Battle Arena Toshinden had stiff competition at launch. Not exactly on the PlayStation console, which had just launched as well, but on the Sega Saturn. Sega made it clear that Virtua Fighter was coming home on their Saturn console. This put a rather big line in the sand for anyone to cross if they were releasing a 3D fighting game. That is exactly what Sony Computer Entertainment did with their entry into 3D fighting. Unfortunately, they stumbled a bit.
Standard fighting options
You are given eight playable characters in Battle Arena Toshinden. You can unlock two additional characters on the original PlayStation version. The Sega Saturn release, Battle Arena Toshinden Remix, offers an exclusive character – Cupido. The Game Boy Advance port offers Uranus and the PC version offers Earthworm Jim as an exclusive.
Fights were handled in one on one fashion. The added element of 3D introduced a lot more options to dodge attacks. This also made it a lot more annoying to fight cheaper players. You know, the ones that rely more on the 3D element than fighting game skill.
Battle Arena Toshinden is more than just 3D
Battle Arena Toshinden came to the 3D arena with more than just a visual gimmick. Tamsoft, the developers behind this one, added in weapons and texture mapped polygons. This was one upping Sega’s Virtua Fighter which was a straight port of the arcade game. That meant gouraud shaded polygons, at best, and plain polygons the norm.
Sony’s Battle Arena Toshinden won easily on looks. It did sacrifice in the gameplay department a bit though. For one, it is easy to mistakenly jump out of the arena and lose the round.
Sony went all out with advertising
Sony knew they were in a slightly uphill battle against Nintendo’s firmly planted Super Nintendo. The newcomer to home consoles also knew Sega’s Saturn was a wildcard of sorts.
This meant they had to be creative. Instead they went pervy with their advertising. Using the dominatrix style character, Sophia, advertising was decidedly aimed at teens.
For some, this was a turn off, for others it was comedic material. No matter where your opinion sits, the fact we are still talking about it proves it worked.
Do not go into buying Battle Arena Toshinden thinking you are getting a great game. It is mediocre but has a certain charm. It is also one of the early PlayStation releases which means it is in those lousy cardboard long boxes. That means getting a good condition copy is going to be tough.