Review by KFHEWUI

"Daikatana is an average but flawed shooter that is carried by a good story and great sound track"

Hiro Miyamoto is practicing with his sword when he gets a visit from a stranger that is Toshiro Ebihara, and Toshiro tells Hiro that Toshiro is a decedent of the Ebihara clan which fought against the diabolical Mishima clan. Mishima had Usagi Miyamoto make a power weapon, and Usagi created the Daikatana which has the ability to alter time. Instead of giving the weapon to Mishima, Usagi gave it to the Ebihara clan which used the blade to defeat the Mishima clan. After the battle, Usagi buried the weapon in the heart of a volcano. Recently the Daikatana has been unearthed and Kage Mishima has stolen the blade to gain wealth and power. Mikiko, Toshiro's daughter, followed Kage and tried to steal back the Daikatana, but she was captured.

Several of Kage's guards attack Hiro and Toshiro, and Toshiro is fatally wounded in the battle. With his final breath he asks of Hiro to save his daughter and recover the Daikatana. Hiro hides inside Toshiro's coffin and uses it to get inside Mishima's compound, but on the way to the compound, the coffin falls off the back of van and lands in a marsh. Hiro must traverse the marsh to reach the compound.

Hiro's story is an interesting tale, and the story takes place over several different time periods from 2045, Greece, Medieval Norway, and San Francisco 2033. There is a deep and complex story with a few twists, but the story also has some plot holes. Even with the plot holes, the story is still enjoyable.

The music is great and catchy, and there is only a small selection. Each track fits the scenes from a slow melody at a sad scene, and a fast track for an action or fight scene. The sound effects are decent and the enemies grunt when they die.

Daikatana looks good, and the cut scenes are fantastic although the animation ranges from passable to stiff. Some of the characters look strange like the ears on Superfly Johnson and his armor on his chest. The in game textures look good, but not as great as the cut scenes. The expansion pak is also supported however I did not see any major difference save for the frame rate which falters in the high resolution. The only difference that I noticed was the HUD and reticule looked smoother, and the game is letterbox. The levels are unique and each one looks different save for the last three levels in first episode.

The controls are solid, but there is one problem that I have with the controls and that is the ducking. To duck in Daikatana, A must be held down then press R which is strange, and it would have been better if L was used for ducking since it is not used for anything.

Daikatana starts off in a marsh, and the level is straight forward, and most of the enemies are turret guns that are not too difficult to destroy. The guns on the ceiling can be a problem since they blend into the textures on the ceiling. There are 4 episodes in the game, and each episode is composed of four missions save for episode 4 which has six missions.

Each episode not only has a unique time period but unique weaponry. This is an area where Daikatana shines, and the game has a large selection of weapons that are unique which include a shotgun that shoots burst fire, a trident that shoots projectiles, cross bow, and a glock.

The levels are medium in length and usually are straight forward except for two levels that task the player with reassembling an item by finding several parts. The game is not too difficult until episode 4 mission 4 where the difficulty is ramped up and feels cheap. The level starts off with a vehicle shooting the player, but the player cannot destroy the gun on the vehicle. The weapon needed is right across the area at the start so the player has to run over and grab it, but this causes a second vehicle to show up. Both vehicles have to be destroyed quickly or they will destroy the player in very little time.

Over the course of the game there are several bosses, and the bosses are not too difficult for the most part except for one boss about two thirds of the way into the game. The boss is fought in a two level room, and if the player falls down then it is death because the bottom level is full of electricity. Holding down is a must for the entire battle or they player will get sucked into the bottom level, and the bosses attacks can be tough to dodge. Not only that, but the bosses seems to take a lot of damage before dying.

Daikatana features a unique level system where killing enemies will give experience, and after certain amount of experience, one of five stats will level up. The level system ultimately feels useless since I saw very little affect upon the actually game play. Leveling up your health made me think that I would get to have more than 100 health but it does not. The player can only have 100, but if the player gains more than a 100 the health will drop by 1 until it reaches 100. The level system is interesting, but it feels tacked on and pointless.

There is multiplayer which allows for up to four players however I have not played it.

Daikatana has a few issues like the difficulty which is easy, and there is only one difficulty. Frame rate can become choppy however I only noticed it in the high resolution. The game also has a few puzzles that are not great like the end of first episode where the player must hit a button then rush to the other side of the room, ride an elevator then jump across tiny platforms to reach several other halls and elevators. The other puzzle involves playing a song on bells, and the song that is needed to be played is very easy to miss. At one point in the game, Daikatana feels like it is missing parts in this port like at the end of one level where a gate opens and on the other side is Cerberus however the next level starts with the player in Acropolis with no explanation as to what happened to the Cerberus.

Daikatana is an average FPS that is ultimately victim of overhype which it was not capable of living up to. The game is not bad, but the story and music is what carries the game.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 06/05/12

Game Release: John Romero's Daikatana (US, 07/31/00)

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