"Hey, it's Dungeons and Dragons ride". SO began that stupid cartoon where five American brats and a poncey unicorn wandered around a vast land filled with dragons and monsters, and somehow never got killed. And every episode they almost went home, but couldn't because they didn't want to leave the unicorn behind. Soft fools. And did you know that the voice of that one with the shield with Ralph from Happy Days? Bizarre but true. He really went up in the world, didn't he?
I mean, trust the Americans to do a spin-off cartoon from a board game, of all things. Snakes and Ladders - The Movie, anyone?
In fact, they didn't just do a cartoon spin-off. No, we also got Dungeons and Dragons action figures (I know, I had one), D&D lunch boxes, and if you looked hard enough, you could probably find D&D yoghurt. And we also got the official D&D computer games. And by jiminy, they were boring.
No wonder everyone and their dog began to write a decent RPG for the home computer. And just our luck - they succeeded. Now we get a new one every month. In fact, this very issue contains no less than four games with a distinct RPG tang. And this is one of them.
Legend shies away from the traditional first-person perspective, and plumps for the isometric 3D approach, not unlike Shadowlands. Oops, that's given the game away a bit. Legend is, it must be said, very similar to Shadowlands. But it's also better in some ways, and worse in others. Let me explain.
The plot is the usual dribble about four adventurers ridding the land of evil, so we'll skip that and go straight to the game itself. You start by defining your characters, as per normal, by changing their names and hem hem, their sex if you wish.
Then it's onto a map where you move your party, as an icon, to different towns. Enter buildings, chat to locals, get cues and buy weapons. Simple. Eventually, the clues should lead you to an adventurers' guild where you must prove your worth in the cellar.
And thus we go into the RPG bit. Simply get your team through the cellar, and find a permit that will prove that you're a bunch of well 'ard warriors.
Along the way you'll have to master the art of reading and casting runes, pulling levers to open doors and, of course, killing loads of monsters. So, what set this game apart from the several million other RPGs on the market? Well, the spell casting is pretty in-depth. Rather than just finding spells and using them, you've got to use your magician to find scrolls, mix ingredients and read runes.
And it ain't easy. The manual helps you out plenty, but the whole magic bit is too daunting really and will put all but the most dedicated off. At least it's got spells in it, though.
The only really original option is the special powers that each adventurer has. Pressing F10 while selecting the appropriate bod will make them start doing whatever their particular forte is.
So for the magician it brings up the magic menu, while for the bard it brings up a list of magical tunes to play which will affect your team's attributes. The assassin becomes invisible and - this is my favourite - the warrior goes into a Beserker rage.
Which brings us quite nicely to the battles. Rather than just fighting one foe at a time, combat occurs when you stumble across a roving band, and all you have to do is press Enter and your team will get stuck in. With all the special powers going it turns into a right big scrap and is really quite entertaining to watch. Just put your feet up and chuckle as the warrior goes bonkers and squashes the enemy with a single blow. Arf arf arf.
The only trouble with Legend is that it constantly reminds you of other games. The map section is identical to the outdoors section of Abandoned Places, the indoors bit is Shadowlands, the AutoMapping appears in Black Crypt and the spell mixing also appeared in the first Elvira game.
It's not quite as good as any of those games, but an enjoyable little chestnut for all its shortcomings. If you want a slightly more accessible RPG than Shadowlands, then this could be the one for you.