Legendary: The Box Hands-On

We play through an action-packed and werewolf-filled demo of Spark Unlimited's upcoming first-person shooter.

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Legendary: The Box is a first-person shooter in which you'll assume the role of a thief who, at the game's outset, unwittingly opens Pandora's Box inside a New York museum and unleashes all manner of monsters on the world. It's been about four months since we last saw Legendary: The Box in action, and at that point we were treated to demos of the game's first level and another set inside a cathedral. Our recent meeting with Spark Unlimited was long overdue but well worth the wait because we were afforded an opportunity to play through a pretty substantial demo.

Set in an as-yet unnamed small English city that has clearly seen better days, the demo tasked us with fighting our way through cobbled streets toward a cathedral that may or may not be the same one we saw the interior of at E3 earlier this year. For much for the demo we were accompanied by a small number of artificial-intelligence-controlled squadmates, but we weren't able to influence their actions in any way. To be perfectly honest, their most important role seemed to be dying in front of us in a variety of occasionally entertaining ways.

Werewolves will attack just about anything that moves in Legendary: The Box.
Werewolves will attack just about anything that moves in Legendary: The Box.

For the most part, our colleagues were being killed by the same werewolves that we saw at E3, and they attack both unpredictably and quickly. When they're not busy tearing your colleagues and members of the evil Black Order to shreds, Legendary's werewolves like to run around and scale walls, which can make them tough targets to keep in your sights. In addition to the garden-variety werewolves that we were up against, the demo featured a number of the more powerful alpha werewolves. The alphas are colored slightly differently and are larger than the regular werewolves, and they like to position themselves atop buildings and such and then throw chunks of destroyed walls and other debris at you. All of the werewolves can resurrect themselves if their heads are still intact, so decapitation is mandatory.

Our arsenal, although small compared to that which you'll have access to in the finished game, was thankfully more than adequate for the task at hand, and there was no shortage of discarded weapons and ammo to pick up as we progressed through the demo. Our weapons included a submachine gun, which sacrifices accuracy in order to spray bullets all over the place; a shotgun, which is super-effective up close but not very useful at range; and an assault rifle, which represents something of a happy medium between the aforementioned guns and comes equipped with a scope. We also had access to frag grenades and Molotov cocktails, the latter of which did a great job of setting fire to enemies and environmental objects alike. If you've checked out our previous coverage of Legendary: The Box, you'll know that the protagonist also has the ability to siphon health from fallen enemies using a strange symbol that was burned onto his hand when he touched Pandora's Box. We can now confirm that you're able to siphon health into a reserve as well as into your health bar, which, for example, gives you the option to heal yourself in the middle of a boss battle when there are no corpses around.

Although not a boss battle per se, we had an opportunity to play through such a battle when we encountered our first minotaur. When we encountered said anthropomorphic bovine, it was already doing battle with a handful of Black Order soldiers, but they didn't last long enough against the beast to do any real damage before its attention turned to us. The battle that ensued took place in a small courtyard that might as well have been a gladiatorial arena, given that there was no way for us to escape and that the area seemed purpose-built for the encounter. The minotaur--which will be one of many in the game, we're told--was a very different prospect than the werewolves that we'd been battling previously; it moved relatively slowly, but its attacks were much more powerful, and for the first portion of the encounter it was wielding a Celtic-cross-style gravestone as a club. After throwing the gravestone at us, the minotaur's resorted to charging at us like a bull, and every time we avoided it a wall behind us would take the hit and be visibly damaged. Incidentally, we're told that the minotaur doesn't take any damage when it crashes into walls, so don't expect to beat it just by playing matador.

Playing matador won't do you much good against the minotaur.
Playing matador won't do you much good against the minotaur.

The last encounter of the demo pitted us against a large wormlike creature that rose up through the ground and pulled a number of Black Order soldiers down into its hole as we looked on. The worm managed to grab us as well at one point, but we were still able to shoot at it and, thankfully, it released its grip on us shortly before it died. After that, we were rewarded with the obligatory "thanks for playing" screen.

Although it's certainly a good showpiece for Legendary: The Box, we're told that the demo we played won't necessarily be one that's made available for public consumption prior to the game's release. Nevertheless, at least one demo will be forthcoming, and we got the distinct impression that at least two are currently in the works. We look forward to bringing you more information on Legendary: The Box prior to its release next year.

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