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Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

video game review video game review Video Game Review: Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Publisher: Tommo
Category: Action
Platform: Dreamcast, PS1
ESRB Rating: Teen    Release Date: October 1999

Overall Rating: 2 Stars out of 4

Review by Tom Allen
2½ Stars out of 4
(Review of Dreamcast version)

This game is way too hard for the casual player… even with the difficulty set low. Or maybe I suck. Either way, I'm dissatisfied.

I can not evaluate this game based on its comic book (manga) origins, so I will focus on the fighting alone. I may be the only one, but I still think this one-speed jumping is weird. Every jump is the same size and height until you press an attack button. Games like this have that ping- pong jumping feel. I never really like it, but I tolerate it.

The game is not bad, but nothing about it screams "must-have." First, some of the ten-plus characters look alike; others feel alike. Beyond these, only a few stand out. No character, however, is particularly fun or cool. Second, the animation is perhaps too fast and furious. The full-screen faces during special moves come off as tacky examples of modern video art. These flashy scenes don't have the high-energy impact you would expect.

The "stand" system is what all the fuss is about. Technically, the "stands" make for true tag team action. Think of a stand as "stand-in" that you can summon at any time, like a shadow with special powers. The A button calls the stand. X, Y, and B are the attack buttons. Playing a game with only three attack buttons is like moving the dog dish on fighting fans. While the number of attacks is acceptable, players will always want to press A for an attack until they get used to the stand system.

Personally, I don't see the point of the stand system. I know it parallels the comic book, but in terms of game play, it feels no different than controlling one character. In one sense, that's a compliment. In another, it's not. What is the point of turning the stand (on and) off? There seems to be no strategy involved with when and how to use a stand.

The packaging mentions the new Tandem Attack System, which allows players to fight as one character while programming a stand attack for another. How is this possible, you ask? Well, as your combo gauge builds up, you fight faster. At full gauge, you can enter attack sequences which apply only to Stands. Because the stand is not present, the super move will not occur, but since you are pressing buttons to do this, basic attacks are resulting in the present tense. When you activate the stand, those programmed attacks will be unleashed immediately.

Before you get all excited, realize that the effect is not much different for those die-hard freaks who could just as easily perform each super move in real-time without programming them first. Again, the question pops up, what is the point?

I applaud Capcom's decision to use an obscure property. JoJo fans will want to take a look. For ignoramuses like myself, I won't know the difference. Your enjoyment of the game has nothing to do with the familiarity of the license, though you may not find a favorite character in this bunch.

Review by Tom Allen
2 Stars out of 4
(Review of PS1 version)

Like the Dreamcast game, the story is very stilted, with no FMV. Analog control is once again forsaken by Capcom. Three out of four shoulder buttons control "safe falls." For more information, see the review of the Dreamcast version.

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