The Battle Arena Toshinden series is a series of 3D fighting video games created by Tamsoft, Takara, and Sony Computer Entertainment Japan in 1995. Touted as the first 3D fighting video game with actual interactive 3D environments, in contrast to contemporary Virtua Fighter, the series was made in mind for the release of the Sony Playstation in 1995 to display the next generation of 3D video games.
Though impressive for its time at release, Toshinden would later be eclipsed by newer series such as the Souls and Tekken series by Namco for their polished gameplay and improvements towards the 3D format for the fighting game genre, all the while the series would attempt to remain strong to its roots until the mixed to negative reception of the release of Battle Arena Toshinden 4. Nevertheless, the Toshinden series remains a cult classic for its foothold as the first 3D weapons fighting video game with the aforementioned attempt to bring to realization actual 3D combat gameplay, with its anime character design by Tsukasa Kotobuki and more surreal criminal drama-meets-anime and video game martial arts action story bringing some charm for its design.
Players are given a wide variety and cast of characters with their own fighting style and weapon preference to choose from, from the katana wielding Eiji Shinjo, the enormous club wielding Rungo Iron, and to such fighters such as the gunfighter Vermillion and the hand to hand martial arts wielding Abel, as depending on the installment. Players are also first given a choice of play mode on the title screen, be it for a classic arcade playthrough in Arcade Mode, a chance to play with another player or the CPU in Versus, to challenge themselves in Survival and Time Attack Modes, or to simply train before heading into actual gameplay in Training Mode. Options typically allow for the adjustment of the game's core settings, be it to set the difficulty, scope of the match from time limit to rounds, controls, and graphics settings for increased speed or graphical enhancement.
As with the majority of fighting video games, matches are one on one, set in an arena, and players are to fight until their opponent loses, be it by knocking their life bar to empty, time out, or ring out. Controls given are four attack buttons, designating Slash and Kick to either Weak or Strong attacks, movement by crouching, jumping, horizontal movement, and side movement by dodge rolling, and in Easy difficulties, and special move commands issued to a corresponding button. Special moves can be executed by command inputs, and more advanced inputs allow for the execution of more powerful attacks such as Desperation Attacks when health is in the red, or Overdrive Attacks, which are enabled with a full Overdrive bar in later installments. Although all characters have a specific focus in their playstyle, as with any fighting game, there is no "ultimate" way to play to win, although the focus of mastering and being well versed and practiced is a given maxim. Different games will also feature different focuses and new features; 2 focuses more on "realistic" combat, with an emphasis on hard hitting attacks and to be careful of every motion made, while 3 refocuses greater on performing onslaughts of combos and the introduction of the Soul Bomb mechanic, allowing for different fighters to perform powerful attacks that compliments their fighting style.
Main Page: World of Battle Arena Toshinden
Battle Arena Toshinden takes place on Earth in the late 20th Century during the 1990s, and focuses on an underworld bloodsport sensation known as the Toshindaibukai, or the Toshinden Tournaments. Hosted by the Secret Society, a powerful and elusive organization of criminal elites who practically control global economics and politics, this tournament is not only a form of verboten and illegal entertainment for the wealthy, but a worldwide sensation to appease the masses during an ongoing economic recession, and a measure to settle conflicts and rid of foes of the Secret Society.