Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 11/25/02 | Genre: Action
With the release of Maximo, Capcom's follow-up to the thought-to-be-deceased Ghosts N' Goblins franchise (no pun intended); it had become obvious that bringing back nearly forgotten franchises has become the big thing in the videogame business. Aside from Maximo, blockbusters like GameCube's Metroid Prime and PS2's Shinobi have also brought a bit of nostalgia into the lives of older gamers, while still thrilling a new audience. Seeing this, it comes to the surprise of no one that Tecmo is banking in on the concept of face-lifting old classics by delivering ֠Rygar?
Those expecting me to say Ninja Gaiden, sorry for the disappointment. You are going to have to wait a couple more months (or maybe years seeing how slow the game has been moving along.) In the meantime though, you might want to spend some time with Rygar: The Legendary Adventure--Tecmo's update to the quasi-fun Rygar that was released back in 1987.
For gaming veterans of NES era, you might remember renting Rygar--a game dating back to the days of Ancient Rome where your character, Rygar, defeated the forces of evil with a Morningstar-equipped yo-yo. Those with better memories will probably also recall that the unique weapon was one of the few positives of the game.
Fortunately, Rygar's weapon, now called the Diskarmor, makes a brilliant return in the PS2 remake. Still working like a yo-yo with spikes, gamers will have a blast ripping through enemies and obstacles with visually-stunning combo attacks. In addition to being able to maneuver the massive Diskarmor every which way, the weapon is upgradeable (including different variations of the weapon with different combo attacks), can unleash Final Fantasy-esque call spells and even doubles as a shield to defend enemy attacks. If nothing else, gamers should rent Rygar just to whoop some butt with the almighty Diskarmor for a few hours.
Sadly, in the process of spending a few hours hacking and slashing with the Diskarmor, gamers will have little difficulty completing this so-called legendary adventure. Taking around eight hours to complete, most will have no problem completing the game over a weekend. It's probably a good thing the game isn't any longer though, as the enemies, combat and puzzles are pretty similar throughout the game. Plus with a story that is cheesier than Clash of the Titans and fixed camera angles that will leave you claustrophobic (note: people should stop complaining about bad camera controls in games like Super Mario Sunshine--at least you are able to control the camera) and you'll be happy the game was brief.
While Rygar has its problems, the game's audio and visuals are both outstanding. The game's music, which is beautifully orchestrated by the Moscow Philharmonic, is one of the most memorable soundtracks in recent years. This masterpiece score can be best described as a blend of John Williams (Star Wars) and Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy VII). As for the visuals, the game recaptures Ancient Rome as perfectly as you can imagine. If it were not for some poor choices in camera movement (can you say Ry-gargh!?), the graphics would be up there with the best of 2002 on the PS2.
All in all, gamers should at least rent Rygar: The Legendary Adventure. While it has its shortcomings (most notably its length and camera work) the game's action is worth the price of admission and makes it a much more enjoyable experience than its predecessor back in the 80's. Who knows, maybe when they release another Rygar 15 years from now, it might be one of the greatest games ever made.