Chaos Legion

Chaos Legion

Written by Charlie Sinhaseni on 8/27/2003 for PS2  

There was a time and age where slaughtering an endless army of look alikes was fun and engaging. Oh yes, it’s true. The premise of entering a room and killing a guy and his 50 identical cousins was seen as the norm, cutting edge even. That was about ten years ago, back in the days when Smash TV ruled the arcades and games didn’t require a brain to operate, just one shiny quarter. Today the ideology still lives on but advancements in the brawler genre have made this train of though obsolete and while some companies have managed to make a shiny penny off this age-old adage, the majority of the products turn out to be State of Emergency and Minority Report: Everybody Runs. Enter Chaos Legion, the great heir to the “boring as hell, enter the next room to slaughter 500 million enemies, lather, rinse, repeat” throne.

Comparing Chaos Legion to Capcom’s highly successful Devil May Cry would be an unfair assessment. Devil May Cry had a similar premise but the game spliced some engaging puzzle and storyline elements into the compelling combat system. In all actuality Chaos Legion has far more in common with Devil May Cry 2, the 2003 follow up that nixed all that was great about Devil May Cry and turned it into a mindless brawler.

I hope you’re good at mashing buttons because you’ll be doing a whole lot of it in this adventure. Basically the gameplay consists of pressing the square button, pressing more of the square button, pressing even more of the square button, and on occasion, pressing the circle button. Our hero is amazingly bland and lacks the charisma that makes DMC’s Dante appealing. His look is generic and is deprived of all of the cool moves that make action heroes so damn badass. In the end you have this generic shell of an action hero that’s not really all that appealing.

The storyline is fairly basic and only serves as a means for you to kick lots and lots of repetitive ass. You’re thrown right into the fray from the start as you begin your rampage by taking out a dozen or so spider-like creatures. Admitted, the game is pretty fun to start. There’s just something about smashing tons and tons of objects that makes games fun to play. It’s just that there’s nothing to add variety to the game, by the third or fourth level you’ll begin to hope for something to break up the monotony. This is when the boss battles come in and although some are fun and challenging, most of them are boring and tedious. Most of the time you’re just sitting around and trying to exploit a pattern, an easy one at that.

It would be more entertaining if the enemies were actually intelligent but after a few levels you begin to wonder where all of the AI coding went. Enemies just sort of stand around and wait to be pummeled to death by you. It’s just one big kill fest and it runs its course way too early. There are few novelties to keep the action fresh and entertaining and the game’s namesake, the Legion, is pretty damn cool to start with, but becomes old and stale by the second act.

The Legion is a spirit-like object that fights with you and aids you in combat. It changes over time as you find new weapons but its use is always the same. To try to spruce things up Capcom added two types of enemies, metallic and flesh ones. Different Legions are better at attacking different types of enemies, choosing the right one for the right situation will help you immensely in combat. Also added is a strafe function but since this isn’t a first person shooter its practicality is negated. Rounding out the awesome list of features is the ability to control the camera right the right analog stick, definitely an improvement from the Resident Evil-like camera system that DMC employed.

If the bland and monotonous gameplay won’t bore you then the dull graphics most certainly will. The graphics look at times but some of the effects seem incomplete. There are some nice touches such as flames that arise from your enemies as they are hit, but closer examination reveals that they are poorly modeled and hearken back to the olden days when fire was represented by a two-frame animation on a loop. Enemies look pretty decent but the variety is rather poor and you’ll end up fighting massive armies of clones. Serious Sam really put things into perspective when he said, “hey, didn’t I kick your ass two rooms ago?” Never was a truer word spoken.

There’s some decent audio tossed into the mix and the voice acting is pretty good, well by Capcom standards at least. Since so much is always going on there’s always a lot of sound effects being thrown around. Thankfully they’re pretty good and the protagonist never utters anything annoying while you’re in the midst of combat. Everything sounds just as you would expect it to sound, nothing too exceptional here but at least it’s passable. The voice acting in the cutscenes is above-par for a Capcom game but is nowhere near the caliber of Clock Tower 3.

We spent a lot of time reflecting upon the negatives but Chaos isn’t without its merits. It’s definitely a great game to pick up and play when you’re running short on time. Like other similar games in the genre it’s a great stress reliever for when you’re about to go out and face a high-pressure situation. I wouldn’t exactly put it up on the level of State of Emergency but it’s definitely entertaining when taken in small doses.

Overall you’ll get about 5-10 hours of gameplay out of Chaos Legion; barring that you can stand the endless monotony. If you can put up with killing hordes and hordes of brainless enemies then you just might want to give this one a rental. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is the next Devil May Cry because you’ll just end up with another Devil May Cry 2 clone.
Here’s an original concept, let’s put players in outdoor rooms with artificial boundaries, toss hundreds of enemies at them and force them to kill them all before allowing them to enter the next room full of guys. The concept of this game is so archaic that it makes State of Emergency look advanced. It has a few redeeming elements but it’s not a game worth purchasing. Possible rental if you’ve got a free weekend, but probably nothing more.

Rating: 5.7 Flawed

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


About Author

Gaming has been a part of my life for as long as I could remember. I can still recall many a lost nights spent playing Gyromite with that stupid robot contraption for the old NES. While I'm not as old as the rest of the crew around these parts, I still have a solid understanding of the heritage and the history of the video gaming industry.

It's funny, when I see other people reference games like Doom as "old-school" I almost begin to cringe. I bet that half of these supposed "old-school" gamers don't even remember classic games like Rise of the Triad and Commander Keen. How about Halloween Harry? Does anyone even remember the term "shareware" anymore? If you want to know "old-school" just talk to John. He'll tell you all about his favorite Atari game, Custer's Revenge.

It's okay though, ignorance is bliss and what the kids don't know won't hurt them. I'll just simply smile and nod the next time someone tells me that the best entry in the Final Fantasy franchise was Final Fantasy VII.

When I'm not playing games I'm usually busy sleeping through classes at a boring college in Southern Oregon. My current hobbies are: writing songs for punk rock bands that never quite make it, and teasing Bart about... well just teasing Bart in general. I swear the material writes itself when you're around this guy. He gives new meaning to the term "moving punching bag."

As for games, I enjoy all types except those long-winded turn-based strategy games. I send those games to my good pal Tyler, I hear he has a thing for those games that none of us actually have the time to play.

When I'm not busy plowing through a massive pile of video games I spend all of my time trying to keep my cute little girl fed. She eats a ton but damn she's so hot. Does anyone understand the Asian girl weight principal? Like they'll clean out your fridge yet still weigh less than 110 pounds.

Currently I'm playing: THUG, True Crime, Prince of Persia, Project Gotham 2 and Beyond Good & Evil. View Profile

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