Weaponlord

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WeaponLord
WL boxart US.png
Developer(s) Visual Concepts
Publisher(s) Namco
Producer(s) James Goddard, David Winstead
Release Date NA: October 13, 1995

Introduction

Weaponlord is a fighting game designed originally for release on the SNES ( and Genesis, later in the development cycle ), developed by project leads James Goddard, Dave Winstead, consultant Ken Lobb and a specialized team at Visual Concepts aimed at creating a unique weapon based 2D fighter unlike anything else on home consoles.

With strong aesthetic choices and presentation inspired by Conan and other sword and sorcery epics ( and some fantastic Simon Bisley art ), Weaponlord's hotly anticipated launch in the fall of 1995 was met with a mixed reception. Designed from the ground up for online play at the time through the XBand network service and having had regular arcade based location playtests at Sunnyvale Golfland in its heyday, the fighting system heavily emphasizes freeform usage of the thrust blocking mechanic to great defensive effect, with strong pressure tactics and space control. Due to special move inputs being a somewhat abnormal mixture of Primal Rage style negative edge inputs and traditional Street Fighter style motions, Weaponlord's gameplay has been criticized over the years as being somewhat impenetrable to new players; however, those willing to dedicate some time and patience to it will discover an intricate, visceral fighter with rewarding nuances and mechanics far ahead of its time.


Gameplay

Thrust Blocking

  • To perform a thrust block in this game and parry high, mid, or low attacks, respectively, you hold a light attack and tap up, forward, or down, in time with the opponent's attack. Thrust blocks are instantly active on the first frame / have zero startup.
    • You can also perform a thrust block in the air by holding down and tapping F1 / your button mapped to ForeSlash, while airborne.

Guard Drop

  • Special moves in this game with the "guard drop" ( or "opener" ) property will break an opponent's guard or blockstun.

Weapon Clash / Catch / Deflect

  • Due to the heavy emphasis on weapons, normals performed simultaneously will typically clash as their hitboxes overlap; certain special moves with the "Deflect" property will swat a normal aside, stunning the opponent and leaving them open to a combo opportunity. Certain normals with the "Catch" property, upon a successful contact with a swing, can be buffered into a special move with very precise, almost just frame timing, which will result in the opponent's weapon breaking, leaving it in a diminished state for the rest of the round.

Weapon Breaks

  • If your weapon is successfully broken, for the remainder of the round you will take a penalty to your damage output, and the range on your normals will be limited.
    • The only character whose weapon cannot be broken is Bane.
    • The only character with more than one special technique in the game with the Weapon Breaker property is Zorn.

Special Move Input Types

  • Special move inputs in Weaponlord are typically in three flavors; charge motions ( holding a direction for a specified amount of time, then pressing a different direction and input ), instant motions ( a la Street Fighter; a directional motion followed by inputting a button ), or hold-down motions, typically involving holding down a button, while performing a motion. It is not often required that you "negative edge" an input while performing hold-down motions, or rather, perform the motion then release the input; however, you will have to hold a button while performing some instant motion special moves that require inputting upward directions so that you do not register a jump, and there are a few tricky moves requiring a combination of a charge motion and a hold-down input, in some instances.

Double Over Stun, Stumble, Backturn Stun States

  • The flow of combos in Weaponlord is often dictated by special moves that have the Double Over Stun property ( Jen-Tai's Shield Spike or Korr's Gut Slash, for example ); these moves function much like linkers in the Killer Instinct series, allowing you to structure combos in the form of normal attack -> move that inflicts Stun -> normal attack -> your ender of choice, typically a move that would knock down or grant further followups. There is also a special Stumble hitstun state; certain normals will cause this when used as a counterattack post-Thrust Block, and this is also fairly common to see when an opponent is hit backturned. As a general rule much like older Samurai Shodown titles, a great deal more hitstun is granted to the attacker if the opponent is hit with a crossup that leads into a backturned combo ( it is worth noting here that Divada's Soul Displacer grants her this naturally ); as this can be potentially fatal it is a state best avoided. ( Also, you can steal corners / be crossed up in the corner via jump-ins in this game, on both sides, so be wary. )

Throws

  • There are no standardized or universal throws in Weaponlord; characters with throws all possess them in the form of a hit-grab or command grab that can be done after a guard drop or while the opponent is in a combo, each command grab having its own character specific property like switching sides or serving as a hard knockdown.

OTG state / Takedowns

  • Multiple moves in Weaponlord will either OTG naturally ( like Korr's Fire Storm ) or are classified as a Takedown: these serve as a "pursuit" style pounce attack on a downed opponent ( like Bane's Mutilator ). The game engine will usually only recognize a hit limit of 3 OTG attacks performed on a grounded opponent facing you on their back; there may be exceptions that will bypass this.
    • Bane's Mutilator Takedown is unique among Takedowns in the game in that you can hit multiple inputs afterward for more grounded hits.

Hair Trimming

  • Some moves will cut off hair, i.e. Divada's ponytail, if performed while the opponent is swinging or in a recovery state with their hair exposed; Jen-Tai will lose a fragment of the horns on her helmet, so on and so forth ( This is purely cosmetic and does not affect play. )

Death Combo System / Frenzy

  • The thing that Weaponlord is somewhat notorious for - if your opponent is in hitstun at a near depleted or fully depleted lifebar and you perform a specific sequence, the screen will darken and the game grants you an opportunity to put together a customized fatality sequence of your choosing depending on the type of stun and screen positioning available. When in this state, almost all of the properties of your special moves will change; in no particular order, before the death combo ends, your sequence can inflict a Disembowel, a Decapitation, a move that exposes the Brain, and a move that reduces them to Body Pulp; these are all character specific, and certain characters have special death states they are uniquely able to inflict ( Zarak, Talazia ), but most of the Takedown moves in the game will cause Decapitation to grounded opponents ( post Decapitation your normals will juggle the head for quite some time depending on how mean you wish to be, but only certain special moves will destroy the head, exposing the brain ).

Controls

U.png - Jump

B.png - Retreat (guard during enemy attack)

D.png - Crouch

F.png - Forward

Holding Retreat will guard against all high and mid attacks, and holding directional down+away will guard against lows, preventing you from sustaining damage unless you are guarding special moves ( which inflict chip damage ) or are attacked with a move that has the "guard drop" property.
Holding any attack button will prevent you from jumping while inputting techniques that require you to hit an upward direction.

The ingame menu's button setup, on a six button layout, is:

BackSlash BackThrust BackStrike
ForeSlash ForeThrust ForeStrike

On a Sega Genesis 6 button controller layout, this would correspond or map to:
(X)(Y)(Z)
(A)(B)(C)

SNES is where it gets tricky, as by default the layout is ( left ), but when played with most joysticks we recommend it be changed to ( right ) for a more intuitive experience ( on a case by case basis, naturally ):
(L)(X)(R) (Y)(X)(L)
(Y)(B)(A) (B)(A)(R)

For reference, many older guides ( such as the Gamepro Fighters' Edge guide from 1995 ) converts the above notation into:
B1 B2 B3
F1 F2 F3

This is, at least initially, what we will be using in order to be as easy to read and accommodating as possible.

Game Footage

Tier List

Top Divada
Mid Surprisingly, everybody else
Bottom Bane


Version Differences

  • The SNES version is the original development version of Weaponlord, with the Genesis port being programmed later in the production cycle; this led to a focus on the SNES version prominently focusing on colors and backgrounds while the Genesis version prominently featured high resolution and character animation: at the end of the day, the preferred release to play just comes down to the player's personal preference. As the Genesis version is compressed to run at a similar clip to its SNES brethren, its engine is noticeably a little less strict; comboability is far more "open ended" to put it mildly, as things like Talazia's very easy infinite combo are simply not present in the SNES edition it is definitively the more "balanced" of the two releases, for what that is worth.

Cheat Codes

The following Game Genie codes for the SNES version can be utilized with emulators such as Mednafen in order to create a pseudo training mode to practice with.

  • Both Fighters Are Invincible - C21A-7BCB
  • Infinite Time - C204-56C5

Roadmap

30% complete
Finishing / Completed To-Do / Future Updates
  • Major update to landing / introduction page.
  • All basic character page stubs up w/art from manual and basic information.
  • improvements & streamlining to controls section and inputs across all pages w/icons to make easier to follow
  • better variety of combos and strats w/ use case scenarios, expand on death combos / fatalities
  • matchup specifics
  • NEW - section needed about unblockable wakeups ( finding by rockettorussia, thank you )
  • general description of the "flow" of gameplay, links ( as opposed to chaining )
  • landing page sprite portraits leading to each character section
  • bring individual characters basic introduction & info to parity with rest of wiki
  • attack and movelist sprites
  • link to relevant videos wherever applicable
  • stages
  • frame data & data arsenal ( damage, chip, jump speeds etc )
  • hitboxes / hurtboxes?
  • trivia / errata section, maybe concept art



WL cart US.png
Weaponlord
Bane Divada Jen-Tai
Korr Talazia Zarak
Zorn
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