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     " are offered little reason to keep playing. "

      Title: Rygar: The Legendary Journeys Adventure by Tecmo

      Format: Action / Adventure for the PS2

      Reviewing Monkey: Furious George

      The Hype: The classic game is back in... wait for it... 3D. Hack through waves of grubs and chunks of crumbling Greco-Roman history with one of the coolest weapons in video-game history: the discarmor*.

* Giant bladed yo-yo.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: Tecmo does a decent job of providing pretty, rubble-strewn environments and some impressive architecture. The game gives a good sense of scale, with massive coliseums, towers, and floating islands as backdrops, and some sizeable bosses; though up-close, you sometimes get blocky geometry and bland textures. The animations are solid, and the framerate is pretty consistent, though, as you might have guessed, wave of enemies + certain special attacks = chop-city. 4 out of 5

      Playability: When you first begin Rygar, you are offered little reason to keep playing. After carving up wave upon wave of grubs with the same series of button presses, and smashing difficult-to-align and tiresomely resilient pillars, you might think this is all the game has to offer: but instead of the answer being "yes," if you stick with it, you'll find the answer to actually be "pretty much."
          The game actually provides some variety with three different and very unique discarmors, each with its own move-set; and as the enemies start to present more of a challenge, knowing these discarmors becomes important. You also have the ability to further-customize your discarmors with "magic stones", granting things like stat boosts and new moves.
          The boss fights also help provide variety. Some are quite difficult, and the game is very stingy with health-recovery items; fortunately, there is usually a strategy for beating them unscathed. Also challenging aspect of the game is the jumping, though not the good kind of challenging. The camera angles often make it difficult to judge distance and depth, and when it switches on you, often suddenly and randomly, it can be disorienting. Fortunately, the penalty for missing a jump is usually not that severe--though it's never fun repeatedly failing the same precision leap over and over. 3 out of 5

      Story and Drama: Rygar is on a quest to save the pretty, pretty princess (with a surprisingly reduced cleavage compared to most Tecmo games)…but beyond that all you'll really make out is the trite tale of betrayal and mythological name-dropping that's forms the typical jumbled mess video game plots are known for. 2 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: Despite extras in the form of unlockable music, art, and goofy discarmor "skins", the game's excessively short singleplayer campaign and the "sameness" of it all is probably enough for most people one time around. 2 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       A solid action / adventure title that suffers from monotonous action and a lack of enemy variety.

      The Good: The discarmors are fun to use, and discovering boss-strategies presents a good challenge.

      The Bad: Repetitive, plus the jumping sucks.

      The Overall Ugly: The OCD-like compulsion you'll have to smash every object on the screen, usually only to be rewarded with a minor power-up you don't need.

      What it's Worth: It's selling for $20 or less at most places, and it's worth that price - just remember to stick with it, as the game starts off pretty slow.

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