Old Game is Old: The Rygar Review
by Meghan Watt
When I heard that Rygar would be delivered upon the Wii in The Battle of Argus, I jumped to the interwebs in search of a reason. Was this a precursor to a new, upcoming installment of Rygar? Would there be an extra disc of bonus dungeons? Would I be able to slice and dice enemies with wild Wii Remote swings?
Well, no, no, and sorta-kinda, but not really. Rygar the warrior is still the same old Rygar from yesteryear with the exception of a confusing makeover. He still has to save the nation of Argus from the Titans, and he continues to wield the legendary Diskarmor — a spiky disk of fury attached to a long chain of hope — with a few well-thought-out combos, the highlight of which is A, A, A.
However, you can now enjoy “Gladiator Mode”, a delightful place where you can swing the Wiimote ’til your heart’s content in a series of ring-fights. Otherwise, the main part of the game remains the same: beat enemies into bloody oblivion with a bit of button mashing, flip a few switches, unseal the door and progress to the boss at the end of the level.
Back in the day, this would’ve been enough for the average gamer. But God help me if I wasn’t bored out of my mind for the eight hours it took to rid the world of those evil Titan bastards.
To start, Rygar’s Diskarmor has one motion: fling in the direction of enemies. Sure, he picks up other variations of the Diskarmor as he goes, but a swift tapping of the A button still gets the job done. When not tearing baddies to shreds, Rygar must jump, swing, and slide to victory. However, being a steroid-pumped Cloud Strife-look-alike has its limitations. The man only jumps so high and so far, and there are about a bijillion pits to cross.
Leaping two feet into the air wouldn’t be such a terrible nuisance if it weren’t for the camera. Fixed camera angles never seem to work outside of the horror genre, and it certainly doesn’t fit here. Thank the gaming lords that when you fall into a chasm, the game happily plants you onto the nearest stationary platform… most of the time.
The boss battles are just as repetitive as the rest of the game’s combat segments and platforming bits. With two main attacks – and the “Uh-oh I’m at 1/8 of my HP… better unleash my ultimate power” attack, if you’re lucky – you’ve got the classic block-counterattack-block-counterattack strategy on hand for every fight. Running in circles and then sneaking in a hit or two with my disk-flail isn’t fun and it isn’t manly. Rygar is manly. He shouldn’t have to put up with that crap.
Despite its flaws, I’d at least like to give Rygar: The Battle of Argus credit for the surplus of destructible objects throughout each level. But isn’t Rygar supposed to be protecting Argus? After smashing hundreds of pillars, vases, statues, and entire ceilings to tiny crumbling bits, I started to feel a little silly. Was it worth ruining a country for a few upgrade points or should I have been using Rygar’s manliness for other, more honorable endeavors? On the other hand, if I had ignored Rygar’s ability to become a human bulldozer, the game might have lost two of its precious eight hours.
Honestly, I can only recommend Rygar for two reasons: 1) To see the princess’s uncanny likeness to Britney Spears and 2) The beautifully epic soundtrack. If you’re still interested in jumping across platforms without a depth-perceiving hero, and smashing the A button until the ground oozes blood, then pick up the PS2 version of the game from 2002. It’s half the price, it’s the same game, and the guys at GameStop won’t make fun of you.
It’s the average platform adventure: leap across ledges, move giant blocks, and kill baddies while you’re at it. That may have been a hit back in 2002, but gamers have come to expect a little more nowadays, like maybe some Wiimote action. But no, Rygar is the same old game, fixed camera and all.