Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Damdam Stompland (Playstation)

Obviously, I can only speculate about this, but it seems very much like this game exists mainly because someone working for a small developer discovered how to make the Playstation do a thing, and they wanted to make a game to show off that thing. The thing in question being the real-time rendering of shadows, which are actually shaped by the models casting them, and which also change length and direction in reaction to the
light source.
The game itself is simple one of shadow tag, as seen in the excellent Urusei Yatsura movie Only You: the idea isn't to tag your opponent's body, but to stamp on their shadow. Do it three times before your opponent does, or before the time (the matches only last a single minute, which goes by very quickly) runs out to win.
You can't just walk on to the shadow to score a point, but must press X to do a stomping action. Circle jumps and square does some kind of sliding tackle type thing that doesn't seem to serve any purpose, other than moving straight ahead very quickly.
There are numerous characters and arenas (arenae?) in the game, though they aren't specific to each other. There aren't any boss characters as far as I can tell. Some of the characters are typical cartoony humans, along with a robot (who bears a striking resemblens to Goriki from Kia Asamiya's Steam Detectives), a
mushroom-man wearing wooden armour, and strangest of all, a severed fish head with human legs. And it really is a severed head, as the wound is visible from certain angles. There's also a nice bit of flavour in the game, with big colourful illustrations between stages and in endings, and the game over screen shows a picture of your defeated character looking depressed (or in the case of the fish head, eaten).
The arenas are all completely different, offering different ratios of safe area and Dead or Alive-esque danger zones. The safe areas also have different features in them, such as conveyor belts, moving obstacles or even just that fact that one stage's safe area is a tiny, low friction square in the centre of the map. Another hazard comes in the form of little sombrero-clad cactus-men, who will stomp on the shadows of the unwary.
I like this game more than I had expected to. It is a lot of fun to play, though I can imagine it might not have a
lot of long-term longevity, being based as it is on a single idea, and it did take me a few games to get used to playing it (though a good part of this was working out the controls, a task of which I have helpfully absolved you). There's also a definite low-budget feel to it, it really wouldn't be out of place in the Simple 1500 series (two notes here: firstly, long-time readers will surely know I would never regard this as a negative point, and secondly, if i remember rightly, there is actually a game of regular tag in the Simple 1500 series).

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