Gladius - Xbox

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Also for: PS2, GameCube
Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Strategy: Combat
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: LucasArts Soft. Co.: LucasArts
Publishers: Activision (GB)
Released: 28 Nov 2003 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 12+
Accessories: Xbox Memory Unit


Though LucasArts is typically known for its ongoing adventures with the Star Wars series, the company also has experience with several other genres. Series such as Monkey Island and Indiana Jones are also well known to gamers, and in an attempt to deliver something else new to video games, LucasArts has come up with Gladius for Xbox.

Not to be confused with Ridley Scott’s Gladiator film in any way, Gladius is in fact a fantasy role-playing game that takes place in a very sombre fantasy world. Many moons ago, a bloody conflict between two homelands gave rise to a vengeful dark god that nearly destroyed all of mankind. With the help of the revered Valkyrie, and at the great cost of many lives, the dark god was defeated giving rise to an uneasy peace between the two lands. Now, darkness threatens again and, playing as two young heroes, you must fulfill your destiny in order to keep the world from heading into another disastrous war.

The game offers two different campaigns, one for each hero, each boasting around 40 hours of role-playing gameplay. Though the two scenarios are different, there are many similarities between them. Following the story-driven adventure, much of Gladius’ gameplay comes in the form of turn-based battle encounters, both preset and random. Fighting in dozens of arenas that span the game’s four massive regions, players are charged with defeating myriad creatures in order to gain experience, money, better equipment and become stronger.

The combat system itself, though strictly turn-based, is the most interactive we’ve come across for quite some time. In this particular offering, players can not only cast the usual plethora of spells, but also have freedom to move. Each of your fighters have a range of movement and a range of attack making each battle more strategic than normal.

Combat and story aside, Gladius also offers a four-way multi-player option, which is a rare thing for an offline RPG. Here, players can either play co-operatively or compete in an exhibition mode. Gladius takes the standard role-playing formula and injects a few brave ideas of its own. It’s one of LucasArts’ biggest releases of 2003 and it’s well worth a look.