Thunderbolt logo

300: March to Glory

This is a difficult review to start. I prefer to start reviews on a good note. Hmm… it’s got the guy that narrated the movie narrating the “game”. There, now that the good is out of the way let us begin the rest. As you probably already know 300: March to Glory is based on a movie, based on a graphic novel, based on true historical events. Three of these things are worth experiencing. Care to guess which one is not?

screenshot

In all seriousness 300 does do a few things right. Let us begin, as they say, at the beginning. In this “game” you take the role of King Leonidas the legendary leader of the Spartans. The story is told through graphic novel style cut-scenes – something that I actually enjoyed. The story goes something like this: Xerxes, the god king of Persia, desired to rule Sparta, the home of the Spartans, through diplomacy or force. King Leonidas declined that kind invitation and the two had something of a falling out. Needless to say King Leonidas chose to stop Xerxes from taking Sparta, and all of Greece for that matter, by going to war. The problem was all too familiar. A group of gentlemen, who are in a position of power, decided that he could not. So – again all too familiar – King Leonidas did. He did this under the guise of a walk to the hot gates with his 300 bodyguards. Have you noticed this is a paragraph about what 300 does right and I have dodged the “game” as much as possible? This is where the “game” begins – at the hot gates.

Gameplay is, not surprisingly, in the form of a good old hack-and-slash. Here is where things take a turn for the worse. As soon as you start playing the game you will understand that the opening scene is as good as it gets. As King Leonidas, you lead your Spartans, 300 of them, through the levels of the game. I say 300, though I suspect this is an misprint and the true number is closer to 30. Not once did I see more than ten Spartans on the screen and I must say this Persian horde (the same horde that drinks rivers dry) seems more like a Persian cluster. Rarely will more than five Persians attack you and lucky for the Spartans they follow Ninja Turtle rules – only one guy is allowed to attack at a time, the rest wait their turn. Worth noting, if more than four or five characters are on the screen at the same time you will experience some heavy slowdown, add to that the poison some enemies use which slows down your attack and you will be hard press not to take this game out and crush it. A few combos are mixed into the combat and you gain money to upgrade items and abilities. One of the more offensive upgrades has King Leonidas dressed as if he were about to lead a death metal concert.

screenshot

“The 300 men who died here could have created a better game.”As the game drags on there is a bit of variety in the enemies you fight. Starting off you pick on the slaves in diapers, then you graduate to generic soldiers, from there, shield soldiers, then you have monsters and elephants and the like. The developers of this “game” made some interesting design choices. To break shields you must use your spear. There is a strong attack and a fast attack but the strong attack is only used for destroying the shield so it wont actually harm your enemies when you hit them. The other form of combat in the game consists of you getting your “300” (re: seven) Spartans together to attack an elephant or something. King Leonidas and his men will line up and walk in a straight line stabbing people to death. Again, an interesting design choice here, in place of a health bar you are given a command bar. This is essentially a health bar that deteriorates if you aren’t killing bad guys. It works fine I guess but again, the developers spit on the graves of these men. Leonidas can’t command his Spartans, unless of course they kill people quickly, and when his command fails they all just die.

Historical FactContrary to what history says, slaves of Xerxes did not fight out of fear of the God King, they were given a choice: fight the Spartans or play this game.Don’t fret, as exciting as the game has sounded so far, more varied “gameplay” is available. As the story progresses Leonidas and company will take you on a journey outside of the movie and novel. Now you can experience the siege (if two Spartans can be considered a siege) of the Poseidon Temple. See, the Persians decided to activate the temples defenses in an attempt to… well I don’t know, the game doesn’t tell you. Anyways you turn off the temple and head off for random sneaking missions through small camps. The temple was actually one of the best parts of the game. To get there Leonidas and Astinos jump from a cliff into a boat, kill the crew and arrive at the temple. Five minutes later as the remaining troops at the newly liberated temple try to escape your wrath, the entire Spartan army is there. All ten of them.

screenshot

I think I have made the point clear here that this game is truly a generic licensed game gone wrong. So for just a moment I would like to be serious. Video games are becoming an art form. Much like movies and music the people making this new style of art will guide where it ends up. This can truly become a form of expression that will really touch peoples lives and open eyes to new worlds. I understand that this is also a big business and a large amount of money making games will be launched and quality will not be important, but sometimes there are things more important than money. Bioshock for example is a true piece of art. It pulled at your emotions and threw a bit of music in that the younger generations may have never heard. 300: March to Glory missed an opportunity to tell the true story of what happen to those 300. Especially in a time when we need heroes. Instead we get this.

1 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in March 2008.

Gentle persuasion

You should follow us on Twitter.