| Blood, Violence
| The Good
Stylish and very fun to play
Great art and character design
Good music that fits the mood
The price is right (20 dollars)
| The Bad
Can get repetitive
Very short game
Few games have been known purely as an action game. With
so many genres meshing together, it's sometimes fun to just
pop in an action game and not having to worry about finding
some hidden key to open a door and finding a magical crest.
Instead, Gungrave offers straight-up action any time
you want it. Just imagine Robert Rodriguez's film Desperado,
throw in a little bit of Matrix "Bullet-time", some
jazz music, and you've got the recipe for Gungrave.
The game starts by introducing you to an undead killing machine
known as 'Death: Beyond the Grave' (his closer friends call
him Grave for short). It seems that an evil crime syndicate
is selling a brand-new narcotic that just hit the streets
called SEED. It's Grave's job to stop this Syndicate by killing
off every last one of the thugs. Along the way, several of
your friends are captured and some interesting revelations
occur that deal with Grave's personal life. The story is satisfying
and doesn't get in the way of gameplay.
The music is just as I first described. Done by Tsuneo Imahori,
the same guy who lends his talents to the anime Trigun,
it shares some similarities to the stuff in Trigun,
but it has a more Jazzy vibe more akin to Cowboy Bebop.
It sets off the cool vibe that sets the impeccable ambiance
of this game. The background music isn't much of a worry,
since all you'll hear is your twin-pistols blazing, killing
everybody in sight. The sound-effects are also equally satisfying.
Fortunately, Sega decided to leave the original voice work
in, so you'll be reading subtitles. Whether that's a good
thing or a bad thing - It's your call. Still, I have no qualms
in the particular section
The graphics are gorgeous. Done in regular anime fashion,
the character models are creative and very well thought out.
The stunning art is all thanks to the talents of Yasuhiro
Naito (also commonly spelled 'Nightow'), an anime legend who
also created the hit series Trigun. The game run very
smoothly, the particle effects seem rather exaggerated, but
hey - this game isn't meant to be realistic.
The gameplay takes us back to the days of 16 bit side-scrolling
2D shooters where you dispatched hordes of enemies before
reaching your destination. The game involves a lot of shooting,
but it also rewards you if you make an effort to add some
nifty, stylish combos or poses. At the end of each stage you
have a boss - while they aren't all too hard to defeat, it's
fun to do a signature at the end of each battle. If you have
one demolition shot left at the end of the battle, then you
can perform a move similar to the fatalities found in the
Mortal Kombat series. It's not only easy on the eyes,
but it also boosts your score at the end of the level.
In addition to your twin-pistols (called ''Cerberos'') you
can also earn special attacks called demolition shots. You
can only have one demolition shot equipped at a time, but
they take massive amounts from your enemies, and bestow plenty
of eye-candy in the process. There are a total of 4 different
demolition shots you can earn - each one with it's own strengths
or weaknesses depending on the situation you're in, so make
the best of you demolition shots and try not to waste them.
They'll be your best friend throughout the game.
The controls in this game are tight and responsive and the
control-scheme is perfect. It will take a while to learn exactly
how to dash to avoid incoming fire, but it's essential for
surviving the later stages, so it's better to practice this
tactic early on in the game. Aside from the dashing, you also
have one button to shoot your gun, and another for your demolition
shot. The shoulder buttons control secondary commands like
a quick 180 degree turn and a lock-on feature (which is pretty
unreliable and downright useless).
So is this game worth owning? Well, if you have fond memories
of games like Gunstar Heroes, or Contra - you
should check this game out. And with the new, affordable price-tag
(this game is easily found for 20 dollars), it's worth picking
up despite it being so damn short. So get it before it's gone.