Chaos League: Sudden Death
No Rules. How many times have you heard that when faced with the latest future/fantasy sports sim? If there were really no rules, what is it that dictates that putting the ball into your opponent's goal awards you a point? Or that you can't stamp on your opponent's face when he's down? Eh? The National Institute of Pedantry demands that from now on, these games should be described as containing less rules than one is accustomed to. Or something. Needless to say, Chaos League: Sudden Death is one such game.
Being an example of the oxymoron that is the standalone-expansion pack. Sudden Death is actually more of an update of the original than anything especially new. Set in a fantasy world with the usual suspects of orcs and goblins, Sudden Death is a violent sports game which appears to be the lovechild of a Games Workshop board game by the name of Blood Bowl, and an ancient (if you can call 1993 ancient) DOS game by the name of Brutal Sports Football.
Piggy In The Middle
Two teams of nine face each other across a rectangular pitch and have to get possession of a pigskin and run it into their opponents' scoring area via any means necessary. This can include beating the living daylights out of your opponents, cooking their backsides with some magic or, well, just a mix of running and passing. The uniqueness lies in the control system, which unexpectedly utilises an RTS control method. By making use of the pause button, you can select your players, group them and assign orders before letting play continue, or just let rip and play in real-time. Strangely enough, it does actually work, and Cyanide has been kind enough to address a few of the niggling issues the League suffered on its first outing.
The amusing commentary has been beefed up so that it doesn't become repetitive quite so quickly, and the look of the arenas themselves has been improved too. Other new additions include a miniwindow that pops up from time to time depicting events on the field, and the welcome, if somewhat inconsequential, option to give the referee a slap.
However, while we're grateful for the new races and tweaked management options and so forth, some fairly major faults seem to have been completely overlooked. The engine itself still looks rougher than a transvestite's legs, particularly when you zoom in to watch a fight. Also, despite promises of improved Al, we were hard pushed to feel the benefit of it. Round this all off with the still huge learning curve, and an extraordinarily fiddly interface, and this thin new coat of paint is quickly rubbed away.
When I first played Chaos League a year ago, the review code came with a letter from the publisher admitting that the tutorial is a pain', so why has this not been dealt with in the new version either? While Chaos League: Sudden Death is an intriguing take on fantasy tactical sports, the effort required to get going coupled with the repetitiveness which starts to creep in after a tournament or two will dissuade many. In all, it's a bit of a missed opportunity to polish up a flawed, but novel, piece of entertainment.
Download Chaos League: Sudden Death
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP