Codemasters’ surprise 2007 hit, Overlord, has spawned a smattering of upcoming sequels. This year, the UK-based publisher will roll out three new flavors: the Wii exclusive Overlord: Dark Legend; Overlord II for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360; and Overlord: Minions for DS. While all three games revolve around the Overlord mythology, they offer different stories and styles of gameplay. Dan Robinson, brand manager of all three games, piloted my demo for Dark Legend.
Dark Legend serves as a prequel for the previous Overlord title and sets up the origin story of the titular character from the first game. Codemasters charged the Climax development team to bring out the personality of the game’s signature minions. “People just identified with the minions the most,” said Robinson, “so we wanted to give gamers what they wanted.” By bringing out the personality, Codemasters meant throwing sombreros and feathered caps on the imps that carry out the Overlord’s bidding and even giving players the ability to turn individual minions into a kamikaze bombers. How’s that for personality?
Gamers will control the Overlord with the Nunchuk and use the Wiimote to manipulate the minions. The categories of minions are limited to four, which is based on the Wiimote’s D-pad that you use to select between the red, brown, blue and green minion types. The different colors denote different abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Robinson cited Pikmin as an influence on the minion-color-to-minion-ability scheme. Simply select the type of minion you want, point the Wiimote at an enemy to attack or a lever to pull and send them on their way. As for the aforementioned suicide bombing, the Overlord can select individual minions, grab’em by the throat and shake the little bastard til it starts to glow and smoke. Drop the minion, point at the target and off trots the happiest little suicide bomber this side of the jihad.
Strategy and RPG elements come in to play in Dark Legend as you put together your posse of minions at various spawn points. The number of minions you can select fluctuates throughout the game, forcing you to make some tough choices. The overall content of the game stays true to Overlord form. Gamers will face cuddly sheep, small dwarves, animated gingerbread men and get the chance to rip them all a new one. “We wanted to make a statement with Dark Legend,” said Robinson, “We wanted to show that the Wii can do proper games, with depth and great graphics.”
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