Monday, July 13, 2009

Ranma 1/2

~ RANMA 1/2 ~

Well, I suppose this can be considered a "beat 'em up" of the sidescrolling, single-plane variety. The controls are terribly sloppy: the gameplay is fast but very loose, and there isn't really any way to avoid bumbling into at least some of your enemies as you speed through the levels. At times, you'll be forced to defeat a particular foe, but rarely will this demand more than exploitation of a single simple "technique," be it a matter of repeated heel stomps, simple duck-and-kicks, or plain old button mashing.

But the focus isn't really on the action. In fact, exempting the eighth and final level (most of which takes place in a structure with multiple floors), total play time for a one-life clear doesn't far exceed five minutes. The cinematics are the main draw, and Ranma fans will love how closely events here mirror scenes from the first (and best) season of the show (until the game's story takes a weird turn near its conclusion). You get the best of the early Ranma plot points (including the famous scalping of Akane) in cinemas that are humorous and fairly well done.

The designers did try to spice up the gameplay just a bit by giving you a variety of tasks to complete. Along with partaking in standard punching-and-platforming fare, you'll have to escort Akane to school; win a race; and defeat some of Ranma's longtime adversaries, including the ever-lost Ryouga. Almost all of it is a breeze to get through, and the sloppiness will repel most players immediately; but there is goofy, kitschy appeal to the game (similar to the appeal Night Creatures can have), and those acquainted with the anime will definitely find the interludes and level concepts amusing.

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