Let’s Blather/Bewilder All Over… Daikatana

Daikatana is now available on Steam! Also, I hate myself. Therefore, what better occasion is there for me to try out the infamous first-person flop for the very first time? That’s right: in the following video, you get to experience my first moments of Daikatana with me. John Romero and co’s ambitious yet ultimately gravely flawed pet project has quite a dubious reputation, but it has its fair share of defenders as well. Maybe I’ll… enjoy it? Appreciate it on some abstract level? Get so angry and frustrated that my eyeballs pop out of my head from the sheer rage pressure building inside my noggin? Who knows. Let’s find out together! Because why not?


OK, phew. Now I feel better.


  1. PoulWrist says:

    I never played it either.. I remember it being all the rage in the game press back in 98, but then it kind of went off the radar and when it finally came out, I never got round to trying it because of all the bad reviews. Which is weird, because at the time I was a poor student and I downloaded like, every game there was off the time’s equivalent of torrents…

    • meepmeep says:

      If you were a poor student like me, then your PC was likely incapable of running this resource hog.

  2. MrThingy says:

    This game is rated R for swearing, violence… and somewhat racist Asian accents.

  3. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    This is the Time of the Return of Daikatana. This is the End Time.

    • Knufinke says:

      Wheep and pray for now begins the age of the Daikatana Kickstarter!

    • Werthead says:

      The Age of Romero has begun. And it’s kind of tepid.

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        Despite his prophecy, I have not yet become his bitch.

        • waaaaaaaals says:

          The lack of conversion to bitches has been one of the biggest failings of Prophet Romero.

        • waltC says:

          You mean you have not “sucked it down”? How’s that for an advertising jingle: “Suck it Down!” Yea, that was/is/ever-shall-be Romero. King of the shysters, frauds, and erstwhile dummies…;)

          The one crowning achievement of this game was the introduction of….*gasp* the legions of killer frogs inexplicably falling from the sky, each brimming with murderous intent! Each setting its sights on….you! Rivet! Rivet-rivet! Brrrrr—–rr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r…….! Scare RYYYYYY! Rivet! Ri—…..ad inifinitum.

          (What a laughingstock that game was, and Romero himself proved the most amusing facet of the whole enchilada.) Put this thing back in the ground, please. Digging it up is sacrilege! It never lived in the first place!

      • The Random One says:

        Hell yeah, Brenda’s been on fire lately! Wait, what? She’s married?

  4. stahlwerk says:

    I would tell you “it gets better after the sewers”, but, you know…

  5. daphne says:

    Ctrl-F “why is everyone not”… nothing
    “amazing” … nothing
    “brilliant” … nothing
    “positively” … nothing
    “insanely” … nothing
    “excellent” … nothing

    Well, I’ll be damned. This Nathan Grayson entry does not contain the expected amount of Expressed Generic Nathan Grayson Excitement!

    • Sheng-ji says:

      This from the literatory genius who allcapsed “DEM” in place of “Them”.

      • Bull0 says:

        This from the literary genius who brought us ‘Literatory’

        • GallonOfAlan says:

          This from the person who is unaware that sentences end with a full stop, or ‘period’ if you are an American or Canadian.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          I suppose it’s too late to point out: Whoosh!!!

          • Bull0 says:

            Never too late to enlighten me. Whatever it is you’re referencing must be fairly obscure.

          • Ich Will says:

            Seriously, if you didn’t get it, it’s not worth explaining – Its very Oxbridge humour and doubtless it made some future MP somewhere chortle.

          • Bull0 says:


    • neonordnance says:

      Stop fighting! This isn’t you speaking, it’s Daikatana speaking through you! Can’t you see how it’s making us fight?

      We should take it out to the deepest part of the sea and sink it so that its evil can no longer spread through humanity.

  6. Mman says:

    With the exception of a few bits of okay level design and the ambition of trying to be four games in one, there’s not too much that’s interesting about Daikatana; it’s just a bad game with bad enemy and weapon design, irritating level design, and horrendous forced AI companions/escorts who manage to ruin even the few bits of good there is.

    Edit: one thing I will give the game is that the later episodes are better than the first, but only slightly (and the last episode comes dangerously close to slipping back in the last few levels)

    • stahlwerk says:

      To be fair, the game can be cooped (is this a verb?), replacing the companion AI with increasingly frustrated friends.

    • MykulJaxin says:

      The Staff of Nharre: link to youtube.com

      Draws a pentagram on your opponent and blows them (or yourself, if an opponent isn’t handy) into gibs. Best weapon ever.

      • neolith says:

        Noooo. The best weapon ever award obviously goes to the Ovum Spell in Heretic2. It’s hilarious in DM to turn your enemies into helpless poultry until you find yourself running from a giant chicken because on of them had a Tome Of Power ready. :D

        • hotmaildidntwork says:

          I have a sudden, inexplicable sadness at having never played Heretic 2. D:

    • Cpt.Average says:

      I think you forgot awful story.

  7. smokiespliff says:

    Your voice in this video does not match up to the wee voice I hear in my head when I read your stuff. I am as yet undecided as to whether it’s a good thing or not :-)

  8. Klarden says:

    I got to the very first level after the time travel. Then my AI partner got stuck somewhere on the level and you can’t progress to the next level without him/her. ALso, your partner dies all the time to the stupidest of things – like being crushed by closing doors. It’s a horrible horrible stupid ugly game.
    And that 10 minute unskippable intro… ugh.

  9. LionsPhil says:

    Don’t have time to watch all these right now, but is that scream a result of John Romero making you his bitch?

  10. TheManko says:

    Do more! Next time lower the overall volume of the game so we can hear you, and raise the music volume in the game. Believe it or not the soundtrack isn’t too bad, but you could only just make it out during the loading screens in your videos.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Yeah, being able to hear commentary during the interminable cut-scene would have made it bearable. I had to stop after the old dude got KOed and immediately resumed his monologue.

  11. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Hehe, I got Daikatana in a GoG.com sale a few weeks ago and actually quite enjoyed it. I hated the slippery movement (but Quake 2 had that anyway), and the daikatana itself is a bit crap.

    Not perfect, not by a long shot, but nowhere near the terribleness everyone said. My full review is here: link to raodaozao.net

  12. Lim-Dul says:

    If you want to see more Daikatana with hilarious commentary, there’s nothing better than Proteus’ and Suspicious’ LP from 2007:

    link to archive.org

    Sadly it is no longer on Vimeo or Google Video. The actual game starts at the 16th clip and the gameplay at the 18th.

  13. Yosharian says:

    Ugh, you must really hate yourself.

  14. RedViv says:


  15. Anthile says:

    Ah, Daikatana. A game like a schlocky 90s anime OVA.

  16. Bull0 says:

    Lots of my friends expressing shock and horror that this is even available on Steam. I dunno why; even if it’s as terrible as everyone says it is, for the minimal price it’s probably going to sell a bit to the car-crash observer crowd. It’s certainly worth it as a curio.

  17. Jerppa says:

    I watched the first part and this game looks like a college prank without booze and penises.

  18. bitbot says:

    Next time do a short test recording first and make sure the sound levels are good, okay? :)

  19. clumsyandshy says:

    Oh how I love this series of Let’s blather all over.
    Keep up the great job Mr Grayson!

  20. Lagwolf says:

    I could not help watch you pain… I mean playing. You have saved me from an awful experience and for that I thank you.

  21. bill says:

    I remember playing the demo of this back when it was released. The demo being the horribly long intro cutscene and the terrible ‘get killed by annoying frogs and bugs that you can’t see clearly while using a crappy weapon’ level shown in the videos. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t buy it.

    I heard it got better later, but I have no idea what they were thinking using that as the opening level and/or the demo.

    PS/ Some of the Japanese names are rather ridiculous.. it’s like they picked them at random from a list of japanese words and anime names.

    • Emeraude says:

      To be fair, many non-Japanese names in anime sound exactly that random to people who understand them.

    • WedgeJAntilles says:

      Even the name itself is ridiculous. “Daikatana” is not a Japanese word at all.

      • Geminosity says:

        Actually, in japaense Dai can be used to mean ‘big’ and katana is ‘sword’, so DaiKatana could translate to ‘big sword’ :P

        • Asurmen says:

          GEMMY WEMMY!

        • EU03 says:

          That’s not entirely correct. While the individual characters could be read as “dai” and “katana”, the correct reading of 大刀 would be “daitou”. Daikatana is gibberish.

        • Baines says:

          Edit: No need to repeat what EU03 commented right before me.

    • PikaBot says:

      To be fair, incredibly lacist accents aside, the pronunciation of those ridiculous Japanese names is surprisingly mostly fine. There’s a few sticking points (it’s Ka-Gay not Ka-Gee) but mostly better than you’re expect.

  22. CelticPixel says:

    Every purchase of this re-release edges us closer to a Daikatana reboot. Internet, you have been warned.

  23. Phoibos Delphi says:

    Sorry, I don´t want to defend this trainwreck of a game (bought it on day of release, damn the hype), but Nathan does´nt even try to win anything here… he´s rushing through the march level, leaving all pickups on the floor and starts complaining that he has no ammo? He does not use the “health-fruits”, he skips the tutorial bit about shooting control boxes to shut down stationary guns…

    I quit watching after he thought that the mega-shield would protect him from the barrier… it´s an old game, Nathan, one of those that really kept you thinking about a way out, not one of those modern day games that show you the solution to the level in a cutscene before the gaming even starts.

    Daikatana might be a rotten piece of software, but your style of play would lead to defeat in most of the old school shooters…

    Edit: Typo

    • Rao Dao Zao says:

      It took me a good half hour before I realised the healing fruits were edible. :(

    • SillyWizard says:


      It’s pretty fun to watch and see how awful this game is, but I can’t help but think it would be more damning of the material if you bothered to try playing it for real, instead of skipping the helpful items over and over and over. (If you’re genuinely not seeing them, it may be time to get on RPS’s vision plan….)

      • imralizal says:

        Personally, after watching this, I have to think this game was unfairly maligned. Seems like any other shooter from that era. The game play appears nigh identical in execution to games which were considered good at the time, and it makes me think it’s poor reputation is more opinion than fact. Games are subjective, of course, but nothing here stands out as obviously bad to me, except maybe that annoying ticking during the loading screens. Also, as you said, Nathan just isn’t playing this the way it needs to be played, which is hardly the games fault.

  24. HunterZ says:

    You guys (RPS) need to pay more attention to GOG. They’ve had Daikatana for months.

    In fact, the GOG guys do a lot of legwork to make sure these old games run well enough on new systems, and collect a bunch of “extras” (manuals, hint books, soundtracks, etc.) that they include for free with every purchase. The IP owners then lazily take the fruit of GOG’s efforts and fling it up on Steam for some extra cash that GOG doesn’t get a cut of. I’ve seen a lot of this lately.

    • Saarlaender39 says:

      So sad but true!

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Yeah, definitely. There has been some games posted on here recently, that has been out of gog for ages but only get attention when it is released on Steam also.

      • Continuity says:

        Truth is, many PC gamers are more or less steam exclusive. So having a game appear on steam, even if its been out on another distribution platform first, is still news.

        • HunterZ says:

          Perhaps, but that doesn’t excuse RPS, who are just perpetuating the issue by doing things like this.

  25. Saarlaender39 says:

    Quote from Article: “I hate myself. Therefore, what better occasion is there for me to try out the infamous first-person flop for the very first time?”

    Dear Mr. Grayson,
    your self hate can not be very big, because else you had punished yourself in februrary of this year already, when GOG.com released Daikatana (Release Date: February 7, 2013 ).

    Yours sincerely

  26. kopema says:

    Meh. It’s a crappy computer game, so what? About a hundred of those come out every year.

    The only thing special about this one was the insane amount of free advertising it got — and STILL gets.

    • MrUnimport says:

      Cultural relevance.

    • Twitchity says:

      For me, it was doing some vendor work for Ion Storm not long after they spun up, then losing track of them as I switched industries. Three years later I interviewed a candidate for a development position. I asked him what project he was currently involved with, and he told me.


      “Wait, you guys are still working on that thing?”

      Still took another year for them to finally ship it.

  27. JustChaos says:

    I rather prefer SWAT4’s or The Punisher’s Steam releases.

  28. Cytrom says:

    I think 80% of the game’s budget went into that oversized intro.

  29. Engonge says:

    Wouldnt it be great if it became the best selling game on steam? I would certainly enjoy that.

  30. Scumbag says:

    Dunno if Nathan reads the comments, but you really need to knock the in game sound down a few notches when recording yourself. While I know we are watching for the game, the you are only just audible under the game’s din is kinda odd. Think you had that issue on the Shadow Warrior video too.

    EDIT: After watching this for a while it looks like the first Unreal. Just a very, very, very, very (repeat for the next four hours) shit version of Unreal. One that was whacked together on a lunch break with no thought toward level design, lighting or balance.
    It really is as crap as the old reviews said!

    • Baines says:

      Best set up would be for Nathan to record his own voice separately, and properly mix them together afterwards.

      But if he doesn’t want to do that, then yes at the very least just turn down the game audio.

      I couldn’t understand anything Nathan said during the overlong intro. At first I thought it was just an audio glitch or some phantom noise, until I realized it was Nathan whispering at way too low a volume compared to the game audio.

      It gets slightly better during the actual gameplay, simply because his voice isn’t being completely drowned out by game dialog, but you still have to jack up your PC’s volume to get his voice to a comfortably understandable level. And by that point, the game’s audio is at an uncomfortably loud level.

  31. Universal Quitter says:

    If I wanted to see an American play Daikatana, I’d watch the Jontron video of it.

    • Baines says:

      Jontron (playing the N64 version) complained that the game didn’t pop up a “Press R+A to Crouch” tutorial dialogue when he needed to crouch.

      That, and he played the N64 version of the game.

  32. Chris Wray says:

    Holy mother of crap. I just watched the first video and that intro felt a LOT longer than any twelve minutes.

  33. Bweahns says:

    I remember playing the game for a joke and spent about 5 mins laughing at some horrible lime green level filled with bitey frogs.

  34. HisDivineOrder says:

    Well, Rise of the Triad (an abhorrent game) and Shadow Warrior (an abysmal game) both got remakes.

    Why not Sin and Daikatana, too? I think the latter should have Romero voicing someone saying something about someone’s *****.

    In fact, I think a Steam achievement should be activated as soon as you buy the game that says, “Yeah, you’re Romero’s *****.”

    • fuggles says:

      They did reboot sin, it was called sin episodes and it was awesome, I would love them to continue.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Unfortunately, Ritual got swallowed by some casual games publisher and destroyed. I suspect its talent have scattered to the winds by now.

        Which is quite annoying as, yes, it was actually a very good game despite the surface impression being “don’t form critical thoughts, just look at these breasts, they are quite large”.

  35. deadly.by.design says:

    I didn’t buy the game to play the rest of it in ’98, but I bothered to download the multiplayer demo on my lowly dial-up connection. It was actually a lot of fun, but apparently not enough to sell me on it.

    Honestly, Anachronox was the game everyone should remember from Ion Storm.

    • captain nemo says:

      Ahh… Anachronox -> I wish someone would re-make this. Note it was made by Tom Hall, who used to be buddies with Romero & Carmack in id software, before they threw him out.

  36. Gabbo says:

    What I’ve come to learn from watching these videos is that as bad as Daikatana is, and it is bad (but I’ve been well aware of that for years), Nathan doesn’t appear to be very competent with shooters mechanics from the 90’s either.

  37. Continuity says:

    The most obnoxious game ever.

  38. Arglebargle says:

    In the immortal words of Alan Varney, “Dismal Awful Failure!”

  39. Kentauroi says:

    Dear god! I’d heard about it’s terrible gameplay, but that loading screen sound effect alone is horrendous. Whose idea was it to put in a constant tapping during the loading screen? Loading screens are annoying enough without adding in sounds that give you a damn headache…

  40. Cpt.Average says:

    FYI you may want to look at the options/config menu again. I believe the “Unlimited Saves” tickbox may help stave off madness.