Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Zero4 Champ

Media Rings

Having already played its CD sequel by the time I purchased the original Zero4 Champ, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what the card has to offer. I was excited about the apparent prospect of another mini-games-heavy adventure providing context for brief-but-strategy-involving racing sequences. Indeed, straight-ahead one-on-one speed competitions constitute Z4C's main events...

...but there isn't much of an adventure to experience here. Money must still be earned for the acquisition of parts and souped-up vehicles...

...but options as to how you may accrue the requisite fortune are few. Much of your time will be spent loitering in a lame arcade or stumbling about dark hallways in search of odd miscreants to pummel.

Despite the limited nature and disappointing simplicity of the affair, players unable to read Japanese will find that the menus here--sadly and ironically enough--aren't as easy to figure out and navigate as those in the much more involving followup.

A fine sense of humor is one trait this title does share with its sequel, however. Funny-looking fellows and bumbling hooligans star in chuckle-inducing sketches that grant the repetitive goings-on a little personality...

...and there's even a smidgen of smut for those on the lookout for such things.

The spirited soundtrack does what it can to help matters and hilariously irritates a mild-mannered female character by becoming Smoke on the Water-ish during one of the more amusing sequences.

Unfortunately, I hardly found it hilarious that I myself was irritated by the game's repetitiveness and dearth of options. Understand that this isn't merely a case of a title paling in comparison with its advanced successor. Zero4 Champ would prove slightly interesting but ultimately dull even if it hadn't been followed by a sequel it simply can't compare with.

The real winners are the folks who go right to Zero4 Champ II.

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