Chaos Legion (PlayStation 2) review
"Chaos Legion isn’t for the regular man. Regular men break down and cry in its mere presence; its difficulty is something to behold. Most gamers give up, throw the towel in and scratch off Chaos Legion as just another lame brawler. Why not? Hordes of unfettered beasts assault us from so many sides it’s almost claustrophobic. They eat away at our health relentlessly with their feral attacks until we’re nothing more than a limp mass of torn flesh and tattered cloth. We’re left with nothing m..."
Chaos Legion isn’t for the regular man. Regular men break down and cry in its mere presence; its difficulty is something to behold. Most gamers give up, throw the towel in and scratch off Chaos Legion as just another lame brawler. Why not? Hordes of unfettered beasts assault us from so many sides it’s almost claustrophobic. They eat away at our health relentlessly with their feral attacks until we’re nothing more than a limp mass of torn flesh and tattered cloth. We’re left with nothing more than the disappointment that our gaming skills just aren’t up to par and the unforgiving ‘Game over’ screen only stands as a testament to the game’s excellence.
We give up and turn the game off.
I share this tale with you because I was almost one of those gamers that were disheartened by Chaos Legion’s sheer difficulty level alone. Foolish on my part, since everything that makes a great game is still here, such as strong characters and an intriguing plot line. All great tales must begin somewhere, and Chaos Legion’s begins with Seig, a red-haired hero who has a huge dilemma, and it’s in the form of a crime pressed upon him: the killing of his best friend’s girlfriend. His friend, Victor, reminiscent of Sephiroth – sporting silky, silver hair and a long, black cape – will do anything to reunite himself with his unjustly murdered love. Victor doesn’t stand around and give our protagonist an abundance of time to save the world, and he spares us the pompous speeches about how well his demonic plan will unfold. We know he’s ready to release an unspeakable evil to reunite with his dead love, and there’s nothing to be done but just hope we can get to him in time.
And make our way to him we will, but it’ll be a path riddled with hardships and tests. Level one teaches us the ropes with a minimal amount of enemies, and we’re given a handicap: the strongest legion in the entire game. Legions make up the core of Chaos Legion’s game play since they’re able to be summoned up from the ground and sent around to assault any monster we tell them to via a small disc that’s able to be thrown from our hand at our discretion. We’re able to call the Legions off or simply let them fight till the death. The latter isn’t recommended since they’re extremely valuable throughout the game. Without them, we’ll find ourselves dead in a matter of seconds when the going gets tough.
There is quite a diversity of legions, spanning from explosive fireballs to sharp-shooting archers. Adding to the diversity are brutes able to perform authentic wrestling moves on unsuspecting enemies as well as knights who impale their victims with lances multiple times. Then, of course, there is the strongest legion in the game, whose name, Thanatos, literally means ‘personification of death’ and rightfully so. He’s able to smack around all the enemies on the screen at once and clear entire bosses without batting an eye. Sadly, he’s been destroyed, and his fragments spread throughout the stages, so we don’t get to use him except near the end assuming our search-and-find skills are adequate enough.
Early on, Chaos Legion allows us to get complacent with it, making us think we’re able to conquer its challenges with ease despite hearing about all the difficult situations that await us. “What, they think this game is hard?” will no doubt surface a few times while playing through the beginning levels. The first two bosses are a breeze compared to this third boss. While we may have a hard time with the third boss, it’s nothing for us to get angry over. A four-legged monstrosity able to produce earth-shattering shockwaves and bull charge at us certainly sounds like a lot to handle, and it is. With a body that’s immune to all attacks except ones that are directed at its head and a health bar that takes up the entire screen, it’s easy to see why we’d have difficulty with this beast. We struggle to beat him and, after a few tries, he finally falls to what we’d like to believe is pure skill but is probably nothing more than sheer determination. The taste of victory has never been so sweet.
Chaos Legion suddenly almost seems like a game only a sadomasochist could enjoy from this point onward. Never mind that level three boss, now there are five of the same monsters to taken care of. We’ll see them anxiously awaiting our arrival behind gates, ready to pounce and rip us apart limb from limb. This is assuming we were able to make our way through the stage alone that’s full of hundreds and hundreds of monster coming straight at us from the air, ground and even firing projectiles at our hero. Chaos Legion starts us off easy here, making us face one, then two and finally three of these aforementioned bosses. More redoubtable challenges lay ahead even past this. A chasm-hanging spider that fires out homing lasers and procreates at an unimaginable speed makes sure that advancing further isn’t in our plan book. Chaos Legion makes sure that we work hard for our win.
So the bosses prove to take us and beat us to a bloody pulp as so do the levels. Deep canyons hollow out an impassable barrier, making us have to fight for our life over a bridge. Just later, after we’ve made our way past this, we’ll be locked in a fight to the death with two larger enemies that are invisible. Since there are only around two or three check points per level, death means setback. Most of Chaos Legion won’t be spent on getting setback; however, it’ll be spent trying to advance through the almost impossible odds to make it to the stage boss. Arriving at the boss has its own share of problems as well: we'll have to fight him multiple times just to get his attack pattern down. To defeat him, honing our skills is a must.
Chaos Legion becomes easier as we dedicate more hours to it, making all the times we died at the hands of some invisible beast or giant, two-legged monster worth it. Not many clear Chaos Legion, but those that do hold something over most other gamers’ heads. We’re able to retell the tales of Seig and his battles through almost impossible odds. His fights with unspeakable evils on top of castle walls, digging up hidden Thanatos pieces that were once thought to be lost for good and daring escapades through floating castles filled with undead knights. Beyond this, there is still another character to lead through the adventure and, if you’re manly, the ability to raise the difficulty level.
Community review by Sclem (June 18, 2005)
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