Sabor is an interesting blend of side-scrolling beat-em-up genre and puzzle, based on Russian folklore—more specifically, an ancient martial arts called sabor (which, as far as I know, is similar to Tai Chi in the Orient). The term “Sabor” in the game refers to evil forces that used the art to terrorize the country. The Sabor uses ugly-looking vampire bats to kidnap people, making them to forget their homeland by magic and teaching them to kill others. By some miraculous chance, the old scrolls containing the secrets of sabor had managed to survive in a small, obscure village. Five fearless men have volunteered to free the villages conquered by the villains. But since you can’t control five fighters at once, you must train them one by one in the art of sabor. The better you train this small army, the more chances you have to pass all the enemies and the ultimate bad guy. |
Gameplay involves both reflexes and some rudimentary decision-making elements similar to oldie Cinemaware games (e.g. It Came From The Desert). Although the game is in Russian, its focus on arcade elements make it quite accessible to non-Russian players. When you train the fighters, a keyboard map appear to flash the keys you can use—a nice feature that makes the game a lot easier to learn. Training sessions are a lot of fun, especially since you can watch the fighters become better at punching enemies. Unfortunately, once the fighters “graduate” from school and move to engage real enemies, you cannot do much except watch from the sidelines and hope they don’t forget their lessons.
Overall, Sabor is a fun and unique fighting game that deserves a look. Bland graphics and passive gameplay hurt long-term play value, and unlike puzzle games from GAMOS it’s not addictive. Good for a few minutes, though, and the game concept of train-fighters-to-fight is definitely intriguing enough to warrant a second look—and a modern facelift.
Reviewed by: Underdogs