| paleface [sys=GB; cat=Strategy; loc=JPN] |
|This unique (as far as I am aware) game has a lot going for it: strategic, yet live-action battles, good character art and UI, intuitive gameplay, and a character-collecting aspect. On the other hand, it can be infuriating, or, more often, boring.|
The system is fairly simple: at the beginning of each stage, you spend what money you have on monsters hired to fight for you. There's fun variety here, from expensive Dragons and Demons to cheap little gooey Slimes. Do you blow your wad on the heavy hitter, or gamble on a lot of wimpy role-players? Strategy.
Then you play through the stage's areas in linear fashion. Very linear, as in each area you pick your starting monster, then charge straight down the path from left to right, mashing the buttons to make your monster hoof it. The enemy does likewise, and, depending on their respective speeds, they meet up more or less in the middle of the zone. At this point you want to switch do doing something else, like bashing, blowing cash on super powers (the giant, for instance, jumps up and lands on his foe, should they be in the right spot), using potions, or casting spells. Different characters are better at different things, of course, and you also have to manage your actions in terms of how much money they cost: do you try to cheap it out hand-to-hand, or do you blow that dough you were saving for a Dragon on the next stage on killing this Skeleton who is managing to slaughter your whole party?
Once you've killed all the enemies the area has to offer, one at a time, it's on to the next to do all over again. You can't buy monsters mid-stage, so if you run into areas that are too tough, you're in trouble. There's a password function, just so we can all hate it.
Now this is all well and good, and it's fun to earn your way up to some heavy hitters, and watch them smash things. Thing is, it's a lot of button mashing to run up to the enemy to start the fight, and then, in the fight, it's a semi-random timing thing as to whether you're going to get your hand-to-hand attack in, or whether the enemy is going to get his in and knock you back, then do the same once they meet again, etc. I suppose if you played the game long enough you would learn the precise timing tendencies for each character, and thus know just how to time your running vs your hitting (and little fast characters can be a bitch even against big strong characters, if they can swing faster repeatedly), but damn it all, I don't have time for that kind of thing.
If you do, though, you should check this out some time.