Rygar: The Legendary Adventure

Originally an 8-BIT classic, Rygar is back courtesy of Tecmo, and this new rendition does not disappoint. Find out if you should own it, in our full review.




Version
PS2
Developer
Tecmo
Publisher
Tecmo
Genre
Action



By Joe Ten Brook

Rygar was originally conceived for the NES, and many of the great things about The Legendary Adventure were established in the original. Of course, like many other classic franchises Tecmo decided it was time to bring Rygar back - so they did, and in rather a grand fashion too. It's amazing just how great Rygar plays, looks and sounds in its new 3D form. It's one of those games that will suck you in and consume your thoughts until you finish it - which has to be the sign of a great game.

The Legendary Adventure centers around Greek mythology. There are several Gods, Titans and other mythological creatures in the game, but the actual story revolves around a gladiator named Rygar, and his quest to rescue the kidnapped princess Harmonia. (Shwing).

This quest leads Rygar to the legendary (and incredibly cool) diskarmor. This legendary weapon plays a major role in making Rygar a super fun game, and also happens to be one of the coolest weapons ever in an action game. The story also focuses on the struggle between the Gods, Titans and other mythological topics, which really immerse the player in the world of Argus. Rygar's story is not only unique, its interesting and although it isn't as important as the actual gameplay, it's still great.

"Rygar is super-easy to pick up and play, and a blast once you're into it.."

The control is intuitive, precise and easy to learn as it was in the original Rygar. At its most basic level, Rygar's control scheme is pretty much perfect. With a button for jumping (X) and the other 3 face buttons designated for attacking, this allows for some great combos and special attacks, but most of them can be done with relative ease because they utilize only the three attack buttons. Blocking is done with the L1 or R1 buttons, and can be combined with X to perform certain special moves that you get throughout the game. Later in the game you'll even gain the ability to grapple and swing with the diskarmor - your best friend, as you'll soon discover.

This control scheme gives Rygar a level of depth for those who wish to learn all the combos, but at the same time it provides a steady learning curve. Rygar is super-easy to pick up and play, and a blast once you're into it. The actual gameplay is a mix of action, adventure and platforming - the action takes place rather consistently and involves you beating enemies into the ground with your super cool diskarmor. Your weapon of choice is a spinning disc attached to a chain, that can be thrown at your enemies, objects or grapple points.

"Some of the music is just downright amazing, and complements the rest of the game perfectly."

Your diskarmor will change when you get far enough in the game, with three different forms in total, all of which you can switch between, and all having a 'summon' creature. The diskarmor physics are also spot on, and each diskarmor behaves differently. Simply put, you will have loads of fun just messing around with the diskarmor and all its combos and special abilities.

Each diskarmor can also be upgraded very much like in an RPG. As you destroy your opponents and other objects, you gain 'build up points' that are used to upgrade. Each diskarmor is upgraded separately and increases your strength and defense. Then you can also equip stones to each diskarmor, giving them stat boosts and extra attributes. After you get into the upgrading, you can get your diskarmors pretty strong - you also gain life, defense and attack pick-ups, again likening this title to an RPG.

Platforming and exploring also play a huge role in your adventure. You will find yourself ascending walkways and jumping over pits just like the old days. Each level provides new challenges, and much like Nintendo's Metroid titles, there are many spots that require certain abilities to access. Your diskarmor also plays a large role in the platforming part of the game. You will use it to swing from grapple points, access secret areas and grapple across gaps that are too big to jump.

You'll also find yourself exploring a lot, so you can uncover stones and secrets. If you don't, you'll miss out on some great items. Once again your diskarmor will help you smash, swing or cross to many of the secret areas, giving you one more reason to use that awesome weapon!

Rygar really only has two gameplay flaws, neither of which really hurt the game that much. The first is a problem most action/adventure games have: a weak camera. Rygar's camera isn't horrible but with Devil May Cry-like fixed camera angles, sometimes you have trouble seeing all the enemies, or what mught be a secret item or area. Very rarely though is the angle bad during a jump or grapple sequence, so things aren't too bad. While it would have been nice to control the camera, Rygar's camera is better than most.

"The environments are straight out of Greek mythology and everything about them is visually impressive."

Secondly, there is no 'lock-on' feature for the diskarmor. This isn't too bad, since it usually finds its mark. But occasionally you may have to get too close to an enemy or grapple point just to hit it. This is really just a bother more than a flaw, but a 'lock-on' feature might not have been a bad idea. Other than these small things, Rygar plays like a dream.

Visually, Rygar is stunning. The environments are straight out of Greek mythology and everything about them is very impressive. From the caves to the majestic shrines everything is crisp, clear and beautiful. Everything is painstakingly detailed and nothing looks sloppy. When you're on the mountain with molten lava, there's steam everywhere, and your vision is slightly distorted. Just wait until you see Arcadia - this level in the sky appears to stretch on forever, and looks atounding. There are no draw-in problems, no graphical glitches and really nothing other than some of the best looking environments we've seen in a PS2 platformer.

As amazing as these environments look, its almost a shame that you can destroy most of them. Yes, you can literally destroy many of the pillars, pots and giant statues that you find along your way. This gives Rygar a very unique edge over the competition and really makes the game that much more interactive - and fun. This allows for more exploring, because you never know when you're going to find a secret cave... and sometimes, it's necessary to destroy stuff in order to progress or even survive. This is just a very cool feature, and you'll no doubt find yourself wrecking everything you can to find power-ups and other helpful items.

The Animation and character design is also top-notch. Rygar himself has a gladiator-esqe outfit and it fits him well. He also animates smooth as butter. Each attack and combo is animated flawlessly without any discrepancies. The enemies are a bit on the generic side, but still they look great and animate well. The bosses and other main characters, however, are extremely detailed, and fit the Greek theme to a tee. Some of the bosses are just look awesome. Style really is the order of the day in Rygar

Rygar also has a totally unique sound, with a completely original orchestral score. Let me tell you some of the music is just downright amazing, and complements the rest of the game perfectly. No two scores are the same either. Each section has its own music, enhancing the mood of that particular level. Some of the tracks are haunting and creepy, while others are faster and make you feel like some trouble is brewing. I was totally impressed with the way Rygar sounds and it really is one of the better scores I've heard on the PS2.

The level of detail put in the sound effects is high. Each surface Rygar walks on has a different sound to it even if that surface is only found rarely in the game. I found myself walking on a fallen Spanish tile roof at one point and it sounded exactly how I imagined it and, even though I only found one section to walk on in the entire game, they still had a sound effect for it! Each of your diskarmors also makes a different sound, which is a neat effect. The voice acting sounds good, and at no point seems poorly scripted or performed. Wisely, there isn't a ton of this in the game but what they do have is done above the norm.

In short, Rygar is amazing - a real gem of a game. While it might be a bit short, there really is plenty to do, and it is one of those games you actually play a second time through. There's a ton of fun to be had with Rygar, and everyone deserves the opportunity to play it sometime. Next time you feel like playing a game keep Rygar in mind, I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Graphics Sound Gameplay Depth Presentation OVERALL
9.6 9.5 9.4 8.5 9.3 9.5


THE VERDICT:
To say that Rygar: The Legendary Adventure is an excellent game would be an understatement. Rygar simply is one of the best action-platform titles to come to the PS2 of late - once you play it you're hooked - so what are you waiting for?

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