For a significant part of my teenage years, almost nothing meant more to me than Iron Maiden and video games. Having been old enough to remember the first time I saw there was a sequel to Pac Man in an arcade and growing up with Atari 2600, Colecovision and NES, I’ve spent more time staring at a screen than perhaps I should have. As I developed my taste in music and it evolved, Powerslave was the first Maiden album that really spoke to me and I can recall going to a Wall to Wall Sound and Video (R.I.P.) to pick up Somewhere in Time the first day it was released. So needless to say, I have pretty high expectations when the two combine. Thankfully, almost two weeks into playing Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast, and I’m still impressed by the game
It makes sense that the worlds of Iron Maiden and video games collide. The band’s mascot, Eddie, was expertly drawn by Derek Riggs for their first decade or so, and their album covers resembled the fantasy world of some of the art on video game consoles. And Legacy of the Beast isn’t their first run at games. Ed Hunter was a PC game released in 1999 as part of a Greatest Hits compilation. However, it was ridiculously hard, a shooter game that was controlled with a mouse. Also, Eddie was an unlockable character in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, along with Jango Fett. The “Speed of Light” video mashes up a bunch of different games (Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat, Doom and more), but sadly wasn’t an actual game. There was a side-scroller flash game that came out for the video, but Legacy of the Beast might be the best use of the band and their imagery in a video game yet.
The game, which is available as a free download on iOS and Android, is a turn-based strategy game, which will be familiar to anyone that’s played Final Fantasy at any point. You play as Eddie, led by The Clairvoyant in a nod to Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. If you thought that Eddie doesn’t have a soul, you’re right. In the game, his soul is shattered across time and space, and you and the Clairvoyant travel across five worlds (only four are available now, with “City of Night” coming soon) in search of the pieces of your soul. Eddie and two other fighters square off against enemies that are specific to the world you’re in (for example, in the battlefield world patterened after A Matter of Life and Death, zombie machine gunners). What’s kind of funny is that in the story mode, Eddie doesn’t talk, just responds in question marks and exclamation points. It’d be cheesy af if Eddie finally started talking after all these years. You can, of course, choose your companions and their attacks. Once you win, you get coins, shards of souls and talismans that can be used to upgrade your characters. Once you have enough, you can evolve them up to different levels.
If you’re able to recover enough shards and drag them into the Book of Souls, it unlocks different characters, and there are different Eddies you can get as well. Of course, there are in-app purchases available if you don’t have the patience and keep getting your ass kicked on higher levels. I haven’t spent any money on the game yet, which might be why I’m getting my ass kicked in the early stages of the third world. However, as you level up, you can go back and play through the earlier stages at higher difficulty levels, which can be fun.
Even if you’re more of a Maiden fan than a gamer, it’s worth downloading. The music while you’re playing are instrumental Maiden tracks, like “The Wicker Man” and “The Evil That Men Do,” and it doesn’t get that repetitive. And it’s definitely a hard game. Like I said, I’m stuck in the early parts of the third world, but have gone back and played the first two at a harder level. Each day you play consecutively, you get rewarded with more time, more in-game money, or souls that can help you upgrade. So while you might be tempted to spend some money to upgrade, know that you don’t have to. For a free game, Legacy of the Beast has a ton of replay value, and is a must-own for anyone that likes Maiden and gaming as much as I do.