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Rygar: The Legendary Adventure

When writing about Rygar: The Legendary Adventure, many people would reminisce about the NES version. Too bad Iíve never even seen the game in action, let alone actually played it. The only thing I really knew about Rygar is that the game was blatantly advertised on the scoreboard in Tecmo Super Bowl. I didnít know what to expect while starting up the new PS2 version, but what I got was an enjoyable action ride.

The game takes place in the age of Greek mythology. A heroic gladiator, Rygar, is being honored by the generic hottie princess for his bravery. Just when you start to wonder if our hero Rygar is going to get her done, out of nowhere the Titans and their minions attack. Amid the confusion the princess is kidnapped! Rygar then embarks on a quest to rescue the princess and discover his shrouded past. The plot would have been outdated in 1989, but at least it remains pretty unimportant in the grand scheme of things, much like a porno. The only good thing than can be said about the story is that the cheese factor coupled with the swords-and-sandals time period evokes memories of those old Ray Harryhausen movies.

On his quest, Rygar explores dangerous temples, foreboding dungeons and other-worldly areas while solving the occasional simplistic puzzle and decimating everything in his path. This may seem bland, but thereís one thing makes this game stand out: the mighty Diskarmor.

Whatís a Diskarmor you ask? Picture a massive yo-yo that can kill more efficiently than a guillotine. Rygar has three different Diskarmors that vary greatly in speed and reach, so no matter what your playing style is, youíll definitely be compensated for. You can also ìpimpî your weapon out with various stone that either increase stats or give you new moves.

Even better than tweaking your Diskarmor is killing things with it. Much like Ninja Gaiden (which was made by the same people), thereís a heavy emphasis on combos. Being surrounded by half-a-dozen evil worms and unleashing 20-hit combos as the baddies explode is definitely a thrilling experience.

As exciting as it is to wield the diskarmor, I couldnít help but feel that it may be too powerful. While a few of the boss battles are difficult, squaring off against regular enemies is far too easy even on the higher difficulty levels. There are only a few different types of regular monsters to defeat and because of that thereís never really a feeling of surprise. At least the boss battles make up for some of these shortcomings because they are all so perfectly balanced. Each boss requires a certain strategy, so every one of these battles is engaging.

The diskarmor isnít only used for combat. There are some areas where you have to swing from place to place without falling. These platforming elements arenít used a whole lot in the game, but itís a fun diversion from the maiming and killing.

Nearly every one of the seven levels has just the right pacing, so thereís a perfect blend of fighting, platform hopping, and exploration. Unfortunately that makes one of the later levels stand out with its inferiority. The whole stage consists of repetitive platform hopping with the only combat happening at the end. Whatís even worse is that most of the jumping isnít even the fun kind where you swing with your Diskarmor; itís just straight jumping from floating platform to platform. Thankfully things quickly pick up after that tedious stage.

The once place where Rygar can be considered perfect is with the visuals. The backgrounds are incredibly lush and detailed, but the overall size and scale of the backdrops is what caused my jaw to drop. Whether Rygar is exploring Hades or trekking through a volcano, you canít help but be amazed at how grand everything looks. As if that wasnít enough, the animations are nearly perfect due to their amazing fluidity.

The same high-production values are carried over to the music, but the voice acting is strictly average. While the dramatic orchestral score sets the tone splendidly, the voice acting comes off as wooden and sometimes silly.

Like most action games nowadays, Rygar ends far too soon. On the easiest difficulty level it only took 5 hours to beat. Thereís an optional area and rankings to add some gameplay, but it offers very little. There are also some unlockable goodies, but those will only be worthwhile to the most obsessive of gamers.

Even with its faults, thereís plenty to like about Rygar: The Legendary Adventure. The gameplay is mostly involving and the graphics are impressive. Though the game is far too short and the lack of variety in the enemies is disappointing, I canít help but recommend this game. The adventure may not be legendary, but itís of some merit nonetheless.

7 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003. Get in touch on Twitter @akarge.

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