Codex Gamicus

Way of the Warrior is a fighting game released in 1994 for the 32-bit 3DO. It was developed by Naughty Dog and it received a "17+" rating for its violent content. The game's soundtrack consisted of music from the 1992 White Zombie album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1.

Developed by Naughty Dog for Universal Interactive, Way of the Warrior featured high resolution characters, detailed story lines, and ultra-violent finishing moves. Players had to combat different fighters, their own character's 'shadow', and two bosses to achieve complete victory. Each character had a standard arsenal of offensive and defensive fighting moves, combination attacks, and special moves that killed the defeated opponent in an extreme manner.


Players had to combat nine different World Warriors, his character's shadow, then defeat a skeleton and then a dragon boss in order to be sealed into "The Book of Warriors." Each character had a standard arsenal of offensive and defensive fighting moves, combination attacks, and special moves that killed the defeated opponent in an ultra-violent manner. The game also had several hidden characters that could be unlocked with a secret code.


The characters were portrayed by friends and relatives of Naughty Dog employees. They each had a distinctive code name and a profile.

  • T-Mike Gaines as Major Gaines (and hidden character Major Trouble)
  • Mitch Gavin as Shaky Jake
  • Jason Rubin as Konotori and The Ninja
  • Tae Min Kim as Dragon (and hidden character Black Dragon)
  • Steve Chan as Nobunaga
  • Chris Sanford as Fox
  • Tamara Genest as Nikki Chan
  • Carole May-Miller as Crimson Glory
  • Gullab Jamun (Swami)
  • Kull the Despoiler (Skeleton Boss)
  • High Abbott (Dragon Boss)


Production of Way of the Warrior began in 1993. During that time time, Naughty Dog was bankrupt and barely had any money to finish the game. Friends of the company were enlisted to portray the game's characters. As Naughty Dog could not afford a bluescreen or any kind of motion capture backdrop, a yellow sheet was glued to a wall in the developers' apartment. However, the apartment turned out to be too small. To film the moves in the game, Jason Rubin had to open the front door and shoot from the apartment hallway. The neighbors mistakenly believed that the crew were filming kinky adult films. Pillow cases and sheets, various items within the apartment, McDonald's Happy Meals and inexpensive knick knacks were used to create the costumes of the characters. To round out the experience, Jason Rubin joined in and participated by portraying two of the characters in the game. After the game was completed, Naughty Dog presented Way of the Warrior to Mark Cerny of Universal Interactive Studios (now the defunct Vivendi Games). Cerny was pleased with the product and agreed to have Universal Interactive Studios be the publisher of the game, as well as signing on Naughty Dog for three additional games (which would later become Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped).[1]


Several demos were sent out to various magazines plus a non-playable demo appearing on sampler discs for the consumer. While initial response was very positive, the final product was poorly received by both consumers & reviewers. Criticisms for its sub-par controls (thanks in part to the design of the original controller packed with the 3DO system), extreme difficulty and quality of animation abounded. It ended up widely considered another Mortal Kombat clone [2], albeit of a higher quality than most.


1994 3DO Developers Award: Winner for Best Animation

Other formats[]

Naughty Dog later worked with American Laser Games to develop an arcade version of the game; prototypes were built and tested, but were never released.


  1. "From Rags to Riches: Way of the Warrior to Crash 3". Game Informer 66 (October 1998): 18-19. 1998. 
  2. [1] [2]

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