Incredible quantities of violence don’t usually come as standard in regular flash games, but when Berserk Land get their hands on your browser, you can expect immense quantities of brutality and equal amounts of unadulterated quality in gaming. Sands of the Coliseum follows this inclination of excellence with a turn-based battling system and the opportunity to battle your way to gladiator fame and/or infamy.
Pepperidge Farm Remembers
Remember the days when entertainment didn’t consist of largely terrible music (Nicki Minaj, Bieber, anything by Drake) and dismal television (The Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, and anything on ITV)? Days when disputes weren’t settled with a gentleman’s handshake, carefully-constructed arguments exchanged between two people, or a good old-fashioned game of rock-paper-scissors? How about recalling days when gratuitous violence and decapitation for the amusement of a crowd with insatiable bloodlust was considered a good day out? Well, Pepperidge Farm remembers, but you shouldn’t, because I’m talking about days of gladiatorial battles that formed a central pillar of entertainment for the Roman Republic and Empire, and you’d need to be thousands of years old to recall such practices. Don’t worry though, because Berzerk Land can take you back to these times and ensconce you right in the middle of it all in their 1 vs. 1, turn-based gladiator game, Sands of the Coliseum, and it will likely blow your mind; you’ll also question why you accepted TV as your main source of entertainment for so long.
Sands of the Coliseum is a turn-based, gladiator-style game with an RPG structure where you assume control of an amateur gladiator that is trying to make a name for his/herself in the gladiatorial world where saying it is cut-throat is a description that is as literal as it is figurative. The intention is to fight your way to fame and success by battling anyone and everyone that you can, starting in Londinium and working your way through the whole of room to make a name for yourself through violent means. Expect extreme violence, wanton bloodshed, and frequent decapitation met with ecstatic cheer as you fight your way to the top, acquiring weapons, upgrades, and a reputation along the way.
The gameplay consists of battling in turn-based combat whereby you must select your strength of attack (weak, medium, or strong) and then use the mouse to indicate exactly which area of your opponent’s body you wish to strike, with the head, torso, arms, and legs all being available for gradual or sudden mutilation, depending on your strength of attack. It’s not all about mindless violence however, only mostly, because you must also think about pleasing the crowd as well. Executing your opponent if they fall to their knees can boost your appeal to the crowd, but also ends up giving you less experience points in the long run, which brings me neatly to my next point of order.
Much like in their distance-based launch-game epic, Berserk Ball 2, Berserk Land allow you to upgrade your fighter in true RPG style, using points gained from successful battles to directly increase the attributes of your fighter such as his/her charisma, speed, strength, dexterity, defense, and vitality. There is also a tree of upgrades that you can advance through that affords you such privileges as restoring your health points, breaking the opponent’s armour, and passive boosts such as automatic increases in your strength, reduction in bleeding, and increased likelihood of dodging attacks.
Visiting the blacksmith allows you to acquire weapons of higher quality, though this will cost you metals which are a premium item and largely acquired by simply spending your real-life money on them. By looting your opponent after their death you can also acquire different weapons from them to add to your inventory; rusty daggers and dual swords are just a few of the many weapons you can swipe from your erstwhile foes. Your team can even be expanded to incorporate multiple gladiators once you start making progress.
Sands of the Coliseum is almost bursting at the seams with features to keep you engrossed for much longer than a game that contains such massive amounts of violence ever should. The sheer number of fights and different cities to unlock is huge, and the amount of time you can spend upgrading your character will leave you with very few hours left in your day for actually-productive things like eating and breathing. Couple this with features like goals and trophies section (the game’s equivalent of achievements), the slave shop where teammates are recruited, and even a multiplayer to bring the gladiatorial brutality to the online forum. The aesthetics of the game and its professional sparkle in everything from the menus to the well-illustrated gameplay are typical of Berserk Land’s style, and the mindless violence is also a trademark that seems rather worryingly to get people hooked.