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The Bloodland was ruled by a variety of Clans, each with a distinctive hatred for one another. There was constant bickering over territory and differing beliefs; dead bodies would litter the once beautiful terrain. But one day, the Wanderer appeared and rallied all the Clans together. He brought with him a Book of Knowledge that he divided amongst the groups; with these scrolls, each Clan could successfully coexist without fighting.
When the Wanderer disappeared, the Clans resorted back to their own ways. Each wanted possession of the book and battles and rage wars broke out all over the Bloodland. One day, Syn appeared out of nowhere, much like the fabled Wanderer. But her reasons were different; she transformed each Clan's scrolls into a deadly weapon and instituted a tournament. Whoever won the tournament would rule the land forever!
Cardinal Syn is a 3D fighter that features a total of 20 characters. Eight of those fighters are selectable upon booting the game up; by finishing the game various times with different characters, more fighters become available. Additionally, there are two bonus characters waiting to be found — are you good enough to unlock them?
Gameplay involves destroying your foe by any means necessary. Each character comes with his/her own unique button combinations, special maneuvers, throws, etc. Like Namco's SoulBlade franchise, Cardinal Syn also features some weapon-based combat including battle-axes, crossbows, double-edged swords, lethal projectiles, and lots more!
Special items are hidden throughout each arena. By uncovering Blue Vials, players are able to execute their character's magical attacks; Yellow Vials replenish a fighter's health meter and sword icons increase your character's strength and physical attacks. Additionally, bombs are hidden in crates and treasure chests. If you can lure your opponent over to one of these bad boys — Boom!
Because gameplay is 3D, players can rotate and maneuver their characters a full 360-degrees around each battle arena. Arenas are interactive environments filled with dangerous fire-pits and spike-lined wall; for added damage, players can push their enemies into these hazards.
Among the various gameplay options, Cardinal Syn features the Versus Player, Tournament, Team Battle, Survival, and Training modes. Versus Player is simply a two-player rumble between two human-controlled fighters. If a friend of yours insists he or she is the greatest warrior to ever grace the arena, here's a chance to prove them wrong! The Training mode is good for sharpening your combination attacks and learning basic controls of weapon and item usage.
The one-player Tournament mode is a romp through the Bloodland. Players battle each opponent on that Clan's home turf — if you win, you become one step closer to retaining all pages of the Book of Knowledge and ruling the land forever. By completing the Tournament, secret characters become available. Team Battle is simply a two-player dual where each selects a team of five fighters. Whoever's left standing at the end wins. The Survival mode throws the player into a continuous battle with computer-controlled opponents. The idea is to survive!
Have you got what it takes to overcome the evils in Cardinal Syn? Grab a blunt weapon and a PlayStation controller to find out! A quickie note to cautious parents: this game features lots of blood and gore. ~ Matthew House, All Game Guide