Reviewed: June 9, 2002
Reviewed by: JoLene Lark
Released: February 19, 2002
New Legends was developed by Infinite Machines and THQ. Both of these companies have provided many successful console games, however this entry in the action/adventure genre is an extreme disappointment. New Legends is a game that was anticipated greatly, as it seems this mixed genre has been extremely lacking in previous releases over the past few years. An exception to this is the PlayStation series Tekken. I am happy to see this genre is trying to make a comeback, as it usually provides many hours of adrenaline action.
New Legends offers gamers a blend of traditional action styles as well as new styles. This games background is set in a China that is filled with antique architectures, ancient weaponry and Chinese traditions. However this is where the game starts to veer, it is also set in a science fiction filled future. This future contains “hand cannon” guns, a flying dragon that is tethered by laser looking ropes and flying vehicles. Even the way the game is setup and played is a mix of 2D hack and slash fighting within a 3D world that unfolds in a storyline that can only be called "movie-like".
The background story of New Legends seemed to follow a traditional good versus evil struggle. For over 100 years China had been under an attack that has torn apart China between warring clans and politicians who are rather enjoying the benefits the war has provided them. From this chaos a man named Roa Khan emerged to unite the middle kingdom and claim China’s throne as new Emperor to bring peace to the war ravaged China.
Of course good could not prevail that long and Xao Gon emerged, a man who was still bitter that China allowed its enemies to continue to grow. Xao Gon formed an alliance with a demon from the other world and became the leader of a new revolution. Xao Gon shattered all dreams of a peaceful China when he executed Roa Khan and began his attack on the clan territories. It is up to your character, Sun Soo, to save the day and China’s future.
There is only one word to describe the interface in New Legends - "horrific". New Legends is a game that has over seven unique environments to conquer and each is equally massive. It was rather easy to get lost in an area and you will not know where the heck to go. I spent way too much time trying to find the objective and this is with the “help” of the compass the developers included to help point you in the right direction. This compass also signals Sun Soo’s health and chi levels.
Chi, for your information, is built up along the way and is used in Soo’s super attack mode. New Legends also includes a damage indicator on Soo’s enemies that turns from green to red as the enemy is damaged. I must warn you more about relying on the compass. The compass is rather useless in any multiple height area, and I have witnessed the compass spin around so fast in this situation that you can only hope to find the next objective on your own.
New Legends is a single player game with only one difficulty setting. Unless you are a master on picking up combination moves immediately, be prepared to replay the first part of the games so that the limited number of lives you have are not wasted.
This game also allows you to save as you play; however, I must again warn you that the save only saves the mission you are on rather than the spot in the mission you are at. So if you are close to the end of an objective and die you WILL start at the beginning again, thus erasing all the time you had spent on that level. I certainly hope you have a great memory so you can get back to the spot where you died quickly.
The graphical quality of the character Sun Soo was amazing throughout the game. Characters in the first few levels were also very well done. However, I have come to the conclusion that the developers must have run out of time to finish Soo’s enemies in the rest of the game as their quality was not nearly as impressive.
The camera views in New Legends must also be discussed. The camera, at times, reminded me of Linda Blair in the Exorcist as it kept spinning the screen round and round. An example of this was when I was trying to move Soo away from an object and as the camera angle got "possessed" I ended up falling down a hill and dying. Also of note is that if you are engaged in combat in a tight indoor area the camera angle may flip as the program is “trying” to find the best angle. Maybe that is why I died so much playing in these areas.
Most areas of game play are a combination of pathways, bridges, obstacles, and buildings. I did enjoy the level that had Soo and Boo running down a hill to avoid the avalanche of rocks trying to crush them.
Another graphical complaint that I need to discuss is the choppiness. This game is filled with audio that is loaded off the disc when you trigger it via game play. This streaming audio caused the game to slow down so much that it almost froze my Xbox. I tested this game on another Xbox and it also caused the game’s video to almost freeze.
It seemed that these freezes in graphics and gameplay occurred as the game progressed. My Xbox had an extremely hard time recovering, and Soo died multiple times from the graphical slowdown since your character can’t inflict damage while the enemy could during these glitches. When there is no dialogue being played the graphics run smoothly, but unfortunately that doesn’t seem to last long enough.
The music in New Legends was actually quite good and seemed to fit the action quite well. However there were some parts of the game where the audio will stop and you will play the game in silence for as long as 40 seconds.
The sound effects found in New Legend have seemed to come straight out of the sound effect factory that all games get their sounds from. There was one time though that the sound effects were quite bad. This area was at the beginning of the second stage when the gate opens and it sounds like nails on a chalkboard.
New Legends is not a very lengthy game. Expect to finish this game in about 4-5 days barring any major replays due to glitches. This is also assuming you can put up with the annoying graphics, slowdowns and the lack of decent saving capabilities. Its seven or so levels are unique and that is what will give you the motivation to play this game from the start to the end.
Horrific camera angles as well as a compass that seemed to spin like a top and provide no directional help with completing your objectives are just a few of the things that have caused me to dislike this game. It seems that the quality assurance team failed in testing the second half of this game since this is where the majority of the glitches seemed to occur.
New Legends offers a great mixture of both ancient and futuristic China if you can look past the numerous technical glitches. While it's possible to enjoy this game for its gun shooting and sword slashing fun, it is with a heavy heart that I must classify this game as not worthy of purchase for your Xbox collection. At best, it is only worthy of a five day rental.