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Dual Hearts
  opened by paleface at 01:52:45 08/18/03  
  paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Platformer; loc=NA]
More of a 3d platformer than I thought it would be, I was hoping for an action RPG. Dual Hearts is certaintly... different. You play a boy explorer and you end up teaming up with this bumbling boob from the "Dreamworld."
You can ride this creature and use him to jump high, fall slowly, and use special abilities powered by little fuzzy things he sucks up that come from weeds you whack. Makes combat a bit complicated, and the camera doesn't help matters at all--it's another thing to worry about, actually, since you have to adjust it manually much of the time. This freakish animal, who does an obscene little happy dance when left to his own devices, can spirit you into sleeping people's dreams, where things really get weird.
Some of these Dreamworlds look like what people describe acid trips looking like, I guess. Colors tend to be a bit rough on the eye. The last dream I entered was a painter's, so of course her dream took place in this tripped out Dali-esque (complete with melting watch, gee) ring-shaped world, which I must admit was an interesting construction.
I've heard that this was originally planned as a DC release and you know, it would have fit in better on that console. They make extensive use of the PS2's blur effects here but the worlds themselves are relatively blocky and the characters look cartoonish and bouncy. Speech normally takes place in pop-up speech bubbles and you have to press X to skip through them a lot. Each character has a few sound clips they play during particular actions in combat and so forth--these are best left unheard, really.
This game would be decent lighthearted fun except for the previously mentioned camera issues, significant load times between rooms, and the pervasive slowdown--you're constantly hitting sluggish spots as you run around, sometimes for no apparent reason. Oh, the other thing that keeps it back a bit from the lighthearted fun target is the difficulty: at the beginning at least you can only take four hits and it's pretty easy to get hit in combat (what with the evil camera :P) and the game is extremely stingy about giving health powerups. To make matters worse, when you get down to two ticks of health left, a beeping tone begins and just keeps going until you get healthy--which could take most of a single stage. Ugh.
Aside from combat and conversation, button-pressing and block puzzles take up most of the gameplay time. Not really my cup of tea, block puzzles. What kind of freak would dream about block puzzles, anyway?
What's left? Well the "go collect the 9 keys to open the gate" story won't exactly keep you coming back for more, so unless you really like freakish dream worlds and block puzzles you may not be taking the time to finish this one. On the bright side, you can save the game at any time. That'll come in handy for working around that damned health alarm.

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