Saturday, 6 May 2017

Lightning Legend: Daigo no Daibouken (Playstation)

There was a nice little trend in the late 90s, of 3D fighting games being released on home consoles with no prior ties. That is, they weren't related to existing games franchises and they weren't ports of arcade fighters. Most of them never got much attention beyond small cult followings, maybe a geocities fansite here or there, and as a result, most of them never got sequels and are mostly forgotten. Daigo no Daibouken is one of those games.

As far as I can tell, it's a completely original creation: no anime license, no arcade version, nothing. But you wouldn't guess if you weren't told, as the presentation on all levels is amazing. Not only does the game itself look great (a point I'll get back to later), but it's a total package that must have either had a pretty high budget or been a labour of love for the developers. It starts right from the outset, with the game having probably the best character select screen I've ever seen, depicting a room with a large window with a cliff outside, and all the playable characters just hanging out in the room (and on the cliff). Then there's the gallery, where each character not only has a bunch of the usual character design art and so on associated with them, but bizarrely, they each also have a selection of lovingly drawn food items. It's just a great, complete package that makes the game feel like it's a part of an existing series, despite being a one game wonder.

As for how the game actually plays, you have to remember that a lot of these games fell into obscurity because while they were enjoyable enough games, they just weren't in the same league as the games coming to consoles from the arcade. Daigo no Daibouken is no different in that regard, but it does combine a few nice little touches from other games (some of which actually came out years after it) that give it its own feel. It uses a 3-button control scheme similar to more modern fare like Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Blazblue. It also has an anime-style super meter that has to be charged manually by holding the taunt and strong attack buttons together. You can also easily put together cool-looking normal combos by mashing the weak and medium attack buttons. Blocking is a weird one in this game: as well as holding back to block, it seems that holding forward also blocks, and possibly also pressing an attack button at the exact time of impact ala Asuka 120% Burning Fest.

Going back to the in-game graphics, they're excellent. This little subgenre of fighting games has been getting attention in some circles recently, because of their colourful aesthetics and crazy character designs. While most of the characters in this game aren't as out-there as in other games, it's definitely very colourful, and the character models themselves look great. I don't know whether it's a case of excellent modelling, well-drawn textures or maybe both, but they look amazing.

All in all, Lightning Legend: Daigo no Daibouken is a pretty good game. It won't set your world on fire, but it's enjoyable enough, and a lot of love clearly went into making it.It's definitely worth a shot.

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