E3 2001 Hands-onNew Legends

New Legends is THQ's Xbox action game based in a futuristic version of ancient China. We got a chance to play the game, now you can read our impressions.

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New Legends is an action-packed 3D adventure title that's set in an alternate future, where ancient Chinese culture and modern technology have thrived. The story begins with the protagonist returning home to his family's lands to discover that a tyrant has killed his father and captured his territories. To battle this menace, the hero takes up his family's ceremonial sword and does battle with his foe's five sons, who are half-demons imbued with the essences of five traditional elements: earth, air, fire, water, and metal. Each brother carries a unique weapon that becomes yours to use after you win the battle. Each weapon has special abilities and alternate modes of attack.

The many buttons on the Xbox controller are used to control your versatile character. The A and X buttons control your standard and secondary attacks, the B button controls leaping, while the Y button unleashes a special attack. The boss weapons utilize the same elemental theme in their special attacks. For example, the earth demon's battle ax and hammer weapon can be used to cause a ground-shattering earthquake, while the air demon's chain knife can be whirled and cause a storm to erupt around you. Besides the five boss weapons and your initial sword, 10 unique projectile weapons--shotguns and rocket launchers--are made available. Your character may also wield two weapons at once--such as a sword and shotgun or even dual shotguns--and they can be fired independently. Some combinations work better than others for creating combos or launching simultaneous attacks. Blocking your foes' attacks is in turn controlled by an active blocking system that uses the two upper analog buttons. Your character's life and Chi are represented by their respective meters on the lower right-hand side of the screen. Chi is gained by attacking your foes and lost when struck. Amass enough Chi, and you will enter "full Chi" mode, in which your attacks are stronger and superspecial moves are available.

While essentially a traditional third-person action game, New Legends also features a number of well-designed control options. You can use one of the shoulder buttons to enable a Z-targeting lock for convenient strafing, while the alternate shoulder pad puts you in first-person mode, which makes sniping or sneaking a cinch.

We were able to play only one of the areas during the demo, and we'll be looking forward to seeing a more complete version in the near future. We'll be sure to report more details on New Legends as they become available.

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