| paleface [sys=XBX; cat=Beat_em_up; loc=NA] |
|Strangely hard to find this title now, in fact I don't know if you can find it anywhere new--Atari's site seems to sell it via their company store (and at a discount price), so maybe that would work. It's almost like it's been blacklisted. I suppose it would've stood up longer if it had supported co-op play over Live, but as far as I know the four-player is only all on the same box.|
So, this is a game almost exactly like Baldur's Gate (see entry 414) and all other knock-offs that came after it on PS2. Xbox only got this one, and I suppose it came out all right. The interface and graphics and all are pretty much just the same as those other games, except that some of the characters here look pretty low-poly, the levels are bland (this tends to afflict the entire sub-genre, but not quite to this extent), and only one person can manage their inventory at once.
That last one would be a real killer, particularly since this game supports four players at once, rather than just the two of the old BG games, except that the game is much stingier in giving out loot. In my view, this is a good thing--the tons and tons of booty you constantly have to crate back to town in Champions of Norrath, for instance (see entry 390), is so out of control that it becomes the entire focus of the game. Thankfully that doesn't happen here, and you're more able to focus on the erratic and even goofy story. Still, making everyone else wait while one person fiddles around with their boots and bottles is a real downer.
Let's roll in a few other quick, random pros and cons. Character progression seems pretty speedy, a nice change of pace from those super-grindy Champions games. The framerate got pretty choppy under large enemy attacks in a three-player game. It is child's play to dupe items, since you can at any time load any character from any saved game into your active party. I don't know if that's too pro or con, but it is a bit silly. The death thing sucks: if you die, you have to use a resurrection amulet to stand back up. If you don't have one, you simply reload your character from a previous save--meaning that you lose any XP and loot acquired in the meantime. Blah! Nobody likes that.
On the whole, though, it's pretty much just like all those other co-op dungeon hacks of this generation. You may be a little sick of them by now.