Thursday, May 26, 2011

Doraemon Nobita no Dorabian Night CD

Hudson Soft
Super CD-ROM

As I've detailed the particulars of my disappointing experience with the Dorabian Night HuCard in the piece I posted about it, suffice it to say here I feel DN is stocked with great concepts that are ultimately let down by unexciting gameplay. Having identified gameplay as the element Hudson was least likely to have tinkered with in producing this CD revamp, I found the disc unalluring. A new, crudely drawn opening sequence introducing DN's geeky good-guy assemblage failed to generate the slightest bit of enthusiasm in me; a cinematic redo of the HuCard's procession-commencing sketch also wasn't up to the task.

Fast-forwarding a bit (like, all the way through the game), yet another inconsequential cinema is implemented as a cap to the festivities.

How fancy. But most of the "changes" here involve not the storytelling segments but the in-game visuals. Environments were brushed up to appear more refined and, in some instances, more colorful. Some of the alterations Hudson made were so minor that one wonders why they even bothered, and I question the prudence of some of their color swaps. Still, this version looks better--sharper and more polished--than its HuCard forerunner.

Thing is, there really wasn't anything wrong with Dorabian Night's graphics to begin with (aside from some rough-hewn sprites, which were not redrawn for this release). Heck, the HuCard's introductory skit actually was amusing as it was; never would I have yearned for a "cinematic" do-up of it. And while the new ending is nice, the thought of watching it again is not nearly enticing enough to make me want to re-endure the monotonous "adventure." In other words, these modifications and additions mean very little to me. I still find Dorabian Night to be an utter bore.

Now, a new red book soundtrack is something that might've made a difference (to a degree). I've never been a fan of boring Bonk III, but the CD version's lively soundtrack at least gets me a little more interested in the sleepily slow action. Unfortunately, aside from employing vocal numbers for the title screen and credit scroll, lazy Hudson chose to stick with the card's tunes. These are not awful tracks, but they're too breezy and unassertive to add any excitement to a game in dire need of some sort of boost.

Fans of the HuCard version might want to acquire this CD, as they may enjoy spotting the graphical alterations and get a kick out of the new cinemas and "funny" voice work. Me, well, I've been let down yet again, left shaking my head and feeling that Hudson threw away a second chance to do justice to the fine concepts they'd come up with for the original project. Hell, they even rendered the intermediary time-warp scenes less wacky and impressive.

Well done, guys.

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