Saturday, October 17, 2009

Makai Prince Dorabo-chan

Naxat Soft / Red

Dorabo-chan seems pleasant enough at first. It's a fairly typical run-and-jump platformer, with fairly typical green grounds and blue skies comprising its first-stage environment, the dominion of Little Goomba lookalikes who plod and bumble about. The levels are pretty large, and you can scavenge them for special items that boost your firepower and grant you incredible super powers (such as a double jump). And each cartoony stage culminates with a battle in a boss's lair a la Bonk's Adventure.

But after a decent start, things go downhill fast. That Mario-esque first board is by far the most appealing of the bunch; everything afterwards looks, well... "blech." The main character proves himself to be a clumsy slider, and his piddly weaponry is no fun to use.

Worst of all, the game feels pointless. As if it isn't bad enough that the action is inadequate and the visuals, drab, the "rewards" to be reaped from exploring are negligible. Why take a long path to a health restorer if the only reason you'll need health restoration at that point is because you went out of your way in the first place? What exactly is the benefit in using a weapon that freezes your foes when you can just kill them outright with your primary powers? Where's the thrill in locating a 1-up when you've already got a dozen extra lives in stock? And why make a priority of gathering tomatoes to bombard the bosses with when said bosses are hopeless chumps regardless?

The last boss should shoulder the brunt of the shame: he looks pretty cool but puts up a fight beneath the standards of even the Goomba guys.

I must say that while the bosses disappoint, the mini-bosses actually constitute a pretty cool group of mid-round warriors. One fire wielder is even kinda tough.

But aside from respectable mini-bosses, a fairly enjoyable opening stretch, and some tricky spots in the final stage, Dorabo-chan has nothing to offer. It's not awful on the whole, but it certainly can't compete with the likes of Son Son II and Momotarou Katsugeki.

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