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Xena: Warrior Princess

video game review video game review video game review Video Game Review: Xena: Warrior Princess Publisher: Electronic Arts
Category: Action
Platform: PS1, Game Boy
ESRB Rating: Teen    Release Date: October 1999

Overall Rating: 3 Stars out of 4

Review by Tom Allen
3 Stars out of 4
(Review of PS1 version)

The ESRB really screwed up here. This game should be rated M for mature audiences, not T for teens. Bloody head decapitations in Sleepy Hollow warrant a strong R rating. The same act should get similar treatment in a video game.

That said, this game is actually not bad. It's a nice diversion while we wait for the next Tomb Raider. While Tomb Raider has very precise controls, Xena's touchy camera and jumping controls cripple the otherwise high quality.

Each level is varied and interesting, except the first level. Smart enemies hide around corners. Goals range from rescuing hostages (throw the frisbee-like Chakram at the captors) to putting out fires. For example, in level 3, you kick a cart, which rolls into a water tower, which falls over and rolls into a fire, which blocks a gate.

The developers put a lot of effort into creating a high-energy atmosphere. Arrows fly everywhere in the second level. Bees harrass you in level four. The music seems to respond to your success rate. As you rescue hostages in level 2, the music sounds more and more victorious… unless it's my imagination.

Xena can do tons of moves - cartwheels, back handspring, bicycle kick, and lots more, not to mention combos such as XSX, SSX, and XSS.

Beating Cyclops is real pain in the rump. You actually have to think! Try attacking eye, finger, eye, finger, eye, finger, etc.

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