Gamers everywhere were disappointed when High Voltage software decided to scrap Gladiator A.D. for the Nintendo Wii. Gladiator AD was a violent fighter that placed the player inside a Roman arena, battling various opponents for survival. The game played from a 3rd person perspective, and the action was bloody and full of fatalities. Gamers everywhere were anticipating the release of this title. For reasons unknown to most people, High Voltage decided to revamp Gladiator 3D into a one-on-one fighter now known as Tournament of Legends.
ToL is your standard VS fighter that pits 8 combatants (with 2 unloackable fighters) against each other in various arenas. The combat system uses the Wii remote for attacking and Nunchuck for movement respectively; the A button executes your special moves. Surprisingly, combat is fairly easy with the wireless remotes. Special moves, once executed, require a twist of the wrist while holding the Wii remote or flicking your wrist upwards depending on the fighter you’ve chosen.
Like any competent fighter, you have the ability to side-step your opponent’s attacks, and this is done by using the Nunchuck’s joystick. Blocking is done by pressing and holding the C button. Oddly enough, sometimes blocking doesn’t always work, and attacks will somehow break through and inflict damage. It’s hard to determine if this is the fault of the Wii’s wireless technology or something involving ToL.
After each battle, you are given certain abilities (and sometimes weapons) stolen from your fallen opponent. There is no real customization beyond choosing a new skill or weapon, but it does add diversity to the fight and your fighter. Some skills allow your fighter to syphon your opponent’s health, while others offer additional damage to your attacks. This is a unique feature that should be exploited more often in weapon-based fighting games.
Taunting is another aspect of the game, but it seems somewhat redundant and pointless to a degree. Since matches are based on a 3 out of 3 win ratio, you must knock your opponent down three times to win, and taunt them while they try to recover. On-screen indicators give you direction on how to use your Wii remotes to taunt, but sometimes the game doesn’t respond to your frantic Wii remote thrusts. When the taunts do work, you are given repetitive (albeit cheesy) comments that almost make you blush from embarrassment.
ToL does offer additional features that are unique. Some arenas include obstacles that each fighter must avoid or they will incur damage. A sleeping dragon, for instance, sits inside a cave while you fight your opponent. If you wake it by mistake, it will try to attack. The only problem with this feature is that the flow of combat is interrupted by this event (and others like it). Both fighters stand perfectly still while an on-screen indicator depicts the movements needed to avoid the in-coming event. It would have been far better if the flow of combat wasn’t interrupted, and the event was mixed in. It gives an overwhelming sense of displacement and disrupts the flow of combat. The concept is fantastic, but the execution is flawed. A mini-game is also present between matches that has you increasing your health and repairing your armor. This mini-game acts more like a diversion as you twirl the Nunchuck joystick to replenish health, and swing the Wii remote like a hammer to fix your damaged armor.
ToL tries very hard to be unique in many different areas. The graphics are above average for a Wii title, with colorful backgrounds, large, detailed fighters, and plenty of flashy explosions when special moves are performed. The voice-acting, on the other hand, is terrible. The announcer isn’t any better either.
Bravehoof, one of the selectable characters in the game, will say things like, “I try to be calm!” while taunting, and it makes very little sense. In a combat scenario involving life and death, how calm would you actually be?
Tournament of Legends is an average fighter filling a very large gap in the Wii’s library. As a fighter, ToL will still offer hours of enjoyment, but certain features – like the scripted events that disrupt gameplay- will leave you scratching your head. The absence of online play is also disappointing.
Hopefully High Voltage Software will take these critiques into consideration if and when they decide to develop a sequel. ToL shows promise, and if the issues plaguing this fighter can be rectified, it could become a serious contender.
Mike ‘STGuy1040’ Pittaro
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Developer: High Voltage Software
|They're bright, colorful, and look really nice for a Nintendo Wii title.|
|The voice-acting is terrible; you'll really dislike the taunts too. The combat is full of heavy-hitting sound effects that fit the action perfectly.|
|At its core, Tournament of Legends is a solid fighter. Don't expect Soul Calibur or Tekken quality, though.|
|Despite its flaws, ToL is still worth purchasing at $29.99. Some gamers may wait until this reaches the bargain bin before opening their wallets, but in all seriousness, you're still getting one of the better fighters on Nintendo Wii.|