When a game is released with a below market price tag, gamers always raise an eyebrow. “Why is this game discounted? Is there something wrong with it?” Typically, discounted games fall between mediocre to absolutely forgettable. Tournament of Legends from the developers at High Voltage Software (The Conduit 2) comes to the Wii at the low price of $30. This fighting game is an original property with a few cool nuances to the fighting genre. Although Tournament of Legends doesn’t bring home an overwhelmingly memorable game, it does offer a unique gaming style that has room for improvement in future releases.
Tournament of Legends begins with a narrated tale from Nona, mistress of the Fates. Jupiter, king of the gods, has gone missing. The premise sounds interesting, but the story hardly plays out during actual gameplay. First of all, Jupiter is supposedly missing then he’s available as a playable character after the exposition is finished. Fighting games like Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe taught us that fighting games can be more than endless rounds of button mashing – they could actually have a well thought out story arc. For $30, can you really complain? Not really, but it still would be nice if more attention was paid to creating a holistic game.
Gameplay is driven by either the Wii-mote and nunchuk combo or with the control pad. Like any fighting game on the Wii, playing with a control pad is simply more intuitive and fun. Wii-mote gameplay tends to be heavy on the side of random waggle and pump motions. Unlike Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, the Wii-mote actions in Tournament of Legends are more on the laborious side. For instance, when you get knocked down, you must pump your Wii-mote to replenish your health bar and get back up. During this time, your opponent has the chance to issue several taunts based on on-screen Wii-mote motions. Gamers can execute basic attacks with sideways slashes with their Wii-mote and nunchuk. Combining the A or B button with a controller swing can execute more powerful attacks. The battle ends when a gamer has one 3 rounds. The game is also broken up into Acts. If you exceed the 90-second time limit, the game will give you players an intermission. During this break, you can replenish your health by rotating the thumbstick and fix your armor by pumping the Wii-mote like a hammer. Several arenas also have guardians that will attack both combatants. For example, in Atlantis, Poseidon will attack with his Trident. Gamers will have to execute an on-screen Wii-mote motion to avoid being hit.
Tournament of Legends does have a few unique magical attacks for added fun in combat. As you progress through the story, you will gain different weapon enchantments that you can use in successive battles. The effects of these boosts include: increased damage (Lethal), slow attacks (Bind), energy drain (Poison), slow movements (Cripple) and damage over time (Burn). You can also unlock a few different weapons, like multiple swords.
The overall feel of the game is reminiscent of 90s fighter games like Battle Arena Toshinden – complete with arbitrary character voicing. The Valkyrie sounds like a southern bell with a mix of bimbo, while Marcus sounds like a British accent with a California Valley attitude. Narcia, the Medusa character, can be barely understood. It would have been nice if they had stuck with one accent because the voices just don’t seem to fit the style of the Roman-pantheon-inspired theme. On a positive note, you’ll get unique character quotes at the end of each battle, making each match more dynamic.
Tournament of Legends is a good first step into the fighting genre market for High Voltage. The game is much more enjoyable with a control pad. If High Voltage can manage to intertwine the characters into a more cohesive universe, future releases of Tournament of Legends may earn a place in the hearts of fighting enthusiasts.