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Long ago, an alternate universe was created with the Master Key, a tool many believe can unlock the power of the cosmos. The key was split into different parts for safekeeping, with each piece sent to dimensions linked together by Dark Rifts. Should the pieces ever meet in one time and place, the dimensions will form what is known as the Vortex — a place where the secrets of the universe can finally be revealed.
Various alien races now possess the key fragments, so a fighting tournament was formed to settle any disputes regarding their ownership. Ten combatants have agreed to take part in this inter-dimensional competition. Players are free to select from eight fighters trained in unique forms of combat, with an additional two characters waiting to be unlocked at the end of the game.
The combatants include Aaron Maverick, a human military expert carrying an MFG-16 blaster; Demonica Gkroux, an alien with flaming breath; Eve, an android trained in fencing; Gore, a reptilian monster with an enormous battle-axe; Morphix, an alien with blades for arms; Niiki, a human acrobat holding two edged rings; Scarlet Zerai, an armor-clad female wielding a Dragon Slayer sword; and Zenmuron, a mysterious warrior carrying the blade of a samurai.
Dark Rift is a 3D fighting game offering three modes of play: Tournament, Two-Player, and Practice. Tournament involves advancing through ten increasingly challenging stages, on one of three difficulty levels, while Two-Player mode has players challenging a friend in a head-to-head match. Practice mode displays the button symbols for each attack, allowing players to perfect their combos. Moves such as blocks, grabs, body slams, sidesteps, and special attacks can all be performed with either the pad or analog stick.
Characters can also run, dash, jump, and crouch to elude opponents. Each match consists of one to five rounds, with individual rounds lasting one minute, ninety seconds, or an infinite amount of time. As in most fighting games, a health bar at the top of the screen will gradually diminish as characters receive blows. If an opponent is not defeated within the allotted time, the victory will be awarded to the player with the most health. Players must defeat all opponents to witness an ending unique to their chosen fighter. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide