Rise of the Argonauts

Publisher: Codemasters Price: �44.99 Format: Xbox 360 (also on PS3 and PC) Age rating: 18+ TAKING some liberties with its source material, Rise of the Argonauts is a sword-and-sandals epic that retells the story of Jason s pursuit of the Golden Fleece.

Publisher: Codemasters

Price: �44.99

Format: Xbox 360 (also on PS3 and PC)

Age rating: 18+

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TAKING some liberties with its source material, Rise of the Argonauts is a sword-and-sandals epic that retells the story of Jason's pursuit of the Golden Fleece.

This time, though, he's not trying to prove his right to be king - as the Classics would have it - but wanting to retrieve the fleece to bring his wife back to life. As such, it's the perfect excuse for Jason to assemble a party of adventurers, board the Argo, and head off for some fisticuffs.

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Slipping into the battle robes of Jason, the first couple of hours of this action role-playing game are spent dealing with the aftermath of your wife's death and tracking down her mysterious assassins. As well as quite a bit of sweeping up, there's an awful lot of talking to wade through. You see, Jason is more of a thinker than a fighter, and this is reflected in the structure of a game that concentrates on settling disputes by engaging in long-winded debates rather than using your mace, sword or spear to speed things up.

Once you've managed to set sail, things improve dramatically as you get the chance to engage in a series of button mashing encounters against all sorts of demons, centaurs and satyrs. While combat is little more than an elaborate game of rock-paper-scissors, there are plenty of opportunities to upgrade your weapons and armour. This is done through dedicating your heroic 'deeds' to four Greek gods - Ares, Athena, Hermes and Apollo -and being rewarded with favours that can be used to acquire new abilities. These include everything from health regeneration and power boosts to directing lightening strikes against your enemies. It's all a bit of window dressing though as you can charge through much of the game using just a handful of moves.

As much as we wanted to like Rise of the Argonauts it feels more like an interactive book than a hazardous quest into the unknown. It tries to combine the best bits from God of War and Mass Effect, but fails miserably and ends up being a bit of a Greek tragedy instead.

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