Dark Legions
for PC (DOS)

Mr Creosote:
Company: Silicon Knights / SSI
Year: 1994
Genre: Strategy, Action
Theme: Fighting / Multiplayer / War / Sword & Sorcery
Language: English
Licence: Commercial
Views: 27044
Review by Mr Creosote (2009-05-23)

Another battle between good and evil... angels locked in combat with demons, white against dark magic and so on. Which has nothing to do with this game, because Dark Legions has two evil fractions fighting each other. So it's demons versus demons. Apparantely, each fraction wants the other's magical orb, and their soldiers are prepared to kill and die for it.

After setting up an army (based on money to ensure both sides have the same basic chances) and setting up traps all over the map, each player moves his units around in typical turn-based fashion. Sooner or later, the enemy approaches - and once two enemy units land on the same map square, the game switches to a battle screen.

In classic Archon style, the two units now fight it out arcade style on a random landscape. Each unit has two different attack modes; some try to keep the enemy away to deal damage from range, some try to close in and deliver deadly blows. Some have tricks up their sleeve, like the Seers who can confuse their enemies so much that their controls get all messed up. Or the Vampire who first stuns his victims and then sucks the life out of them (while revitalizing himself through that).

Other units have special skills which can be used on the strategic map instead. Ogres can disguise themselves as rocks, lakes won't stop Water Elements. Conjurers can even call completely new creatures into the running game and Illusionists basically do the same thing - just that the creatures they call aren't real. I.e. they can deal quite a lot of damage, but as soon as they receive the first blow themselves, they simply disappear - perfect for units with strong ranged attacks.

Graphically, the game is excellent. The fights are shown on two zoom levels from top down. The strategic map is initially shown in some sort of three-dimensional view which is too close to be really useful. There is an alternative map view from which all commands can be committed, too, though. Less eye candy, but better playability. The music is appropriately epic, but a little repetitive.

Dark Legions turned out to be the end of the road for Archon type games. Almost at the same time, Archon Ultra was released, and it turned out to be not nearly as good as this one. Although it wasn't bad at all. Just not quite as good looking, quite as balanced or quite as complex. Nothing came after Dark Legions, and it would have been hard to imagine how it could have been surpassed.

Comments (1) [Post comment]