Review by Jojo64
"A good game, not the best, but still good (but up the score a notch if you're an Inu-fan)"
Now, before I actually start reviewing, I'll begin by reviewing this as if it were an individual fighting game, and not just an anime license.
Fortunately, even without the Inu-Yasha license, this game's done a pretty good job. Although not as complex as something like the Street Fighter series, nor as dynamic as Dead or Alive, Inu-Yasha: A Feudal Fairy Tale stands out on its own as being a unique (and more importantly, fun) fighting game, featuring one of the anime/manga world's most popular series yet, Rumiko Takahashi's Inu-Yasha.
Although Inu-Yasha's for the PS1 (of course, you can always use the PS2 for it :P), its graphics aren't hindered too much by the dying system. In fact, most of its charm comes from the 2-D graphical style itself, reminding nostalgics of the era of 2D fighters. Characters sprites are true to their design, and although they still have a touch of pixels at the edges (you notice the painful amount of pixelation as the camera starts zooming in), they can be forgiven with the good amount of interactivity the characters have with each other, such as their before-match taunt animations, as well as others... (Miroku throwing Kagome is a classic XD). Backgrounds are well done, also keeping true with the designs from the anime (though very static and not much animation), and the visual effects, such as dust and slash blurs, are nicely detailed. Shadows are used to some extent, though not as detailed as some of the other effects used.
Enough to whet any Inu-Yasha fan's appetite is the fact that the game packs a huge amount of high quality art and cel CGs of their favorite characters (yes, even Naraku's in the roster). Plus, during battle when a character unleashes a successful super move (more about that later), a nice CG still of the character showing him/her performing the move fills the screen, with those blazing, color-to-white backgrounds that anime's been known to (re)use.
All in all, if you're in it for the classic eye-candy, this game's got it covered.
Sound and Music (6/10)
Unfortunately for some of you otakus, Dream, Do-as-Infinity, and the other pop-icons do NOT have songs in the game (no Change the World, My Will or Fukai Mori, sorry). Sadly, like other games, the sound sorta suffers due to it being compressed (thought that’s easily forgiven: this is, after all, a PS1 game). Unfortunately, some of us who’re spoiled with hi-res sound’ll have to start getting our ears used to the lower-quality playback. Although none of the music’s recognizable from the series, they’re still done well, providing a nice atmosphere without being annoying like in other games.
For those of you dreading that horrible English VAs would invade InuYasha as well, fear not! All VAs speak purely in their original Japanese voices. Of course, you can’t really understand a word they’re saying, but then again, most people don’t care (although some people wished the original English VAs put their talents in, namely Richard Cox, who voices Inu-Yasha. Oh well, can’t get everything in life, and besides, the system’s already hauling it with the stuff that the game puts in).
Sound effects are okay, although they seem a bit reused. After hearing the same punch sound twenty times in a row, it gets a bit annoying and you start to wish for a bit of variety. Maybe a few more sound effects would’ve helped, eh, Bandai?
Basically, the sound’s nice for a PS1 game, but it won’t have you bopping your head or screaming “My GOD, that sounded awesome!” But…at least you get to hear the nice Japanese voice acting. ^^;
Okay now…the gameplay. Yes, don’t worry, the game plays itself all right. Controls are nice and responsive, and newbies can bash it out with deeper players as well. The problem is, that’s really all you can do in fights, bash it out. Attacking consists of strong and weak attack buttons, plus a special move button consisting of a directional move on the D-Pad combined with pressing the button (think Super Smash Bros., with the controls just a bit deeper. A very small bit). Plus, a convenient (read: not) counter button allows you to stop a person’s attack with the right amount of timing, although the time they’re stunned generally isn’t worth it, since at the same amount of time, you’re trying to recover from using the move and both of you end up on your feet at the same time anyway. Combos are unique, since you can chain weak and strong attack moves to juggle your opponent, but they usually end up being cheap and annoying. Special attacks provide some flavor, with characters performing trademark moves such as Miroku’s “Wind Tunnel” and Inu-Yasha’s “Iron Reaver”. There is one thing that gripes me though…that special bar up at the top? You only use it for one attack. Yep, just one. That’s basically the pattern of the battles, really: build your bar up through moves and blocks, then unleash a finishing move (luckily, the move can be dodged or countered, providing some balance). Also, the finishing moves look pretty sweet anyway, with CG closeups of the character performing the move, so you can provide a bit of leeway for it.
They add new things to the fighting, however. Certain moves can unleash a Shikon Jewel Shard from the enemy if they’re holding one (1P game only), and obtaining these jewel shards not only power up your special gauge more quickly, they help unlock new things for the game, such as characters and levels. L1 and R1 triggers a step-in/out move, helpful when the enemy’s about to unleash a combo can of whoop-ass on you. There’s also an air dash for the demons, though you can only air dash forward (you can’t do it with human characters, however), so it’s a bit useless. Also, they have Two-on-Two battles, like the Tekken Tag Tournament (if one character gets killed, it’s round over). Pressing R2 and having that attack successful initiates a two-on-one special combo move, continuing as long as you can dish the hits (and as long as the team gauges on the bottom lasts. Unlike the special bar, which is useful only when full, the team gauge can be used when you need it, and lasts as long as the bar doesn’t go zero). L2 will trigger a switch animation, with a closeup of the character coming in to battle (much like using the super special move) and although you can switch characters back and forth, the loading time makes the length of the fight much longer than it really should be.
While the fights won’t provide too much multiplayer fun, they still have a charm of their own, and are pretty fun in their own right. Still…if you’re looking for something with deep, multiplayer madness, find a copy of DoA.
With loads of unlockable goodies, such as Kagome’s backpack, minigames, characters, levels, and more, chances are that if you’ve got a bit of Inu-fanblood in you, you’ll be in your game room for awhile, trying to get every single thing in the game. Goodies are packed especially for the Inu-fans, with cool options like changing before-match taunt interactivity and unlocking images. Basically, what you’ve got in that tiny little disc is every Inu-fanperson’s dream box, filled to the brim with your favorite major characters and more.
Basically, I give this game a 7/10, due to the good effort that Bandai put into the game. Raise the score up a few notches if you’re an Inu-Yasha fan. Unfortunately, like I mentioned before, it’s not a very deep fighter, and if you’re not too in to the series, you’ll be longing for something more fun to play.
All in all, buy it if you’re a fan (at $20, it’s a bargain) and rent it if you’re more or less interested. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 04/20/03, Updated 04/20/03
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