Tournament of Legends Review

By Alexandra Hall - Posted Jul 08, 2010

Tournament of Legends draws its fighters from the annals of classical mythology, setting them against each other in a standard one-on-one tourney. Unfortunately the game doesn't live up to its vaguely interesting premise, with horrible controls, ugly graphics, shallow gameplay and a dearth of content all vying to be its single worst quality. Fighters have come a long way over the last 15 years, which this fossil throws into sharp relief.

The Pros
  • Supports Classic Controller
  • Detailed cover artwork
  • Disc and manual easily recyclable
The Cons
  • Shallow gameplay, horrible motion controls
  • Dearth of content and play modes
  • Strangely long load times

Tournament of Legends has a cute premise, pulling various legendary mythological figures (as well as a few more original characters) into an arena-style fighting game. Alas, that’s about where the good ideas run dry, as Tournament of Legends is quite possibly the worst fighting game to see retail release in years. It desperately pines to be Soul Calibur, which itself might be kind of cute if Tournament didn’t fail so completely at aping Namco’s bladed brawler.

Pure, Unadulterated Failure

Where to start? The fighting system is laughably simplistic, with combos that max out at four hits, glitchy special moves, and a staccato, back-and-forth quality more reminiscent of “Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots” than a smooth, strategic fighting game. Tournament piles on details like enchantments, power strikes, critical blocks, armor breaks, button-mashing mini-games and unlockable weapons, but it’s all pointless when the basic fighting system underneath it all is irredeemably flawed. Tournament of Legends is a complete failure as a fighting game.

The game’s ten characters are caricatured buffoons, with personalities and voices ranging from Captain Qwark to Stereotypical Blonde to (bizarrely, for Medusa) Caribbean Voodoo Priestess. Camp can be fun, but there has to be some substance behind it, and there’s none here.

The graphics don’t do the characters any favors, either, thanks to a three-hit combo of poor artwork, shoddy modeling, and art direction that aims for “garish” and blows right past it. Here we have a 2010 fighting game that looks and plays unequivocally worse than 1999’s Soul Calibur, with perhaps a quarter of that classic game’s content. What is there to say? There must be a very interesting story behind this terrible game’s creation, and I’ve love to hear it.

A Swing and a Miss

All of this glowing praise assumes you have a Classic Controller, which allows you to actually play the game, such as it is. Unfortunately, Tournament of Legends defaults to Remote & Nunchuk motion controls, which are as confusing as they are awful. News flash to developers: Mapping waggle to on-screen attacks doesn’t work well, isn’t fun, and has no place in a timing-critical genre like fighting. I can’t imagine anyone actually playing with the motion controls at length. Or rather, I don’t want to imagine that, the poor bastards.

What else are you going to do, though? Tournament of Legends offers a “story” (read: arcade) mode, a versus mode and a practice mode. That’s it. This game has less content than a lot of Flash efforts.

The Bad Old Days

In a weird way Tournament of Legends illustrates just how far fighting games have come over the last 15 years. The lowest common denominator has risen, slowly, such that it’s now rare to see a truly inept fighter hit retail. And Tournament of Legends, for its comprehensive list of flaws and shortcomings, is still a little better than PlayStation-era trash like Criticom or Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi. Faint praise, I know. Tournament of Legends certainly conjures another era, but perhaps not in the way its developers intended it to.