Review by pogbee
"It's here at last BUT does it live up to the hype?..."
This game is the long awaited ‘Beat-Em-Up’, which has received a lot of hype in the build up to release recently in Japan.
The game is essentially similar to Dynamite Dekka (Die Hard Arcade) games by Sega (arcade and DC), albeit with improved visuals and plot development.
The game centres around the bouncers Sion Barzah, Volt Krueger, Kou Leifoh and the girl Dominique Cross, all of whom work at the bar ‘Fate’. Other significant characters include Dauragon C. Mikado, Kaldea Orchid, Echidna, Mugetsu, Wong Leung and PD-4.
The game starts of in a cinematic style as you watch an introductory sequence (FMV), the quality is excellent and runs in full screen. The design of the characters shown in the sequences is excellent and the backing music (some Dolby 5.1) is also superbly atmospheric. A fight situation develops and at this stage you first choose your character (one of the 3 bouncers), all enemies must be defeated before the plot moves on. The game progresses with mixtures of fighting (occasionaly boss fights), FMV and cut scenes using the in-game engine. Details on the history of your character are given as sections of the game are loaded.
Below I will summarise the main points of the game, highlighting both strengths and weaknesses:
(1) The FMV is superb as is the music, some of the scenes rival big budget films in the way they portray action packed sequences. This does add value if you have purchased the game. I would say that some of the FMV is better than that of Biohazard CV on DC.
(2) The graphics are a mixture of superbly detailed (facial detail like Shenmue), good use of custom effects (blurring etc.), scenes consisting of masses of polygons (like the railway station – all visible right into the distance) and some blander textures used on some of the backgrounds.
(3) Gameplay is split into fighting and watching FMV or cut scenes. I would say it takes approximately 2 hours to complete the game with 1 hour playing and 1 hour watching.
(4) All three bouncers fight at once, the other 2 being CPU controlled. If you are the last character to hit an enemy and cause them to die, you are given points. After a fight you are taken to a screen where you can spend points on health, strength etc. or buy special moves. As you build up a character your ranking moves up towards ‘A’ ranking. To get a character to ‘A’ rank, you must have played the game through a couple of times with that character. As you develop your character, the boss encounters tend to become harder as they use more moves. So on the second play through, the bosses seem harder to beat.
(5) Completing the game opens up extra characters with which you can play the game through, these are other ones that you encounter in the game.
(6) You can choose a different bouncer for each fight but this will mean that it takes longer to max up each one. This also effects the plot development to some degree.
(7) The voice acting is really good and adds emotion to a lot of the scenes, for example Volts anger.
(8) The controls use analogue for movement and also analogue buttons for low, medium and high attack. This means depending on how hard you press an attack button will determine what type of attack is used (weak or strong etc.). There are also buttons for special attack (used in conjunction with other attack buttons) and taunt. You may also trigger a three attack where all bouncers attack one enemy at once, this cannot be used on bosses.
(9) Enemies and bouncers can be propelled down flights of steps etc., this adds a new element to the fighting game.
(10) You can also get points for combination (killing more than one enemy by hitting one into another) and a chain bonus (after killing one enemy a timer ticks away, you must defeat another before it runs out).
A general comment would be a very attractive looking game with a good (albeit predictable) story line, featuring some really cool characters (who are VERY Japanese in style). Music, sound effects and voice acting are superb. By playing the game, you will feel that you have been on an exciting journey or been in an action film. The game can at times be more akin to watching an action movie (FMV and cut scenes) but these are so well done that I enjoy watching them over and over again. Fighting is good with some novel twists but some of the walking sections (for example in the tunnels and on the metal walkways) can be a bit boring. The game has great replayability if you want to get A grades for all the characters and unlock all the extras BUT for anyone who thinks that once you have seen the story the game is done – you will feel let down. Another comment would be that I felt compelled to buy this game to at least have another title to play on my PS2 (not having had many good titles released since March 2000), for which I paid £500!
Ratings as follows:
Graphics – 8.5/10 (some aspects brilliant others not so – still not anything that DC can’t do)
Sound – 9/10 (excellent all round, one of the best aspects)
Play – 7.0/10 (game content has some good points BUT can be a bit too much like watching a film)
Lasting – 8.0/10 (good for anyone who likes to collect everything, for others too short)
Overall (not an average) – 7.0/10
Definitely worth while for Square, Manga, Japanese style games or action fans. Has enough points to warrant a purchase (although not at the £90 that some UK importers were asking for!)
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/31/01, Updated 01/31/01
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