|NTSC - Japan
"Cowboy Bebop" is a new anime from Sunrise which is currently being broadcasted on TV in Japan.
The staff behind it is mainly from "Macross Plus" and "Vision of Escaflowne". The main characters
in the anime are Spike and his crew on board the Bebop spaceship: Faye, Jed and Ed. Faye's voice
actor is Hayashibara Megumi (although it doesn't sound like it), and the music composer is Kanno Yoko.
Sounds like an interesting anime, doesn't it?
Bandai has already released a game based on the anime for the PlayStation. Unfortunately, I haven't
been able to see any episodes of the anime yet, so I will review this game as a gamer, not as a fan
of the anime. As the player, you will be the main character Spike and control his all-environment fighter.
It is capable of flying in space and on planet surfaces. To begin with, you have two kinds of weapons,
a pair of standard cannons and a powerful Ruby Laser.
The control of the fighter is good, although it took me a while to get used to it. The L1 and R1 buttons
are used to rotate the fighter, and tapping either of the buttons twice will make it spin 360 degrees.
Very useful in sticky situations to avoid enemy fire. When you clear a stage (6 of them in all),
you can gain access to new weapons, depending on your score. While you progress through the stages,
a small screen of the other characters will sometimes show up, and they will comment on your current
situation (see image to the right).
Everything on screen is rendered in real-time with polygons. There are a lot of clippings and break-ups
in the polygons, making them look 'raw' in general. The framerate is around 30 fps, sometimes lower.
But still, the graphics look OK, thanks to the rather good stage-designing. There are lots of
objects on screen all the time, all fully texture-mapped. At certain points in the stages, you can
choose which path to follow. Although all the paths lead to the same target, some paths are easier than
others, with less enemies to worry about.
The game's music is not composed by Kanno Yoko, but still, it sounds very good. I don't think the
background music uses red-book CD tracks, but it does sound like it. There are lots of voice-acting in
the game too (and of course, Faye is my fav ^_^). I am very disappointed that Bandai didn't use FMVs
from the anime for the between-stages sequences, though.
The game's difficulty is set just right. Not too hard and not too easy. There are unlimited continues,
but if you die, you will have to start from the beginning of the stage.
Overall, "Cowboy Bebop" is a decent game on its own. But there's nothing special about it.
Perhaps fans of the anime would love this game, but as a gamer, I found it rather boring.
The graphics, music, gameplay, everything is around average. "Cowboy Bebop" is meant for fans
of the anime only.
Reviewed by Joe Chan, firstname.lastname@example.org
(c) Bandai / Sunrise
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