Written by  :  Mickey Gabel (379)
Written on  :  Apr 19, 2000
Rating  :  4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars
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The ultimate combination of strategy, tactics, and fast reflexes.

The Good

This game is the peak of what started with games like Star Control and Archon. You will have to plan, think, and fight better then your opponent if are to stand a chance.

Since you can change the map, type and number of units, each and every game will be different. You can try different strategies to see which one work better, or just build a strong army and try to hack your enemy to small bloody bits. But this game is not chess, nor is it Doom. Sometimes the best thought strategy was defeated because the other side's pesky little Thief got your Seer, And the strongest army was useless because the enemy's orb holder is a Phantom you can't see. So you had to plan carefully and fight with all might, or you'll simply lose.

The graphics in the game are some of the most amazing I have ever seen, certainly the top notch 2D animations, when compared to others at that time. The music and sound also complement the game, each character threatening before attacking, saying things like "You shall know pain" or "Taste the bite of cold steel!". Varied sound effects complement the game, adding atmosphere in the form of thunders on the game map, or realism in the form of explosions, crashes and bone crunching blows.

A unique feature of the game is that it was designed from the start as a multi-player (well, two player) game, allowing modem play, IPX network play or simple "two people on the same keyboard" play. Although today people might scoff at that sort of thing, back in 1994 it was less common for a game, especially for an action game, to be designed as a two-player game. Some games had multi-player capabilities, but this game is one of the firsts to be built around the notion.

All in all, although Dark Legions wasn't a groundbreaking game such as Archon or Star Control, it was, and in some ways still is, the peak of evolution in the strategy-action genre.

The Bad

The music is of great quality, but a larger variety of it would improve the game. Some of the maps are so big that completing a game may take days, but I think this is more of a plus - after all, you don't have to use them, and some people like to play days.

However the biggest problem with the game is that I can't play properly anymore on today's fast computers. The game was designed, and runs very well, on a 486. The battles work fine on newer computers, but on anything faster then a Pentium, the strategy map runs so fast you can't see what is going on so the game becomes unplayable. I'd excuse it, but I have seen Alley Cat work on a Pentium II on Windows 2000, so there is no excuse. All Dark Legions programmers had to do was to put in an option to include vertical retrace checking. Its 6 lines of Assembly code, which would have made the game playable on newer machines.

The Bottom Line

Dark Legions kept you on your toes, and your brains on high gears. If you find strategy games tend to bore you after a while, and are disappointed from the repetitive nature of fighting games - this game was made for you.