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Reviewed: Daikatana
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: June 17th, 2000
Page: 3

The first thing to be remarked on about the Daikatana gameplay is this: it makes players think. Admittedly, in some sections the gameplay can get pretty linear (find the proper button/console to open the new path), but the WEAPONS in the game make you think. There are melee-only weapons, weapons which sap strength, and in general weapons give a lot more backlash potential (your very first, for example, will injure you if shot underwater). Thanks to this arrangement, the game isn't so much about finding the biggest and baddest weapons as it is figuring out how to use the weapons effectively, and more to the point without killing yourself. The best example of this is the Shockwave, which can only be effectively used in a "shoot and run" format since it has an immense kill zone.

Alcatraz, an Inside View
Welcome to Mishima Labs
Check out the Moutful on Him!

In order to have an effective character, players must navigate the point-based attribute system. This means two things: finding and killing all the enemies for experience, and being careful about statistical attributes will give immense benefits. Keeping this in mind, there are also not enough points in the game to max out the character; something will be left behind. All in all there are 5 attributes which function on a level from 1 to 5, as well as the Daikatana sword. In all but the first episode, the sword gains experience instead of the character when it kills an enemy. Players planning to rely on the Daikatana should boost their speed, jumping ability, and health while those concentrating on weapon combat should boost their rate of fire and damage.

Cutscenes in the Engine--Nice
Here, Fishy Fishy Fishy
Quite a Menacing Figure, that Mishima

The interface of the game relies on a series of six menu keys, a few hotkeys, and the normal Quake 2 interface. Actually, this is a very useful setup--the menus aren't needed until a break in the action anyways. Interaction with the environment is accomplished with an "action" button--minimal but sufficient. It's enjoyable without requiring more than the normal two hands to operate.

The sound effects and music in the game do well for the mood, even if the soundtrack isn't quite memorable. The big thing is, of course, that the weapons sound right--metal clangs when appropriate, sidekick voices and banter come in right, and the enemy voices are believable. They draw the player into the illusion of the Daikatana universe, rather than break the illusion.

???... Remember Commander Keen?
A Level 5 Daikatana in all its Glory
A Koi Pond? Madmen Have Sensitive Sides too!

Graphically the game is excellent; the weapons and characters are beautifully rendered and environments likewise. Specular lighting and other enhancements, especially 32-bit color, really let the game shine out and produce a beautiful experience right down to the fish in the water.

For those looking for the same old gameplay experience (invincible rambo mode) Daikatana isn't your game: if you want to have a good romp through a storyline, treat your weapons as tools and get to figure them out, and enjoy the fun of defeating a madman who already DID take over the world, this game is for you.

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Added:  Saturday, June 17, 2000
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 3/6

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