GAME REVIEWS

Friday, March 27, 2009

Yawara

~ YAWARA! ~
SOFIX / Hudson Soft
Super CD-ROM
1992

This is a terribly bland digital comic in which you play a goofy journalist who hunts for scoops and scandals with his clumsy sidekick (a chubby cameraman) and takes an interest in the eponymous judo girl. The premise is uninspiring, and the plot is largely uneventful. Long stretches are spent on chatter-sessions, with the myriad newsroom meetings leaving me dozing every time.


Events intended to liven up the proceedings, including the many judo bouts, typically fall flat.



It doesn't help that the characters aren't particularly likable. The protagonist has wide owl eyes that make him look rather freaky, and he regularly finds himself on the receiving end of drubbings. Now, the hero in the far-superior 3x3 Eyes also gets tossed around like a rag doll, but that guy has to deal with frightfully fucked-up situations involving formidably fucked-up adversaries. The bum here suffers his defeats at the hands of other nerds, some of whom revel in hurling him off buses and into garbage cans.


But he's certainly not alone among the game's "stars" when it comes to making an unfavorable impression. Even Yawara herself isn't particularly cute or interesting.



While the plot and cast leave a lot to be desired, not every aspect of the comic comes off poorly. The graphics aren't very colorful, but the shades that are utilized are nice and bright, making the game easy on the eyes. The music also isn't completely awful. But these somewhat-decent aesthetic elements aren't enough to make up for the boring story and repulsive characters.



The game is very accessible, however. There are no Game Overs, no quizzes, and no first-person maze sequences. You typically don't even have a choice as to what course of action the protagonist will take; you simply click the given commands and proceed through the scripted events. This accessibility would seem to make the game ideal for those who are new to digital comics, but I'm afraid that Yawara! is so uninteresting that it'll turn newcomers off from the genre for good.

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