Tournament of Legends

6.0 Overall Score

Written by on July 28, 2010 in

Are you ready to do battle against true warriors of myth and legend?  Are you a modern day gladiator ready to take on all comers for honor, duty, and bragging rights?  High Voltage Software has created Tournament of Legends promising dynamic arenas against legendary foes. The same company that created the Conduit promised a game (once title Gladiator A.D.) that would be a stylized gladiator fighting game looking similar to the slow/stop and go motion, sepia dominated ultra-bloody battles depicted in the movie 300.  Sega stepped in to publish the game and the game turned into a teen rated game.  It is now a brightly colored battle between modernized versions of one gladiator and many mythological beings.  If you are hoping to play as the iconic legendary heroes and villains of myth you will be disappointed.

You begin the storyline with cartoony comic book depiction of the game’s premise.  Basically the ‘legends’ are in an epic battle to take over the title and powers of Thanatos, the Greek god of death.  Your task is to choose a legend that will take you on that journey.  You can choose from the one remaining Roman gladiator Marcus, a variety of Roman gods (Jupiter and Volcanus), Greek Mythological creatures (Medusa and a minotaur), a Japanese demon (Akki), Egyptian sun goddess (Bast), a Norse valkyrie (Kara), and the unlockable character of a strange female skeleton thing (Valeska).   Even the legends with recognizable names have mutated in form so much that they are unrecognizable.  One extreme example is the Greek god Volcanus, the god of fire.  He is a robot that looks like C3PO on steroids.   The characters are divided into three basic fighting classes: lithe for the female characters with less powerful but much more agile moves, rugged for the smaller male characters which are more balanced in power and agility, and massive for the huge brawn over agility beast-like characters.  Each character has a default weapon and special attacks that they can use in the arena. These items are specific to each character.   As you play you will unlock weapons special enchantments as you play through the story mode.  These enchantments can be used by any of the characters.  These weapons and abilities are pretty nifty, if you are able to get them to work.  Each battle is divided into three rounds.

The most frustrating thing about the game is the controls.  When the game was still entitle Gladiator A.D. the developers were hoping to use the new Wii Motion Plus controls.  Sadly they dropped it in favor of adding the classic controller option.  As it is now, the controls are extremely difficult and horribly unpredictable.  Pure button masher fighters will be slammed to the ground quickly. You need to block and move carefully as you strategically attack their foe at the right time with a very limited combination attack or magical ability.   Each character also has unblockable moves that you must avoid.  Another feature in the game is the special timed event where you can waggle your way against a dragon attack, or large stone statue stomping on you.  They are interesting but they break up the continuity of the fight and seem to serve no real purpose.  You can also use the controllers in a mini-game between rounds of the battle to increase your health and repair your armor.  These features would be very fun if the controls were easier to use.  As it is, I felt like my character’s shoes were nailed to the arena floor and spent most of my time waiting for the other character to approach me so I could take a few swings.   You can swing the Wii-mote to swing your main weapon and swing the nunchuck to attack with you blocking arm.  These controls work sometimes as long as you can get very close to your opponent.    The magical attacks were also extremely tough to accomplish.   You must combine a variety of buttons and control stick directional movements that are extremely awkward.  If you own third party controllers be forewarned, I have a nunchuck and a classic controller made by third party manufacturers and neither worked with the game.  Usually when I begin a game with tricky controls or difficult combinations I rely on the practice or tutorial mode to guide me.  Sadly the creators of this game decided to have a practice mode that is not interactive.  It is a very quick run through all of the controls.  Don’t blink or you will miss them.  Afterward you can choose a character and practice.  I prefer a tutorial level that is a part of the game and allows the player to try the moves as they learn them to make sure they understand them.  I would have loved to see a practice mode similar to what I have used in games like Mortal Kombat.  They have complex and long combination of buttons and movements but they slowly show the moves and allow me to practice each move until I get it right.  We get no such opportunity with this game.  The game’s controls are only one frustration I had with this game.

The voice work in the game offers very little.  The taunts and posing in the game are so awful that they make WWE wrestlers seem like Shakespearean actors.  I enjoy ridiculous speeches and goofy poses as much as anyone when playing a character in the classic fighting game Ready 2 Rumble, but when you are playing as a legendary hero or villain you might not want to seem ridiculous.  Luckily you can click your way past most of the dialog, which I did.   All of these issues combine to make a game that just does not live up to my expectations.

I really wanted to like this game and on a very basic level, I do.  I love fighting games.  There is nothing better than taking a bad day and focusing your frustrations into kicking the butt of a virtual beast.  Unfortunately the game’s controls seem to cause me as much frustration as anything I have dealt with throughout the day.  The premise of heroes of legend and myth fighting in dynamic arenas is a very exciting idea but the characters have been mutated so much that they are unrecognizable.  And the taunts and dialog make the characters even more ridiculous.  I would have loved to have seen the developers keep their original vision and give us a fighter that was bold. This watered down version is a huge disappointment.  The learning curve to master the controls is too long and most wanting to play a fighter will not have the patience necessary to try.

Tournament of Legends is rated T for Teen and is available on store shelves now.

A copy of the game Tournament of Legends was provided to The Married Gamers for the purpose of examination and review.

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Author: Melisa Snyder View all posts by

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