I am getting a bit worried about review policy here at AMIGA POWER. It doesn't take long for one of us to get sort of typecast - Jonathan does the flight sims and strategy war games, Mark gets anything violent, Stuart gets anything he wants, and now it looks like I'm the RPG/Adventure man. No! Please, guys - I'll do the platform games you all hate, I'll do puzzle games and horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-ups, sports sims and god games, but please don't condemn me to a life of working out spell systems and trying to pronounce my main character's surname.
Don't get me wrong - I've got nothing against adventure games. In fact, I really like them. But just flick through this magazine and you'll see that this month I've reviewed Knightmare and Legend, tipped Legends of Valour and KGB, reviewed Nippon Safes Inc, and now I'm on Worlds Of Legend.
Apart from the fact that I don't know what particular 'legend' I'm involved in any more, I'm also not sure whether I'm in Mitteledorf, Trazere or Moscow, whether I'm called Zothen Runecaster, Mantric Shafthassen the Elder or Dino Fafioli, or what the hell's going on. I yearn for a name like Scooter or Biff, one that's easy to say and doesn't suggest that I had an abnormal birth and that I'm incapable o getting on with people my own age. (Look, stop whinging and get on with the review or I'll kill you. - Ed)
There's a happy coincidence in this issue, as already mentioned - on page 71 you'll find a review of the newly-released-on-a-budget Legend. which this game just happens to be the sequel to. So, if you're unfamiliar with the original, I suggest you turn there now and have a good read. I'll just go and make a cup of tea...
The main action takes place in the dungeons
Finished? Good, wasn't it? I wrote that. Anyway, Worlds Of Legend is the sequel, and I have to say that on first look you could be mistaken for thinking you'd got the original by mistake - the game engine is identical. I didn't have a lot of room for background details in the budget review, but I've got two pages here, so perhaps a little elaboration is in order.
First - the plot. One of the adventurers in your party receives a message telling him that his father, the Emperor, has been assassinated. The culprit seems to be one Ti-Mann MoChun, and you have to return to Imperia in the Empire of the Moon to sort things out. This involves a sub-quest in which you have to return the four shards of the Eternal Amulet to Aunt Sushiana so that she can reform it and the Empire may be saved.
The team consists of four characters: a Barbarian, a Wizard, a Bard and an Assassin. You can alter some of their characteristics before you start and even change their sex and clothing, which is very politically correct I think. Each character has his or her own special power - the Barbarian goes into a Berserker rage, the Assassin can hide in the shadows, the Bard can sing enchanting songs and the Wizard of course is pretty nifty at magic.
Apart from the plot, the other major difference between this and its prequel is that Worlds Of Legend has a mystical Eastern background, rather than a straight Dungeons and Dragons style. It's a good idea, but it's the only things that separates the two games in feel. Everything else is exactly the same, from the character selection to the control system.
Perhaps this is no bad thing - after all, you would expect certain similarities between a game and its follow-up. And Legend was a great and immensely popular game, so why change it? True, but at the same time it wasn't without its faults, and I can't help thinking that this would have been a great place to put them right. Also, is it worth the money when what it amounts to is a data disk? We shall see.
There's a land map to travel around and you use this to enter various different towns. In the towns you can pick up clues, buy runes for spells, get equipment, pray at temples, and so on. However, the main action takes place in the dungeons. These are (naturally) full of peril, but they also contain gold, spells, weapons, scrolls and inevitably the shards of the Eternal Amulet. There's also a number of puzzles to solve, and keys to find which enable you to get on and move further through the dungeon, so your mind is kept busy too.
If you're not familiar with the control system, this is how it works. The view is isometric 3D, and the play area is like a board made up of small squares. You control the four characters by clicking on where you want them to go with the mouse. There are plinths around the play area which you use to make your character fight and cast spells (in the case of the Wizard). There's also Elliot the Dragon (don't ask me), who sits at the side and does the handy task of drawing out a map for you as you progress.
You'd think in these days of amazing graphical advances and incredible game designs like Legends of Valour that this sort of game would go out of date. The truth is, Worlds Of Legend is so much fun that it doesn't matter how far up the RPG evolutionary ladder it is - it works and it works well. If you've played Legend, you'll know what I mean.
But the criticism still stands that nothing's moved on since Legend - all you're getting is a different plot. It seems a shame when perhaps something more could have been done with it, and there must be a cheaper way of presenting a game with exactly the same game engine. I'm going to recommend it, because it is so good, and you can never get enough of Legend, but I'm tinged with disappointment that some new ideas weren't incorporated.