Back in May of 2007, Tecmo stated that it had plans to port Rygar: The Legendary Adventure (a seven year-old PS2 game) to the Wii. Predictably, many gamers were very vocal with their opinion of this move. For starters, why would they want to port such an old game to Wii, and secondly, were they going to add any additional content that would justify the price tag of the port?
Months went by and the game flew right under the radar. Many expected it to be canceled, but secretly the game was still on-track for a release. Almost two years after the game was first announced, Rygar: The Battle of Argus has finally hit store shelves, but was the long wait worth it?
Set on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Rygar: The Battle of Argus stars the titular hero (this time with a more bonkers haircut) in a journey to rescue an ill-fated princess. It may not be the most original and creative story ever, but it works.
Equipped with only his diskarmor weapon, Rygar must overcome countless obstacles in order to come out on top. Simply put, his weapon is like a saw blade attached to a long chain. Players can equip special stones found throughout the game to increase its power and so forth. Abilities can be learned to further power-up the diskarmor so that you can access previously unreachable areas. It’s sort of like The Legend of Zelda in that you must backtrack with new abilities in order to completely unlock everything. Expect a heavy emphasis on exploration in the game.
Throughout the adventure there are three different types of diskarmor to be obtained, each with their own summon ability. For example, there's the Hades Diskarmor, which is the piece you start out with. This piece of armor is especially good for long-range attacks whereas another piece is especially good at short-range, melee attacks.
For the most part, Rygar: The Battle of Argus plays fairly well, except for one thing – it feels dated. Gaming is constantly changing, and today’s standards are different from what they were in 2002. The destructible environments are a great addition, and it’s a blast to watch pillars and other objects come tumbling down while fighting enemies. However, the combat is way too sluggish. By the time you start a combo chain, your enemy is already behind you. Compared to the likes of Sony's God of War - which shares similarities in terms of both gameplay and theme - this feels painfully slow. There are also countless rooms where enemies constantly re-spawn, removing any feeling of progression and making the entire thing feel too much like a slog. It may have been standard practice seven years ago, but today it's unacceptable.
This type of action title relies on exciting boss encounters to build up tension, but sadly when it comes to boss battles Rygar: The Battle of Argus doesn’t have a lot going for it. In short, they're boring and dull. Besides this, the bosses aren’t particularly impressive. With very little variety and excitement, the game doesn’t exactly define the word ‘enjoyment.’
Speaking of lack of variety, one problem many gamers encountered with the original was that the same enemies were recycled throughout the entire game. This time around, Tecmo has thrown in a handful of new enemies to make it feel as though you aren’t playing the exact same stage a hundred times. This is a mild improvement, at least.
In the transition from the PS2 to Wii, the controls have undergone a complete change, and not for the better. Jumping is handled by pressing the Z button and feels unnatural as opposed to using A or B. It wouldn’t have been all that bad if the game allowed players to select another control scheme, but sadly, that is not an option.
In today’s world, most gamers need wide-screen support, but that's another thing Rygar: The Battle of Argus lacks. Besides this, the graphics aren’t what anyone would call great. They were decent six years ago but even PS2 games have improved visually since then. It’s kind of disappointing to see that Tecmo never really went out of their way to make the game look as good as it could have been.
In order to buy a port of a seven year-old game, there has to be something that will justify the price, rather that be an updated control scheme, enhanced graphics or just new content. While Rygar: The Battle of Argus does have some new content, it’s pretty hard to say it’s enough in order to convince you to buy the game again. The biggest addition is a survival mode, where your objective is to simply slash your way through thirty levels of enemies. The mode uses motion controls a lot more than the main mode and after a brief period of time, but you’ll grow tired of swinging your arms over and over again.
In its current state, Rygar: The Battle of Argus is not going to win any awards for its visuals or gameplay, nor is it going to impress gamers. What gamers are going to get is a clunky port of a seven year-old game. That said, the PS2 original was still a fine way to spend a few hours and this conversion certainly isn’t the worse action game available on Wii, but you can do a lot better.