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 Blood Will Tell 
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Post Blood Will Tell
Every once in a while you find a gem when looking at random games. Today I've found one.

When taking a couple of mediorcre games in for trade-off, I traded for a game called Blood May Tell after reading a review. Within the first 5 minutes of gameplay, I was hooked. The story comes from a rather old manga by the name of Dororo, from Osamu Tezuka. Granted he did Astro-Boy, but this story is much deeper, and much more serious. Actually, it's a little overly dramatic in places. The basis of the game is that you're Hyakkimaru, a cursed child who's bodyparts were stolen by demons. (Demons seem to really be a problem in ancient Japan) Why were you cursed? Because you alone have the power to end the reign of demons in ancient japan.

Without releasing too much of the nicely engrossing story, Your father was enticed by the demons with "ultimate power" but had to give up his first born son. Little did the father know his child would have the ability to destroy even the most powerful of demons. While the demons could not touch the boy directly, by corrupting his father the demons were able take individual pieces of the boy's body. When his son was born, the demons soon came to take what they wanted. There was little left of the baby. When the father saw the abomination of what was left, he tried to throw the baby in a river to die. However a wandering doctor found the child and took him in. This doctor must have also been an inventor because he made a pseudo-mechanical body for the boy as he got older. Complete with leg-cannon, arm machine gun and sword arm. All of which are effectively used within the game. Along with the sword arms, Hyakkimaru can also use a regular sword, which is more powerful than the sword arms, but much slower. The saving grace of the sword is there are several which have innate powers, such as being able to help nullify fire or poison based attacks, for example.

Gameplay: The battle system is rather simplistic. The fighting is a basic hack-fest with limited combos. The moves, while flashy, are not very numerous. However there is limited progression as you continue on. There is limited leveling up, based on what items you collect and how much you use certain weapons. The real progression is with the story and more importantly, with what body parts you regain. With each body part, a portion of the game expands. For example, one of the first body parts you regain from a boss, is the left Eyeball. Most of the first portion of the game is in black and white, but when you regain your eye, you can see in color for the first time. While the game takes a "learn anatomy while you kill demons" approach, you sort of realize "Wow, what would I ever do without my spleen?" With each body part you expand a portion of the game like seeing in color, or you become more powerful with new attacks or combos, or better yet, you gain a new ability like dashing.


The story: The story is quite enthralling. It has a similar appeal to Silent Hill, mixed with Onimusha. Some parts of the story or some of the characters are freaky as hell, but ripped directly from japanese lore. While other parts of the story are a little too over-the-top or over acted by the crappy americanese. That's right, the game suffers from the "good anime, but crappy voice-dubbing" disease. In truth, this has not slowed me down one bit. I keep pushing on to see what new twist the story takes. Some plot twists are blatantly predictable, while others come out of nowhere with stealth fury.

In short, this game kicks ass. I have failed to mention Hyakkimaru's sidekick, Dororo, a child with the ambition to become the world's greatest theif. He is the namesake of the comic, but a rather annoying addition to the game. Dororo is a little...over-eager, a quality I hate in children. This is besides the fact that I hate children, especially when they think they can fight demons - or do anything else useful. But when it comes down to it, when you get to control Dororo, the game takes a more stealth/speed/I'm-too-weak-so-I'll-run-from-it approach that adds a new dimension to the gameplay. So all in all, it's not so bad.

The Good - Engrossing Story that is ovbiously derived from an imaginative manga. Fun boss Battles and imaginative bosses derived from Japanese folklore. Uhh...great story. Interesting leveling system. And finally, a great story. Replayability. (Visiting old areas may reveal new secrets with your newfound abilities)

The bad: American (over)acting. Tedious and repetative fighting. Not a large variety of enemies, but the ones that are there are imaginative...like sonic weasels with scyth arms. That's right, sonic weasels. Sometimes hit detection is a little wonky, mainly this comes into play when you get the crap beaten out of you when nothing ever touched you to warrant such damage. Even when such cheap-shots take place, I have yet to be killed because of it.

All of the bad items are easily overcome if you are focusing on the story. So if you decide to pick up Blood Will Tell, I have a feeling you won't be dissapointed. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to rid ancient japan of demons. (As is Onimusha 1, 2 and 3 didn't kill off enough demons...)

-Sol


January 19th, 2005, 11:52 pm
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