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Rygar: The Legendary Adventure – Second Opinion

Scott Jones's picture

As Brad says, Rygar: The Legendary Adventure borrows heavily--and in some cases, outright plagiarizes-from the structure and aesthetic of Devil May Cry (DMC). The static camera angles, the save system, and even the fonts are nearly identical to DMC. At first glance, Rygar, with his stiff, geriatric jumps, appears to be an older, slower, Greco-Roman version of Dante. But after playing through the first few levels, I stopped comparing and contrasting with DMC and began appreciating—and thoroughly enjoying—Rygar on its own terms.

That's not to say Rygar is flawless. The story—terrible Tecmo tripe, as Brad says—only complicates things. Exploration is needlessly confused by the static camera angles; on one occasion, I missed an entire portion of a level due to a bad camera. Destroying the environment with my Diskarmor is great fun, but for some reason only about half of the columns and arches are actually destructible. And the Mystic Stones, even after playing through the game twice, are still somewhat mysterious to me.

But once I did get my bearings, Rygar began yielding pleasures. I especially appreciated the subtleties of the Diskarmor, which is one of most creative weapons ever seen in a videogame. It's extremely gratifying to experiment with the yo-yo-like shield, discovering new moves. My personal favorite (since Brad shared his) involves spinning it to create a miniature tornado; enemies are sucked into the vortex of the tornado, then battered with multiple hits. With these kinds of satisfying combos, wielding the Diskarmor just never gets old.

Unfortunately, the game doesn't deliver enough opportunities to use this impressive weapon. All too often I found myself running from screen to screen, anxious to find fresh enemies to battle. The Cyclopes—easily one of the more formidable enemies in the game—only appears a half-dozen times. It seems odd to me that the producers went to the trouble to create him then used him so sparingly. Only on the Hard setting, which is unlocked after completing Normal, was my Diskarmor proficiency truly tested. And while the more common enemies in the game leave something to be desired (angry caterpillars anyone?), the bosses, in contrast, are utterly spectacular and provide some of Rygar's most exciting moments. Massive and intimidating, the bosses require genuine strategy—some battles had me switching furiously between Diskarmors—and these hideous beasts are great fun to finally bring down.

Brad complained that Rygar's five-hour quest feels somewhat truncated. I disagree. As with a good novel or film, the auteurs behind the game had the sense to know when to end things, i.e. while the experience is still engaging, before tedium sets in. Of course, I wanted more Rygar after the credits rolled, but I prefer to be left wanting more rather than feeling relieved that the damn thing is over, which is how I've felt at the end of many lesser games. As I pulled the Rygar disc from my PlayStation 2, I felt that sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that I get only from the better videogames. Rygar certainly isn't revolutionary, but the detailed graphics, exciting boss fights, and that wonderful Diskarmor make this one of the more memorable trips I've taken in the third-person action genre in recent months.

As Brad says, Rygar: The Legendary Adventure borrows heavily--and in some cases, outright plagiarizes-from the structure and aesthetic of Devil May Cry. The static camera angles, the save system, and even the fonts are nearly identical to DMC. At first glance, Rygar, with his stiff, geriatric jumps, appears to be an older, slower, Greco-Roman version of Dante. But after playing through the first few levels, I stopped comparing and contrasting with DMC and began appreciating-and thoroughly enjoying-Rygar on its own terms.

That's not to say Rygar is flawless. The story-terrible Tecmo tripe, as Brad says-only complicates things. Exploration is needlessly confused by the static camera angles; on one occasion, I missed an entire portion of a level due to a bad camera. Destroying the environment with my Diskarmor is great fun, but for some reason only about half of the columns and arches are actually destructible. And the Mystic Stones, even after playing through the game twice, are still somewhat mysterious to me.

But once I did get my bearings, Rygar began yielding pleasures. I especially appreciated the subtleties of the Diskarmor, which is one of most creative weapons ever seen in a videogame. It's extremely gratifying to experiment with the yo-yo-like shield, discovering new moves. My personal favorite (since Brad shared his) involves spinning it to create a miniature tornado; enemies are sucked into the vortex of the tornado, then battered with multiple hits. With these kinds of satisfying combos, wielding the Diskarmor just never gets old.

Unfortunately, the game doesn't deliver enough opportunities to use this impressive weapon. All too often I found myself running from screen to screen, anxious to find fresh enemies to battle. The Cyclopes-easily one of the more formidable enemies in the game-only appears a half-dozen times. It seems odd to me that the producers went to the trouble to create him then used him so sparingly. Only on the Hard setting, which is unlocked after completing Normal, was my Diskarmor proficiency truly tested. And while the more common enemies in the game leave something to be desired (angry caterpillars anyone?), the bosses, in contrast, are utterly spectacular and provide some of Rygar's most exciting moments. Massive and intimidating, the bosses require genuine strategy-some battles had me switching furiously between Diskarmors-and these hideous beasts are great fun to finally bring down.

Brad complained that Rygar's five-hour quest feels somewhat truncated. I disagree. As with a good novel or film, the auteurs behind the game had the sense to know when to end things, i.e. while the experience is still engaging, before tedium sets in. Of course, I wanted more Rygar after the credits rolled, but I prefer to be left wanting more rather than feeling relieved that the damn thing is over, which is how I've felt at the end of many lesser games. As I pulled the Rygar disc from my PlayStation 2, I felt that sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that I get only from the better videogames. Rygar certainly isn't revolutionary, but the detailed graphics, exciting boss fights, and that wonderful Diskarmor make this one of the more memorable trips I've taken in the third-person action genre in recent months. Rating: 8 out of 10

Category Tags
Platform(s): PS2  
Developer(s): Tecmo  
Publisher: Tecmo  
Genre(s): Adventure/Explore  
ESRB Rating: Teen (13+)  
Articles: Game Reviews  

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