A World of Games: Mace: the Dark Age

A World of Games: Mace: the Dark Age

Following up on the Mortal Kombat entries on this blog, I wanted to introduce you to a game you may not have heard about, but is in the same vein as the beloved MK franchise. Though no where near as well regarded, Mace: The Dark Age has a soft spot in my heart, despite rarely playing it in arcades.

The big draw for this game was the visuals. Character models are big, backgrounds are detailed, and it honestly does 3D graphics well for the time. There’s a wide range of characters and stages on display, and everything looks really solid.

Critics seem to lament to the games fighting style though. To be fair I was very young when I first played this game, so I can’t really attest to that accurately, but I can say I had a lot of fun playing it with my brothers! The weapon-based combat, not unlike Soul Blade/Soul Calibur was engaging, and the finishing moves (called executions) akin to Mortal Kombat were cool ways to end battles.

The detail I remember most of this game, however, is the announcer. He would aggressively say each characters name as you picked them, and call out random acts of violence during the fights, much like Shao Khan would in MK. The sound of him saying names like “Mordus Kull” and “Lord Deimos”, two of the playable characters, are still in my head, clear as the day I played them. Funny what sticks in your mind…

Lastly, this game was wild in the secrets department. In the arcade and on home consoles you could play as hidden characters like Pojo the chicken and Ned the Janitor. Pojo in particular stuck with me, because he appeared in another Midway game, Gauntlet Legends. We should cover that one some day too…

Mace is such a random game, seeing an actual arcade cabinet is quite rare. Worth a play at least once, the game is a nice look in to what fighting games were like in the late 90s, when developers were still figuring out hardware and 3D presentation. I wonder what this game would look like if it were released today…

*Played at Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfiled, IL 2019

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Jsick

I've been writing about video games for years and playing them even longer. You'll find me playing all types of games, old and new. Mega Man III is greater than Mega Man II.

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