Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dekoboko Densetsu Hashiru Wagamanma

Renovation / Telenet

For those who aren't familiar with the legend, this Dekoboko is an overhead-perspective "combat racing" game that leans heavily towards the "cutesy" side of things. You drive through or leap over ponds, ice patches, lava streams, and snowy wastelands...

...while evading cows, snowmen, fish, birds, elephants, and flame-spitting dinosaur-things...

...and walloping your opponents with weapons bought at shop-screens in between stages.

The silly-in-theme courses should be the colorful highlights of Dekoboko, but they're actually rather dull. Some canvases are dominated by ugly yellows and browns, and a simple Lego-land can't exactly compete with Mario Kart's Rainbow Road.

The musical tracks are forgettable save for two vocal numbers (a goofy male vocal at the title screen and a decent female vocal at the end) and the Stage One theme, which is remarkably reminiscent of Basted's main in-game tune.

Superficial disappointments might have been forgivable if the gameplay were solid, but it isn't. Dekoboko was designed with five-player action in mind; hence, it insists that all of the cars be visible onscreen at all times. This means that if you're leading the pack, you'll be a mere centimeter or so away from the very top of the playfield and have no time to avoid obstacles that suddenly appear. On the other hand, if you hang back, you'll run the risk of being "hit" by the bottom of the screen, which will send you into a spinout. The spinouts constitute the most irritating aspect of the experience, as it can be very difficult to "right the ship," and you often end up caught in an inescapable chain of spins.

You pretty much have to hang out somewhere in the middle of the field, conserving your energy and keeping your vehicle on course until the very last stretch of a given track, where you can finally make your move and go for the win.

Ultimately, this is more of an obstacle-course run than it is a racing game, and there isn't much of a speed element anyway, as the cars basically just roll along. Give Dekoboko a try and you'll probably end up agreeing with me that the coolest thing about it is that Yuko and Megas briefly appear in the opening cinema.

1 comment :

M1Savage said...

This review is spot on. I remember being so excited when I first received this game only to be very disappointed when I actually played it. There really is no sweet spot in which to drive your car like there is in some of the other overhead drivers. Mario is laughing from his kart as he leaves this game in the dust.

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