Review by wreckgar
"chess-meets-Heroquest in this strangely compulsive strategy title"
Now this isn't a game I thought I'd ever see on the Saturn, but I'm glad I did. Available only on Jap (as with all the interesting Saturn titles), this game has three things going for it from the start. First off, it's a Hudsonsoft game. Secondly, it supports the Saturn network, enabling on-line play. Finally, the game comes boxed with a cool set of cards!!
So all this may sound lame to you, so let me enlighten you on what the game is about. You can tell by my synopsis that this game is not easily described, so here goes...
The story I cant really help you with; my knowledge of Japanese begins and ends with 'Konichiwa'. From what I gather there are a couple of rival factions who must meet each other in a series of missions in order to prevail. This is one strategy game where knowledge of the story isn't really important.
Graphically this game is an oddity. The look of the characters is somewhere between manga and western origin. The 2d pictures on the presentation screen are rendered quite nicely. The intro is standard fare, with all the characters being introduced. The actual game environment is laid out in a forced-isometric plane, with a 25-square area taking up most of the field. This game is by no means pretty, but everything is well laid out. The best news is that the options screens both during and outside of the game are predominantely english.
I really like the main menu music in this game. All of the music is guitar based which is no bad thing. Sound effects are kept to a minimum but then this game does not rely on frills to make it worthwhile.
Remember the 25-square area i mentioned before? Well that is your arena in this game. But i'm jumping the gun here. Shadows of the tusk is a turn-based strategy game, and is played like the combat sequences in the board games heroquest et al. That is, you have several characters under your control, all with different stats. You can move using the squares only. Movement values differ for each player. You can also choose to attack the enemy or cast a spell if you wish. I told you this game was hard to explain!!
When you start a game you are given a 'deck' of three characters, whose stats are available at-a-glance on the deck of cards you are supplied with. When you win a clash you may win an additional character! In this way you can build up a deck of warriors and fight your friends with them! 2 player is possible by saving 1 deck onto the saturns ram and 1 onto a memory card, with players also able to play on line. Believe me, this game is better than I make it sound. It should also last you a long time.
This game is not for everyone but i found it pretty addictive to play. This is not really my type of game either but it makes a welcome departure from the norm. It is probably worth getting this game just for the cards 'cos they are really cool to look at. This is one of the stranger Saturn titles around but it is definately worth picking up. Hope ya enjoyed this review!!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/22/00, Updated 06/22/00
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