Battle Arena Toshinden

STORYThe Toushindaibukai, the ultimate tournament held once a year by the mysterious organization Himitsu Kessha. It is here that the greatest fighters in the world gather year after year to pit their abilities against one another. This tournament is no mere competition. To the winner goes unimaginable rewards, and to the losers...death. It is here that these fighters will decide their own futures, in the Battle Arena Toshinden. 


Battle Arena Toshinden 1 character select screen.

Battle Arena Toshinden was the first ever 3D weapon based fighting game, and also one of the first fighting games to incorporate the "side-step," which became a key element in future 3D fighting games. Upon its arrival on PS1, Battle Arena Toshinden turned heads with a quality of graphics that hadn't yet been seen on a home console fighting game. As a bold new "3D" fighting game, Toshinden certainly had a lot to prove. Compared to the crispy clean 2D fighting games out there, Toshinden's visuals certainly weren't flawless. To be more blunt, the blocky, disproportional character models, poor texture quality, and blurry backgrounds definitely hindered the game's visuals.


Toshinden was basically an early SoulCalibur.


Battle Arena Toshinden's
eight initial characters each have their own unique set of moves, projectiles, and a desperation attack (which can only be used when a player has low energy). Most characters' special and super moves are fairly original and lood cool for the most part. The super moves in particular are pretty flashy, and even have the all important "ouch factor" that many of us look for in our fighting games.

Characters in Toshinden have a decent variety of movement options. They can run, jump, and even move in 3D (AKA sidestep) using the L/R shoulder buttons, allowing them to dodge projectile attacks. Fighters can also use a Dodge Roll technique, which enables them to be temporality immune to an opponent's attack (even against a super move). Ring outs can also occur during gameplay, as characters can fall off the edges of each stage (which usually ends up looking pretty hilarious). Some gamers might not be fans of "ring outs" in general, but I think the ring outs in Toshinden make the game more fun. Toshinden's controls aren't too bad but do have some clunky areas when compared to other fighters of the era.


Actual next-gen graphics for a console video game in 1995!


Character designs are a mixed bag in Toshinden... no doubt a few of the designs are original and have their cool moments. On the flipside, a few of the other designs come off as a bit generic and uninspiring (although, they did develop later on). The blocky in-game character models didn't do much for the designs, but the characters of Toshinden really speak more with their special moves and abilities. Lastly, Toshinden on PS1 didn't have much going on in the presentation department. The intro was basically "text" and nothing else. The early artwork for the game was also lackluster (another area that was greatly improved upon in the sequels).


Kayin is totally not the Ken Masters of this game.

Page Updated: April 26th, 2024
Developer(s): Tamsoft
Publisher(s): SCEA
Platform(s): PlayStation, Sega Saturn, DOS, Game Boy
Release Date(s): 1994                                
Sept. 1st, 1995
Sept. 29th, 1995
Characters Eiji Shinjo, Kayin Amoh, Mondo, Sofia, Rungo, Fo Fai, Duke B. Rambert, Ellis, Gaia, Sho Shinjo, Cupido (Saturn), Uranus (Game Boy)

Featured Video:

Related Games: Battle Arena Toshinden 2, Battle Arena Toshinden 3, Battle Arena Toshinden 4, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Samurai Shodown 2, Virtua Fighter 2, Virtua Fighter Remix, Fighting Vipers, Tekken, Tekken 2

Gameplay Engine  7.0 / 10
Story / Theme  6.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  7.0 / 10
Animation  6.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  7.0 / 10
Innovation  6.5 / 10
Art Direction  6.0 / 10
Customization  4.0 / 10
Options / Extras  5.5 / 10
Intro / Presentation  5.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  8.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  7.5 / 10
Characters  7.0 / 10


 7.5 / 10

 Review based on PS1 version  


Final Words: Battle Arena Toshinden is most definitely a cult classic and surprise hit fighting game on Sony's PlayStation 1. It was a solid launch title for the PS1 classic, and no doubt more than a "decent" console fighting game for the time.

While Toshinden had some obvious quirks and visual imperfections as an early 3D fighting game (especially when compared to some of the ultra-crispy 2D fighting games available at the time), if you gave the game a chance... it was actually pretty fun.

The Toshinden series had humble beginnings, but would soon become well known among fighting game fans for its unique cast of weapon-wielding fighters, unique anime-esk art style, and interesting gameplay mechanics. Following the first game, the series would see 3 sequels released on PS1.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

Click Here for all Screenshots!

FOLLOW    ON: