Naughty Dog. A company that gave us amazing feats in gaming, such as the Crash Bandicoot series, Jak & Daxter, Uncharted and everybody’s lil’ darlin’, The Last of Us. A company that has always pushed boundaries in game development. A company that, supposedly, could never do any wrong.
Now, is this last one actually true?
Let’s dive into ND’s dark trashy past.
Way of the Warrior was developed by ND and released on the infamous 3DO console in 1994, at the height of the popularity of fighting games like Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct. The game is pretty much a clone of MK, but with a deliciously immense amount of cheesiness which makes the experience so unbelievably stupid it’s hilarious.
The game was developed with an incredibly small budget, with most of it going to the game’s visuals, which features digitized versions of real life people. What did the ND developers do in order to cope with the budget? That’s easy: they are the game’s roster! The minds behind Crash and Jak, and people like their close friends and family members, are actually digitized in-game, wearing the cheapest costumes they could possibly find. Legends say that even McDonald’s Happy Meals were used in order to come up with some of the costumes. All of the footage was recorded in one of the ND employee’s apartment with a yellow sheet glued to the way because the company could not afford a chroma key.
So bad. So trashy. So incredible.
Gotta mention the game’s sound as well. Besides the fact that the ND employees and friends also voice their characters (points for consistency), the game also features a soundtrack composed ENTIRELY of White Zombie songs. ‘Member White Zombie? ‘Member Thunder Kiss 65? Yeah, you’ll listen to it constantly as you control the creator of Crash Bandicoot dressed as a fire-breathing Crocodile Dundee lookalike beating the living hell of the director of Jak & Daxter dressed as a ninja. Bet you never thought you’d read a sentence like this one!
Well, does it play poorly? Yes, the controls are quite bad. The game’s “fatalities” (of course it HAD to have those) are nearly impossible to execute. The story is nonsensical at best. But there’s something about this game that makes it enjoyable, regardless of all of these issues. The cheese factor is so insanely high that it makes the game worth playing on an emulator, or, if you’re one of the 5 people in the world who still own it, a 3DO. You also have to remember that, not even 2 years later, the same company would release Crash Bandicoot. Nearly 20 years later, they would break award-winning records with The Last of Us.
Way of the Warrior is so bad, but so bad, it’s good. Therefore, it is another worthy winner of the Wiseau Awards. Thanks for this unintentional classic, Naughty Dog.