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Developer:
Collision Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive
Platform: PSP
Release Date: February 27, 2007

by Josh Ferguson




When it comes to videogames based on films, many gamers realize that the transition between the two isnít usually as successful as one might hope. While there have been some good movie-based games out there, generally the move is a little bumpy. One of the latest film-based videogames is 300: March to Glory, from Warner Bros, which is based on the film, 300. So is the transition from film to game a successful one for this visually stunning film? Or will 300: March to Glory go down as one of the many flawed film-based games? Read on to find out!


If you have seen the film, or know a bit about history, then chances are you know the story, but if not, then Iíll tell you. The storyline in 300: March to Glory follows the battle of Thermopylae, and places players in the role of Leonidas, King of Sparta, who is leading three hundred of his best soldiers against the enormous Persian army and their King, Xerxes.


After viewing the 300 film, one would obviously realize that more than likely the videogame is going to have a strong focus on combat, which is the basic premise of the game. Combat in the game uses the basic hack-and-slash formula, which can become quite repetitive very quickly. In terms of weaponry, the characters in the game come equipped with a spear, a sword, and a shield that can be used for both defensive and offensive tactics. The sword is easily the most effective weapon, and chances are players will be using it quite frequently as their main weapon, but in order to penetrate through enemy shields and armor, players will usually have to switch to their spear. Spears are quite a bit slower than the sword, and it will take more hits to kill an enemy with the spear than sword, but there is also the ability to throw your spear into your enemies, which will kill almost any enemy on contact. When using either your sword or spear, Leonidas is also able to wield his trusty shield, which, as I said earlier, is used as both a defensive and offensive threat. Using the shoulder buttons, players are able to use their shield to block incoming weapon attacks, while holding both shoulder buttons will perform a tuck tail, which allows you to shield from the devastating Persian arrow volley. On the other hand, the circle button is used to perform offensive maneuvers with your shield, and smash it into the faces of your enemies. Eventually, your character will also be able to wield two swords, which is easily the most effective offensive weapon set, but leaves you fairly open to enemy attacks. Luckily, Leonidas is able to dodge incoming attacks by holding the left shoulder button and pressing the circle button while moving the analog stick in the direction you wish to move.


While combat will no doubt become repetitive fairly quickly, there are some different combos that Leonidas can perform in order to mix things up a bit. Each of the three weapons, dual swords, spear, and single sword, have a few different combos that can be purchased by acquiring the required amount of ďKleos,Ē which is the game's currency, obtained by defeating enemies. The problem here is that the amount of combos is very limited, and chances are players will obtain one or two that they like and stick with those, or just stick with just mashing the X and square button repeatedly, both of which are effective.


Aside from combos, at certain points throughout the game Leonidas will acquire battle skills known as ďWrath Attacks.Ē Examples of these Wrath Attacks include Fortitude, which allows you to heal some of your lost HP, and Blood Drunk, which greatly increases your attack power and allows you to gain HP by killing your enemies. Each time that Leonidas uses one of these Wrath Attacks, a certain amount of wrath will be used up, which is basically the game's word for MP. Naturally, the more powerful the wrath attack is, the more wrath will be consumed. However, obtaining wrath is actually quite simple, and can be recovered by merely pulling off a successful attack on an enemy. Unlike obtaining Kleos, you wonít even have to kill the enemy, but just hit them. Pretty simple, huh? Using Kleos, it is also possible to upgrade your Wrath Attacks, usually increasing the duration of the attacks, the amount of damage performed, or the amount of HP recovered.


Even though most of the combat in the game will consist of going around alone and hacking through enemies, usually at least once during each mission you will have to team up with your fellow Spartans in a Phalanx. These Phalanx missions consist of a few of your soldiers forming in a line, with a number of different enemies running toward your soldiers and attacking. While in a Phalanx, your characters will only have two weapons at their disposal, the spear and their shields. Whenever you press the X button, not only will Leonidas attack, but so will the rest of the Phalanx. Basically, during the Phalanx scenario, your objective is to walk your characters through the level and kill the incoming enemies. If your soldiers donít kill the incoming soldiers quickly enough, then your command bar will begin to deplete, thus causing the Phalanx to fall apart and you to lose the mission. Similar to the actual combat, the Phalanx missions tend to become extremely repetitive because each mission is basically the exact same, walk, press X, block arrows, and repeat. Occasionally you will run into shielded enemies, which will result in adding another step to this equation, but this whole thing still becomes extremely repetitive and quite dull.


Graphically, 300: March to Glory isnít one of the most impressive games to be seen on the PSP. The environments arenít the most detailed, and many of them tend to look a little dull and overused. Character models arenít exactly great either, as many of the enemies are just recycled over and over throughout the entire game, and lack a lot of detail. The game also tends to suffer from slowdown when a few different enemies are present on screen, which, seeing as how you will be hacking your way through enemies often, tends to be a problem. While the graphics tend to look rather poor, the game does feature some nice looking comic-styled cutscenes that work well with the game. Camera views are another problem that can be experienced throughout the game. Players don't have any control over the actual camera, and at times it can be extremely difficult to see what's going on, especially at times when it switches to a side view.


The sound in 300: March to Glory seems to fare quite a bit better than the graphics. Overall, the game features some good voice work, including David Wenham, who is the only member of the movie cast to share his voice for the game, and Crispin Freeman, who does a very nice job as Leonidas. As far as the soundtrack goes, the game features a good score that was taken directly from the film, which featured a great epic soundtrack. The game also features some fairly good sound effects, whether it be the volley of arrows, screams of dying soldiers, or the slashes of a sword.


If youíre looking for a game that will keep you occupied for a few days, then 300: March to Glory may not be your cup of tea. The game could easily be beaten in a weekend, and definitely wonít be taking more than six hours. Sadly, the game only features nine missions, and there really is little reason to go back for any sort of replay. Unless you are a completist, and would like to replay the game to obtain every single piece of armor, weaponry, and combo, there really is little to no reason to go back for a replay. Sadly, the bonus features that are unlocked after you finish the game are fairly limited and quite disappointing. There are a few trailers for the 300 film, which are always fun to watch, a few interviews, and you can view all of the game's cutscenes, but chances are after a viewing or so you probably wonít be going back to check them out again.


After seeing and loving the 300 film, it's hard to not feel a little disappointed by the videogame. While the violence and gore of the film seems to have carried over to the game, the repetitive and dull combat and lack of replay weighs heavily on the total enjoyment and really makes it hard to recommend to anyone but the most diehard 300 fans.


Final Grade: 64%




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