Legend of Silk Road


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 6

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5.5

Ah yes, 1999. The year of the beloved Dreamcast. The year some company named Unico decided to revive the classic 2-D beat-em-up, a genre that couldn't even be considered on life support by this time. Sadly for fans, beyond a few innovative ideas, there was no reason to revisit the dead, at least in this form.

Using the ever popular CGI rendered sprites made famous by Donkey Kong Country and Nintendo, Silk Road allows for gamers to choose between 3 characters and tackle a generic group of thugs who could've come from any other game. 2-players can go co-op through the adventure which occasionally features branching paths. 7 stages, split into a few separate segments a piece combine for the complete package.

Unico did try to breathe some new life into this by-gone genre, but you'll be hard pressed to believe this game came out in 1999. Yes, you can perform special moves by doing various combinations with the controller and buttons, but there's never really incentive to do so. The standard combos work just as well. Your able to juggle opponents, but good luck in doing so. There are also a few oddball stages to break up the receptiveness the genre is infamous for and include a magic carpet-riding segment or a bridge collapsing race like stage depending on which path you choose.

A magic system has also been included, but each character has the same set of spells. Picking up certain objects can increase the spells power, but they never truly seem all that devastating until their at their highest level. Same goes for the standard moves. Nothing ever really feels like your slashing into an opponents flesh, a key part of any decent weapons based beat-em-up.

Blood is pretty much a mandatory inclusion in any game featuring razor sharp weapons, and LoSR provides, though it's minimal. Hacking apart the rest of the games graphics (pun wholeheartedly intended) doesn't show a whole lot. Though the use of color is occasionally impressive, the animation is downright disturbing. Characters walk like they have prostate trouble, attack like they only have one arm, and execute specials in a way that you'll hardly believe the proceedings. The worst part? That's only the hero characters. Wasn't CGI supposed to fix this stuff? Enemies tend to be varied (usually one new character is introduced in each stage), but they suffer from the same issues mentioned above.

As your whacking your way through enemy forces, you'll be treated to music.....very little of it. I'd swear the same track was repeating every 2 stages. It doesn't even sound that great either. The SNES wouldn't have had any trouble handling this one's soundtrack, a sad issue considering the year in which this was produced.

Look, I'm all for bringing back this style of game, but it has to be done right. This isn't. The gameplay ideas are here for future editions (maybe?), but everything needs to spruced up. If your desperate for a weapons based brawler, check out Capcom's underrated "Warriors of Fate" or (of course) "Golden Axe." These 10+ year old games are far beyond this average piece of software.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:31 PM