Saturday, April 25, 2009

Denno Tenshi: Digital Angel

Tokumashoten Intermedia Inc. / News Inc.
Super CD-ROM

A guy goes out one day and happens upon a vagabond floppy disk. He takes it home, loads it up on his computer, and watches in amazement as a girl pops out of his monitor. Some giant mecha land outside his house; female pilots emerge from the machines and congregate with the disk-born chick, who can control the mighty pink mecha. They all hang around for a while, lounging, talking, and bathing (but not doing anything particularly naughty). A few mean girls (including an unpleasant "copy" of the pink-mecha pilot) show up in their own giant machines. A showdown takes place, the copy is eliminated, the mean girls move in with the rest of the bunch, and they all decide to play janken.

That's a good chunk of the odd Digital Angel story. DA is a digital comic with primary menu commands (Talk, Watch, Think, etc.) displayed in English. The most appealing element here is the art; the visuals aren't typical old anime-comic fare. The game has a distinctive appearance, and I found myself looking forward to each new panel. The music is also really cool (for a while, at least).

Odd plot plus anime girls plus English menu plus distinctive art plus good music usually equals a worthwhile game, but DA is actually a middling title. The initially intriguing story really loses steam during its second half. There are myriad Game Over and premature-end screens, and while the Game Overs can usually be avoided easily, the only way to get the "true" ending is to master a "slot game," which can be very frustrating and annoying (and the true ending sucks anyway). I played the game a number of times and changed up my choices enough that I was able to view pretty much every scene there is, and unfortunately, the art and audio lost some of their allure during the wearisome process.

Digital Angel is by no means a poor product, but with the nice ingredients it has going for it, it should've made a more favorable impression on me than it did. The first half of the adventure is quite enjoyable, but the aforementioned problems ultimately drag the game down a digital-comic tier or two.

You get awesome power-armor and mecha designs...

...and awesome chick designs. Good combo, eh?

Unfortunately, there's too little cool stuff...

...and too much domestic stuff (especially late in the game).

You'll need to master the slot game to get a "good" ending. Good luck with that.

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