Giant robots really hate giant monsters, and vice-versa. Never has this been more apparent than in Bandai's recent Japanese release, Ultraman Legend (or more specifically, Urutoraman: Hikari no Kyojin Densetsu). Based on the popular Japanese television series (some incarnations of which have made their way to the States in the past), Ultraman Legend is a 3-D fighting game, of sorts.
In an interesting departure from the norm, the game tackles 3-D using rail-based movement (similar to Crystal Dynamics' Pandemonium). Instead of acting within a large circle, the gameplay takes place along a railed line. This only becomes apparent when one of the fighters is launched backward and begins to appear into the foreground (often knocking over those large buildings that have become a staple of Japanese monster movie cinema), until the screen compensates and reverts to the standard 2-D side shot. Like I said, "3-D fighting game, of sorts."
If you're a fan of the old TV series, you're in luck: The gang's all here. The heroes consist of the original Ultraman, Ultraman Jack, Ultraman Taro, Ultraman Ace, and Ultraseven. The real stars are the monsters though, such as the earth burrowing Gomora, bizarre doughboy Eleking, Godzilla lookalike Redking, the "evil Ultraman" Ace Killer, clunky robotic King Joe, Gamera-like Bemstar, colorful lobster-head Metron, and Ultraman's main nemesis, Baltan.
How does Ultraman Legend fare as a fighting game? Not well. In fact, it's pretty standard, with many of the same fighting and set-up features you'd find in most fighters spawned in Japan. However, the game still retains a certain charm (much like that of watching a Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie), with the original TV show music and graphics adding a wonderful over-the-top feel. Fans of the series and aficionados of cheese are sure to eat this up with only minor reservations.