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Chaos Legion Review
publisher: Capcom Entertainment
developer: Capcom Entertainment
genre: Action Adventure
PIII 1000, 128MB RAM, 64MB Video Card, 1.2GB HD
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Dec 22, 03
|» All About Chaos Legion on ActionTrip|
Branka "Nikerym" Todorovic
Capcom's shot in the dark...
I would like to trace back to the very beginnings of my gaming career, back to the time when I would but grin to the sound of the word "install". As I started playing on a console, the only thing I had to do in order to enjoy a game was to put in a cartridge/disc, push a button and away I went. Yup, getting around to playing my favorite games was that simple. But that was a long time ago. Once I switched to the PC, consoles remained no more than a bleak memory, and to "install" a game became an everyday reality.
One thing that utterly irritated me at the time was the attention that console ports were getting at the time. (Like today is any different. - Ed) Every review of a console port was looked down upon with "Oh, no, this is a console port!" or something, and continued with lamentations of poor controls, camera angles, textures and the like. I never understood this... mainly because I never played console games on a PC and vice versa.
Now, why did I start the review with this little story? Because I found Chaos League's in-game controls inconvenient from the very start. This was the first time that I actually thought to myself "Oh, no, this is a console port!"... and each consecutive second of the game made it clearer what happens when you simply take a console game and transfer it to the PC. The controls of this dark "gothic opera" are incredibly difficult, and the camera is impossible to control. This was enough to spoil my enjoyment of the game, in spite of the fact that I am more than proficient with consoles. Then again, playing console games on a PC is an entirely different matter. Fortunately the fights are initially fairly easy, but as the number and power of the enemies increase, you will start cursing the idiotic camera, as well as your accursed gamepad-less fate...
On the other hand, while the controls may be lacking, the game's plot is terrific - full of angst, and has a genuine Japanese anime feel to it. The game sets you in the role of Sieg Warheit, a knight and summoner whose goal is to stop Victor Delacroix, a Lord who has fallen to the "dark side" and started collecting powerful magical artifacts in order to resurrect his deceased mistress, who was murdered by Sieg. I guess in that situation, you can understand why Victor has a grudge, but hey - its gotta start somewhere. The story is ultimately clich' (not that I hold that against it), with some sporadic hokey dialogue and mediocre cinematics. (THAT I hold against it.)
Everything about this game is adequate - but just adequate. The cinematics, gameplay and visuals get the job done nicely, but this game will not be remembered and hailed as one of the best. Single serving fun - as Mr. Durden would put it. The enemies are varied and well conceived, but the combat grows tiresome and boring after a while, due to its repetitiveness and few controls at your disposal. This game will in no way tire your brain, so I managed to enjoy it for about an hour before I lost all motivation to play. At the very beginning of the game, Sieg can summon Thanatos, one of the "Legions" that are at his command, who is quite powerful. Later he will summon other Legions that will be of great help to him during the course of the game. I heard a lot of bragging about the difficulty of the game so I was surprised not to feel much of it. Sure, there are some hellish fights, but insane pressing of all the available buttons should solve that. I had absolutely no problem with the first several bosses.
If you really want to completely rest your brains, you can let the game inform you about items, enemies and game mechanics, but I doubt this will be necessary (unless you happen to be Smap! - Six), as the game is overly simplistic as it is. At the beginning of every mission (if we can call it that) you will find out what is expected of you, which usually comes down to "Destroy a target" or "Annihilate all enemies". As I said the simplicity is fun and refreshing, but one really needs something more for longer play. Now "longer play" is provided with the help of a simple mechanism. There is no save option during the game, so saving the game is only possible after the end of one stage eg. at so-called intermissions. The game is not that difficult, but you will die sometimes (the end of every level is fairly difficult compared to the rest of the level) so you will be forced to play that level again (and again, and again, if you keep getting killed). This prolongs the game a bit, but not to the degree where I wanted to keep playing. Most of the time the key to success is the aforementioned insane button smashing (and even those that are completely irrelevant, by mistake of course). This is where I should mention the idiotic camera again. The camera is not your friend. When you have an erratic camera in Silent Hill, that is one thing, but to have it in a game like this, where you're often surrounded with swarms of enemies, is a whole different ballgame.
As for the graphics, they are mostly jagged and blurry, with washed out colors, but I guess most of this was a part of the intended design. The surroundings seem somehow poor and desolate, which was also partially a part of the intended design (scorched cities and the like), but definitely not justified. On the other hand, character models are well designed and detailed, but in a Japanese way. This basically means that both male and female characters look like young girls with bizarre eyes and identical faces. The only way you can distinguish between male and female characters (or just characters in general) is by looking at their (usually ridiculously colored) hairdos - the girls most commonly wear pony-tails, stupendously long hair or pig-tails. The animation is buggy. Sieg looks quite nice while wreaking havoc (and I should mention the sometimes impressive visual effects, with pretty lighting effects and such), but you will notice that he lost a frame or two here and there in the heat of the combat. Oh, and he also looks like he is floating above the ground from time to time for some inexplicable reason.
Summoning sidekicks, atmosphere, some enemies;
Absolute linearity, poor controls, monotonous combat, boring surroundings, dodgy animation, mediocre graphics.