Rave Master Review
|Developer: Konami||Publisher: Konami|
|Release Date: March 8, 2005||Also On: None|
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know when IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m ever going to learn that there isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to be another game as great as Super Smash Brothers Melee until its sequel comes out and thus quit my search for such a game. This vain search has caused me to buy many games that I otherwise would not have even considered, possibly not even have heard of. While many of those games have proven to be decent diversions from SSBM for a while, they have eventually gotten old, often due to a lack of depth in the gameplay. This game, currently the end of the long line of titles I have bought in this pursuit, is no different.
I must admit curiosity, however, as to the method in which this game is being marketed. It is made by Konami, which puts most of its anime-based games on PS2, as a GCN exclusive, but even weirder than that is the fact that they are marketing the game predominantly through online vendors. Such a tactic is going to drastically reduce the amount of people who even will hear of the title, let alone buy it. But I digress. You didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t come here to hear my opinion of how the game should be sold, but my opinion on the game itself, so letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s get into that.
The graphics in this game look pretty good. It is easy to tell by the style of the graphics that this game is based on an anime; indeed, I would assume that the graphics look exactly like the animation in the show on which this game is based. The special effects when the characters use their special moves are reasonably detailed, as are the look of the characterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s themselves. Even the backgrounds and battle arenas look pretty good. Overall, I have no major complaints here.
The story with the sound is the same. I have no way of knowing whether the music is drawn from the anime or was composed exclusively for this game, but it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really matter. Either way, the music is pleasant to listen to. The sound effects donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sound ultra-realistic, but this is a game based on an anime, so I am going to operate under the assumption that they are fairly well emulated from similar sound effects in the anime on which the game is based. As with the graphics, I have no major complaints.
So far as gameplay goes, this game would compare most directly to TMNT: Mutant Melee in how it plays out. Essentially, you have a flat square piece of land that up to four people can duel on. Regardless of which stage you choose to fight on, the battle arena will be the same size and shape, with only the background changing, with the exception of one stage which has a pillar in the middle. This effectively eliminates any need for stage-based strategy in this game, as all the stages are the same.
So you have one to four people fighting in this square arena. In the multiplayer mode, you can set up free for alls or you can put players on teams. There are also three levels of computer players that you can fight against, so there will be a decent challenge for all players in that regard. Unfortunately, unlike the typical fighting game standard of twenty-some characters, this game has barely over a dozen characters from which to choose. On the bright side though, this game does allow more than one player to use the same character, unlike games such as Digimon Rumble Arena 2.
At the beginning of a multiplayer battle, none of the characters will have a weapon. Some characters are actually better off without weapons, but many of them will need a particular weapon in order to do their most powerful attack, known in this game as an Ultimate Groove Attack. In order to perform this Ultimate Groove Attack, a character will need to collect the right combination of weapon and rave stones and also have a full Groove Meter. The Groove Meter is filled by hitting opponents with a weapon or with oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bare hands if they have no weapon. Rave Stones come in three colors and have varying effects on their weilder depending on which stone or combination of stones the character has.
However, if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not patient enough to get everything for an Ultimate Groove Attack, that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mean that you are reduced to only whacking opponents over and over with your hand or weapon. Regardless of which character youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re using, any character can do another attack, called a Groove Attack, with almost any weapon. The effect of a Groove Attack is determined by what weapon the character is carrying and seemingly nothing else. A Groove Attack will be less powerful than an Ultimate Groove Attack, but will only deplete a portion of the characterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Groove Meter.
If this doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sound complicated enough, the weapons also range in speed and power for both physical and Groove-based attacks, ranging from fast weapons with little power to slow weapons which are very powerful. Often fast weapons will be accompanied by quicker, weaker Groove Attacks while slow weapons will be accompanied with slower, more powerful ones. I should also mention that weapons, as well as Rave Stones, can be knocked out of a characterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hands if they are hit by a particularly strong attack, but rarely if ever will a character lose more than one item at a time.
The battles themselves can be fought under one of two rule types. You can choose either to go for as many kills as possible within a time period, or you can choose to start with a certain quantity of lives and fight until only one character is left. Either way, this game is traditional in being lifebar-based and isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t reliant on knocking opponents out of the arena, which I have, through experimentation, found to be impossible. The problem here though is that it is sometimes easy to trap a person against a corner, but the solution to this is not to get cornered.
The controls to this game are fairly simple to learn. Indeed, the only maneuver that requires you to press more than one button simultaneously is the Ultimate Groove Attack, which requires both the L and R buttons to be pressed at the same time. Younger or casual gamers will be able to play this game with relative ease, but the game is a bit too simplistic for a fan of hardcore fighting games.
This game also boasts some single-player modes. Five of the characters have story modes that can be played through, although their plots are hardly earth-shattering in terms of depth. Although none of the story modes is particularly long, five story modes with three difficulty levels each will take you some time to get through. I should mention that in the story mode, both the player and his/her opponents will begin each battle with their preferred weapon, but the battles are otherwise played out the same way they would be in multiplayer.
There is also a free mode, which consists of a string of battles fought until you either defeat so many opponents or lose. This mode can be played by any character in all three difficulties, and you will eventually unlock the options of going up against two or three opponents simultaneously.
Another option that can be unlocked eventually is the option to go through and create your own stories, but the method of doing so is so time-consuming that not many people are likely to actually spend much time with it. However, after you have finished making your story, it can be played by loading it and selecting to play it. Even if it isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t something youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to use, Konami should at least be commended for trying it. Maybe if they had made it compatible with the GCN keyboard (not that anybody actually has one of those) that would have been slightly better.
So far as replay value goes, after youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve unlocked everything in the single player modes there isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really much reason to go back and play them again, and the multiplayer mode will likewise get old unless you have human opponents to play against on a regular basis. Regardless of this, I would recommend that if you are a fan of the anime that this game is based on, or if you like fun, pick up and play fighting games, you should consider scouring the internet looking for a copy of this game to order. For $30, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d say itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s money well spent.
|Replay Value/Game Length:||7|
|Written by Martin||Review Guide|