Hidden Dragon Legend is a side-scrolling action platformer by Oasis Games. Unfortunately, it isn't a particularly good one. It suffers from several issues that keep it from being all it can be. The writing is absolutely atrocious. It is only matched by the equally atrocious voice acting. This could be forgiven if the gameplay was solid, but it is far too basic to make up for the other pitfalls. While the game certainly has its moments, the product as a whole needed a lot more polish before it launched.
The game fails to separate itself from the competition. While the game's setting is interesting, it is immediately wasted. To give a little peek into just how bad the writing is, the organization hunting you down is just called The Organization. At least I don't have to worry about writing any good jokes, Hidden Dragon Legend was kind enough to do it for me.
It is a very good thing that Hidden Dragon Legend was not going for a story driven game. While I gave you a small taste of how bad the writing is, I am happy to say it never gets any better. Let's just take a moment to list some of the terrible story elements that take place just in the first five minutes of the game.
Lu, the protagonist, wakes up in a prison with amnesia as the sole survivor of an attack. I'm honestly not sure there is a more generic opening to a game. It then gets better when you are attacked by the Organization who injure you. You are then taken care of by these two random people who happened to find you. They are then immediately killed so quickly I honestly couldn't be bothered to learn their names. Apparently, this was supposed to be enough motivation to hunt down the Organization and seek revenge for the people you spoke to for about five seconds.
The narrative simply blurs together and is only tolerable because the voice acting and writing are at least at the level they are so bad they are funny. Unfortunately, the combat seems to have taken lessons from the narrative as it also blurs together on this journey.
While the general gameplay is certainly better than the story, it still has its own share of flaws. While the combat is fast and satisfying, it only lasts so long. While the combining light and heavy combos and dashing around to avoid damage while getting off devastating super abilities is fun, it never gets much more complicated than that. It's not always easy, but that has far more to do with the nature of the game rather than the complexity of fighting.
Hidden Dragon Legend tends to just throw hordes of enemies at you with the occasional health-sponge boss. They are never difficult because of their unique move sets or patterns, instead, the game relies on the true and hated technique of just making the enemy have an insane amount of health. This is not fun. This is annoying. Combine this with a rather basic combat system, and it doesn't take long for the game to stop being fun and start being a drag.
While it is slightly satisfying to kill enemies and gain points that can be used to improve your abilities, it doesn't overcome the other issues. It's applying a band-aid to chopped limb. No matter how great the band-aid is, it is never going to stop the bleeding.
Then there is platforming. While it is manageable, it never really adds anything to the game. The movement is a little stiff and not being able to grab ledges like a normal human being only adds to the frustration. Really, it just feels like exists because other games in the genre have platforming. It adds absolutely nothing and just drags out the experience.
graphics and audio
The graphics totally waste the unique setting the game touts. Imperial China offers a plethora of options to utilize and Hidden Dragon Legend is always just too bland. While the combat is appropriately visceral, the environments you fight in are very forgettable. They lack flair and detail that could have made them stand out from the crowd. Instead, Hidden Dragon Legend falls right into the crowd of action platformers.
The audio isn't any better. As previously mentioned, the voice acting is absolutely terrible. It sounds like they just grabbed random people from the studio to voice these characters. This combined with over-dramatic facial animation and you have something that is comically bad. The rest of the audio is just bland. Not bad, but nothing memorable.
Hidden Dragon Legend started with an interesting setting and that's almost immediately wasted. The writing is too terrible to ever make anything interesting happen with the setting and the graphics and design fail to do it justice. While it plays similarly to the latest Strider game, it fails to make itself stand out from the crowd. It brings nothing new or interesting the table that would make me recommend this game over its peers such as Strider.
For a game that focuses so heavily on combat, it only made it mediocre. It is entertaining for a little bit, but it fails to get any more interesting. This isn't helped by pointless platforming that adds little to the game and slows really only slows the pace down. While I may not suffer from amnesia, I have a feeling Hidden Dragon Legend isn't going to spend too much time in my memory.
|+ Combat||– Atrocious voice acting|
|+ Unintentionally funny||– Terrible writing|
|– Plain graphics|
|– Pointless Platforming|