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Preview: Lifting the lid on Spark's box

Publisher Atari has been quite canny in picking up Legendary for publication in the UK, as the mix of real-world locations like New York and London, mythical beasties and your typical FPS run 'n' gun gameplay are adding up to a novel-looking shooter.

The story begins in earnest when art thief Charles Deckard steals and then opens the mystical Pandora's Box and in doing so, unleashes every beast, monster and misfit from myth and legend.

What then follows is a shootout across London and New York in search of a way to put the beasts back in the box. Things get more complex as a secret society called the Black Order get involved - some want the world of myth to be set free which is handy as it means you'll need to face off against human mercs as well as werewolves, minotaur and gryphon.


In fact this conflict between those who want to control the creatures and you, who wants to send their unreal asses back to a time best forgotten, creates some fun battles in the streets of New York. The werewolves will see the mercs as an enemy too (until later on, we're told, when the society who employs them learns to control them). What follows are three-way shootouts across the city's skyscrapers.

Attack waves
The enemy also has a unique AI that seems to hark back to the retro shooters of old. Because you're primarily facing off against beasts with claws, fangs and horns they attack in patterns - werewolves will hurl roof tiles and torn floorboards at you before leaping in for the kill; the Minotaur swings punches before powering up a bullish charge to spear you on its horns. Unlike COD4 and the like, you'll need to learn some new skills to overcome these unarmed, but deadly creatures.

One impressive creature swirls through New York gathering cars and debris and begins to grow into a towering colossus. Handily, Pandora's Box has bestowed your character with the ability to self-heal by draining 'animus' from the dead creatures.

Though fairly linear, Legendary is gearing up to pack in the shocks and set-piece events rather than have you out-think a situation. But there's enough here to make sure that we'll want a peak inside the box again.

The verdict

It's refreshing to shoot monsters from myth and legend. We're excited to see where Spark can take its box of tricks.

PlayStation 3
Spark Unlimited