In the epic battle of the Final Crusade that
occurred from last year, Hayato Kanzaki had slayed the evil Dr. Edward Bilstein
and brought the end of the Fourth Empire's terror and destruction throughout
the entire galaxy. The fall of the Fourth Empire and the death of its leader
were momentous occasions of last year and it signaled the restoration of peace
and happiness, but all is not well in the galaxy. Rumors have been circulating about the
unexpected return of Bilstein in a new cybernetic body, as well as the
appearance of a ghost who eerily looks like Bilstein's old cybernetic body. At
the same time, the Fourth Empire has taken the opportunity in rebuilding its
forces and the loyal members of the organization are determined to carry out
Bilstein's will of eliminating those that stand in the way of their master's
Hayato, June, Saturn, and Gamof realize that
the threat of Bilstein is far from over and that the four of them must head back
into combat in order to defeat Bilstein and the Fourth Empire once and for all.
However, the quartet is not alone in their second struggle as they have new
friends to assist them in the matter, including the strong war soldier Gantetsu;
former enemy turned ally Zelkin; the aspiring hero Eagle; and a mysterious young
girl named Ele. Hayato and his friends will find themselves heading back into
the hard ordeal as Star Gladiators, Fourth Empire members, and neutral parties
will be thrust into a war that will determine the fate of not only the Earth,
but the entire galaxy. The Nightmare of Bilstein has now begun...
Kind of a sloppy character
selection screen for a Capcom fighting game.
Sword: Nightmare of Bilstein (known as Star Gladiator 2 in Japan) is the sequel to Star Gladiator,
one of Capcom's first ventures into the 3D
fighting game genre. While the original was released on Namco's System
11 Arcade Board and then ported to the Sony Playstation, Plasma Sword
was released on Namco's improved System 12 Arcade board and then ported to the Sega
Dreamcast in the year 2000.
All characters from the original Star Gladiator make their return (with
the exception of Rimgal and Kappah) in Plasma
Sword. Fourteen new
characters join the veteran Star Gladiators, each with his or her own unique
storyline. However, ten of the newcomers can easily be dubbed as "palette swaps," since
they share the exact same fighting styles, special moves and Plasma Fields of the the
original cast... but they do have their own unique Plasma Strikes, at least.
also has those colors in MVC2!
features much faster gameplay than the prequel, and nearly feels like a
completely new game. The game features 4-button layout, 2 buttons for weapon attack,
1 for kick, and 1 for guard. Unique to the series, characters can perform a damaging skill called
a Plasma Field. With the use of one super meter, the character who activates it
will emit a sphere of energy. If the move connects, the
playing field will be temporarily boxed in by four invisible walls, making escape
from the Plasma Field effects difficult. The effects of the skill vary with each
character, ranging to infinite Plasma Strikes, growing to gigantic sizes, and
even stopping time. If a character raises their Super Gauge to level 3, they can
then perform super moves called Plasma Strikes.
Plasma Sword's Arcade Mode features 8 stages. Players will encounter a
mid-boss at Stage 5 which advances the story of their chosen character. At the
final stage, players face a specific final boss depending on their character. Additionally, players will either see a false ending or true ending
of the character depending on how many Battle Ability points they've obtained.
If a player obtains the required amount of Battle Ability points, they'll fight
another opponent (the "true" final boss) and can view a character's true ending.
Visually, a far cry from
Soul Calibur on Dreamcast.
Graphically, Plasma Sword is an
improvement over the original. Character models are sharper and more detailed,
but the stages are actually flatter and less "3D-looking" than the
prequel's. In my opinion, the background environments are very bland... consisting of only a 2D background image and rotating 3D
floor (a recipe that was definitely getting old by the time Plasma Sword
was released). The cool "Capcom style" artwork used in-game is very well done,
but unfortunately it's displayed at a pretty low resolution (complete
with jaggy edges). Overall, Plasma Sword can't hold a candle to other
recent fighting games in terms of graphics, presentation, or gameplay (especially against
the recent iteration of Soul Calibur on Dreamcast).
Plasma Sword's gameplay
and overall "fun factor" is subpar at best... and is really
only fun at all if you give the characters chance. Plasma Sword's awesome
art direction definitely shines a positive light on the sci-fi character
designs, and they're definitely some of Capcom's most obscure.
Sadly, the in-game character models are still
blocky, and the boring 3D stages don't do much for the game's visual appearance either.
The Sega Dreamcast was capable of much more impressive visuals, making Plasma
Sword a pretty disappointing title from the get-go.
Comparably to most other fighting games of the time period, Plasma Sword
was definitely lacking in more ways than one, but at least offered something respectably different and
the fighting genre. In case you didn't know, many of Plasma Sword's
characters crossed over into other Capcom fighting games as both playable
characters and cameos. ~TFG