Monday, 26 October 2015

Chandragupta: Warrior Prince (PSP)

Chandragupta: Warrior Prince was released on PS2 and PSP by Sony in 2009, exclusively in India (GameFAQs lists a European release, but I haven't seen any evidence to suggest that this happened. Also, GameFAQs only lists that release, with no mention of India. I haven't played the PS2 version, but on the PSP it's a single-plane beat em up with some platforming bits.

When I first started playing it, I hated this game. The first stage has enemies that are constantly blocking and awkward to fight, constant tutorial messages abruptly halting the action andsome truly awful platforming sections with almost unavoidable traps. I perservered though, and in the follwing stages, I actually found myself having a lot of fun: the enemies were more numerous, but also a lot more co-operative in my attempts to kill them, making the action flow a lot better. Furthermore, the platforming sections were less frequent, shorter and a lot less sadistic.

Another positive the game has right from the start is the fact that it looks amazing, presented as it is in a 2.5D style reminiscent of the likes of Pandemonium or Klonoa, that goes great with the beautiful ancient India setting, one which I think has always been criminally underused in the medium of videogames (and comics, action cartoons, etc. too, come to think of it).

There are some downsides to the game, though. Firstly, there's a "feature" that, in my opinion is something that works to the detriment of many modern action games: the fact that special moves and weapons are unlocked as you progress through the game. It's boring, annoying and adds nothing to games. Secondly, there's the whole mechanic surrounding firing arrows. There's some enemies that'll be lurking in the background shooting arrows at you while you fight melee enemies in the foreground (or vice versa). The only way to beat them is by shooting them with arrows, and this is done by holding down the right shoulder button, aiming your crosshair with the analogue stick and then letting go to shoot. All this time you're completely immobile and unable to defend yourself from other foes. Thirdly, it's only a minor complaint, but the boss fights are terrible. Each boss is just a regular enemy with more health, who will go into the background every now and then to summon a small group of regular enemies for the player to fight while they watch.

Another complaint that's not one concerning the game's mechanics, but still quite disappointing is the fact that Chandragupta himself is light-skinned, while the enemies he fights are dark-skinned. It's especially noticable and unpleasant in the second stage, featuring a young Chandragupta defending his village from "a gang of thugs". It's a phenomenon I've seen before in the Amar Chitra Katha series of comics that adapt stories from Hindu mythology and Indian history, but those comics at least have the excuse of being made in the 1960s and 70s. We should expect better from media made in this century.

All in all, Chandragupta is an okay game. It's nothing particularly special to play, but it does look amazing, and I don't know of any other games that were made in India or specifically for that market, so it's a bit of a curiosity, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment