|It is something of a miracle that this game was released, seeing as how not only is it a highly obscure action puzzle game from a minor publisher, fairly late in the DC's active lifespan, but it is also a game about blowing up buildings that came out just a few months after the World Trade Center bombings. Thankfully, though, PC forces were asleep at the wheel, and this one squeeked through, at least in Japan, were I'm sure it sold like poop.|
Which is a shame, because it's actually pretty fun. For a long time I looked somewhat askance at it (heck, I think I acquired it only by accident in the first place), probably mostly because the graphics are really pretty bad, the UI a bit complex, and then there are weird talking modes that just make no sense at all to me. But if you keep in mind that it is a simple game of destruction, you should find a way to enjoy it.
In Story mode, you work as an engineer for a demolition company, and you have to demo a series of funky buildings within budget, and, later, within time constraints. You have a certain variety of explosives, changing with each mission, with which to reduce the target building to a tidy pile of rubble. In the mode in which you'll spend the most time, you select your explosive type and place it on one of the available key structural points inside the building. Each point has a certain "hit point" total, if you will, and you have to make sure to concentrate sufficient destructive force on that point to break it.
Thankfully, the game has a reasonably robust, if somewhat simplistic, physics engine that takes into account weight and momentum, so it usually suffices to break the major supports on the first floor or two of a building: the weight of the upper floors will break them up for you as they come crashing down. In one of the niftier touches of the game, you sequence your blasts along a timeline: you can only have four things detonating at once, but you can do four, then four, then four, until your budget runs out. This can make for some nifty rippling explosions as you watch the final demolition. In the toughest building I've had to demo yet, for instance, I finally found the way to victory (you have to destroy a certain percentage of eahc structure) lay in using concentrated charges to collapse the first few floors and weaken the upper structure, then blowing apart the weakened upper structure with strategically-placed larger-radius explosives. It was messy, but it got the job done, and the crowd loved it (as denoted by the flashing crowd icon during the demolition).
If you don't get quite enough of the building destroyed to pass, you can go right back in and tweak your setup, then run the demolition sequence again. During the demo itself you can watch from multiple camera angles, and play it back as many times as you like. Although, as I said, the graphics are pretty crappy, with little detail and lots of haze and flat textures, the monumental collapse of a large building due to several tons of carefully placed explosives can still look pretty impressive.
Oh, the sound is pretty weak, too.
I'm not sure how long story mode lasts, but there are, yes, other modes to enjoy as well! There's a "free" mode, in which I think you can tailor a custom demo job to your liking, and then there are funky "shooting" modes that unlock after a while: take out a building with a tank, helicopter gunship, or artillery barrage. These are really simple (tank vs building, who wins?), but there's a certain amount of sheer destructive glee in using a volley of tank rounds to bring a building crashing to its knees, then smashing it to little bits by slamming the tank right through it at high speed. Crash!
And then there's the "talking" mode, and here I'm clueless. Two childishly-drawn guys stand around in an office, talking, usually only their mouths moving. This goes on seemingly forever, or at least longer than I was willing to watch. They're speaking in Japanese, of course, so I have no idea what it's about. Either they're plotting to blow up the World Trade Center, or it's some kind of comedy sketch routine (is this way "hehhe" is in the title) that is completely lost on me. You'll also see these two in animated pencil drawings before each story mission. A lot of voice acting, anyway, went into these bits, and I kind of wish I knew what they were saying, because I'm not sure what could have justified the development expenses involved here. It's different, that's for sure.