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First look at Tournament of Legends

Developers High Voltage are responsible for more retooling than a serial killer after a particularly messy spree. Not only has the previously Wii-exclusive FPS The Grinder now morphed into a top-down shooter (on the other consoles at least), but gory fighting game Gladiator A.D. is now going under the moniker Tournament of Legends.

However, the new name is the least of the game’s many dramatic changes. If you were looking forward to another mature (as in, ridiculously violent) title to bolster the Wii’s relatively limited collection, then prepare to be disappointed. Legends replaces the gritty, bloody and decidedly brown-looking style of A.D. with something far more colourful and light-hearted. There seems to be a lot less blood and, as the new name may have hinted, less of a focus on gladiatorial combat – instead, you’ll fight as various magical creatures in a number of suitably mythology-themed locations.

Thankfully, the characters all seem to be in keeping with the game’s mythological remit – well, apart from Volcanus, the “astounding bronze automaton”. There are ten brawlers in total, including at least two ancient gods, a big minotaur-thing, and a woman with the head of a dog. You can customise them before battle, swapping between light, medium and heavy weapons to suit your style of play.

Out too is MotionPlus support, apparently because the developers felt it would unbalance the control scheme, which makes use of both the Nunchuk and remote’s motion capabilities – the former operating the shield or weapon in your left hand, and the latter controlling the weapon in your right. Moves are pulled off via simple gestures rather than the absurdly complicated button inputs most fighting games require. However, if you’re a fan of said button inputs you can use the Classic Controller instead and create custom control schemes.

If you’re sick of smacking Mario in Brawl or kneeing Mega Man in Tatsunoko, Legends appears to offer something in between, with a fairly creative assortment of mythical archetypes. Still, we can’t help but feel disappointed about the shift in tone – now it looks like any other fighting game, albeit one that counts a bronze robot among its bizarre cast members. We doubt the finished game will be terrible, but like a lot of High Voltage titles, it just might lack the creative spark that would transform it into something great.

Jun 8, 2010