Review by JoeyVacio
"A True Game"
Since I'm kinda new reviewing games on this site, I took notice of the game that really transformed the way I see video games. Though it was my favorite psx game, I will remain unbiased.
It all started during the dark ages of the Tamagotchi era, yeah you know how it was-little kids running around with their virtual pet-raising devices, calling out, "Look at mine go!; Your monster can't beat my monster!; Oh wow, my pet's starving!". Indeed the Tamagotchi toys was all about raising microchip lives, something that many take for granted. In 1997 a console adaptation was made, and then games were games again.
You control a "hip" kid who's a fan of teh digimon and somehow gets sucked into a dieing village whom the digimon call file island. Jijimon teaches you all the basics, and soon you're on your way to raising that agumon or gabumon (depends on your personality). It suffers from the classic pre-rendered backgrounds and bad camera angles, like resident evil. So you end up going somewhere you're not suppose to. Your character can only walk or run in 8 directions, and that's not enough. Though everything else is simple. Menus are pretty easy to manage and likewise during battles. But whenever you wanna go somewhere quick, you'll need a lot of patience as you run into a wall or go through a different path by mistake. Once you get use to it, it doesn't matter much.
Man, I love some of the graphics on this game. Like the working mine, inside every room that precedes turns a different shade of brown and transforms into lava red. Also the final rooms towards the final boss, though simple in design, really catches a digital apocalyptic feel of the end to end all chaos. Every region on file island has a thematic environment. As you go along your adventure, things turn more machine like, starting from a peaceful forest to an island where only metallic digimon are allowed. The characters and digimon move with such life and such spirit that the grain-like models are unnoticeable. But they're there. The basic attacks are worse. It's usually a few bits of graphics. The icons that appear whenever an action takes place is a nice touch. It's really anime-like and good in nature. Oh yeah, you gotta love the poop. Digimon have the pain of crapping all over the place after a good workout.
I know the file island theme by heart, the day and night theme. All the music has good pace and it helps ease the pain of tedious digimon raising. I never get tired of the file island piece. Other tunes among my favorites include the coliseum battle theme, the jungle region theme, the angelic snow castle theme and the wastelands. They suck you into the game and creates a unique atmosphere. The character voice effects are simple, "Okay! Are you okay? Hiyo!" and digimon usually growl or whine or fart. As you must realize, its a game that doesn't take itself seriously, it just knows its a game and that's all it needs to be.
Gameplay 10/10, it deserves it
You raise your digimon, you feed them food, you give them vitamins to shape up and you have them work out to burn the fat. Rinse, repeat every in-game day. It pays off, and the better you get at it, the faster the process gets. Most of the time you wont know what digimon your digimon will turn into. This process can happen up to 5 times during the said digimon's life. After one dies, out comes another as a reincarnation. It's a never ending circle. But it WORKS. Competition is always a loading screen away and its required to beat the game. The game is average in length, but getting all the digimon to join your alliance will take much more time. The battle system is simple. You give a command and the digimon follows it. The higher intelligence the digimon has the more choices you have in battle. Strategy is a key element, like when to dodge or when to attack is critical for victory.
The difficulty of this game is pretty vague. When it gets difficult though, Ninja Gaiden can't even begin to touch it. Nor can Halo on legendary. Digimon world laughs at them and spits them out. For a game that's suppose to be targeted for kids, it's sometimes hard to advance. It's what makes the game worthwhile and fun! Without any guides or knowledge of the ultimate level (thats 5 digi-volutions) the game sometimes gets frustrating. But later you learn that a champion (4 levels) can deal with most evil if raised right. That's the problem. How to raise em right? Feed them till their stomachs explode or work them out until they're strong enough? There's lots of possibilities. The best one can do is try many combinations until one gets the right ultimate. To be honest, the difficulty was so high for me, because I was naive how the game worked. But with knowledge and getting the strongest digimon, the game becomes so easy. Usually its a slow-processing game. I don't mean loading screens after loading screens, thats true, but raising a good digimon takes time, especially when resources are low.
There is also many minigames out there, some requiring to beat the game. It includes a fishing game, a card collecting game and a glitchy jukebox. When the city is rebuilt, its pretty rewarding. 2-players can also compete in a close arena to prove who's better. You can save up to 20 digimon on one file, and hundreds in a single memory card, this makes 2-player battles rewarding and sometimes chaotic. It's truly something to check out.
Overall I've realized that only the biggest of digimon fans will enjoy this game to its full potential. It's a great game though, but often misleading by its name. It wont live up with the kids as Yugioh has, and it just doesn't have sex, violence or language for the older crowd. So what's left? The hardcore gamers.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 11/22/05, Updated 11/23/05
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