Sunday, 27 October 2013

Seventh Cross Evolution (Dreamcast)

Seventh Cross was one of the first games released for the Dreamcast, and it definitely shows. When i first played it, the simple landscapes and repeating textures reminded me of creations made in the Dreamcast's Japan-only adventure game creator "DreamStudio". The creatures in the game look a little nicer. You see animations repeated for similar-shaped enemies in different areas, but they do all have a nice low-poly charm
to them.
The game is an action RPG, in which you play as a lifeform who kills and eats other creatures to gain nutrients and experience points which allow it to become stronger and grow new body parts. Mechanically, it has a lot of similarites with the SNES and PC98 game EVO: The Search for Eden/46 Okunen Monogatari, though the atmosphere is totally different. While EVO had a fairly cute, cartoony atmosphere, Seventh Cross is much more sombre, with quiet music, and more realistic-looking enemies. Also like EVO, each stage is an era in time, millions of years after the last, and to complete an era, you must find, kill and eat the alpha predator of the time.
The problem is, it's not very good. The combat, which is the main meat of the game, is almost entirely about how high your stats are rather than skill. As a result, there is a lot of grinding, for the nutrients needed to grow stronger body parts, as well as the Evolution Points needed to use the evolution grid.
The evolution grid is a pretty original concept: it's a 10x10 grid, upon which you draw in six colours. Each colour corresponds to one of your stats (you choose which colour goes to which stat at the start of the game), and drawing in a colour raises its associated stat. Drawing also makes available more body parts for
you to grow. Once you discover the secret (that minimalist designs tend to yield higher stat boosts and better parts), you'll get stronger faster, but towards the start of the game developing weaker parts is necessary, since the higher level parts need a lot of nutrients to grow, and some kinds of nutrients don't even appear until later stages.
On the other hand, developing high-level parts early in the game is fun, since it means you see strange creature names in there such as "Laser Horse" and "Electric Mollusk", which you won't get to see until much later on.
Despite my saying earlier that the game isn't very good, you might have guessed from how much detail I'm going into that I've played it a lot. And I have! I guess this is all down to the atmosphere: Seventh Cross is definitely what some circles would describe as a lonely game, with it's sparsely populated environments, complete lack of dialogue and minimalist plot. In fact, that there even is a plot isn't even made obvious until
you start the second era, and see a giant golden angel killing the local fauna with lasers. I'm about two-thirds of the way through the game so far and not a single word of dialogue has been spoken, nor has there been a single clue as to the identity or purpose of the time-travelling genocidal being.
In conclusion, Seventh Cross Evolution is a boring, ugly, repetitive game that I totally love and can play for hours at a time.


  1. LOL: Lack of Love is a much better game with similar graphics and themes on the Dreamcast. Although, it's about coexistence with your environment rather than devouring everything in sight. I also don't know of another game with a dedicated piss button.

    1. i've never played LOL, since it's japan-only, i assumed there'd be a big languae barrier in a game like that

  2. LOL has no language barrier. The game is entirely wordless except for the control explanation and some pointless menu text.