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Simple 2000 Series Vol. 114: The Jokouppichi Torimonochou - Oneichan
  opened by paleface at 05:45:54 03/07/07  
  last modified by paleface at 00:53:49 03/11/07  
  paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Platformer; loc=JPN]
Bah, couldn't fit the crazy title in; the full thing is actually something like "Simple 2000 Series Vol. 114: The Jokouppichi Torimonochou ~ Oneichan Go Go Go! ~" There's also a huge subtitle, the parts of which I can read go something like "'The [???] Chanbara' [no] staff [???] Action Heroine '[???]' DEBUT!!"
I bought it since it looked from screenshots like another installment, perhaps taking a slightly lighter approach, of Tamsoft and publisher D3's wildly successful girl-slashing-zombies "Oneichan" series of budget games.
But aside from the slashing-girl heroine, this game does not feel like its predecessors; it sucks. It is a really bad game. The earlier ones weren't brilliant, either in terms of execution or production values, but they got something very right with lightning-fast, no-nonsense zombie fighting action.
That goes out the window with Go Go Go. First of all, there are no zombies, just generic, very cartoonish-looking medieval Japanese thug characters. These lumbering oafs are cursed with some of the absolutely stupidest AI I've seen in a 3D game of this type. They will happily stand behind a building, attacking nothing. Most of the sound you hear in the game is just AI grunting while swinging away offscreen. They will plunge into pits and get stuck while trying to run straight at you. About the only thing they have going for them is that they do not give you any "safe" time after you get up; often you'll stand up after having been hit and get flattened immediately by the enemies milling around you.
This, incidentally, is not fun. But that's about all that happens in the levels, aside from a lot of wandering around in the dark, wondering what to do. I mean that both literally and figuratively.
Figuratively, in that getting through a level to the boss seems to be based on a series of arbitrary achievements within a level; I think it might have to do with picking up certain items from certain enemies, but I can't read what the pop-up text says when I get them. In any case, there is no clear indication of where to go or what to do. The levels are big, blocky, sprawling, and non-linear. You just have to wander around, trying not to get lost when every blocky level looks pretty similar to the previous one. Not only that, but the levels wrap back upon themselves through load-gate-separated areas.
Going through these areas once is bad enough; going through them multiple times, searching for something to trigger something somewhere that, if you can find it, might get you out of the damned level, is pure hell. The design of the areas seems to have little rhyme or reason; generic sort of castle things, with what appear to be powerup bobbing along the upper parts, simply wander in every direction, populated by a scattered collection of aforesaid grunting imbeciles. Enjoy.
My favorite (that's sarcasm, I'm afraid) part so far has been a series of pitch-black tunnels in the first level. Yes, they are unlit. You can kind of make out a few edges...and this is all you get in trying to traverse areas of catwalks, watery pits filled with morons, and floating stars you feel compelled for some reason to pick up. So you're slogging through this dark area, surrounded by the grunts of the dumb, trying to double-jump to reach a few stars floating in the blackness, and then trying to make your way out without having got turned around somewhere in one of the identical-looking corridors. Yee-haw.
The previous games in the series didn't have, and didn't need, much more than zombie combat, and tons of it. Here I found myself cringing whenever grunting indicated the onset of a fight; the enemies are so dull, the options of your heroine so limited, and her movements so sluggish, that there really doesn't seem much point. You can earn money by playing, I think particularly by picking up coins dropped by defeated enemies (they also drop food that restores your health); I think you probably spend it on some confusing Japanese-text menus between levels; what on, I'm not sure. But when I went from level 1 to level 2, I began level 2 as a level 1 character again--and this happens each time you die, too, even though you get to keep your money--I think. So there's no real point to advancing your character as there is in the previous games, and thus nothing to gain from the arduous combat.
In the previous games, the heroines could whip off multi-hit combos like nobody's business. Here, you can get maybe three or four hits off, but that's it, then you have to dodge out, hoping nobody was already swinging, because if they were, you can't possibly move out of the way in time, slow as you are. So you jerk yourself away, run in a pretty little circle, come back, and do your single short combo (you have one attack, basically) again, until the enemies, or you, are dead.
This sucks. Sure, you could try to mix it up with a jump attack, throwing stars, of by using your magic green lasso on a "stunned" opponent, whipping them around in a small circle before bashing them headfirst into the ground, but all of these are even clumsier and less efficient than mashing your single-button combo. Heck, the throwing stars are so slow that you can hardly get one off before the slow enemies come up and swing at you--let's not even think about trying to charge up to throw a bunch of them at once.
The sound is the same sounds over and over; mainly you'll hear the grunting. Many times the music goes away altogether, which you won't mind too much, since the music is instantly forgettable, except that it does drown out the grunting a bit when it is playing.
Graphics are a blurry, blocky sort of cartoon look. There is even a sort of depth of field effect going on, which is attractive, in a blurry way; but the cartoonish blocky look of everything, and especially the dull, grayed, washed-out colors everywhere, just makes viewing the levels depressing--those that that designers bothered to provide with lights, I mean.
Speaking of viewing, lemme give a special shout out to Go Go Go's camera: "Hey camera, you are one of the very worst cameras I've ever seen in a game! And that's saying something! Congrats!" Really though, it is disgusting. Nevermind that it's mostly manual, I'm used to that; the problem is that the levels place things you feel you want to get to high up, yet the camera can only pan up or down a few degrees; and when you get close to a wall, the camera likes to get jammed and just point down at a steep angle. Hope you didn't actually want to see anything much around you, because you can't. It also pitches down quite a bit while running forward. In fact you can hardly ever see more than a dozen feet or so in the direction you might want to see. Expect to get clobbered by offscreen-idiot-wielded-hammers a good few times before you throw up your hands in disgust.
  paleface 05:52:31 03/07/07
Oh yeah, and there's no way to lock on to an enemy or anything, you just have to start swinging and hope you're doing it in the right direction. You can't really see what you're attacking, thanks to the camera, but that's probably just a minor detail, right? :p
· Simple 2000 Series Vol.61: The Oneichanbara (PS2)
· Simple 2000 Series Vol.80: The Oneichanpuru Neechan Tokubetsu Hen (PS2)
· Simple 2000 Series Vol.90: The Oneichanbara 2 (PS2)

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