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Arena Wars

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Trisynergy
Developer: exDream
Media: CD/2
Players: 1 - 8
Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

The graphics in Arena Wars are actually pretty good, however they are not up to standard with anything that the ‘big’ real-time strategy companies can come up with (i.e. the graphics seen in Rome: Total War or Warhammer).

Each unit is well defined, with bright colors indicating each side, and different weapon animations for each unit. The arenas are small and compact, with pretty direct paths to and from enemy bases, which are also very small but well defined in different colors. The environments are not highly detailed, but they get the job done by showing all of the important parts clearly. Some of the particle effects, like a little light trail notifying you when you are close to some objectives, add a very nice touch.

The sound is just average. There is an announcer that lets the player know of certain things of importance that pop up in gameplay, and it is always said in a clear manner. The sound effects are just average, with the ‘booms’ and ‘blasts’ that you would expect in any RTS.


Arena Wars is essentially a real-time strategy game, with no Campaign or main storyline to follow. Each game scenario consists of one of three gameplay modes: Capture the Flag, Bombing Run, and Double Domination. Each mode is held in relatively small arenas which makes the action pretty prevalent throughout the scenario.

There are a couple of major differences from other RTS games that you will notice right away. One is that there are no buildings to construct; everything is already placed for you, so the player must make the best use out of their surroundings, having no say in them. Another difference is that when a unit is killed, the player is automatically refunded the money. The best part of this unique approach is that neither side ever has a clear advantage over the other. Each player always has the same amount of money, so the game becomes one about strategy over ‘who can build the most units the fastest.’ The only real ‘resource’ in the game are various item boxes, scattered over the playing field. These items grant different effects to the player’s units, and can even be used against an opposing player. These items can really turn the tide of a battle, if your strategy isn’t tight enough.

This game was meant for multiplayer, and the single-player scenarios are meant as nothing more but training exercises for the multiplayer game. A full map editor is included, allowing the player to create an almost infinite number of scenarios.


There is no real campaign to venture through, and the concept of Arena Wars is very easy to grasp, although difficult to master. Trying to balance which units to buy with the limited resources you have, while also trying to place such units to be able to defend or attack can get tricky, especially when playing against another human opponent. When you throw in the random effects of the items within the game, things on all sides of these matches can get hectic.

Full tutorials for each mode are included, although the player is restricted to watching these tutorials, which can get somewhat boring. The computer A.I. difficulty is set by the player at the start of each scenario, so you should know what you’re getting into before it starts.

Game Mechanics:

The controls are very simple; same for pretty much every RTS, point and click. Click on an enemy and the selected units attack, on a flag, and one grabs the flag, etc.

The included map editor in Arena Wars is VERY nice, allowing the player to create anything that they wish. It allows the player to edit terrain, placeable objects, textures, and even the individual placeable objects themselves (i.e. making trees bigger or smaller).

Arena Wars is a solid real-time strategy game, with plenty of unique concepts. The only thing it lacks is massive waves of armies, and a campaign for the single player in all of us. But if you are looking for a solid multiplayer RTS, look no further.

-Vaxeks, GameVortex Communications
AKA Joshua Benedetto

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows® 98SE/NT/ME/2000/XP/2003, 700 MHz Processor, 128 MB RAM (256 Mb recommended), GeForce 2 MX / Radeon 7500 or better, Soundcard, Internet connection (to play online), 80 Mb Free Hard Drive Space

Test System:

Windows XP, 3.2 Ghz AMD Athlon, 512 MB Ram, ATI Radeon 9600, 120 Gig HD.

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