Review by martusfine

""Rush 'N Attack" with Style."

Story: 7/10
You are Konoko a female booty-kicker who is proficient with a gun and hand-to-hand combat. Konoko is unfamiliar with her past and unsure of the future. Konoko has been trained to bring down “The Syndicate” an organized crime group that preys on the destitute and the poor. Bungie does provides a fairly decent story even though it’s been told numerous times in the past. An “unknown” that turns out to be the savior of the world. However trite the story, Bungie does mix it up a bit and moves the story along without boring you. The story is divided into “Chapters” and each chapter is titled. I do like how the “story” is packaged. The game is presented in anime style. This style is unique to gaming and Bungie really did their homework and styled the game after several popular anime flicks, IE “Ghost in the Shell”. Seriously, whatever the back of the box tells you is what you get. Don’t look for a deep and complicated plot line here.

Gameplay : 7/10
The game really concentrates on combat. In fact, it reminds me of the old school side scrollers, IE ''Rush 'N Attack. There is hardly any sneaking around in this one. You will shoot first and not even bother to ask questions. The enemies are tipped off by your sounds, as well as, sight. They are easily alerted by gunshots, footsteps, etc. When you do fight the combat can be divided into two parts. You have the choice to go the way of the gun or the way of the fist. If you good you can do both! The kicking and punching is fun and this is the shining point of the game. Konoko is super acrobatic and she can flip, kick, punch, and grab in a few simple finger moves. In fact, the fighting is easy to pick up but very hard to master. This allows a certain degree of difficulty for the average gamer and provides a long term challenge for the hard core gamer. However, the fighting system is nowhere near as complicated as a Mortal Kombat or Virtual Fighter game. However gratifying snapping necks can be, shooting a gun is completely different, in fact, it’s down right annoying. Once the gun is out there is a “beam” of light with a circle. This circle is your target and where the bullet should hit. Unfortunately, Konoko is not blessed with aim and either misses or the enemy is in your face before you can reload or shoot again. Any case, I found myself choosing hand-to-hand over weapon combat.

Advancing in levels means a flip of a switch here or a button press there so for people who hate puzzles this is a game for you. If you are looking for puzzle challenges forget about it. This is strictly a point A to B to C to D to B to A game. I do like the “saving” system. There are checkpoints and the game automatically saves your progress. You have the option to play any checkpoint up to the recent save. This is fun because if you like a certain level section you have the option of playing that particular section. The space between the save points are not too bad. There are times in the game where they could have thrown in a save here or there but for the most part the save points are generous.

The actual control of Konoko is fairly simplistic. You will be using both digital and analog buttons. The left stick moves Konoko and the right stick changes her POV and angle,as well as, pick up items (finally a game that requires you do tap the stick!). The D pad helps her easily create combinations like sliding that is a tad harder to accomplish with the left stick. The D pad buttons are used to reload weapons and minor functions but it’s the L/R Top buttons that performs the kicking, punching, jumping, and squatting.

The one cool thing Bungie added is a “taunt” button. Konoko can taunt her enemies and this is funny, however, for some reason enemies cannot hear her taunt and are not tipped off by her vocal antics. This is annoying because you cannot coyly draw enemies to you, a’la Metal Gear Solid. Instead you have to jump in their eyesight. This is annoying for those enemies with guns because they shoot right off the bat.

Audio/Video : 8/10

The graphics in this game is cool. It’s a blend of anime and cartoony realism. The game is not highly detailed and seems to be sparse but what is there Bungie does a convincing job. This game does use the PS2 hardware. There is no aliasing or frags and the FMVs are seamless and “movie like”. In fact, the movies are in “letterbox” format and the transition is flawless.

The audio is fine. The voice acting is great and very believable. The bullets sound cool and the kick and punches are fine. Konoko’s footsteps are off and that can be annoying but that is more of a nitpick on my part. There is not a whole lot of music and what is there is not too special. Unfortunately, Bungie forgot how music helps move the game along. However, when you are in fight mode a “tense” sounding tune pops up and adds to the game but it’s forgettable.

Replayability: 7/10

There are three levels of difficulty and believe me on Medium the game is no walk in the park. I think for the hard core “Oni” fan or a avid action gamer this game will be played two maybe three times then it will sit in purgatory. For everyone else I think once or twice is the limit. Because gameplay is fun at times people may come back and play certain levels to master certain combat moves. I think Bungie should have added two player competition because the hand-to-hand is so much fun.

To buy or to rent? Rent, hands down. This game is not worth full price. At best, get it on sale or beat up your little brother and steal his money but don’t waste your money.

High: Funtime Fighting
Creative anime style
Great voice acting
Low: Unimaginative levels and puzzles
Sparse music
Guns suck

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 03/01/01, Updated 03/01/01

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