Rygar: The Battle of Argus Wii
Published by: Rising Star Games
Developed by: Tecmo
It's been a long time since we've seen a Rygar game, well over six years in fact, and in some respects that's a bit of a surprise because Rygar: The Legendary Adventure was an enjoyable, if difficult, action adventure when it was released over six years ago. However, time has moved on and the God of War series, which also taps into Greek mythology, has surpassed the standard of that last Rygar game. Those expecting Rygar: The Battle of Argus to take up the challenge and give something more compelling are going to be in for a disappointment. The game is essentially the same game that we saw over six years ago and as expected, it looks and feels dated.
The Battle of Argus gives you two game modes: Conquest mode and Gladiator mode. Conquest mode is practically the same game as The Legendary Adventure which appeared on the PlayStation 2. The story begins with Rygar, a warrior of Argus, being awarded a crown by Princess Harmonia, daughter of the King of Argus. Titans rudely interrupt the ceremony by massacring all the guards, kidnapping the Princess and casting Rygar into a chasm. All is not lost however. As Rygar lies at the bottom of the chasm a female voice calls out to him to fight the evil. He is given the Diskarmor, a powerful fighting shield that was forged by the gods and sets about taking his revenge in an effort to save the Princess.
The Gladiator mode, which wasn't found in The Legendary Adventure, isn't exactly a worthy addition and certainly no reason for those who played the PlayStation 2 game to run out and pick up The Battle of Argus. Essentially it's a mode where you'll combat wave after wave of enemies on a single platform. In total there are 30 stages to play through. The odd thing here is that you are given different controls to contend with. Here you'll make use of motion controls much more extensively than in the Conquest mode. Unfortunately, whilst the controls work quite well, the mode itself is tedious and it's not something you'll bother with more than a handful of times.
Despite The Battle of Argus being a disappointing and lacklustre port of an old game, it's not a total disappointment because six years ago it was enjoyable and whilst time hasn't been kind to the game, it's still better than most action games on the Wii. The level design still stands up pretty well and the boss fights are both interesting and challenging. The game's real uniqueness comes with its combat though. Rygar battles with his Diskarmor. It kind of looks like a giant yoyo with the chain that is connected to it. It is a very effective weapon and as you progress through the game you'll have access to two more Diskarmors. You begin with The Hades Diskarmor that has long range capabilities and can send enemies spinning through the air. Later you'll gain access to The Celestial Diskarmor that can attack a wide radius that is perfect for taking out multiple enemies. Finally there is The Sea Diskarmor that can link attacks together quickly in hand-to-hand combat. These Diskarmors also have different magic abilities too, which are useful at various points in the game.
Graphically, The Battle of Argus looks pretty much the same as The Legendary Adventure. Had the game appeared on the GameCube looking as it does, it would have been disappointing. That it appears on the Wii, which is (supposedly) a console that has considerably more graphical horsepower than the GameCube, looking virtually the same as it did on the PlayStation 2, bland textures and all is inexplicable. One noticeable alteration that has been made, and it's to the game's detriment, is the look of Rygar himself. Rygar now sports a funky, J-RPG style, hairdo which looks completely out of place. The huge titans that you have to fight don't look anywhere near as impressive six years on and in some respects that's a shame. Had the game been given a graphical makeover it may have been easier to overlook how little has been changed with the game. The one aspect of the game that has aged well is its level design and playing through the various levels in the game is still as enjoyable now as it was back in 2003 (or 2002 if you're in the US).
There are no changes in regards to the provision made for deaf gamers. The game is subtitled meaning you'll be able to follow the game's storyline and dialogue. Unfortunately there are no character portraits or names to accompany the dialogue and it's not always crystal clear who is saying what but it never causes any problems. All tutorial messages are shown in text. You're given text feedback for the items you collect so you'll always be aware of what items you've collected and what effects those items will have. In short there are no problems for deaf gamers.
When Rygar: The Legendary Adventure was originally released on the PlayStation 2 it impressed with its level design and its combat. The game clearly influenced the God of War games that were to follow several years later and in some respects it would be unfair to compare Rygar: The Battle of Argus with the God of War series. However, comparisons are going to be made and you do have to question Tecmo's decision to more or less port such an old game to the Wii when Rygar fans have been waiting years for a new addition to the series. At the very least the game should have had a graphical makeover and actually attempted to look like a Wii game and not a quick PlayStation 2 port. If you're hoping for a God of War type of game on your Wii then you might find some value here. There are still elements such as the boss fights and level design that shine through six years on. On the whole however, it's difficult to escape the feeling that the developers just didn't put much effort in and that's incredibly disappointing.