Shaman King: Master of Spirits Review

Developer: Konami Publisher: Konami
Release Date: November 9, 2004 Also On: None

One of the challenges that a reviewer faces when they review the prequel to a game that they have already reviewed is the temptation to compare the original game to the sequel, an action which is inherently unfair. However, I am going to do so anyway with the caveat that things which are the same or slightly worse in this game than in the sequel will be scored higher than I scored them in the sequel.

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I’ve never been a fan of the Shaman King anime, but after playing Shaman King: Master of Spirits 2 and beating it, I found a copy of the original for a relatively cheap price and have now completed it also. It should come as no surprise to anybody that the original game has less depth than its sequel, but, for its time, it is a good game nonetheless.

Graphically, the game looks pretty good for the time that it was released, although some of the graphics look worse than those in the sequel, obviously. Most all of the graphics in the game look anime-like, and it is easy to figure out what kind of environment you’re in. So, overall, the graphics are about average, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The music in this game is actually better than the music in the second game. It seems to be, in most cases, more appropriate to the environments than the music in the sequel, and it is also slightly more addictive. The sound effect set is basically the same one used in the sequel, but, for a game from a year earlier than the sequel, the sound effects are quite sufficient.

This game plays like an action-platformer with RPG elements. If you’ve read my review of the second game in the series, the gameplay is exactly the same in this game, with a few differences. First, the main bad guy is different. Instead of the Zeke guy that you are chasing in the sequel, you are chasing a guy called Magister. Second, there are less skill levels in this game than there are in the sequel, but still, most games anymore don’t have skill levels at all, so the very presence of multiple skill levels is a plus. Third, the books of learning aren’t available in this game, so you are left to only a three-move attack combo that can be initiated in the air or on the ground and an attack while you’re ducking unless you use spirit-based special attacks. Fourth, there seem to be less spirits in this game, and none of them are upgradeable like in the sequel. However, this game is just as fun as its sequel regardless of these differences.

So far as replay value, you’re still looking at collecting all of the items and spirits just like in the sequel after you finish. Add that to multiple skill levels and this game might last you a semi-significant period of time if you stick with it. If you have played the sequel and enjoyed it, you should also try this game if you don’t already have it. If you read my review of the sequel but didn’t think it was worth risking $30 on, try this game first. However, don’t be fooled by the fact that this game is getting a higher score than its sequel. It is the policy of Game Freaks 365 to grade games by their time of release, and this game was slightly better at its time of release than its sequel was. The sequel is the better game, though.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.5
Written by Martin Review Guide

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