GC 2008: Overlord Dark Legend First Look
We check out a work-in-progress version of this Wii-exclusive Overlord prequel during a visit to Codemasters' UK headquarters.
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Currently in development at UK-based Climax Studios, Overlord Dark Legend is anything but the inferior port of Overlord that you might have been expecting. Rather, it's a prequel to the original game that will cast you as the titular tyrant in his younger days while introducing a number of new gameplay mechanics to the proceedings.
At first glance, Overlord Dark Legend looks a lot like its predecessor, which is an accomplishment in itself given the Wii hardware's relative lack of horsepower. As we were shown through a level entitled Wilderness, though, it became clear that the game's environments feature more open spaces that are well suited to the Wii-specific control scheme.
You'll play Overlord Dark Legend using both a Wii Remote and a Nunchuk. The latter is used to control the overlord, while the former directs the horde of minions under his command. Pointing the Wii Remote at the screen, you'll move a cursor that, because it casts a brightly colored shadow on the gameworld, works extremely well insofar as it enables you to position your minions with precision. You can point at where you'd like your minions to go and then give them the order to move. Or, if you like to play the way that we do, you can hold down the A button and have them follow your pointer as you sweep it around the screen.
Controls aside, Dark Legend will play a lot like the original game for the most part; you'll complete a variety of different quests in the fantasy world filled with twisted fairytale characters, and, inevitably, your minions will cause chaos along the way. One amusing new gameplay mechanic that we got to see in action is the option to pluck one of your minions from the horde, violently throttle it by the neck until its eyes glow (by shaking the Wii Remote), and then release it. At this point, the minion in question will become a missile of sorts: You can choose to have it automatically hone in on an enemy and detonate on impact or guide and detonate it manually. The effect of the missile will be determined by the color of the minion that was used so, for example, a brown minion will explode like a conventional bomb, while a blue will create a dome of healing.
Enemies in Dark Legend will include the usual mix of halflings, elves, dwarves, and trolls, as well as wicked witches, gingerbread men, and even Lil' Red Riding Hood. Bosses will seemingly be just as varied, and toward the end of our demo, we were afforded a look at a particularly impressive tank manned by a halfling jester. The pumpkin-launching contraption was nicely detailed, and we were especially amused by its wheels, which were powered by halflings running inside them like hamsters.
Overlord Dark Legend is currently scheduled for release in 2009. We look forward to bringing you more information on the game as soon as it becomes available.