Mace: The Dark Age
Mace:The Dark Age (1997) was the Western Fighting Game response to Soul Edge, except much darker. Made by Atari and published by Midway, it has a small cult following.
The world as we know it in this one is a complete Crapsack World, Europe is in a permanent dark age as petty warlords bide for power through war and oppression, Arabia under the cruel grasp of the Assassin's Guild and the Far East is about to witness the destruction brought upon Europe and Arabia. And God is seemingly unable to save the world from suffering or cleanse the world and start over.
The reason the world is such as terrible place is due to seven men known as the Covenant of Seven who made a Deal with the Devil who has the Mace Of Tanis. At the cost of their sanity they are given near eternal life and the power of a demon and in exchange is expected to do evil thing in his name. The recent chain of events made Asia the next target of the warlords who seek the powers.
Unfortunately however the warlords from the ravaged lands of Europe and Arabia want more power, dispatch their best warriors to kill Asmodeus and steal his power. Leaders from the East sense Asmodeus' plottings and strive to destroy him before it's too late. Heirs to kingdoms long since vanquished seek revenge on Asmodeus and those who wield the dark energy. They are the fiercest fighters on Earth, and they all have one thing in common: they each must possess the Mace.
- Abusive Parents: Xiao Long's father is a Chinese warlord who blinded Long and left him for dead when he refused to kill an enemy. At twelve years old. This wasn't an impulsive act either. In Long's bad ending, Daddy finds out about the monks who took him in and stages an attack on the monastery.
- Almighty Janitor: Ned, a secret character in the home ports.
- An Axe to Grind: Ragnar.
- The Atoner: Dregan's good ending.
- Bittersweet Ending: Takeshi's ending, his goal was to restore his family's honor and save his brother but could not save his brother and is forced to live it down.
- Blow You Away: Al Rashid can summon a tornado as one of his specials.
- Camera Screw: Averted. Items turn transparent if they get in front of the camera.
- Combat Commentator: "Mordos Kull... WINS!"
- Crapsack World: Europe is beset by war and famine, Arabia is at the complete mercy of the assassins and Asia is next on the List.
- Crushing the Populace: The evil characters do exactly this if they win the game. This naturally causes a stagnation in technological development to the world.
- Daddy's Little Villain: Taria is the daughter of a member of the Covenant of Seven.
- Descend To A Lower Plane Of Existence: In Taria's good ending, her pursuit of magical knowledge sends her to Hell and turns her into a demon, though she doesn't mind and will probably end up running the place before long.
- Devil but No God: God is notably absent in humanity's darkest hour.
- Downer Ending: Anyone who works for the Covenant of Seven such as Executioner, Deimos and Al Rashid will usher in a permanent age of hell to the world, except Dregan, who becomes The Atoner instead.
- Drop the Hammer: Grendel
- Epic Flail: Mordos Kull.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Executioner.
- Fallen Princess: Namira.
- Fetish Fuel: The fact that Namira incorporates belly dancing to her moves (her very fighting stance shows it).
- Finishing Move: As with most western fighting games in it's time, every fighter can finish off the other in a brutal fashion.
- Game Breaker: Gar Gudrunson/Warmech, a dwarf whose weapon is a ginormous steam-powered mech, is on the tier of sub-boss Grendal in terms of power. Namely, he can't be thrown or Executed, and he has insane reach and a couple ridiculously cheap repeatable moves.
- Handicapped Badass: Xiao Long, who is blind, but when he wants to kick ass, kick ass he will.
- Hot Witch: Taria
- It's a Wonderful Failure: Each character has a different epilogue if you get a Game Over in which you get to read in detail the rather gruesome outcome of his or her failure.
- Joke Character: The aforementioned Ned and a chicken called Pojo, who attacks by throwing her eggs at the opponent.
- Lethal Joke Character: Pojo is surprisingly effective against Asmodeus, as most of his moves go right over her.
- Kung Fu Magic: Xiao Long's magic was developed to counter his blindness.
- Lady of War: Taria. Namira, being the lost princess of Arabia, also qualifies.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Grendal is actually Taria's brother, who was given to Asmodeus by their father in order to trick him into believing he is Taria, who was prophesied to bring about his downfall.
- Mirror Match: Lampshaded through the pre-game banter.
- Ninja: Koyasha.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Dregan is a Revenant. He represents the Undead with his seat in the Covenant of Seven, and his bio credits him as creating the first vampires as well.
- Scenery Porn: The backgrounds range from bland to impressively detailed.
- SNK Boss: Asmodeus. Four arms with massive reach, blatantly reading the controller input, and one special move serves no purpose other than countering Ragnar's Shockwave Clap.
- Stripperiffic: Unsurprisingly, the female fighters' outfits, with Namira's being one of the first uses of transparency (her see-through dancer's outfit) on a character model.
- Villainous Crush: Lord Deimos has the hots for Taria. An interesting example since both characters are evil, but she's having none of it.
- Villain Protagonist: The Executioner, Lord Deimos, Al Rashid, Taria, Hell Knight and Ichiro.