Glory of Heracles
Fight for the gods in Nintendo's well made but monotonous RPG.
Glory of Heracles is a DS role-playing game set in ancient Greece. You play an amnesiac that washes up on the Island of Crete. As the story unfolds, you learn that the young man's not only immortal, but may also be the legendary hero known as Heracles. After forming a party with other immortals, you set off on a quest through various dungeons, collecting loot and battling creatures in random encounters.
For the most part, the game's a solid RPG, just not a memorable one. Nintendo followed a mostly by the numbers set up with little innovation, so if you enjoy these types of adventures on a regular basis, most of it will feel familiar, starting with the battle system. You're able to select attacks for each person in your party, and then choose which monsters to strike first. In addition, you have the option of moving party members to the back of the group, decreasing the chances of them taking damage.
The only interesting thing about this setup is the magic system. After choosing a spell, you have the option of making it more powerful by completing what appears to be a randomly selected (and ridiculously simple) mini-game. One, for example, challenges you to tap a shrinking circle without touching the surrounding area, while another asks you to match Roman numerals. Not exactly challenging, but they break up the monotony.
The rest of these battles play out in old school RPG fashion and quickly become routine. There's some depth for those willing to look, but we grew tired of having to assign attacks to everyone in our party, especially when the odds favored the first character killing the remaining monster.
As for the rest of the game, you'll explore different locations, interact with townsfolk, hop aboard a boat to get around and pop open treasure chests. All of this is achieved with the stylus, tapping the touch screen to instruct the character where to go, or by using the d-pad and face buttons. No matter which control scheme you choose (or a combination of the two), the game responds well.
On that note, Nintendo missed a big opportunity with the time period. Although Glory of Heracles supposedly takes place in Ancient Greece, the Japanese anime-inspired characters and some of the environments are too over the top or far removed from that particular moment in history. The lead protagonist, for instance, seems ripped from a Fire Emblem game, while a majority of the enemies could appear in hundreds of other RPGs. Everything looks decent, with pseudo 3-D locations that add interesting perspectives to mountains and villages, but you could easily call this something else and it would fit. The same goes for the music, much of which doesn't inspire us to think of Mount Olympus, Zeus and mythological beasts.
Glory of Heracles is a good RPG that looks and feels too similar to the competition. That'll please fans that eat this stuff up, but we'll wait for a quest worthy of the gods.
What's Hot: Touch screen and face button controls, anime style intro, lots of monsters to kill, likeable characters.
What's Not: Too much Japanese RPG influence, excessive micro managing, too similar to other role-playing games.