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Video Game / Oriental Legend

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First game's title screen.
Second game's title screen.

Oriental Legend (西遊釋厄傳, lit. Journey to the West - Battle Against the Demons) is a 1997 arcade Beat 'em Up video game developed by Taiwan's International Games System, loosely - very loosely based on the Chinese literary classic, Journey to the West.

Much like the novel, the game have the player characters as the various disciples of Xuanzang, on their long pilgrimage to the west. But their journey is interrupted when Xuanzang gets abducted by demons intending to feast on his flesh, and the disciples must venture through various locations lifted directly from the novel, including the Lair of the Horned Kings, depths of the Heaven Reaching River, the Cave of Silken Web, and the Mount of Flames, infested with demons and monsters that many fans of the novel would undoubtly find familiar.

The game allows up to four players at once.

A sequel (actually a Stealth Prequel) is released in 2008 (11 years later), which rehashes much of the original's plot, including re-visiting redesigned stages and bosses, but with new characters added.

The Pilgrims

Players can select between five heroes (YES, five - even though Xuanzang canonically have only three disciples in the novels and most adaptations, but just roll with it), each of them with their unique weapons and powers that can be unleashed as a Smart Bomb attack:
  • Sun Wukong, the ever-iconic Monkey King and the eldest of the Pilgrims, and undoubtedly a fan-favorite. NO adaptation of Journey to the West would leave him out for sure.
  • Zhu Bajie, the Pig Man sidekick and Vitriolic Best Buds of Wukong. He's surprisingly acrofatic and depicted as The Big Guy in-game.
  • Sha Wujing, the third of the disciples, a lawful river demon-turned-monk on the side of the heroes. Normally a pacifist, he's not afraid to go rough on hostile demons.
  • Bai Long-ma, the White Dragon Horse who, unlike other adaptations who leaves him Out of Focus, actually gives him the privilege of being a playable character.
  • Hsiao Long-nu, the Dragon Girl, the sister of Bai Long-ma and a Canon Foreigner created just for the game. Since she doesn't have a literary counterpart, she's probably just there to be the token female playable heroine

Pilgrims introduced in Oriental Legend 2

  • Erlang Shen, the three-eyed Heavenly Marshal sent by the gods to supervise the Pilgrims and ensure no harm comes to Xuanzang.
  • Princess Iron Fan, the reformed wife of the Bull Demon.
  • Chang-er, yes, they just gave the soft, gentle Goddess of the Moon from Chinese myths the Xenafication treatment, she's now a capable asskicker with her Parasol of Pain.
  • Zi-yi, a Taoist Warrior Priestess and another Canon Foreigner made just for the game, who is an ally of the heavens assisting the pilgrims to rid the land of evil.
  • Zhī-zhū, the eldest sister of the Spider Queen who is the third Canon Foreigner of the game. She has some sort of twisted infatuation towards Xuanzang to the point that she would kill for his sake. She can be playable via memory card.

Both games contain examples of:

  • Actionized Adaptation: While the novel has some occasional bouts of action, the game however throws them at the players non-stop, with the Pilgrims - even those depicted as peaceful or pacifistic such as Wujing, or usually stays out of the action like Bai Long-ma - slicing and dicing through demons like no tomorrow.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Sun Wukong doesn't seem to have his weakness of water from the novels; being hit by water-based attacks deals roughly the same damage as other characters. In fact, he can walk around freely in the depths of the Heavenly Reaching River without suffering any disabilities. Also, his headband is no longer a hindrance in combat. On the contrary, it helps him.
    • The rest of the pilgrims, in general. In most depictions Bajie and Wujing are only sidekicks who repeatedly get themselves in danger from being abducted by demons, and needing their big brother Wukong to bail them out. Here they are capable enough to kick all kinds of ass till Sunday and defeat hordes and hordes of demons, with or without Wukong. Same deal with Long Ma, the water dragon.
    • Then there's Chang'e from the second game, who underwent some serious Xenafication
    • From the bad guys, we have the Rat Demon. Lady Earth Flow was originally a Dirty Coward who kept running away from Wukong and was lucky he didn't kill her once when he had the chance. In this game, she is a very competent boss.
    • The Immortals of Deer, Goat and Tiger Power are not killed in a competition, they have to be fought.
  • Adaptational Ugliness:
    • Wujing in the first game looks at least human, like how he's usually portrayed in the novel and other adaptations. For the 2008 game however (since it's influenced directly by Japanese media) Wujing is turned into a kappa.
    • Also from the second game, the Scorpion Demoness from the novel is supposedly an embodiment of women's beauty meant for distracting Xuanzang from his mission, and sure enough she appears as a beautiful woman. The game however turns her into a scorpion-human hybrid monster that looks absolutely hideous and at no point does she assume a human form.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • The Magic Gourd belonging to the Horned King brothers, in the novels, can trap even Gods in it, and is literally impossible to escape from once it's uncorked. To maintain balance of gameplay, any players can break out of the gourd with some Button Mashing.
    • The Horned King Brothers in general. In the novel, they gave Wukong pause, but here they are the first bosses. To put things into perspective, they become weaker than the Spider Sisters and the Lady Earth Flow, which was not true in the book.
    • Hong Hai'er, the Red Boy, in the original novel is a cunning, powerful demon who repeatedly outwits the Pilgrims, and one of the few adversaries who actually gives Wukong a hard time. In this game he's another boss that players using other characters (which are NOT Wukong) can still defeat. Additionally, the novels state that the Red Boy breathes Samadhi Fire, which is impossible to extinguish, but in the game he breathes regular flames.
    • The Eagle King in the first game is a Fragile Speedster and a miniboss, the weakest of his stage. In the original novel, he was the Garuda, and more powerful than his brothers and Wukong.
    • The Centipede King was leagues above the Spider Sisters in competence in the book. However, he is the lesser threat in the game.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: Where to start? The battle in the Horn King Demon's cave inside an active volcano? The exterior of the Mount of Flames? Or the boss fight against the Red Boy, where the Red Boy will actually incinerate his surrooundings before he fight you?
  • Boss Bonanza: Plenty in the first game. The Goat, Deer and Tiger Immortals are fought in their mansion one after another, and later there's the Eagle, Elephant and Lion Demons in their caves.
  • All Webbed Up: The levels in the Cave of Silken Web in both games have you finding Xuanzang tied up by the Spider Queen's minions using strands of spiderwebs.
  • Amazon Brigade: Female demons are mooks in various stages, notably the Spider Queens' handmaidens in the Cave of Silken Web and the servants of the Rat Demon.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: One of the Mini-Boss from the first game (who isn't even named onscreen, or have a Life Meter display like other bosses) is a gigantic tail sticking out of a hole in the background, who keeps pulling a Tail Slap on you until you destroy it. Said tail seemingly belongs to a gigantic rodent, but you don't fight the rest of the creature.
  • Bad with the Bone: Some of the demons use bone clubs as weapons. And the second game notably has fishmen enemies using spears made from gigantic fish-bones.
  • Battle in the Rain: The second game's boss fight against the Tiger Immortal is set in the heavens, in heavy rain.
  • Beast Men: Most of the mooks are some variety of human-animal hybrids, or otherwise are humanoids with animalistic features.
  • Bird People: The Eagle Demon from both games is a giant bird-man. The second game also have lesser bird-humanoid demons as Airborne Mooks.
  • Brown Note: One of the useable weapons in both games is the Golden Fillet (Sun Wukong's headband), which in the novels is used to maintain Wukong's violent tendencies by inducing headaches on him when needed. In this game this headband can instead create a powerful aura that induces splitting headaches and paralyze surrounding enemies, draining their health. And it can be used by any player - yes, even those using Wukong.
  • Chained to a Bed: In the Rat Demon's cave, Xuanzang is rescued while chained to a bed surrounded by the Rat Demon's mooks. You save him by killing all the mooks, wounding the Rat Demon and releasing Xuanzang off-camera, before proceeding to fight the Rat Demon in the next area.
  • Child Soldiers: The Three Immortal Demons have underaged children as their mooks, which are a real bunch of Tyke Bombs happily running you through with their knives.
  • Combination Attack: On multiplayer mode, players can combine their moves for more devastating attacks. It's very easy to pull this off with two players, where both players will execute a mutual Spin Attack by grabbing each other and pummel enemies in circles, while in the case where one player is significantly larger than the other (e.g. Bajie and Wukong, Wujing or Long-nu) the larger player will grab the smaller and perform a Fastball Special.
  • Cruel Elephant: The Elephant Demon in both games, a bipedal elephant in humanoid form who repeatedly use his giant battleaxes to chop you into chunks.
  • Dem Bones: A few areas in the first game has living skeletons as enemies. Not as much as other arcade actioners set in Medieval Europe, since this game's set in China, but they're still present.
  • Desert Skull: The desert outside the Mount of Flames has gigantic skulls on it, which can be smashed for objects and points.
  • Dual Boss:
    • The first game has two Lion Demons in the same arena if you play with more than one player.
    • In the second game, choosing to spare the Tiger Demon will have him returning a stage later to enforce the Goat Demon, both of them attacking simultaneously.
  • Duel Boss: The Ox God is the only boss that summons no minions during the fight. He doesn't need them.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The Route Boss option in the first stage, depending on the path, ends with a fight against the demon Silver Horn or Silver Horn's father, a giant monstrosity who takes up the entire screen. If you chose the latter and kills him, a few scenes later you come across Silver Horn... too busy mourning his deceased father to fight you. You can't attack him either, you just move on to the next stage.
  • Evil Living Flames: Humanoid flames, in various colors are a recurring enemy in both games.
  • Fiendish Fish: One of the possible boss encounters in the Heavenly Reaching River, the King of Spiritual Touch's pet giant catfish who is large enough to swallow the players in a gulp. It will repeatedly try chomping you down and crushing you with it's tail until you defeat it.
  • Fish People: Humanoid fishes shows up as guards serving the King of Spiritual Touch in the Heaven Reaching River. The second game also have fish-men mooks near the Flowing Sands River in the first stage.
  • Flunky Boss: All the bosses except the very last one surround themselves with underlings and lesser demons, some of them (like the Immortals and the Red Boy) even making extra mooks materialize into the arena every now and then.
  • Flying on a Cloud: How your characters enters most of the levels. In the original novel and most adaptations Wukong is the sole character with this ability, but in this game everyone seems to have it.
  • Fragile Flyer: Among the trio of animal demon kings, the eagle-like Garuda is the only flyer and a Fragile Speedster with highest speed but lowest amount of health.
  • Fusion Dance: The Spider Sisters combine to become the Spider Queen.
  • Giant Spider: Both games' incarnation of the Cave of the Silken Web has giant spiders serving the Spider Queen. The first game has a King Mook spider monster that takes up most of the arena, while the second have larger-than-average spiders as Giant Mook enemies.
  • The Goomba: Brown skinned, balding lesser demons armed with spiked clubs in the first game, are the first enemies encountered and also the weakest. Even in large numbers they're not much of a threat.
  • Mirror Boss: Surprisingly, not the Six-Eared Macaque who impersonated Wukong in the novel, but the Lion King, who is also a very skilled shapeshifter.
  • Lethal Lava Land:
    • The horn brothers' cave from the first game is in an active volcano. Beware of fireballs falling from ceilings!
    • The Red Boy's lair. There the rain of fireballs is even worse and can stunlock you to death.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different: The Bull Demon King from the novels is fully-depicted as an oriental Minotaur in both games, as a bull-headed humanoid wearing armor of Chinese generals. And he, just like in the novels, has a One-Winged Angel form called an "Ox God", a giant bull monster whose horns are even larger than the players!
  • Panthera Awesome:
    • The Tiger Immortal, a humanoid beast-man with a tiger's head, is a boss in both games and the leader of the corrupt immortal demon trio. The second game also have tiger-men as mooks.
    • The Lion Demon is a boss in both games.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: The Rodent Demon who abducted Xuanang fights you in the form of a humongous, humanoid rodent. She can also summon a Swarm of Rats to back her up.
  • Route Boss: The stages have plenty of alternate bosses depending on the routes chosen. In the first stage where you infiltrate the Horn Demons' caves, you can fight either Silver Horn or Silver Horn's father (the latter taking up the whole screen, and is actually an easier target). The level in the Cave of the Silken Web can have you facing either the Spider Queen, or her minion, the Thousand-Eyes Demon.
  • Sea Hurtchin: One of the possible bosses in the first game is the Urchin King, a giant sea urchin monster who can float around and shoot spikes at you besides dropping smaller urchins as projectiles.
  • She Is the King: Lady Earth Flow, who is still a woman in the cutscenes, is called Rat King.
  • Shock and Awe:
    • One of the most powerful weapons in the game all characters can use, the Thundering Halberd, can fil an entire arena with lightning. It drains plenty of mana from your characters, though.
    • So many of the bosses can sic thunderbolts and electrical assaults on the players as well. The Rat Demon, the Spider Queen (from her sword), the Deer Immortal, Silver Horn...
  • Spider People: Another recurring enemy variety, but only in the second game's Cave of Silken Web stage. They have six arms that can all punch at you at the same time.
  • Standard Power-Up Pose: Used by all the playable characters, in both games. The first one have them raising a hand as an orb of energy gathers in their palms and a powerful aura engulfs their bodies, in the second game they raise their weapons instead.
  • Stationary Boss:
    • Silver Horn’s father is a gigantic monster in a pit, with his body's upper half sticking out as he lunges at you with his claws. He appears to be based on the giant Fish Monster boss from Blade Master.
    • The giant spider monster that appears at the tail-end of the Cave of Silken Web initially only attacks by firing Projectile Webbing from a distance and occasionally slashing out with claws while within the confines of the pool in said stage, but once it's health is reduced enough it then leaps out to attack.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: The Heavenly Reaching River stage have players fighting hostile fish-people and sea creatures underwater, without any disabilities or weaknesses. This somehow applies even on Wukong, who in the originally is supposedly weak against water.
  • Sword Lines: Not just swords, but for all characters, having their power levels to the max will leave behind glowing lines with every slash.
  • Time Stands Still: One of the power-ups is a magic scroll that literally stops time for the user, freezing every enemy onscreen for a few seconds. The Chinese word for "lock" will appear on the frozen enemy, and stays there until the magic wears off.
  • Under the Sea: The level in the first game under the Heaven Reaching River, where the King of Spiritual Touch sics his sea creature mooks on the heroes.
  • Visual Pun: The Spider Queen from the first game appears to be wearing red-and-blue leather leggings borrowed from Spider-Man's wardrobe.
  • Weapons That Suck: The Horn brothers in both games, Golden and Silver Horn, uses their magic gourds just like in the novels, which can suck you in and drain your health. After defeating them, you can collect their gourds as a weapon on mooks.
  • Youkai: While the original game is based entirely on Chinese mythology, the follow-up seems to have borrowed elements from Japanese legends in their enemy designs. Notably you can sometimes be attacked by fire-breathing Chōchin-obake (Japanese ghost lanterns).

Alternative Title(s): Oriental Legend 2