Reviewed: June 20, 2007
Released: May 29, 2007
Legend of the Dragon is a fighting action game released for the PSP, the PlayStation 2 and the Wii systems from Neko Entertainment and The Game Factory. Legend of the Dragon for the PSP is a pure button masher that allows for two players to fight against each other in Ad-Hoc games or one player against the games AI.
Legend of the Dragon is based on the cartoon series of the same name from BKN International. I have not seen the cartoon but would hope it is somewhat better than the game, it wouldnít be hard to be. The game is not bad in theory but in practice it is a pure button masher with no redeeming qualities other than half decent graphics and some fair sound effects.
The premise is simple; two warriors square off in a ring, arena or some other combat setting and have at each other. When you get the chance in the fight, you can power up and transform into a creature to whoop some butt. Legend of the Dragon plays fine except that everything is about the same; hits, kicks and everything you do deals out about the same damage and you end up just smacking the same buttons to keep up the blows.
The main section of the menu has the Versus mode, the single player section and the practice fights on it. The single player section has several different areas like the Quest, a quick fight mode against the AI, survival, a timed attack fight and ranked fights.
In the Quest mode you are given the choice of playing as one of the main characters, Ang or Ling, and you follow a path of fights. The fights vary one to the next with things like having to use special combinations in the fight or just a time limit. The Quest does not have much variety from the rest of the game other than a loosely put together story of a bunch of mini fights strung together.
The other fights in the single player section are all what they sound like with little variety other than the main premise of each kind. Survival is a fight against as many individuals as you can stand in one round. There is some variety in the Tag and Team battles but they are not enough to make Legend of the Dragon that much better.
In the Versus mode you start out as one of the 18 possible characters and fight others until one of you wins. One aspect that I do like about Legend of the Dragon is a practice to get used to the fighting style and moves but this is a waste here. All the moves and special attacks donít seem to do anything different and just doing the same hits over and over again but quickly make the other character get beat down quicker.
There are basic hand and kick attacks as well as a few limited special combination attacks but they donít work very well and are hard to accomplish with the number of buttons you need to hit for each one. You also have blocks but I found these not to be very needed as you just hit or kick and your blows will do any necessary blocking. The special attacks are an Energy Wave, Energy Attack and Energy Blast but are not that special.
The special attacks have a defense particular to each attack but one of them is really silly. During the Energy Attack the defender will have a key combination appear on his screen for a few seconds and the defender must repeat this sequence in order to defend the attack. You can also use a Ki Shield that helps against the attacks if you have enough Ki energy stored up.
Each attack, transformation or special attack requires a certain key combination which means remembering what to do when but it all boils down to using a quick attack and you can win the fight. During fighting every character gets the same moves so in the Versus games and against others in Ad-Hoc so using a particular character will not give you an advantage.
Your character handles well with the movement keys but at times the scene moves in and out according to how close to the other fighter you are. You can also win a fight by knocking the opponent out of the ring in scenes that have a ring or other physical barrier that is the fighting arena. For instance one scene is on a tall building and you can knock your opponent off the side to win. The gameplay is a problem in the limited use of the combinations or for me how hard it is to accomplish many of the attacks using the huge variety of button combinations.
The graphics look pretty good with some decent scenes and character animations. The game is a direct port from the PlayStation 2 game from what I have read on the Internet but it did come out well on the smaller screen. The scenes are different with a few destructible additions to some scenes but there is not much difference whether youíre fighting in a Dojo scene or a Temple.
The fighting and hits look fair and the effects of the special attacks look like cartoon animations just like the rest of the game. There are no parts of Legend of the Dragon that look anything but average. On the Quest you have a path that you must follow to continue in your journey but that is about the only difference from the rest of the gameís fight scenes.
The sound effects of the hits and the ďhe yahĒ of the fighters calls is about all youíll hear in Legend of the Dragon along with some very distinctly Asian music. There are no voiceovers or other music in the game except the hits and some background music that doesnít do much for the game but doesnít take away from it either.
The hits sound almost realistic but the sounds of the fighters yelling their special calls as they attack do not make it anymore realistic or enjoyable. Overall the sound effects were fine but nothing worth bragging about.
Once you have played Legend of the Dragon for fifteen minutes there is nothing new to playing it any more. The special attacks just like any of the combinations are hard to accomplish due to the button combinations and they donít do much extra damage.
I donít like fighting action games that much but this one is not even close to being good overall. There is just nothing to make this game stand out from several others and they really could have done a lot more with the whole story laid out for them with the cartoon. I have not played the Ad-Hoc games against another real person but with the lack of variety I canít imagine this being any better.
Legend of the Dragon is a disappointment for a fighting game. There is a general lack of anything that stands out to make it worth paying attention to or purchasing. The lack of any additional special skills after having used the same character for several fights like leveling up or attaining special skills is a definite loss to the game. There are no special attacks that do that much more damage that makes using them spectacular or even that much better than just hitting or kicking.
Overall I really would not recommend getting Legend of the Dragon for the PSP even if you or your child just likes the cartoon.