Tag Archives: Legend
The original Bit.Trip Runner was a simply named, retro-styled rhythm platforming game that deftly intertwined music and gameplay. The sequel, Bit.Trip Presents…Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, is more elaborately named and more visually lush, but its immense appeal is once again fueled by the elegant marriage of music and gameplay. As you leap and slide your way past obstacles as the perpetually sprinting protagonist, your actions trigger beats and chimes that enrich the burgeoning musical track. This creates a connection between you and the game that builds and builds, leading to an experience that is joyful, rewarding, and as challenging as you want it to be.
If you’ve played Runner 2′s predecessor, Bit.Trip Runner, then you already know all the basics. Your character starts the level running, and doesn’t stop until the end, providing you can avoid every single obstacle that appears in your way. Pits, robots, projectiles, walls, and more force you to jump, slide, block, and kick with judicious timing, lest one false move send you hurtling back to the beginning of the level.
These impediments and evasive maneuvers are introduced at a gentle, yet brisk, pace. By the end of the first of five worlds, you learn everything you could ever do in the first game, and then some. This structure keeps things lively for Runner veterans while remaining accessible for newcomers. If you find things are a bit too easy or too hard for your tastes, the adjustable difficulty level does a great job of helping you find a balance. Whether you’re cruising past obstacles effortlessly, nimbly maneuvering through a tricky run, or trying time and time again to navigate a fiendish gauntlet, surmounting the challenges of Runner 2 is an enjoyable pursuit.
The whimsical environmental design adds to the appeal. Commander Video and his playable compatriots move with jaunty, fluid animations, while doofy robots, disgruntled hills, and even a jubilant Sasquatch watch from the background. There are a few elements that can be visually distracting at times, notably the kickable obstacles and the mid-level checkpoint attendees, but Runner 2 engenders the kind of focus that will likely allow you to navigate levels undeterred by occasional distractions. The Wii U version performs well on both big and small screen, though the controller screen does have the advantage of looking a bit smoother.
To encourage you to press onward and strive upward, the aforementioned checkpoints help mitigate the punishment for missteps. If you like your stakes high, however, you can always leap over a checkpoint and earn a nice point bonus for working without a net. Branching paths, unlockable treasures, and hidden retro bonus stages augment the generous difficulty spread and increase replay incentive, as do the online leaderboards. In Runner, you could achieve the perfect score on each level, but with the addition of point-garnering dance moves in Runner 2, every spare stretch of track is a chance to push your score a wee bit higher and edge out the competition.
There’s a great sense of satisfaction that comes from acing levels and blasting yourself into the bonus bull’s-eye at the end, but the real magic of Runner 2 lies in the music. Every obstacle you avoid and item you pick up sounds a chime or a beat that fits seamlessly into the musical track. This creates a powerful link between your actions and the music, enmeshing you in the rhythm of the stage and making you feel like part of the composition. It’s an exhilarating feeling, one that not only makes you feel good, but also makes you play better. You may find yourself so in tune with the game that you feel like you’re reacting instinctually with button presses before you consciously realize what you’re doing. This is a rare sensation, one that compels you to start the next level even if you struggled mightily to complete the last one.
Every track gets richer the further you progress into a level thanks to certain power-ups that trigger a musical escalation. This progression sweeps you up in the action, propelling you along with increasing momentum (though, of course, your character’s run speed remains steady). The final such power-up always elevates the melody to ethereal heights, creating a premature release of the tension that’s been building all stage. You still have obstacles to overcome, but you coast past these with supreme confidence, buoyed by the euphoric melodies. You feel like you’ve already succeeded, and when you triumphantly ride this feeling across the finish line, it’s just the glorious cherry on top. It’s an ingenious stroke of mood management, one that makes your experience all the more pleasurable and engrossing.
Runner 2 ensnares your emotions with an artful cocktail of music and gameplay, sweeping you along in its rhythm and lighting up a smile on your face. It’s a wonderful sensation to lose yourself in this game, whether you are facing down the formidable challenges of The Mounting Sadds or simply going for a breezy run in The Emerald Brine. Runner 2 doesn’t just offer you an entertaining experience; it throws its arm around you companionably, ushers you into its whimsical world, and makes you feel like part of something special.
The most important piece of knowledge you need going into Brutal Legend has nothing to do with heavy metal music. Sure, a deep love of that genre can play a huge part in your overall enjoyment of the game’s guitar-solo-fueled and star-studded story, but it’s easier to find satisfaction in what the game is when you’re not expecting it to be something it is not. With this PC release of Brutal Legend coming years after its 2009 console debut, it’s easier to prepare for the unique experience it offers while also enjoying it at a higher resolution.
Merely looking at screenshots or old prerelease marketing materials for the game can make it appear to be many things, yet it’s not “Zelda with a guitar,” and it’s not “God of War as told by Black Sabbath,” as cool as either of those things might have been. It’s a real-time strategy game, even though that term may not accurately represent the first couple of hours of the campaign.
Brutal Legend follows Eddie Riggs, a roadie (voiced by Jack Black) with a profound love of classic metal who finds himself transported to an appropriately brutal fantasy land that’s part The Lord of the Rings and part Iron Maiden album art. The game’s strongest qualities lie in its writing, its characters, and its world. The magic (and much of the humor) is in how many fantasy tropes are twisted to fit into a heavy metal world. Basic melee characters, for instance, are literal headbangers who smash their craniums against anything in their way. Roadies are your strong but stealthy units; guitar solos can literally melt faces; and “fans” are your mystical, music-loving resource. This all combines with a well-acted cast of characters featuring voices from the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy Kilmister, and Tim Curry. The story does lose some of its whimsy toward the end, when the plot is in danger of taking itself too seriously, but the over-the-top nature persists through the six- to eight-hour adventure.
The first time you take control of Eddie, you might feel as if you’re playing a rather standard character action game, since mashing out simple combos is your path to bloodily slaughtering groups of enemies. Soon, however, the world opens up, and you may get a strong The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time vibe as you search the landscape for collectibles and play your magical instrument (a guitar, which is, of course, much more hardcore than an ocarina) to perform solos that can summon your trusty car or reveal hidden garages. Just when you feel like this might be what the game is about, Brutal Legend starts letting you give orders to small squads of units, which is when the strategy aspect becomes more apparent. This is a good thing, due in no small part to the fact that an entire game of nothing but Brutal Legend’s on-foot combat wouldn’t be the most pleasant of experiences.
It’s a little while before you reach a point where this feels like a more full-fledged (if simple and action-heavy) real-time strategy game. In the game’s stage battles, you are given a single stage (your base), which can be upgraded and which produces all of your units. Fans serve as your band/army’s single resource, and controlling fan geysers spread across the map is key to victory. It’s never possible to amass as large an army as you might be used to in other strategy games, and there is only one simple upgrade path to pursue, but there is a good variety in how each unit behaves, which can allow for many different strategies.
You always control Eddie directly and can get your axe bloody in on-foot battles yourself, but you need to spend a lot of time managing your troops from the air. A simple button press sends you flying into the sky, where you can quickly survey the land and order troops around. If you’re serious about doing damage with your own hands, units at your command have double-team attacks that let you control them more directly, whether by marching with a mosh pit of headbangers, driving a vehicle, or operating a turret.
Cinema Management Group (CMG)’s new 3D animated feature, The Legend of Sarila, will open in theatres in Quebec on February 22nd and in English-speaking Canada after TIFF Kids (April 9-21st) in April. CMG will screen the completed film for the first time to buyers in Berlin on Saturday February 9th at 2:45pm and Monday February 11th at 2:45pm at Cinestar 5.
Since AFM, CMG has closed deals with; Luxor, for distribution in Russia/CIS; Telepool, for distribution in Germany/Austria; Five Stars, for distribution in Israel; Pa-Dora, for distribution in Ex-Yugoslavia; and Blue Pictures, for distribution in West and East Africa. They join already announced deals including; Alliance Films for Canada, Associated Euromedia for Turkey, Front Row for Middle East, and Talent Epitome for China.
The pic has garnered two publishing deals with Bayard Canada; one will be a picture book, while the other will be a novel for young readers. Books release will coincide with the theatrical release of Sarila in Canada.
“We’re excited to show the film in 3D in Berlin to buyers and we are proud of director Nancy Savard and producer Marie-Claude Beauchamp who delivered a great film,” says CMG president Edward Noeltner. “Using an indigenous people’s story and music, they have brought to life with humor, action and adventure the story of three young Inuits and their search for a promised land hoping to save thei clan from famine.”
The Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC), the Canadian government agency which was involved with the production of the film, will be present in Berlin with a cocktail party introducing The Legend of Sarila as well as other films of Quebec cinema. Additionally, the film will head to the Monstra Festival in Portugal on March 7th-March 17th.
The Legend of Sarila follows a voyage of initiation but is also the story of a fight to the death between two shamans, the young Markussi and the aged Croolik, who feels that his power is threatened. With humor, action and adventure, The Legend of Sarila is a coming-of-age story of triumph, self realization and hope for all people. The film stars the voice acting of Oscar-winner Christopher Plummer, Oscar-nominee Genvieve Bujold, Rachelle Lefevre and Dustin Milligan. The film is directed by Nancy Savard and produced by Savard and Marie-Claude Beauchamp.
CMG Brings African Features to AFM
‘Lion King’ Writer Weighs In On Triggerfish’s ‘Khumba’
‘Rio’ and ‘My Dog Tulip’ Take Flight on DVD
CMG Sells 3D ‘Legend of Sarila’ at AFM
Triggerfish Swims with the Majors
Online Surveys & Market Research
Long before Mass Effect‘s Reapers and Skyrim‘s arrows to the knee, there were games like Eye of the Beholder: first-person dungeon crawlers that fell by the wayside with the advent of 3D graphics. Developer Almost Human has made such a triumphant return to the subgenre with Legend of Grimrock that the word “resurrection” springs immediately to mind. Grimrock is decidedly old-school, right down to including a PDF of graph paper for drawing your own maps.
You start out with a party of four prisoners who get unceremoniously chucked into a huge dungeon (the titular Grimrock) and instructed that if they can escape alive, all charges against them will be dropped. While Grimrock offers you a premade party to start with, you can dump them and instead custom create four stalwarts to suit your tastes.
There are four races to choose from: humans, minotaurs, lizardmen, and insectoids. Humans are fairly good at everything, while each of the other races specializes in one of the three classes: fighter, rogue, and mage, respectively. On top of race/class distinctions, Grimrock has a fairly simple statistical attribute system: when characters level up (by killing enough monsters), they get a number of skill points with which they can raise certain class-based skills (for example, air magic or staff defense for mages, and swords or armor for fighters). Raise a skill high enough, and you unlock a variety of perks, including stat boosts, new spells, and special abilities like backstabbing for double or triple damage.
While leveling your characters’ skills is critical for surviving the game’s many hostile encounters–some of which are brutally difficult–you need your own set of abilities, largely of the cognitive nature, for solving Grimrock’s arsenal of mind-bending puzzles. Sure, they start out easy enough–flip a lever here, jump down a pit there–but eventually they get so tough that even a grizzled vet will run screaming to the Internet for assistance. Still, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as putting the old noodle on the proverbial rack and coaxing forth the answer to a real nutcracker of a puzzle; the sense of satisfaction almost supersedes the sense of anticipation at collecting your reward of loot. Almost. Many of Grimrock’s puzzles are optional, and you can beat the game while leaving a lot of the really tough ones aside, but they do yield powerful treasures that assist you in Grimrock’s toughest (and totally mandatory) challenge: combat.
Where fighting’s concerned, Grimrock is a strictly tile-based affair. That is, you move a single square at a time, ahead, behind, or laterally. Enemies also move in this piecemeal manner, and combat generally consists of you and your foes ending up in adjacent squares and then, er, squaring off. You fight by clicking your characters’ two action buttons (one for each hand), which initiates an action based on whatever item is currently associated with that button. Swords swing, bows thwack, throwing knives hurtle toward enemies, and staves bring up the game’s rune-based magic interface. Here, you’re presented with a 3-by-3 grid of runes that you must combine to form spells that you cast by hitting the large staff button.
To the game’s great credit, these runes are logically connected to specific concepts (there’s one that signifies “fiery” things, one that signifies “projectile,” and so on), so you can experiment on your own, although the game does provide you with spell “recipes” at regular intervals, too. You’ll often make surprising discoveries, although mages cannot cast spells above their level, even if you manage to decipher the rune combinations through trial and error.