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Posted by drew10 on Dec 17, 2010
Unbound Saga – Vogster Entertainment – XBLA

Unbound Saga – Vogster Entertainment – XBLA

If there is one thing we like at Game4anything it’s insanity. Oh I am not talking about foaming dog fever but we like our games to be tinged with madness.  Two other things we like it are comics and hitting people in the face.

Joy! Coming from Vogster Entertainment is Unbound Saga which happily marries all of the things we like. Comics? Check; hitting people in the face? Check; insanity? By the bucket-load!

A side-scrolling 2D beat-em-up, Unbound Saga follows the exploits of Rick Ajax and Lori Machete two comic-book characters. Rick is a comic-book tough guy who desperately wants to be a Vet and stop always having to hit people. Because of this he is on a mission to find his maker and square off against him. Lori was a damsel-in-distress character who broke away one day and started fighting for her new freedom.

As you progress the somewhat bizarre story is narrated by the two characters yet even then it is pretty difficult to realise exactly what is going on and for what reason.Although not brilliant the voice-acting, what there is of it, does its job and the two main characters voices match their persona’s pretty well.

Being a 2D fighting game, game-play is pretty self-explanatory. Move around the screen beating the crap out of anyone in your path. You are aided in this by various objects scattered around the screen which can be picked up and used to clobber some poor bad guy, well not really poor after-all it was their career choice. As you progress you can collect coins which can be exchanged for new combos, grapples and special moves. Whilst Unbound Saga is best in co-op mode, in the single player you can switch between the two characters by pressing the left bumper button. Each of the two characters has their own unique skills Lori is quick and nimble and can jump whilst Rick is slow but bloody hard! Their special abilities are also unique but the coins are shared between the two so be sure you select which upgrades you want carefully. Controls are pretty basic and button-bashing can achieve everything you need to do in the game.

The game-play arenas are split into cells just like you would find in a comic. As you beat the enemies in each cell you can follow what looks like a bubbling lava pit of milk (Now there is a sentence I never thought I would write!) and onto the next cell. It means that you can quickly switch scenarios and the levels are constantly changing, which leads to some amusing confusion from the characters themselves. Whilst the backgrounds change the game-play rarely does and every level feels overly familiar and the same as the last.

Have mentioned that this game is nuts? Well as you defeat the baddies, the hand of the maker appears and literally draws more bad-guys onto the screen. Some of these baddies range from camp, light-blue uniform wearing soldiers to Cheetahs, werewolves and even bears with aprons (Butcher Bears!). My favourite are the giant dwarves which “Haven’t even been drawn too well.” Are you beginning to get the idea now… Nuts!

The Game is split into episodes as levels which can be accessed at any time once you have passed them. In true beat-em-up style at the end of each episode there is some rather bizarre boss fight to be had. Some of these take strategy between the two characters to defeat.

Graphically the game is competent without ever being spectacular especially the levels which, whilst looking deliberately hand-drawn lack sparkle. The characters well drawn and maintain the hand-drawn theme throughout and their animation is well produced. With each hit comes a Batman-style “Whack”, “Smack” or “Whap” and whilst these are cool when there is a lot going on on-screen they can obscure the action.  Each level is linked with some beautifully drawn comic scenes which sets the narrative.

The audio in Unbound Saga is superb, the music is well written and sets the action well. Thumps and hits are huge and if, like me, you forget to turn off your bass-bin the sub-bass hits will shake the room.

Overall Unbound Saga is a charming little title that doesn’t quite hit the mark. The end is even more odd than the rest but in general it is a if short-lived romp over the ten stages. Whilst you will most likely be able to complete the game with button bashing, especially on the easier levels, the combos and grapples are more gratifying. Whilst the game has all the elements we like and I must admit as to having a bit of a soft-spot for it, unfortunately it’s repetitive nature leaves it feeling flat.

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