Overlord is back in action. Hand tailored to the Wii, it comes with more precise control of minions and overall easier 'Overlording' gameplay. Dark Legend is a whole new adventure and while it isn't going to knock your socks off, it will make you laugh, cry, scream, and even strangle people. To enjoy this game, bring an open mind, a dash of patience and a hint of speed in your fingers to give your minions a run for their money. Get ready to take control of the young Dark Prince of Gromgard.
The start of the game feels like a narrative from a book, written so well that it really makes you wonder if it is a tale or if it is a true story. You play as a young Dark Prince of Gromgard, running through the castle talking to people, learning about your wonderful evil siblings and rescuing the cook from the clutches of crazed Halflings.
The whole idea behind Dark Legend was to give fans an idea of how the young prince started out before gaining his evil Overlordship. You will be wandering through the castle hallways and get your first introduction to your gauntlet of evil. All gloved in, you will learn how to use your minions in basic and advanced ways. With your loyal servant and mentor Gnarl by your side you will traverse the dangerous depths of Gromgard in search of minions, destroying your evil siblings and taking the throne of Gromgard.
Dark Legend has a bit of a Lord of the Rings feel to it, with the whole Knights in Shining Armor/Medieval setting to boost this idea. To complete the picture, you can throw some fairytale stuff into the Lord of The Rings mix. Little Red Riding Hood makes an appearance and there is no shortage of wolves either.
Now you are probably thinking: "That sounds evil enough for me, but can I play the game to fit my evil Overlord ways?" The answer is of course you can, but it will require a little bit of patience so sit back and take some notes.
You play the game with the remote and nunchuk. The Prince is controlled with the analog stick, the camera can be reset, and you can move the camera manually by holding down C and moving the cursor around the screen. When you actually get your first set of minions, you sweep them by holding down the B button and moving them around on the screen with the cursor. I know this sounds just fine, buut wait, don't get too excited yet! There's a problem with this setup; the AI is pretty dumb. You can't just move the cursor anywhere and hope that the little guys will follow. No, you have to put the cursor right in front of them like a carrot held in front of a donkey to get them to move. This becomes very frustrating when you have several enemies hitting you and you need your minions to go across a log to cross a stream (only blue minions can go into water). Just holding down the B button on the other side is no good; you have to "drag" them over there which is a serious… drag.
Unlike the minion sweeping, switching magic spells is really simple. You just hold down the – button, move the cursor over your spell and let go. Wow genius! Ok maybe not, but the fighting mechanics of the game are definitely not so genius. All you do is swing your weapon with the Z button or wave your Wii-mote around. Yep that is all folks just wave the 'ol remote around or tap that lonely little Z button. There are no combo upgrades or anything like. You can switch between different colored minions with the left, right, and down D-pad. The D-pad is also used to do magic. Setting markers is done with the + button, and this allows you tell a certain color minion to stay and attack for ambushing or get enemies you can't reach.
When it comes to actual gameplay Dark Legend is decent at best. Minions come in red, blue, green, and brown and they are all unique in their own annoying, evil, and destructive little way. You will first gain brown minions, who are your basic fighting grunts and are no good at anything but looting, pillaging, and beating on things. Later on you will gain green (which absorb poison), blue (which can go into water), and red (which can absorb fire) which are all needed at all times.
To solve simple environmental puzzles, certain amounts of minions are required. Say you have a turn wheel, but it has green gas pods around it. Then you use greens to absorb the gas before sending blues to turn the wheel. Everything works like a chain and it is never too hard to figure out what is expected of you. You even have a mini map with a compass that shows you your current objective. Using warp gates, you can quickly move from one area to another.
Summoning your minions is done via hives located throughout the levels. You can use them to pick up relics for spells, max health and mana increase as well. Such spells vary from petrifying to electrocution, to time slow, to making your minions crazy and powerful for a short amount of time. The best technique however is the new ability to strangle your minions and charge them up. Red and brown ones explode, green ones can be used as a gas grenade, and blue ones give you life. I found all of these to be extremely helpful in a tight pinch. To top things off you can kill enemies for souls to acquire more minions. Gold found in chests can be spent in your castle's smelting room where you can upgrade your weapons, armor, and minions. This is a must for harder enemies and bosses later on in the game.
The environments are very pretty at times and some of the areas will definitely pique your interest. My favorite moment in the game was when I was in the woods chasing down Little Red. The area in which this takes place felt both charming and unique, its ambiance amplified by a menacing looking moonlight that gave the leaves on trees a creepy look. The dialog the developers chose is clever, yet evil and the voice actors give it all their evil might to help set the mood.
So, there is lots of fun to be had in Dark Legend thanks to the clever use of minions and the good amount of spells and plenty of relics to find. You will be sucked in for a good 6 to 8 hours. I just wish the minions were a bit smarter and the collision detection didn't suck. The backtracking can really get you down too. I highly recommend Dark Legend only to Overlord fans or Wii gamers who want to wipe the dust off that Wii. The Wii shovel ware stops here my Lord and so begins the tale.