Review by xenodolf
"A solid side-scrolling hack 'n slash that reminds me very much of Golden Axe."
Not to be confused with the Tim Curry movie or PS1 hack 'n slash of the same name - Legend is a SNES-exclusive medieval/fantasy beat 'em up. It has been downright ignored by most gaming circles I frequent and only has one other review on Gamefaqs. I am here to try and shine a bit more light onto what I think is a hard but enjoyable bladed brawler. Onto the review..
Legend has some of the best visuals for a SNES beat 'em up, especially considering how early in the SNES's lifespan it was released. Most of the stages have beautiful watercolor landscapes, giving the frantic combat a majestic setting. The playable character(s) and the enemies all have well executed animations and greatly detailed sprites. In fact, there are very few flaws in this area of the game at all. I didn't think the demon tree boss fit in well with the rest of the graphics, and the opening level was used several times as a kind of prelude stage.
When you're not listening to the steady clanging of metal against metal, there's an impressive soundtrack present in Legend. Most of the musical tracks are above average, and there's a really good reoccurring melody you're gonna hear about ten times throughout the entire game. The battle noise is mostly metallic crashing, with several different death cries split between the 9 or so different enemy designs.
There are a few snags in Legend's control department, mostly with the occasional awkward transition of swinging your sword around. You'll also notice that enemies can get caught behind pillars or other obstacles, breaking the immersion factor. Lastly, I must agree with the previous reviewer that Legend is in dire need of a run button. While you can leap across the screen to move along faster, I would of have preferred a ground based dash. There aren't any real response lag issues aside from the minor glitches with switching attack directions time to time.
This game really wore me out, taking about an 45 minutes to an hour to get to the final stage. Although the combat is pretty simple (standard attacks, special move, and usage of magic) the enemies are very aggressive and won't give you a breather. Normal genre tactics like mashing the special move or trying to get all your foes on one side of you won't work much here. For example, the baddies here actually block pretty often and will chase you across the screen if you try to hop away from the center of the fray. The enemies also have significantly different attack strategies - and you will have to alter your rules of engagement or you'll find yourself staring at the "game over" screen soon enough. The magic system borrows from Golden Axe, allowing you to rack up to 9 enchanted urns that unleash a storm of energy at a cost of 2 urns each time. Keys are another pick-up - which will eventually allow you to unlock treasure chests for health and extra lives in mini-games set between stages. Unlike the majority of beat 'em ups, EVERY enemy in this game drops some sort of collectible object. They are: money for additional points, health, enchanted urns, and the aforementioned keys. The constant diving for these items might turn some players off, but I found it enhancing the already hectic battlefield. I'm pretty satisfied with the core of Legend, being its combat engine and gaming mechanics.
Replay value 5/10
There is the option of having up to 2 simultaneous characters, and a hidden stage I happened to have found my first time through Legend. I hope that both you and your gaming partner have strong thumbs - because even being the veteran beat 'em up enthusiast I am didn't prepare me for how draining the combat was.
Although clearly inspired by Sega's Golden Axe franchise, Legend gave SNES owners a bit more in the department of hack 'n slash games. While not as flashy or deep as Knights of the Round and The King of Dragons - Legend doesn't go without its own moments of brilliance. Since it was made by a small game developer, you're probably never going to see it on a company compilation. The solitary SNES iteration is your one and only chance to experience this eye and ear pleasing title. It may be slightly hard to find a physical copy these days, but I think one would be worth playing $10-$13 dollars for.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/25/07
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