Capcom has often come under fire for being a franchise milker. I mean, they only produce about 9 Resident Evil games a year, and trying to count how many Street Fighter games are out there gave me a migraine. Of course, that is unfair criticism, since Capcom has introduced some of the most intriguing and innovative games ever seen. In fact, Capcom is currently working on several brand new titles, and one of them is the 'Goth opera' Chaos Legion. After the success of Devil May Cry, Capcom's direction has certainly had a darker tilt, and Chaos Legion will be no different, at least in that regard. Chaos is dark and incredibly disturbing. It's also wildly inventive.
As lead character Sieg Wahrheit, it is your sacred duty to take out the evil Victor Delacroix, a one-time friend turned evil. The game starts off with Sieg and Victor in a heated battle. However, since Sieg murdered a lady friend of Victor's, the animosity between these two is certainly understandable. In fact, this is one of the major departures from conventional games. As opposed to the rather generic plot of (insert good guy's name here) saves (insert princess type girl here) from (insert bad guy's name here), Chaos Legion is based on intensely personal motives. Sieg and Victor have a relationship, and it is one that is incredibly personal and full of hostility. These two guys hate each other, and it shows.
Another big departure from conventional action games that Chaos Legion is not one of those stand-alone one-man-army type games like Devil May Cry. You'll be facing hordes of demons, and you just can't handle it alone. However, Sieg has the ability to summon legions of demon warriors to aid him in these battles, giving a whole new dynamic to the game. With the simple press of a button, Sieg can unleash a demon horde to fight alongside him. Your legions vary throughout the game, and they all have their own AI so that you don't have to manage them during battle. The only choice you make is whether to set them to 'aggressive' or 'passive'. If set on aggressive, they will attack any enemy in sight with ruthless intent. If you set them to passive, they will form a protective barrier around Sieg. In this mode, Sieg can use them as not-quite-human shields, or send them out in an attack combos, only to return quickly to his side. This should create a fairly balanced dynamic, and a rather interesting one at that.
The only thing better than having an army of the undead at your disposal is being able to upgrade them. In this regard, Chaos Legion makes yet another departure from traditional action games. Each battle gives you experience points that you can use to upgrade both Sieg and his army. How many points you receive is based upon how you fight, giving this game some rather standard RPG elements, which is quite interesting to see in an action game. You can choose to equally upgrade all your different legions at once, or focus on a specific battalion, giving you a certain degree of flexibility. Certainly sounds chaotic, doesn't it?
When I called Chaos Legion a 'Goth opera', I wasn't kidding. In fact, that was the term that Capcom used to describe this game, and they aren't too far off. This game makes Devil May Cry look pleasant by comparison. The monsters are bleak, dark, and disturbing, to say the least. Most of the backgrounds are medieval settings like castle ruins and such. The music is hard but depressive, action packed but melancholy, just like Devil May Cry. All in all, it's an adventure of the macabre.
Chaos Legion has already released in Japan, which means a North American release isn't far off. So far the game looks promising, and we will bring you more info in the months ahead. Look for Chaos Legion to be your Goth-action fix sometime this fall.
3/23/2003 Ryan Hartmann