Sunday, 29 May 2011

Hakaioh - King of Crusher (Playstation)

Look! Just when you least expect it, another review of a Japanese Playstation game!
The last few reviews have been a bit too positive, and I've been putting this one off for months now, so I am reviewing Hakaioh: King of Crusher.
The plot is that you are some Japanese guy. Nobody special, has a wife and a baby and an office job. One day while eating breakfast, you get bitten by an evil fly, and start going on a rampage, destroying all your family's possessions. The first time I played this game, I'd skipped the cutscenes, and just saw a game where you play as a guy destroying his furniture (by hand!) while a woman holding a baby flees in terror.
Anyway, ingame, there are two bars on screen. The short red one shows how much of your destruction quota has been met, and when you've filled it up, you can go to the end of the stage. The long yellow one is your health, which is constantly (but slowly) decreasing. It increases a little whenever you destroy something, and you get quite a big chunk back for destroying enemies like tanks and helicopters.
There's two things I should tell you after saying that last part: The first one is that as the stages go on, you gradually transform, first into a werewolf demon thing, later on into a dinosaur, and so on. So you aren't just some angry guy by the time they send the military after you. The second is that you can't attack humans, presumably so you don't attempt to murder your wife and child in the first stage. But what causes a bit of dissonance there is that you can destroy vehicles that contain people, and one stage even has a bridge you can destroy, causing a train to fall into the river presumably killing or injuring everyone on board. But you're a dinosaur by that point, so you probably don't care anymore anyway. Eventually, you become so big and powerful, you can destroy motorway bridges by walking through them (and like the earlier train, all the cars drive off to their deaths and explode) and tread on tanks like they were insects.
I'm probably making this game sound like a lot of fun, like a 3D version of the old Amiga game AAAAAARGH! or something. But unfortunately, it has a few big flaws.
The controls are one of them. Attacking is no problem at all: triangle headbutts, square punches and X kicks, but walking around is awkward, as your man/monster seems to have some trouble turning round. It's hard to explain what happens when you do, it just looks kind of... off, I guess. And it takes a little longer than it should to keep things smooth.
The other major flaw is the camera, which also has issues with turning around. Only unlike the man, it doesn't even try. It always faces the same direction. Usually, this isn't a problem, but if you get to the end of a level and haven't reached your destruction quota, walking back to find more stuff to wreck is a bit of a pain.
The final, smaller flaw is that it'd very repetitive, since every stage is just about moving forwards and wrecking as much stuff as possible. It's not made any better by the fact that the stuff is all pretty sturdy too, often taking several hits to break. I only count this as a minor flaw though, as you can easily just play one stage at a time, save it and come back later.
In summary, this game is repetitive, ugly and awkward to play, and also the shoddy production value make the average simple series game look like a triple A high-budget blockbuster. But despite all that, I've still played most of the way through it, and it seems pretty likely I'll even play it through to the end, as long as no sudden difficulty spikes appear to spoily my fun.

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