Thursday, 15 October 2015

Croket! Kindan no Kinka Box (Playstation)

So, Croket is based on an anime series from 2003, about the eponymous boy going on a quest to seek out some kind of special wish-granting coins called Kinka. Or so the summary on anidb says, at least. Only a single episode has been subbed, apparently, and I haven't seen it.

In this game (the only one on a home console, though there are a bunch on the GBA and DS), youtake control of Croket, and take part in some kind of fighting-themed gameshow/tournament arrangement. Each stage sees you in a top-down location with other characters, and for the first couple of stages, there's a certain amount of Kinka you need to get to finish the stage. Eventually, I reached a stage with some kind of scavenger hunt arrangement going on, and I couldn't work out the win condition. On the map screen, you see how many Kinka the top 6 fighters have, and you go about looking for them. Walking into another character on the map takes things into a side-view platform/fighting arrangement feeling a lot like the Digimon Battle Spirit games.

In the fighting segments, there are treasure chests that fling Kinka about when opened, and you can also knock the Kinka out of your opponent either with certain moves, or just with sustained beatings. Of course, the winner of the bout also takes a portion of their opponent's Kinka as a prize. Unfortunately, you'll end up having to fight the same opponents multiple times in a stage to get the required amount, and to make things worse, the smart player will quickly work out which characters they can most easily beat, and follow them around the map "bullying" them until they have enough Kinka to end the stage.

The fighting controls are simple, though they do have one odd little quirk: there's buttons for weak and strong attacks, as well as a third button that's only used in conjunction with direction inputs for specials and supers. Specials use up a third of your super meter, while supers use up the whole thing, but if you connect with your super, your opponent will drop a lot of coins, and coins fill up your meter.

It's hard to believe that this is not only a Playstation game, but one that came so late in the console's life in 2003, as it would easily fit in among the many anime licenced games on the Super Famicom. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, of course, it just strikes me as very unusual that not only was a licenced game being released on the original Playstation years after the PS2's release, but it's also such a dated-looking title. I can only assume the developers weren't given much of a budget.

Croket! Kindan no Kinka Box is a fairly playable game, if you're curious about it, it won't hurt to give it a try, but you're not missing out on anything special if you don't. One last note, though: like I said, I've never sen the anime on which this game is based, so maybe it's pretty different, but the game's premise heavily reminds me of the hunter exam arc near the start of Hunter X Hunter, particularly the part where all the candidates have to hunt each other down to steal enough badges to pass. I don't know if the anime was just a cheap, cynical cash-in, but the game kind of makes it seem that way.

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