By Vidya and Naren Pradhan
The rich Hindu mythic pantheon of rajas, rakshasas, and apsaras lends itself well to quest-style video games, so it is a bit surprising that no one has seriously attempted one till now. Kids weaned on Amar Chitra Kathas will be interested in “The Legend of Vraz,” a computer game that is inspired by the panoply of heroic characters that Indian mythology provides.
The story of the game, very reminiscent of Indian fairy tales, revolves around prince Vraz who wishes to marry his beloved princess Avi and win her hand in marriage. He has to perform 5 tasks set by her father. This takes Vraz on an epic quest where he must make his way through 15 exotic locations, avoid the tribal warlord Mani and battle with the evil lovelorn Vizier and his shrewd accomplices. He will also have to collect gold and keys, skillfully navigate dangerous traps, operate objects and find his way out of near impossible terrain.
Says developer Abhinav Chokavatia, “The game’s look and style is derived from Indian Miniature paintings. I had always been fascinated by miniature paintings ever since I was young. While visiting the temple of Nathdwara I came across detailed miniature paintings and thought it would be a great idea if we can somehow take this art form forward. That’s how the game style and game idea was born.”
The game is targeted at the teen male audience, though the developers believe adults play it too. “We’ve had players tell us that it reminds them of the earlier Mario games,” says Abhinav. “You might say that Prince of Persia + Mario * India – Violence = Legend of Vraz!”
The game launches in India via retail in a month or so and is already available for online purchase. Buyers can try out the demo on the website of Zatun Games, the developers of “Legend.”
I had Naren, who, at 14, falls bang in the middle of the target segment, try out the game. Here is his review –
So far, there have been many good ideas for video games based on mythologies from around the world that have ended up as excellent gaming experiences. Players can hack their way through monsters from Greek mythology, carve a path through hell, or use magic and martial arts to fight hordes of Chinese soldiers. However, so far, nobody has thought about a game based on Indian mythology. Well, the wait is over, thanks to a pay-to-download game called The Legend of Vraz.
The Legend of Vraz is a side-scrolling platformer based on Hindu mythology, especially The Ramayana. Indians around the world would be excited at such a thing. One would say, “Finally, game developers are taking notice of the lore of India!” Of course, I immediately took notice of it, being an avid gamer myself. So I downloaded the game demo, and this is what I found.
The story has no audible dialogue, and is presented through comic panels and missions. It involves prince Vraz, who resembles an Indian hero, doing five difficult tasks in order to win the hand of the lovely Princess Avi. The game play takes many of its elements from classic platforms such as The Prince of Persia, Super Mario Bros, and Sonic the Hedgehog. In each level, you are given a certain mission, either to get an amount of gold, defeat a number of enemies, or simply get to the end. On the way you can jump, fight enemies, collect gold, and discover secret areas, all vital to the overall platform game experience.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the game is the bow and arrow. Just like Rama, Vraz’s signature weapon is the famed projectile weapon of the ancient times. There are five types of arrows you can shoot including normal, particle and fire arrows. However, the enemies move quite fast, and the limited directions you can shoot in make the bow hard to use. Also, there is little variety in the types of enemies. There are bugs, fish, more bugs, more fish, a boar here and there, soldiers, and annoying little cheeky monkeys that make you lose health after you destroy them, which is annoying since you have to destroy them in certain levels.
Overall I didn’t really enjoy this game. However, I can tell it was meant for small children, who will enjoy it when they get the hang of it. The difficulty will provide a good challenge for them and the platform action a thrilling experience. I would call this game average. But if Indian mythology is your thing and quest-style games are fun for you, then do give The Legend of Vraz a try.
To seasoned gamers like Naren, who has played real time strategy games like Starcraft and Warcraft 3, the game may seem a little retro and inadequate but kids newer to the world of online gaming may enjoy the game. Also, parents can be reassured that there is nothing bloody or gory in this game. According to Abhinav, the initial response has been tremendous.
Here is a video teaser of the game –