Review by Mr. T

"Spin! Parry! Thrust! or is it Backflip, Wheelkick and plasmashot?"

This is a game that has been talked about in gaming circles as having a pretty innovative combat and being able to look in one direction while striking in another. While I built up some fears that I would be aiming wildly with a gun while trying to fight some sucker-punching fool pegging me from behind as I bumble around, these fears vanished. So is it a frag-fest of countless combat? Not quite, it does offer parts of stealth and sneak attacks (not sneak Metal Gear style, where you try to avoid enemies, more Tenchu style, creep with intent to harm) but also has scenes of run in guns blazing. We join the game with Konoko, a TCTP (that’s Technology Crimes Task Force to you and me) as she gets her ears wet in her first live mission. Her futuristic FBI-ish group serve the people and the country, it’s pretty much a worldwide sort as it’s with the conglomerate nation that controls most of the world. What we get is a blade runner lite atmosphere loaded with cyborgs, cynical government and technology gone a bit too far.

Praise:

Dead? Don’t worry, getting back is a snap!
The game breaks save points equally into the stages as new objectives are cleared. There is hardly any backtracking unless you want to start from a previous point, which you can choose from.

BIG stages
Man these places are huge. For a while it is daunting, but the design is pretty sound, and you’ll learn how each stage connects pretty quickly.

Crazy Kung Fu Combat!
She more versatility than a Swiss army knife! She flips, disarms, rolls, cartwheels and features side attacks, back attacks and bone-crunching throws. She has more moves than any other 3D heroine does (ahem Lara) I can think of, and most of them look well and be functional.

Team Action
While the majority of the time you’ll kick butt alone, there are times where you’ll be assisted by other TCTF members. Fortunately they fight back, but on the whole are a pretty dumb bunch. Oh well, at least their presence breaks up the whole “super soldier” notion.

Gripes:

So… empty
A lot of stages are very bare, featuring the same techno junk in each room. Most of the places you venture into are warehouses and other places designed to be big, but I would have liked to have seen some personalization.

Game trumpets the ‘carry one weapon’ feature, but yet the title art shows her loaded with 3!
This is just humorous, not really a fault. Although it does seem more efficient to let her carry her holstered laser-sighted pistol and a energy rifle across her back, this game doesn’t want to be a third person shooter. And that is good.

Graphics: 8
They are anime-inspired (obvious from the opening) but I was a little disappointed that the game does not feature a more ‘hand drawn’ look (Jet Grind Radio). The graphics are the polygonal type that is the norm today. They are not drop-dead gorgeous, but I did not see nothing at all bad.

Gameplay: 8
She got crazy moves, but since the controller is not spared a button, you’ll boggle at trying to remember them all. Many times I found myself running to do a slide, and accidentally jumping instead. It takes some getting used to (I found myself looking all over for the R3 button- since I hadn’t used them since Ape Escape). When you figure out how to do them though, she does look great.

Sound: 7
There is not much music to distract you, but the voice acting is pretty good. I always wondered what a Screaming Cannon sounded like, now I know. Konoko also offers a few taunts and tough quips.

Story: 7
It’s you vs. the Syndicate, and the evil crime boss Muro. You’ll fight all sorts of cannon fodder, as well as disarm a mad computer or two. Konoko has a mysterious past, and you can wonder what’s with all the behind the scenes talk about her.

Originality: 6
It’s not that revolutionary, Konoko is our usual ambiguous hero, there’s an evil group, and toss in a few loopy twists in the story. The objectives are pretty basic, and usually require the usual open door/kill bad guy type. There are innocents involved, and I was glad to see you have to do a life saving with all this law and order headbashin’. The anime theme style is not just a quick add-on, and not really used to potential.
The combat is pretty neat, which is good because you’ll be doing at lot of it(and deservedly so).

Replay: 6
The stages are designed great, but nothing I’d really want to tackle repeatedly. At least the game is not too short thanks to their size and multiple tasks involved.

Overall(Mr.T’s bottom line): This is not a bad game at all, but it’s nothing that will keep you up all night either.
It’s a brawler type, and it does it quite well. I wish there was a little more to do than basic problem solving, but you will be busy no matter what because it's fast action. If you like your ladies punching and fighting, Konoko’s a pretty tough cookie.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/05/01, Updated 02/05/01


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