot of variety.
You have a mouse. Use it.
Sands of the Coliseum looks pretty decent. It utilizes ragdoll characters for the fights, and unlike ragdolls in other games, these ones are tight and controlled. Their limbs don't fly willy-nilly in all directions when you get into a fight. Their features aren't terribly detailed, but I'll forgive that simply because the range of outfits you get changes their appearance all the time. Each new coliseum also sports a different look, which I much appreciated, as these games sometimes rehash the same background over and over.
Also: blood. Lots and lots and LOTS of blood. As soon as you chew through someone's armour they'll begin to bleed copiously. Put on enough pressure and you'll lop off arms, legs, even heads. Sands of the Coliseum is not for the squeamish, though the somewhat impassive faces of the gladiators sucks away some of the game's cringe factor.
Though each coliseum has its own music (I think, anyway - I honestly couldn't get through the whole game), the tracks are a little repetitive for my tastes. You hear them too often before you can go on to something new, and what you get isn't exactly addictive. Most of what I heard was rock/metal music, appropriate for big-times battles, but not necessarily for a Roman setting. Shrug?
The music didn't bother me much. What REALLY irked me were the sound effects, specifically the game's battle scream. It happens often, sounds like a woman even if it's coming from a man, and it's BLOODY IRRITATING. Like, vuvuzela irritating. Sound effects got drowned out in a hurry.
This is not a reeeeeally difficult game. Like most RPGs, it's a matter of levels. Get stronger than your opponent, and outfit yourself with some decent equipment, and you'll win most of your battles. The body parts battle system makes this even easier to accomplish, as you can simply take out the legs of most opponents and then sit back as they helplessly bleed to death. You're also allowed to choose the ultimate fate of your opponents (live or die) at the end of a successful battle, which I thought was a nice touch.
That said, Sands of the Coliseum has some issues on the challenge front:
- YOU MISS WAY TOO OFTEN. When the game assures you that you have an eighty percent chance of hitting, you shouldn't be missing once out of every two or three attacks.
- The AIs are STUPID. Leave your combatants to their own devices and they'll form absolutely no viable strategies. Concentrated fire on a single body part? Better take everyone off auto battle.
- The game is sloooow. The biggest challenge in Sands of the Coliseum is not getting tired of the constant, unending, monotonous battles. I like the combat system well enough, but not enough to want to chip through the greaves of thousands of gladiators to reach the end of the game.
Overall? If you have the patience? This game is an excellent time-waster. I'm absolutely certain that most players will get bored long before they hit the end, however.
Yep, you can play Sands of the Coliseum against your friends. I didn't, as I doubt any of 'em will want to play, but if you can convince a couple to join up... I'm sure it's probably more fun.
Sands of the Coliseum is a good base game that will appeal to players who love to level grind, because that's essentially all it is. No story, no exploration, just customization and battling. And there's nothing wrong with that! I'm cool with grinding. Just... not THIS much.
I also noticed that Sands of the Coliseum is very much geared towards sucking money out of its players. Why waste long hours earning up tons of gold when you can buy 10,000 pieces for a couple bucks? Or wait patiently for blacksmithing materials to show up why you can purchase 'em online? Both are fair ideas, and I hope the developers get their money back from players.
I, ah, just don't ANTICIPATE they will.
PLAY SANDS OF THE COLISEUM