Reviewed: February 17, 2003
Released: December 3, 2002
Itís times like these that I regret that the PS one, yes ladies and gentlemen I said the PS one, doesnít have an optional clay pigeon launching arm to eject discs. Iím pretty sure that the most enjoyment Iíd get out of Beyblade would be yelling, ďPull!Ē and watching it disintegrate into a million scintillating shards after a shotgun shell has torn through.
For those of you who havenít figured it out yet this game is not in the running for Game of the Year. So, in order to dispense with the pleasantries Iíll give you the skinny, or what I know of it so you can get back to better games like Monster Rancher or Final Fantasy Tactics. Beyblade the game is based on Beyblade the cartoon, so all of you mothers out there lock up your children because theyíll probably want it.
The basis is much like Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon or anything similar. Thereís a world famous tournament (in this case with spinning tops) that your character desires to win, so get your own little top and get to smacking around some other little five-year-oldís toys. Youíll face all of the greats, not that I know any of them, but Iíll get to why later. But before youíre ready to face off against anyone really bad youíll need to upgrade and to do that youíll need to win. You win to get points to upgrade your top so you can win more, etc. You get the drift.
There is so little actual game play to this that itís laughable. You use your launcher to start your top and spin it out onto the arena. Then you actually have control of the top, marginally, and can run it around the arena after your opponent in an attempt to either beat him into submission (you both have an HP meter, but each attack does such a small amount of damage that it will take forever to nickel and dime your opponent to death) or knock him out of the ring which is a much more likely occurrence.
The only real thing you have control over is how much power you put into a launch and when to fire a special attack. Otherwise itís just an exercise in damage control and trying to keep your top from being flung out of the arena while trying to get your opponent to fail doing so. The special attacks are also something you have no real control over, you just hit the button when you want it to go off and sit back and watch the preprogrammed effect.
Thatís ultimately all there is to the game. I canít stress that enough. The two-player option is just like the tournament except you can face other actual people, but really for that Iíd rather go out and actually buy the tops that they made (yes they have toys based on the cartoon too, or maybe itís the other way around) and interact with a real person as opposed to this game, and Iíd probably have just as much chance of winning.
My absolute biggest problem with this game is that there is nothing to it. The developers spent so much memory on including the opening to the cartoon and some catchphrases from the announcer that there really wasnít much room for anything else. There is no story to the game. There isnít even a tutorial (let alone a good tutorial) to help you along. Even the nicety of an assistant to help you along, such as the one you get in Monster Rancher, is denied you. This was built to be a simple game, but ends up being a big pain in the hiney because thereís nothing to help you out.
The controls, or more accurately lack thereof is something else. Iíve played the tournament mode several times and once made it through about five opponents before losing, but the next time I was eliminated by my first opponent. Matches come down to chance as much as skill, which is alright for a little bit, but gets old quick and is eventually just frustrating. The answer to that little problem you would think is to upgrade your top and launcher. Go ahead and do so, and if youíre lucky you might actually find a part that does what itís supposed to. I bought about five different components and the only thing that didnít actually LOWER my stats was the launcher, but that had no real appreciable effect on the game.
I know this is a PS one game, but come on. This game is bad even by those standards. The arena is one color and looks like something a Super NES could handle. The tops are really not much better being boxy and pixilated. There are only three good things to say about this. One is that they included the opening to the cartoon and it looks like watching it from a DVD or on TV rather than some poorly rendered adaptation. Two is the characters from the TV and some of the others are well-drawn anime stills, but a lot of characters, including the two options for your character (male or female) are poor quality at best.
The final goo thing and actually the best thing graphically about the game is when you execute a special attack. Each top has a place for a disc to be inserted. The discs have a monster inside and each have their own special attributes and attacks. Pulling one off will get you something that looks so much like the summon effects from Final Fantasy Tactics that you have to wonder if they bought the rights for it from Square. Everything else is just painful to watch, and not in an "ohh thatís gotta hurt" sort of way.
I could make better effects and music with a $20 keyboard and a microphone. The sound is tinny and full of static, and most of the phrases that they actually included sound for werenít really worth the effort. I donít really need to hear ďWowĒ or ďOhĒ much less have them printed on the screen.
Youíll be lucky if this game keeps you occupied for an hour. The action it totally random gets repetitive all too quickly. The sound is annoying, and quite honestly, it all is for such little pay off that youíre better off staring at a test pattern.
I know that this is a PS one game and maybe it seems like Iím being overly harsh with it because of that alone, but honestly; it hasnít been that long since Iíve played PS one titles. I even put one or two into the PS2 on occasion for some nice retro. Even at the height of PS one glory this game would fall well below the mark and be in bargain bins in no time. That is, if it isnít there already.