One of my favorite video games came out in 1997, by Midway . Unfortunately it labors in relative obscurity. I'm sure the reason that it wasn't more popular was because the plot was pretty lame. But plots don't mean as much to me in video games as how much ass I can kick in them.

War Gods is a 3-D Mortal Kombat-like game with a host of eclectic warriors battling each other for some sort of Life Giving Ore. No known name for this ore is given - but it's a bright green glowing ore, and all the characters display it in one form or another. In the user's manual the story is told thus:

Billions of years ago, a being from a distant galaxy was transporting a precious cargo of life giving Ore. The turbulent formation of our solar system caused his ship to crash, and scattered The Ore over the molten surface of planet earth.

Through the millennia, ten humans came into contact with The Ore and were transformed into super-evolved warriors.

These are the WAR GODS!

See? Lame.

But the graphics are great, the characters are memorable and the backgrounds are well done. Not to mention you get to punch and kick and do special moves and finally kill your opponent with disgusting bloody fatalities.

There are ten main characters in War Gods which the characters may control (without cheating) and two Boss-Gods (which the user can control by entering cheat codes). They fight each other to win the best two out of three rounds. If you beat your opponent then you may move onto the next (not always more difficult) opponent. The order of the opponents is decided by which God you've chosen to be. The War Gods are:

Descriptions in italics are taken from the War Gods Player's manual.

  • Ahua Kin: In a vision, Ahau Kin, an evil high priest, learned that untold power lay at the bottom of his tribe's sacrificial well. One by one, he sent his slaves to their death diving to reach The Ore. Finally, overwhelmed with desire, he plunged to the well's depths and retrieved The Ore.

    His fatality is pretty cool. He raises his arms summoning an altar to appear behind his opponent. He pushes them over onto it and jumps on top of them. Then he drives his fist through their chest and yanks out their still beating heart. Then he takes a nice big bite out of it. It's beautifully gruesome.

  • Anubis: While searching for lost treasure in the Valley of the Kings, a grave robber uncovered a hidden burial chamber. The thief tried to steal it's treasures, anaware that The Ore had been placed in the chamber to destroy anyone who entered. His body was destoyed by The Ore, but his soul is cursed to return as Anubis.

    Anubis is one of the most visually appealing characters in the game. Unfortunately, his fatality is pretty silly. A coffin drops out of the sky (or from upstairs(?) if they're indoors) and lands squarely on the opponent. A pool of blood oozes from beneath the coffin which then opens, revealing the opponent completely mummified and struggling to get out of the bandages. If it wasn't so comical, it would have no redeeming value.

  • CY-5: The power of The Ore is timeless. In the year 2096, scientists will implant The Ore into CY-5, an advanced cyborg, unaware that The Ore has life-giving power. CY-5 will kill the scientists. It will conclude that more Ore is needed for greater human consciousness. CY-5 will fight in a ruthless systematic manner to achive its goal.

    CY-5 is my favorite character, but he too has an extremely lame fatality. He opens a communication panel on his forearm and types something into it. What he's done is called for a ride home (I guess) and a huge UFO appears over the arena (again, very goofy looking if this is an indoor arena) and blasts the opponent into a little puddle of steaming goo.

  • Kabuki Jo: A feared medieval samurai discovered The Ore on the eve of a great battle. Overwhelmed by its power, he slaughtered his men in a rage of fire and fury. Shamed by the destruction he had caused, he became Kabuki Jo, an outcast determined to master the power that consumes him.

    Kabuki Jo looks like a clown, but he's pretty much a badass. He's also got one of the coolest fatalities in the game. He takes his long staff and drives it into the chest of his opponent. Then he lifts the opponents impaled body and holds the staff upright and they slide down the staff. Very nasty.

  • Maximus: A mighty gladiator, fought for the entertainment of his masters. During a great festival that celebrated The Ore, he battled to determine which master would possess it. He killed his opponent, but slaughtered his masters as well. He took The Ore and escaped. Consumed by it's power, he fights for all who have been enslaved.

    Very cool Fatality. Two roman-looking columns shoot out of the ground on both sides of the opponent, and their wrists are suddenly tied to the colums. Maximus pulls out a sword and bisects his opponent dropping the lower half to the ground while the torso is left hanging there, bleeding.

  • Pagan: Ancient manuscripts revealed the locationd of The Ore to Pagan, a mistress of the black arts. She arrived at the ruins of a cathedral where The Ore was once worshipped. Pagan summoned forth the hidden Ore by reciting the manuscript's incantations. The Ore increased her hunger for power and destruction. She will destroy anyone who stands in her way.

    She has a, shall we say, interesting maneuver. She leaps into her opponents driving her crotch firmly into their face then does a flip throwing her opponent across the arena. Her victory dance when she wins a round is also a sight to behold. Her fatality could be better though. She pulls out Medusa's head (from where I do not know) and aims it at her opponent who then turns to stone. If she's fighting Tak, he's already stone and he sticks his tongue out at her - that's pretty funny. Then laser beams shoot out of Medusa's eyes blast the statue to bits. Tak too.

  • Tak: Thousands of years ago, a kingdom worshipped The Ore as a god. A rival kingdom declared war to capture The Ore. In the face of defeat, the king hid The Ore in a stone idol. The idol came to life as Tak, avenger of a lost civilization.

    Tak is a big moving statue. I never much cared for this character. He does however have an awesome fatality. He stands his opponent on their feet and pounds their head with his fist, driving them into the ground like a stake, leaving only their head exposed. Then he stands back and kicks their head off like a football, sending the head off-screen.

  • Vallah: A warrior princess, became seperated from battle during a great ice storm. Taking shelter in a nearby cave, she saw a glowing green light trapped inside a translucent wall of ice. Hacking away at the ice, her sword finally made contact with The Ore. Vallah was transformed into a Viking goddess, and rules the realm of ice.

    Another character that didn't do it for me. Her fatality is pretty weak too. A big blocky bed looking thing springs up behind the opponent and she knocks them down onto it. Then she ignites the mattress and fries the opponent leaving the burnt remains behind.

  • Voodoo: In a Caribbean village, a witch doctor enslaved his people black magic and arcane spells. One night in desperation, the villagers captured the witch doctor and burnt him to death. They threw his body into a forbidden swamp, unaware that it hid a deposit of The Ore. The ore's energy brought his corpse back to life as Voodoo, god of the undead.

    Another one of my favorites, although not just because of his fatality. He does a lot of stuff with dead animals and skeletons. His arm can turn into a very long serpent and snatch an opponent across the arena. His fatality maneuver is when he pulls out a voodoo doll of his opponent and slashes at it with his claws. Their real body splits in half leaving entrails and guts everywhere.

  • Warhead: Government officials were worried that an experiment to merge nuclear weapons with The Ore was in jeopardy. They sent their top operative to investigate. When he arrived at the research center, the building exploded, covering his body with fragments of The Ore. The soldier was tranformed into a super-human fighter.

    Pretty solid character. During his fatality move, he crouches down and radios for an airstrike. Nuclear bombs are dropped on his opponent. When the mushroom cloud disperses there is nothing but a smoking radioactive hole.

The two Boss gods are Grox and Exor. Grox is a big fat disgusting monster. He towers over your puny little god and tends to destroy them rather quickly. However once you learn the trick, he's not that hard to beat. When you slam his big fat gut, it injures him very quickly.

Exor, unfortunately, is much more difficult to beat. He too is humongous, but he's much faster and stronger than Grox. He teleports all over the place and moves like lightning. He has several tricks which incapacitate your character leaving you easy pray for his devistating strikes. There aren't any really good tricks or weaknesses to beat him either. You just have to be stoic and eventually you'll find your opening. The game can be beaten, although it's difficult. But the ending is nothing spectacular, so don't beat yourself up trying. You just stand there holding your booty (the ore) and you are honored as the supreme wargod.

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