Legend of the Dragon - WII - Review
The martial arts and mystical Asian-themed adventures of Ang and Ling are well documented in the Disney Channel’s animated cartoon lineup and have since developed quite a following. It wasn’t a surprise that a game would soon come of the Legend of the Dragon show and no surprise that it would turn out to be a fighting game … after all, don’t we have a fighting games designed around characters from Inuyasha as well as Full Metal Alchemist? Still, this one seems to match the show’s format and the Legend of the Dragon has come to the Nintendo Wii with disappointing results.
The plight of main characters and twins Ang and Ling do make for a great game but story in the game’s main single-player mode is hardly interesting at all. The game places you in the role of Ang who just receives his Golden Dragon powers, which he plans to use to combat evil in his homeland of China. As a guardian born in the year of the dragon, Ang sets out to rid the world of those who follow the path of the Chinese Zodiac and has to go through a number of foes in a one-on-one battle. The game’s story doesn’t branch out into interesting twists and turns - after all, this is a fighting game - but there’s very little to keep you hooked and want to see this through to the end.
The weak story is but one of many things that are wrong with Legend of the Dragon and this is too bad since the game does bring together 18 recognizable characters that can also be playable in other game modes. Aside from Ang and his lovely sister Ling, there’s the masked Xuan Chi and Jaguar God as well as the huge Shoong and the seemingly nerdy Billy. Each character even has their own ability that revolves around their particular guardian animal. Beingal, for example, follows the Tiger Guardian so she can transform into a human tigress complete with fur, Bengal tiger-like stripes and sharp claws. Billy transforms into a huge hulking ram that can plow through his foes.
The real problem is that the game’s controls feel like they weren’t made specifically for the Wii Remote and Nunchuck attachment in mind. Sure, you can swing the Wii Remote to pull off a throw in that direction but most of the control schemes are concentrated on the D-pad. Wouldn’t it have been cool if you can mimic punching combos like you do in the boxing game part of Wii Sports? How about pulling off combos by or finishing moves by waving the Wii Remote? The controls just feel tacked on and thus feel less like a next-generation game and more like a game that should really have been designed for the GameCube instead.
Unfortunately, the poorly put together control scheme isn’t the only weak spot in the game. The battles feel repetitive and uninteresting even with the guardian animal transformations. There are energy attacks for each character and they’re pretty easy to pull off as are the counter moves and rolls. The story in the game’s main mode is told through text dialogue and it won’t even keep you interested long enough to unlock the number of other characters to use in Survival, Team Attack and Versus modes. The multiplayer mode is wireless and the framerate doesn’t drop … but other than that there’s nothing particularly special about this lackluster fighting game.
The game’s graphics aren’t worth writing home about either seeing as the Nintendo Wii is more than capable of displaying some impressive visuals. This game really does look more like a great-looking GameCube game than anything else and while the backgrounds are a bit on the weak side the character models look good. The visual effects, however, don’t do anything particularly special but watching your characters transform is somewhat cool.
There’s also a pretty god soundtrack that attempts to mimic the music heard in the animated show. The wonderful Asian feel is nice and when you jump into battle the music gets appropriately dramatic. There’s no real voice acting here and that’s unfortunate since the show has great voice acting. You’ll hear a few clips here and there and some growls and grunts during the fights but the game just feels way too quiet.
Legend of the Dragon for the Wii is a major disappointment for fighting aficionados and fans of the animated show and is, by far, one of the worst fighting games to grace Nintendo’s new console. The controls feel like they were slapped together at the last moment to fit the Wii Remote’s innovated motion sensor technology and in the end does very little to feel like a next-generation fighter. Even if you have a soft spot for these characters, I wouldn’t recommend this game to anyone.
Review Scoring Details for Legend of the Dragon
The nice number of fighters and game mode types will seem very inviting but once you start fighting you’ll feel like this is a fighting game at its most primitive and boring. The beast forms are implemented throughout the game but they add very little to the action. The main story mode isn’t even compelling so fans of the show will not be drawn by it.
The game’s visuals look like a great GameCube game and there are some nice flashy effects that try to mimic those of the show. Even the character models are nicely rendered and look just like they do in the show but as far as the rest of the graphics are concerned this game could have looked far better.
The sound effects and dull and there’s a lack of voice acting to really bring the characters to life. In fact, the only decent thing about the game’s sound is the wonderfully Asian-flavored soundtrack.
The game is fairly easy for gamers young or old and this isn’t good considering the fact that computer-controlled AI isn’t dumb. Still, you can get away with pulling off the same moves throughout a bout so very little skill of finesse is needed to beat the opponents in this game.
You’ll be glad to see show favorites like Ang and Beingal and each of the 18 playable characters have their own unique abilities. The downside is that they all seem to fight alike and the poor excuse of a plot doesn’t give you a good enough reason to stick around. Even the Wii controls aren’t a reason to buy this game.
Ever wanted to see Ang and Ling beat each another senseless? You can with a group of four friends or try to beat a friend’s record in any of the game’s playable modes. The only good thing about multiplayer is that it’s wireless.
There’s very little to like about the Nintendo Wii version of Legend of the Dragon and the fact that very little effort was placed in making the Wii technology fit the game is reason enough to skip this one. You’ll find many of the animated show’s cast present but the fighting action is just way too dull to recommend this to anyone.