Review #1 by Kenneth Lee
The most phenomenal aspect of the game would have to be the Godly, Hand-drawn Anime-tion Movies. The same anime studio that did the Ghost in the Shell movie, Production I.G., did over 10 minutes of completely new, never-before-seen animated footage about the exploits of Major Motoko Kusanagi and Batou and the rest of the squad. Suffice to say that the Animated movies are the _Best animated movies ever to grace any game system_! The quality of the animation rivals that of a feature length animated movie! I would go so far as to say that the animation quality is indeed better than most anime movies out there today! The anime cut scenes alone are worth the price of admission.
In terms of in-game graphics, they are very sharp and well-done. The weapon effects are excellent, and boss weapons are just brutal. The 3D models for the Fuchikoma, and most of your enemies are solid, but only when you meet the 12 different bosses, do you realize the full splendor of this game. The bosses are some of the most crazy, 'Meched-out,' gargantuan machines of destruction ever to have been given life in any game to date. The fully 3D environments are also well constructed and designed, and the game runs at a smooth 30 frames per second (with minor slowdown, and that, occurring very rarely).
The music for the game is straight-up Techno. More of the underground variety, with some famous groups such as Joey Beltram, Scan X, and others. The tracks are hard-pounding, repetitious tracks that seem a little too monotonous at times for my tastes. But, honestly, it fits the feel of the game very well. It matches the 'disorienting' 'strange' futuristic Newport City of "Ghost in the Shell," and gives the players more time to listen for enemies' movements.
In terms of Sound FX and Voices, they are both very well done. The explosions and weapon effects sound very rich and have booming bass when things explode. The Voices for the game are done again by the original seiyuu (voice actors) from the anime movie. They, too, are awesome.
The controls here are tight and very responsive, with a button to Jump, Fire Machine Guns, Grenade Launcher and Strafe Left / Right. The seemingly simple controls are excellent and work well even under the most harrowing situations - One example: The enemy boss launches 4 independent mobile laser satellites that roam around him. The boss himself launches a swarm of heat-seeking missiles at you. Just as the missiles are about to hit you, you can Jump back, stick onto the _wall_ behind you, then strafe Left, _along the wall_ and circle around behind the boss while taking out the independent laser satellites.
The missions are extremely varied (which is Good) from night time attacks on an open city, to a wicked mission on the sea! One awesome mission (which seems to be based on the movie) involves you tracking down a 'robot assassin,' similar to the one in the Ghost in the Shell movie, and it can employ the 'Thermo-optic camouflage' that turns it invisible at times - something you have to see.
The bosses again deserve special mention: All the bosses here hearken back to the days of classic 16-bit gaming, where you have Massive, nearly-indestructible bosses that are just as much a joy to watch as they are a pain to beat. You want a challenge? Then look no further, as "Ghost in the Shell" features vicious bosses that take all your gaming skills to beat. This game is definitely no walk in the park. But it's not so difficult that you'd cry "unfair," but rather it achieves this certain level of difficulty that has you wanting to play again and again until you do overcome that boss or that mission.
In conclusion, "Ghost in the Shell" is truly a landmark achievement in a 'total gaming experience,' from the jaw-dropping Anime visuals, to the white-knuckle gameplay, Sony Japan's "Ghost in the Shell" is not only an anime fan's dream come true, but also a 'Gamer's Game.' With the Bubblegum Crisis, Blade Runner, Cyber-punk feel in full effect, "Ghost in the Shell" is yet one more devastating Playstation game that redefines its genre.
Final Scores (Domou, MM-kun):
+ Godly, beautiful 2D hand-drawn Anime movies (better than actual movies!) + Awesome, well-designed 3D worlds + Devastating, massive Mech bosses that have to be seen to be believed. - Slight pixellization once in a while. - Minor slowdown (occasionally)
+ Solid, hard techno, rave soundtrack - A tad monotonous at times
+ True 3D movement, allowing you to go anywhere + An Awesome Variety of Missions - from cityscapes, to racing!, to ocean missions + Grueling, challenging bosses (a gamer's boss ^_^) - With true 3D movement, it can get disorienting at times.
+ You feel like you're in the Cyberpunk, futuristic Newport City going on missions.