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Way of the Warrior

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Way of the Warrior
A way you don't want to follow, just like Naughty Dog did with this game.
Genre(s): Fighting
Platform(s): 3DO Interactive Multiplayer
Release: NA: August 30, 1994
JP: May 26, 1995
Developer(s): Naughty Dog
Publisher(s): Universal Interactive Studios
Country: United States

Way of the Warrior is a 1994 fighting game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Universal Interactive Studios exclusively for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer on August in the US, and May 1995 in Japan.

It was made during the surging popularity of the tournament fighting game genre, kickstarted by games like Street Fighter II and especially Mortal Kombat.


Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin, co-founders of Naughty Dog, had broke away from Electronic Arts because of limited creative control and lack of support from their marketing division after finishing up Keef the Thief and Rings of Power, so they took a 8 month hiatus from the game industry to work on their personal jobs, that is until Trip Hawkins (founder of EA) makes a call to both of them to discuss about his then-new console, the Panasonic 3DO. Convinced by his offer (more creative control and free dev kit), Gavin and Rubin began to work on their fighting game in 1993 by self-funding themselves using their money made for Rings of Power, due to the lack of a publisher at the time. The inspiration for Way of the Warrior was not just from Mortal Kombat, but several Kung-Fu action films that Gavin and Rubin grow up together. Problems with the production rose as the costumes for the characters where bought from a store in Boston's Chinatown without knowing what fighter will wear, as they never designed one to begin with, one kick in the nuts is that they invited their friends and family to portray the fighters (including future Folding@home project creator Vijay S. Pande as the secret character), none of them have any experience in martial arts whatsoever. Also, there not allowed to use the same process as Mortal Kombat because of budget issues, so they bought a tan-colored screen to achieve the same effect, put it in their living room and began filming it during a hot summer.

During Way of the Warrior's development, Gavin and Rubin received a call from Universal Interactive Studios, who where impressed with their work that they agree to publish the game as long as Naughty Dog would sign a contract to make three new games for the Sony PlayStation, not before a bidding war between them, Crystal Dynamics and even Trip Hawkins himself was settled of course. Those three games will end being the successful Crash Bandicoot trilogy.

Why It's Not a Warrior

  1. Just like Kasumi Ninja, the game is another rip-off of Mortal Kombat, since it has the same control schemes and uses digitized actors.
  2. The controls are unreliable; sometimes the special moves work perfectly, but most of the time they are really hard to pull off.
  3. The control scheme is horrible as both high attacks are mapped to the shoulder buttons, and it can't be changed at all.
  4. The A.I. is annoying to the point of frustration, they counter almost all your attacks, trap you in combos or grab you.
    • The hit detection and move priority are very bias against the player.
  5. In lower difficulties, the game cuts off before the bosses, which is tremendously frustrating.
  6. Uninspired move sets with generic special moves.
  7. The character designs are pathetic.
    • Nobunaga is just a stereotypical Samurai, Major Gaines is a generic soldier on steroids, Fox is a generic bodyguard, Nikki Chan is a typical kung-fu girl, Crimsom Glory is a biker girl, Dragon is a discount version of Liu Kang and The Ninja is the lamest and most generic ninja possible.
    • The bosses take the cake in terms of awful designs:
      • The secret boss Gulab Jamul looks stupid and out of place. According to the devs, his loincloth was made out of a pillow case.
      • The sub-boss High Abot is an extremely goofy looking dragon that looks more like a Jim Henson's Dinosaur reject.
      • And finally, there is Kull, the final boss who is a ridiculous giant skeleton wearing a deer's fur, wielding a hammer that is too small for him to use.
    • Also, there are palette swaps in the same style as the secret bosses of Mortal Kombat.
  8. While the backgrounds and the digitized characters look good, their animations are jerky and unnatural, and they seem to lack frames. This is specially noticeable with the character Dragon in his victory poses.
  9. Despite the music being produced by the band White Zombie, it is boring, repetitive, generic and reused constantly, and to make matters worse, you can even hear the same track in the menu or during a fight.
  10. The fighting is awful due to the following reason:
    • The attacks lack impact and even the Fatalities feel weak, which leads to the entire experience feeling anti-climactic.
    • Some attacks require points, but some of the most overpowered moves for each character do not require points, making the system pointless.
    • Dive attacks are really overpowered, and they are rarely blocked by the enemy.
    • The characters jump way too high, which makes jump attacks much harder.
    • The items that fall in the stage are also really overpowered, especially the power up item that can make you win the round instantly, not to mention they ruin the flow and balance of fight.
    • The stun mechanic happens way too often and it's really abused by the enemy; however, it doesn't work when you want it to.
    • Getting a Perfect in one round gives you something called "Second Wind" that gives you extra life when your life gets depleted. This is fine when playing on Single-player Mode, but in Versus Mode, it makes chances of a comeback pretty much nonexistent.
  11. The Fatalities are boring and overall unimpressive, despite the gore.
    • Some are just throwing the enemy off-screen making them worthless.
  12. The way to unlock the secret characters is tedious; it involves entering an specific name and date of birth (the problem with that is that it takes too much time because the cursor is incredibly slow).
    • To add insult, the secret characters cannot be used in the Tournament Mode.
  13. There are 2 stages that are really awkward to play: one is a mountain with platforms that seems suitable for a different game, and the other is a pit of lava that kills you if you fall into it.
    • Speaking of which, when a character falls into a pit of lava, they lose all of their health and disintrigrate into a skeleton and touches the screen when the player dies resulting in a cheap jumpscare.
  14. The same ending for all the characters is just the skull narrator putting your character's photo into the book of warriors.

The Only Redeeming Quality

  1. Unlike other Mortal Kombat rip-offs, the graphics looks good (despite the awful animations).


AVGN Enraged.jpg "What were they thinking?"
The Shit Scale
Games that are debatably bad High level of shit contamination The very high category The severe zone Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Major code red
This game/console belongs to the "Very High Category" category of the AVGN's Shit Scale.

The game initially received positive response from the press as a non-playable demo to various magazines, but it became more mixed with the final product. Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game an average score of 3.75 out of 10, praising the graphics, animation, and fatalities, but panning the controls, especially the difficulty in pulling off special moves. GamePro gave the game a negative review, citing dull character design, long load times, small sprites, weak sound effects, and shallow challenge. Contradicting Electronic Gaming Monthly, however, they asserted that "Executing the special moves is not hard". Next Generation reviewed the game, rating it two stars out of five, and stated that "Way of the Warrior only proves that no amount of music, 3D rendering and gore can make up for the basics like gameplay and good character design." The Angry Video Game Nerd (during the episode about the 3DO in general) criticized for being a cheap Mortal Kombat clone, confusing fatalities, the special moves, and a notorious infinite jumping attack that took 10 seconds to beat you down.


  • Contrary to popular belief, Way of the Warrior did sell well by 3DO standards, even outdoing the 3DO port of Samurai Shodown.
  • This was the final Naughty Dog game to be released for a non-PlayStation console until they switched to being exclusive to the PlayStation line starting with the original Crash Bandicoot in 1996.



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