Review by Hiong Poh

"The arena is ready...... Start Rumbling!"

Have you ever wanted to pit your favorite digimon from the first season against those in Tamers? Have you ever longed to be able to digivolve in between battles and de-digivolve back? Wait no more as Digimon Rumble Arena rumble its way onto the playstation!

As always, Bandai has released a new game from its ever changing genre series ''Digimon''. Starting as an ordinary monster breeding game to an all new exciting fighting game, Digimon Rumble Arena would not fail to impress digimon fans of all ages. Based on the genre of fighting, Digimon Rumble Arena adds a twist to it. Rather than just any ordinary fighting games, the backgrounds are now interactive. Players now interact with the background by collecting items, walking on uneven terrains or even sinking into molten hot larva!

Graphics: 7/10
The graphics of this game is so-so, meaning neither good nor bad. The reason it received a decent 7 is because in my opinion, it is a lot better than Digimon World 2. It is, however, choppy at some points of the game. An obvious example is that feets of the digimon appear under the ground at times. Though pixels are plentiful in Rumble Arena, I personally think that Digimon World had more. I won't want to elaborate anymore, but the graphics fit those of a 3-D fighting game.

Sound: 10/10
The best aspect of the game yet. I'm not sure about the US version of Digimon Rumble Arena, but the sounds and bgms in the Japanese version(Digimon Tamers: Evolution Battle) totally rock! Bandai managed to find the original cast of voice actors for the Japanese Digimon Anime and put their voices in this game! All was well done and I cannot seems to find a flaw anywhere. The voices of the digimons were awesome and so were the digidestined's. The bgms in arcade mode are okay, but those in vs mode are prodigious! Bandai even managed to squeeze in songs like ''Slash'', ''Target'' and ''Butterfly'' into it. They are karaoke style though, meaning that the words are absent. Nevertheless it made the battles seem like those in the anime itself, giving ordinary
battles an aura that cannot be put into words.

Gameplay: 7/10
Though this game is based on the genre of fighters, it may fail to impress hardcore fighting gamers. The game engine is nowhere as deep as compared to games like The King of Fighters series and Street Fighter series. The challenge of the game is nowhere intense. To fighting fans, and many others as well, the arcade mode might just be a mere walk in the park even at the highest difficulty setting. However digimon fans would probably welcome this series with open arms. The controls are simple: 2 special attacks button, 1 normal attack button, 1 jump button, a block button and a digivolve button. There are no QCF or HCB motions as none of the special attacks need to be done manually. Speaking as a digimon fan point of view, I quite like the gameplay of this game. Its simple, easy to adapt, and its a fighting game!

Story: N/A
There is no plot whatsoever in this game, so I'm not rating on it.

Originality: 4/10
I won't say that this game was any original. Many claimed that this is a clone of Super Smash Bros and that if you've played Super Smash Bros, you've played Digimon Rumble Arena. Without having played Super Smash Bros before, I could not verify this totally. However if it was a clone, than Digimon Rumble Arena does not deserve a passing grade in this section. The reason I've pushed it to a 4 was because this genre was new in its own series, aka the ''digimon'' series. If not, then who knows what score this section might end up with.

Replay Value: 8/10
This game packs quite a punch and makes you come back crying for more. After unlocking all the secret characters and beating the crap outta arcade mode, then you might feel that this game is has ended. However thats not the fun part. The main advantage that fighting games have over every single rpgs out there is that fighting game has the most replay value. Once again, hardcore fighting fams would know what I am talking about. Mastering every combo in the game and discovering new ones are the secret of its eternal fun. This is where Digimon Rumble also excels in. You should not just master combos and test them out in arcade mode, but rather use them against a real opponent. Doing so would test you on how strong you actually are and where you stand. Try escaping the infamous Ranemon's teleporting trap against a human. Not only that, this game also packs a lot of multiplayer fun. If you're a digimon fan, do not be surprise to hear yourself shouting ''Patamon digivolve!'', ''Terriemon use Bunny Blast!''. This is what adds
to the trills of playing with a friend. You'll find yourself going round after round engaging in an ever-lasting evolutionary battle.

Overall: 7/10
Unlike EGM, I'm not going to diss Digimon Rumble Arena due to its unoriginal idea. This game has the replay value of a fighting game and the sound quality of an anime. Most important of all, this is a Digimon game! I do admit that I'm a bit biased in this review, but I've been a fan of digimon ever since I was young. To fans of the original anime, this is a dream come true. Given the choice to buy or rent, take a look at your interest first. If you're a fan of digimon, then you should grab it while stocks last. However if you're not, then renting it would do. You might not find it as interesting as digi-fans do.

What are you waiting for? The evolution battle had just began. Now hit the arena with your favorite digimon and lets get rumbling!

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 03/19/02, Updated 09/27/02

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