It's something of a shame, then, that Legends of Might and Magic
is basically a poor-man's Counter-Strike
, especially since Counter-Strike
is free for download. While Legends
tries to do a few original things in the genre, in the end the game just isn't different enough--and the characters are so close to each other--that it becomes a lot harder to recommend the game.
The concept behind Legends of Might and Magic is fairly simple. There are two teams--the Light and the Dark, the Good and the Bad, whatever--and each level presents you with one of four different types of challenges. In the 'Sword in the Stone' levels, you're required to find and retrieve a, well, sword in the stone. Think one-flag CTF and you'll know what's going on here. The 'twist' is that once you have the Sword it's the only weapon you can use, keeping you from bombarding your opponents with spells as you run to the designated winning location.
A similar level is the 'Rescue the Princess' stages, where one team is attempting to save an invulnerable Princess and the other has to keep it from happening. 'Warlord Escape' plays like any Assassination attempt mod; you have one man who the rest of the team tries to protect. And the 'Slay the Dragon' levels are won by the first team to destroy a big dragon located somewhere on the map.
If these goals sound a little familiar, that's because they are. The same sort of stages have been seen in a number of team-based mods over the past couple of years, and while Legends of Might and Magic tries to put a twist on them, it ends up being less than the games that inspired it.
Perhaps the greatest flaw in the game's construction is the ambiguous differences between the various classes. Since any class can purchase almost any item--only the 'superweapons' are unique to a given class--it's hard to justify using a melee class when you can use a ranged-weapon one and have a much better chance of scoring against your opponent. And if you do choose a melee class, you can always equip them with magic wands and use those against your opponent. The level of differentiation between the various character types is not enough to really make you care which one you pick, which is a shame; the specialization that you find in a game like Team Fortress Classic just isn't here.
Another vague irritant in the game is the addition of enemies to kill. While it's a neat idea, it ends up just cutting into the time that you'd normally spend hunting for the enemy. Yes, it gets you 'gold' to use for purchasing new equipment come the next round, but the enemies have generally bone-dead AI and are more a hindrance than anything integral to the game. Indeed, most of the servers on the 'net dispense with them entirely--'nomon' is a common sight in server description lines.
The 'single-player' experience is weak beyond belief, with no actual opponents to fight, just enemies to kill as you attempt to beat each level. Whee. While it's handy for exploration of the maps before you go online, there's nothing here that will keep you occupied for any length of time. And while the enemies and such are from the Might and Magic world, the game itself is nothing like any game from the genre--it's basically a shooter with fantasy trappings.