Wii doesn’t have many fighters, and while you may enjoy the few there are, such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mortal Kombat or Tatsunoko Vs Capcom, some may feel an empty space for another kind of fighter. High Voltage have tried to fill the gap with their brawler, Tournament of Legends.
Tournament of Legends is a 3D weapons-based fighter based loosely on mythical figures and legends from ancient times. As you battle through a variety of arenas revolving around these myths, you use the Wii Remote as your right arm, the Nunchuk as your left (or, alternately, you can use a Classic Controller). You may be thinking of Punch Out!! from those controls, but Tournament of Legends plays very differently; think more along the lines of Soulcalibur.
As the story goes, you and your fighter are supposed to fight your way to Hades to defeat the God of Death, Thanatos, all because the god Jupiter has disappeared. The single player game starts with a woman called Jonah, mistress of the Threads of Fate, who explains why your selected character wants to defeat the God of Death via some nice comic book-type panels. This is when you first notice the hilarious voice acting, such as Marcus the Roman soldier proclaiming himself to be the Hero of Rome, or Bravehoof the Minotaur telling you not to make him angry. Funny as it may be, though, you may find the voice acting tiring to listen to once you’ve heard all of the characters’ phrases repeated more than ten times...
Battles consist of three acts in which you have to knock down your opponent three times. Each fighter has three types of basic offence: vertical swipes, horizontal strikes, and some magical attacks that are triggered with the analogue stick and a press of a button. Enchantments to enhance your weapons with different effects can also be cast, though both magic and enchantment usage are restricted by meters at the bottom of the screen that are built up throughout each fight as you hit or get his by opponents. Chaining together four basic attacks is proclaimed to be an ‘epic combo’, and it is combining attacks and blocking your opponent from making a combo that rewards you with more magic and enchantment power. When a character lands an especially powerful strike, slower than basic attacks, the camera will switch to behind them to emphasise the effectiveness of their maneuver and the shift of momentum in the battle.
Fighters also have armour to knock off, which affects the amount of damage they take. Once you knock your opponent down, you are prompted you taunt them by moving the analogue stick or Wii Remote in a given direction. The benefit of this is an increase in your health and magic, but it also triggers some funny voice acting - which, less funnily, remains the same in every fight. If you’re the one to be taken down, however, faster prompts appear to help you get to your feet. If you or your opponent don’t win by the end of an act, the game switches to a mini game in which the fighters face off to rebuild their armour and health by shaking your Wii Remote or turning the analogue sticks, which can get annoying against computer opponents as they always seem able to build everything up faster. Once you win a battle, you win your opponent’s enchantment, and if they’re the same class of warrior you’ll win their weapon as well.
There are eight arenas, each of which has different settings and monsters, ranging from giant crabs in the Belly of the Leviathan stage to giant ice dragons in the Ice Cavern, that will appear and attack you and your opponent at random. These encounters stop the battle for a few seconds at a time, giving you a prompt in order to avoid the monsters’ attacks. They add an unusual twist to the game, but equally can be annoying or confusing, breaking up the flow of matches.
Despite having a standard control system based around motion, Tournament of Legends is at its best when controlled with the Classic Controller, because unfortunately the motion controls are not as responsive as they should be - and sometimes they don’t respond at all. As for the game’s longevity, you may be disappointed to learn that it only has three modes - Story, Versus and Practice - and unlocking two characters through the course of play only brings the total count to just ten fighters. You can change the difficulty as well as the number of acts and knockdowns to go through the story mode again. Versus can be enjoyable, but it shares the same limitations as the single player.
If you’re into your fighting games, Tournament of Legends would probably not be your first choice on Wii; it’s a good game, but it isn’t a very deep experience. If, however, you want to try a fighter that feels a little different, and isn’t too demanding to play, then Tournament of Legends just may be worth a shot.
It may sometimes be annoying when using the Wii Remote, but if you have a Classic Controller, this game plays excellently.
The game is bright, colourful and detailed, and there are no slowdown issues, but some arenas do look plain in places.
The voice acting is the best part, cheesy and sometimes funny. There isn’t much in the way of music in the game, though.
The game takes a few hours to complete, and there is a Versus mode, but if you’re a lone gamer, the range of things to do is very limited.
Tournament of Legends is a good game, but there are a few niggles in the default controls, and it hasn’t exactly got much depth to it. However, it is very well made, and there is a certain unique charm to it. If you want to try out something a little new, this fighter with a couple of different hooks could be worth at least a rental.