The battles themselves take place in quasi-3D environments, with your standard health bars at the top of the screen and special-move gubbins at the bottom. In terms of structure, however, Tournament of Legends is quite different to the majority of other beat 'em ups. The fight is split into two rounds, but it's completely unnecessary given the fact that if you kill your opponent three times (in either round) the match is over anyway. In this interlude between rounds, there's a wholly bizarre mini-game where you have to rotate the analogue stick whilst waggling the Wii-mote to restore your health and armour. It's all very strange.
Moment to moment play involves manically thrusting the Wii-mote in front of you with the vague intention of stringing together a combo. Horizontal motions result in horizontal slashes and vertical - unsurprisingly - vertical. If your special meter has enough juice, you can use the Z-button to fire off a few projectile attacks, while the A-button is reserved for special moves. Each character has one unique attack, but it's executed in exactly the same way for each character. There are no grabs, throws or elaborate combos to master, just a limited set of moves shared between each character. After enduring a few matches of this, things start to get desperately dull.
Attempting to make things slightly more interesting is a perk system, with orbs that can be equipped in between matches for different bonuses. One such perk might invoke a higher critical hit ratio, or increase speed - but this fails to add that much depth to the overall experience.
Perhaps the worst thing about Tournament of Legends is the female commentator that feels compelled to announce each character's name when you hover over them in the character select screen. This isn't too bad in itself, but the exact same voice sample is used when she introduces a match. "Bravehoof.....versus.....Marcus" she'll say, but in a horribly disjointed tone. It sounds like one of those automated telephone lines, with sentences that are painfully constructed from words of contrasting intonations. This, in part, is why the game feels so horrendously dated, and made my ears bleed every time I heard it.
Tournament of Legends isn't a broken game, but it's not the least bit enjoyable either. It ditches the tried and tested formula of similar fighting games in favour of strange new conventions that simply spoil the experience. With Capcom's Street Fighter IV kick-starting a fighting renaissance, tripe such as this only serves to drag the genre back into the dark ages. Avoid.