Review by jwl79

"You have got to be kidding me"

Daikatana is, without a doubt, the single most horrible game I have ever played... and I've played E.T. on the Atari 2600. Only purchase this game if you want to experience a complete lack of fun accompanied by headache and frustration.

Story 5/10

You are Hiro Miyamoto, a martial arts instructor in 25th century Japan. While training in your dojo, you are visited by Dr. Toshiro Ebihara, who explains to you that the world is not as it should be. The world is under the dominion of one Kage Mishima, who stole an ancient, magical sword called the "Daikatana" and used its time travelling power to take over the world. Now it's up to Hiro to retrieve the Daikatana, use it to travel through history, and undo the damage done to the timeline by Mishima.

This storyline is not particularly bad, nor is it particularly good, so I give it an average score.

Gameplay 1/10

The most important part of any game is the gameplay, and that is exactly why I consider Daikatana to be the worst game ever. Hiro is a martial arts instructor, so you would think that he would use his karate, jujitsu, or whatever to fight the enemies, right? Instead, you find yourself punching at your enemies with a mechanical gauntlet called a "Disruptor Glove". This proves to be quite difficult on the first level of the game, as many of your enemies are tiny robotic frogs which hop up to you and severely wound you if you don't kill (punch) them fast enough.

If you're lucky, you'll stumble across an Ion Blaster gun and some ammunition for it near the beginning of the game. Unfortunately, it is quite easy to injure yourself with the Ion Blaster, and difficult to target the tiny yet deadly robotic frogs.

A short distance into the game's first level, once you spend ten or twenty lives mastering the extermination of frogs, you will be shot and killed by a gun. You will then have to start the first level over again. When you get to the spot where you were killed, you will again be killed. After dying several times and playing through the first part of the level many, many times, you will finally figure out what you need to do to get past that gun that keeps killing you. Congratulations... but now, another enemy is about to kill you.

This is pretty much the flow of the entire game:

-Play through a level until you die. This will only take a few minutes.
-Remember where all of the enemies appeared in the level, because it is always exactly the same. This is good for you, too, because the game would be impossible if the enemies didn't always appear at exactly the same time and attack in exactly the same way.
-Run through the level again, using your knowledge of where all of the enemies are. You may succeed in advancing farther than you got the last time.
-Go a bit more, die, restart, and repeat.

Now, I don't know about you, but I don't find that to be very fun. The game would be a bit more playable, if it were not for the unforgiving save system. The game can only be saved by using special "Save Gem" items, of which you may only carry three at a time. Thus you need to use your saves wisely, or else you'll find yourself completely unable to save the game. This also creates another problem - you can't just save the game and quit when it's convenient for you to do so. Doing so means potentially wasting a valuable Save Gem. Although I understand that the game can be patched so that you may save it infinite times, that's not how the game was designed. I imagine that the designers caved in to the demand for a patch after countless gamers complained about the horrible save system.

On top of the extreme, cheap difficulty of the game when you're playing alone as Hiro, the stakes increase when you find your sidekicks, Superfly Johnson and Mikiko Ebihara. These two characters follow you around and are controlled by the computer, though you can issue commands to them. These commands are effective... sometimes. Your comrades are ultimately a liability; if either one of them is killed, it's game over for you. They are virtually useless in combat, and you will spend the rest of the game defending them from harm after you do find them.

The game was irritating enough when you just had to figure out how to get Hiro through the insane levels, but now you have three people to worry about. Up until I met them, I did not enjoy playing this game for a second. After finding Superfly and Mikiko, the game just got worse.

Graphics 1/10

I'm not one to judge a game by its graphics. Some of my favorite games are on 8-bit and 16-bit consoles. But, quite simply, the graphics in this game are unacceptable. For a game released in 2000 which was supposed to be revolutionary, there is no excuse for it looking this bad. The graphics are vastly inferior to those which appeared in Final Fantasy VII... three years earlier.

Hiro and friends are hideously ugly; where they should have eyes, they instead of black holes in their heads. If only they had eyes, they might possibly look half-way decent. Yet the lack of eyes, the terribly blocky outline, and the appearance as though the armor worn by the characters is part of their bodies, it's almost as though the designers were trying to make these graphics bad.

The enemies are animated in the same way as Hiro and company; all blocky, all ugly.

The backgrounds are acceptable and are quite varied and interesting, but the ugliness of everything else in the game drags down the total graphics score to 1.

Music & Sound 3/10

Music? What music? I don't recall any music. Hence how great the music is.

Sound effects are... strange, to use a euphemism. When you destroy a mechanical frog, you hear a sound which seems like it just might have been the sound of a metal garbage can lid being dropped back onto the can after gamers threw Daikatana away. Although, the sound of Hiro's body being blasted into a bloody corpse is not that bad. You'll be hearing that sound many, many times.

Voice acting is rare, but decent. Accidentally shooting Superfly and hearing him shout, "You're jackin' me up, Hiro!," was my favorite part of the entire game. That is, after I got over the annoyance of accidently shooting Superfly. Never fear, though... it happens often.

Play Time 10/10

Ten, meaning, it will take you forever if you want to beat this game. You will have to replay tiny sections of every level over and over and over again. You will have to memorize every single enemy in the entire game, and just happen to get lucky and defeat them without being injured. Yep, you'll have hours upon hours of irritation, frustration, and annoyance.

Replayability 1/10

Unless you count the fact that you will have to replay sections of every level tens or hundreds of times, I can't see how anyone would want to play this game again after completing it. Of course, I can't see how anyone would actually want to complete this game in the first place, aside from beating it for the sake of beating it.

Final Recommendation 1/10

Should you buy this game? Are you kidding me? Unless you want to be tortured, angered, and vexed by the absolutely horrendous gameplay, which seems to revolve around the idea that enemies should be ridiculously cheap and should kill you thousands of times until you are able to advance through a level... no. Play this game only if you want to suffer.

Should you rent this game? See above.


Reviewer's Score: 1/10 | Originally Posted: 05/23/04


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