| paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Beat_em_up; loc=JPN] |
|Download added: cover_back.jpg (84196 bytes)|
Just a couple images for now.
|A spectacular Gauntletish 3D beat-em-up. Pick from one of four stereotypical fantasy characters and tromp through lovely shiny dungeons and castles beatin' the crap of of freakish monsters with a variety of combos and magic attacks. Each character has a speed attack, a power attack, a magic burst attack (limited number, charges up as you play), a speed charge attack, a power charge attack, and various combos chained off the other attacks. Fun stuff!|
Some, but not all, of the levels are highly inventive. Pretty much all of them look good--somehow the graphics in this game have a light, sharp feeling that reminds me of a Dreamcast game, but with lots more depth in multiple transparencies and reflections. The "Castle of Immortal" level really sticks in what I've seen so far: mazes and puzzles abound as you bull through crazily abstract, Tron-like levels with floating platforms galore. Confusing but neat.
Some of the enemies are good too. For instance in the Castle level you may come to a dimly lit room in which the door seals behind you. The far end of the room is mirrored. Four or five short little dudes waddle toward you, not seeming very threatening... but you can't kill them. You can smash away at them with your charge attacks until doomsday, and they get right back up, and probably turn around and fart a poisonous yellow cloud at you (I'm not making this up). It's a puzzle, you see. Look at the mirror: it's actually reflecting the characters in the room... or is it? Very cool stuff.
That being said, parts of the game can be frustrating smash fests, like when in the Castle in spawns a giant robot in to attack you on a tiny little platform. You hit him twice, run around him, hit him twice, run around him... blah. Other levels are just all rocky and grey, with wave after wave of the same baddies. Sorta blah.
Except that you can play it two-player co-op. I wish, I wish that you could play four-player co-op. The back of the case even says 1-4 players, which is why I tracked the game down in the first place, but it turns out that 1-4 players is only for the very limited arena battle multiplayer mode, where you can all smash on each other in a single room. Bluh!
The whole game is like this, actually--some good, some not so good. Some of the sound effects are great, others, not so great--like how the giant barbarian hero utters a pitiful little "ow!" when hit. Some levels have totally forgettable music, others have great music. Some levels are beautiful, others are ugly. I'm not sure what was going on over at PCCW Japan when they made this, but it came out somewhat uneven.
Oh yeah, like the save system. The game tracks your highest combo (well actually, it tracks ANYONE's highest combo) and will save it with your game file, but that and the three highest game clear scores is all it saves--you gotta play all the way through in one sitting. I'm not sure how long that will take, but it's at least a couple hours I think.
Swinging back to the good side, all the in-game text and voices are in English (grish), stage order is randomized, some stages have branching paths, and each character has a different little text story in Story mode.
I'll end here because I want to go out on an up-note--I really do like this game. It has the feel of an arcade smash-em-up, starting with the bold, speedy graphics and continuing (hoo) right down to the Soul Caliburesque announcer and the continue-munching bosses (you have nine or so continues). Oh, and one of the characters has a name identical to mine except for two letters. That rocks. GameFAQs says that the game came out in Europe and North America as "Raging Blades" but I've never seen or heard of it otherwise over here. And the only other game Pacific Century Cyber Works is credited for at GF is the low-profile "Lowrider." Odd. They deserved to get a lot of good press for this game but it seems to have had a very limited release.