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For generations, people have believed in the Chinese myth known as the Dark Legend. It occurs sometime in the 11th or 12th century when China plunges into a state of total anarchy, when power-hungry warlords rebel against the central government. To regain control over his empire, the emperor devises a cunning plan. He prepares for the ultimate conquest for his most ambitious rivals, a challenge that no warlord is able to resist as the rewards are unimaginable. The victor will be endowed with incredible abilities and possess ultimate power, not to mention unlimited wealth. The triumph is absolute as defeat means death. Thousands of fearless warriors battle among themselves with special fighting abilities.
The game has eleven playable characters and many locations around China to choose from. Each character fights with his/her own unique weapon while some are unarmed. If the weapon is used to block attacks too often, the character will only be able to fight with his/her bare hands and lose the weapon for the rest of the round. Fighting moves are classified under low, medium and hard in terms of attack power, in order of increasing amount of damage dealt to an opponent. Each character also has his/her own special attack to use against the opponent.
The game takes place in Liangshan Marsh, where 12 of the strongest outlaws out of 108 gather to test their battle skills against each other while the Gods of War watch from above. The characters are inspired by the 108 outlaws from the Chinese classical novel Water Margin by Shi Naian.
|Shi Jin||A martial artist with a tattoo of a dragon on his back. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and has little experience in the real world. He is skilled in using the sword.|
|Lin Chong||An expert in the use of the staff. He appears as a mentally-troubled person as his past is overshadowed with acts of betrayal by his close friends and the death of his wife.|
|Hu Sanniang||A female fighter who uses a pair of swords. Her movements are quick, sharp and deadly but she tends to pity those who are weak and miserable. She likes to stay at Liangshan Marsh where other men of talent dwell.|
|Dai Zong||This fighter moves swiftly and possesses the special ability of "Majestic Teleport", which allows him to jet "KI (spiritual air)". He is very caring towards his friends.|
|Li Kui||This dark giant uses a pair of huge battleaxes in combat. He is reckless, rash and extremely dangerous. His attack is as powerful just as it is destructive.|
|Lu Zhishen||A master in using the heavy sword. He enjoys Japanese Sake almost as much as violence. Along with his various special tricks, he also takes the advantage of the length of his sword.|
|Gongsun Sheng||A Taoist magician with the ability to summon winds and thunderbolts to do his bidding. He is clumsy but extremely likeable.|
|Wu Song||A dynamic warrior who can slay a huge tiger with his bare hands. His special tricks entail hitting with a pair of staffs and a superb throw. He has a special repeat attack which combines hits with throws.|
|Ruan Xiaoer||Although he is the eldest of the three Ruans, his physical strength is weaker than his brothers. He is adept in gambling and psychological tactics.|
|Ruan Xiaowu||The off-beat brother of the three Ruans. He dresses in a funny manner, appears selfish and looks like a mutant with a water whip. He uses frogs and fishes as weapons to keep opponents at bay along with his whip. Each of his attacks are very wild and powerful.|
|Ruan Xiaoqi||The youngest of the Ruan brothers. He is a muscular guy with an attitude. His attacks are quick and repetitive using a pair of nunchakus.|
|Chao Gai|| The second king of Liangshan Marsh who brought several fighters to join him in the marsh. He is known as the "ugly king", not only because of his personality, but also due to the fact that he was hit in the face by a poisoned arrow during a battle to the death. Legend says that he had returned from the dead.
Note: Chao Gai is only playable in 2P Battle
In 1996, Data East ported Outlaws Of The Lost Dynasty to Sega Saturn and PlayStation, retitled as Dark Legend while the Japanese title remains unchanged. These ports includes both the Original Mode which it plays just like at the Arcade and the Special Mode, which adds extra moves and also a beginner mode if you press L or R at the same time. It's a update from the Japanese Version and it was translated for the American audience, but most of the Japanese text remained. Some of the options has been removed as well as the option demo play. Unlike the Japanese version, you cannot select between Arcade More or Special Mode, instead it defaults to Special Mode.
A Japan-exclusive semi-sequel titled Suiko Enbu: Fuunsaiki (水滸演武 風雲再起) was later released only for the Sega Saturn, which featured several new and updated features, plus two special guest characters, which are both from the Fighter's History series, also by Data East: Makoto Mizoguchi and Yon Miy.
Around 2009, G-Mode has ported the PlayStation version of Outlaws Of The Lost Dynasty over to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, but only over in Japan. It has yet to be released to the rest of the world.[ ]