Tournament of Legends
Venture back to the ‘90s, when fighters were the hottest games on the market. Every two-bit developer wanted a piece of the action, and shelves became bloated with atrocities like Rise of the Robots, Shaq Fu, and Street Fighter: The Movie.
With Super Street Fighter IV still tearing up the charts, BlazBlue reinvigorating 2D, and a new Mortal Kombat on the horizon, the fighting craze is back in full force, and that means the crap is about to pile up on our doorsteps.
As a self-diagnosed sucker for mythology, Tournament of Legends has a concept that I can get behind; a cast of 10 characters gleaned from classic mythology, including a Medusa-knockoff, a winged Valkyrie, Jupiter, and a break-dancing steampunk robot. I’m not sure where that last one originates from, but I am equally a sucker for robots.
Tournament of Legends tries desperately hard to be like Soul Calibur IV. It has selectable weapons for each character and enchantments that produce magical effects, like poison, fire, and slow attacks. It even has breakable armor that leaves vital spots exposed for increased damage.
It’s too bad that Tournament of Legends combat system is an exercise in complete idiocy. There are three basic attacks, and three power variants, which are often weaker than their counterparts. Combos are fully automated. To keep the simpletons happy, even special abilities are consigned to the push of a button. That doesn’t make them very special, now does it?
Somewhere along the line, High Voltage Software forgot that a good fighter should require skill, and instead, combat relies on little more than the spastic flailing of limbs. At one point, I tripped in real life, dropped my nunchuck, and pulled off some sweet combos through slapstick fumblings.
Tournament of Legends does have a handful of challenging battles, but only because of a careless disregard for anything resembling balance. Some of the characters and enchantments are flat-out overpowered, or near-useless. For example: Bast’s enchantment casts a wide-ring of fire that damages anyone within, and it can easily be chained through an entire match.
Beyond combat, countless glitches will test your perseverance every step of the way. I’ve had matches end prematurely, with me being declared the loser, of course. Worse is that the A.I. couldn’t care less when you’re holding block, but has an unexplainable affinity for defending against your unblockable attacks.
Quick-time events are a big part of Tournament of Legends, and I like the idea. They help you avoid environmental hazards in the ring, like Poseidon’s trident or a griffin swooping down. They unleash special attacks and boost your abilities after an opponent has fallen. It’s an idea that’s been used to good effect in games like Mad World and No More Heroes 2. Perhaps somebody at High Voltage Software should have bothered to check if their quick-time events actually worked.
Tournament of Legends is a mess of glitches, incompetent gameplay, and unfulfilled ideas. It is an insult to fighting fans and an embarrassment to the icons of classic mythology, although I suppose it deserves credit as the first fighting game that can be won in the middle of a full-on seizure.