I go through anime phases every now and again. I remember the good old days, watching Dragonball Z and Ronin Warriors on Cartoon Network after school. I pretty much gave up anime when I got tricked into looking into what repulsive situations people seem to like to draw the Final Fantasy VII characters. This wasn’t before a now-pretty-much-forgotten gem passed by my Dreamcast in the form of Sword of the Berserk: Guts’ Rage
The game is based off of the Berserk series of manga and anime. The series was released in America about two years after the game so I had to look up a few things for some background, but the game was easy to follow even without context. Oy, now I can’t get those FF7 pictures out of my head. What the hell is wrong with some people? Let’s just move on.
The Berserk series revolves around a mercenary named Guts and his band of associates. In the game, Guts arrives in a small village and discovers that the people there live in fear of a disease that turns people into zombies called Mandragorans. The Count of the area, named Balzac*, charges Guts with finding the cure in a plant called the Mandragora (picture the mandrake plants from Harry Potter – yes, I am a huge nerd). Of course, he really only wants the plant for himself to become a huge, evil monster, but he is eventually stopped and everyone lives happily ever after. I think. Actually the game just kind of blends back into the manga at the end instead of wrapping anything up, which bothered me a bit, but the game was good, so call it a wash.
*As the immature teenager I was at the time, my job was to find as many jokes in as many situations as I could, and I wasn’t alone in this, so as a note to future game developers, make the immature teenagers’ job hard**. Don’t give your characters a name that even remotely sounds like genitalia. The fact that this character was rather hairy didn’t help either. Cutting down on this will make the immature teenager focus on the actual game instead of making fun of the character’s names, and thus, take the game more seriously.
Anyway, the gameplay is similar to God of War and other such games, in that the game was played from a third person view, and you basically hack your enemies up with a ginormous sword that can only possibly be wielded in an anime world. You also have a limited supply of other weapons, including knives and bombs. If you take enough damage, Guts goes into “berserk mode”Â, during which the screen goes red and you pwn as many people as you can in the limited time you have before things get back to normal.
I usually try not to care about graphics, but those of this game were pretty amazing; some of the best on the Dreamcast. It had great visuals during gameplay and cutscenes, the latter of which I didn’t want to skip as soon as they appeared, an occurrence which was and is rather rare. The music in the game never really stood out, but the voice acting and sound effects were great. Guts was voiced by Michael Bell, who has done a lot of voice work in video games, movies and TV shows over the years, including the voices of Drew Pickles and Chaz Finster on Rugrats, which is some good useless trivia for you to impress your friends with. Or not, whatever.
If you still have your Dreamcast, I recommend tracking this game down. It starts at $18.99 on Amazon, if you want to get it there. If you don’t have a Dreamcast, I recommend tracking one of them down, too. That thing was awesome.
Next time: I recently fulfilled a 15 year dream and purchased a Sega Genesis and 4 games, so next time I’ll go through them! What will they be? You’ll just have to wait and see…