Rygar: The Legendary Adventure Preview
After a 15-year absence, Rygar is back. We got our hands on the latest build, and came back with new impressions and screenshots.
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We recently had an opportunity to check out the latest build of Rygar: The Legendary Adventure for the PlayStation 2, which featured an updated version of the level we saw at E3 2002. From what we can tell, the development team--made up of members from the Dead or Alive and Monster Rancher development teams--behind the project is very adamant about making Rygar a fast-paced game with plenty of enemies to keep you busy and very few moments where you'll simply be wandering around without any indication of where you're supposed to go next. However, it looks as though there will be some slight exploration elements in the game, as Rygar will occasionally have to backtrack through a level in order to gain access to a new area. Indeed, Rygar's gameplay formula seems highly reminiscent of that of Capcom's Devil May Cry, but with less emphasis on gathering items.
The level shown in the demo provides a good overall idea of what to expect from the game. It starts with Rygar inside of a series of hallways located underneath a coliseum-like structure and bathed in the glow of torchlight. With the help of a map in the lower right-hand corner of the screen that reveals where the structure's doors are located, you'll make your way through the halls until you reach a smaller room with a doorway that's blocked off by a green aura--somewhat similar to the evil spirits blocking the doors in Devil May Cry. Upon entering the room, Rygar is confronted by several slug creatures with spikes protruding from their backs, and, in what seems to be one of many references to the NES game, these creatures can roll up into balls and attack him.
This is essentially a training area, where we were able to familiarize ourselves with some of Rygar's basic diskarmor attacks, and at this point in the game, Rygar can perform three attacks with his menacing yo-yo weapon. The first is just a quick strike that damages enemies in the immediate area, while the second lets Rygar swing the diskarmor around in a circular motion, hitting more enemies in the process. However, this second strike also opens up Rygar to attack if an enemy happens to be standing close to him, so it's generally a good idea to use it only when there is a certain amount of distance between you and your enemies. The third attack has similar weaknesses, but it's undoubtedly one of Rygar's more interesting skills. At any time, you can swing the diskarmor so it attaches to an enemy, and once it does, you can swing that enemy around Rygar's head, causing serious damage to it and any enemies it makes contact with. But again, this also leaves Rygar open to attack, so you need to be aware of the placement of enemies in the environment when using this attack.
After dealing with the slugs, the barrier disappears and Rygar walks up the stairs into the outer portion of the coliseum structure. Fans of the NES game will be pleased to see an enormous setting sun in the outdoor portion of this level, and the statues and other objects in the environment are bathed in beams of orange light and the shadows it creates. Rygar then makes his way through the area, battling more slug creatures as he progresses, until he reaches an area that appears to be blocked by several pillars that have collapsed.
No Crazy Hermits
Fortunately, you can destroy a surprising number of objects in the environment, and at this point in the demo, Rygar has to use this skill to reveal an entranceway into a new area. Though, even after Rygar unleashes the diskarmor on the fallen pillars, it looks as though he still can't get through. Using the map, you have to start exploring the level, going into rooms that you may have missed along the way and destroying just about every object in sight. After a few minutes of exploring, you'll come across an item that gives Rygar the ability to slide. Now you have to go back through the level and back to the entranceway that was previously blocked.
Of course, it's worth noting that this particular level isn't exactly easy to backtrack through. Not only are there a series of Castlevania-style spike platforms that come crashing down every few seconds in one particular section, but there's also a menacing cyclops equipped with a hammer who comes crashing through a particular section of wall after Rygar gains his new skill. Thankfully, it appears that the cyclops has been put in for dramatic effect more than anything else, since you can essentially just run right by and head toward your destination. After Rygar slides under the fallen pillars, he goes up a set of stairs, and the demo basically ends.
Rygar has other abilities that weren't really shown in the demo, but we had a chance to take a peak at some of the later levels in the game that showcased some of his other skills. In some instances, Rygar will come across yellow objects in the sky that allow him to use his diskarmor to swing across the landscape. Most of the time, the positioning of these yellow objects will allow Rygar to access power-ups or other secondary items. In addition, Rygar can deploy the diskarmor in such a way that it remains stationary in the environment, allowing Rygar to throw it out, position himself behind a group of enemies, and then retract it, damaging all the enemies who were in the way. Rygar will also have the ability to summon different creatures, but unfortunately, we weren't able to see that particular skill in action.
Not all the levels in Rygar take place indoors. In fact, it appears that quite a few of them will take place outside. One of the later levels takes place on the steps leading up to an eroding structure complete with broken pillars and vegetation sprouting through the cracks. Another level appeared to be frozen in time, as pillars were in the midst of cracking and falling apart and an odd ring of rocks was floating above. It's quite amazing to see how much attention has been paid to detail in designing the architectural aspects of the game--the domes, coliseums, and other structures all look like accurate representations of the actual ancient Roman and Greek structures they were inspired by.
Thankfully, Tecmo is paying just as much attention to the game's music as it is to its visuals. The music in Rygar will be classical in style, and it will be performed by the Moscow Philharmonic, with vocals by popular operatic and orchestral vocalist Izzy. Unfortunately, the music in the demo wasn't the final music for the game, but it'll be interesting to see how Tecmo integrates the soundtrack into the game.
Rygar: The Legendary Adventure seems like it's pretty far along, and there didn't appear to be any substantial problems in the demo version we saw. While it may not be a carbon copy of the style of gameplay found in the NES version of Rygar, the PlayStation 2 game will more than likely appeal to fans of the series with its little references to the older games and to anyone craving an incredibly detailed action game. It's currently scheduled for release in November.