Steamboy (PlayStation 2) review
"Steamboy doesnít stray from the usual movie-licensed stigma, which is unfortunate considering how awesome not only the source material is, but how awesome the developer is. If youíve ever played Drakengard or Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, youíll know Caviaís work. Personally Iím a huge fan; whether itís creating a Dynasty Warriors style game with the best and most fíd up storyline ever (Drakengard), or taking the played out, routine concept of a 3rd person shooter and making it not ..."
Steamboy doesnít stray from the usual movie-licensed stigma, which is unfortunate considering how awesome not only the source material is, but how awesome the developer is. If youíve ever played Drakengard or Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, youíll know Caviaís work. Personally Iím a huge fan; whether itís creating a Dynasty Warriors style game with the best and most fíd up storyline ever (Drakengard), or taking the played out, routine concept of a 3rd person shooter and making it not only fun as hell, but unique enough to stand on itís own even without the license (Ghost in the Shell), Cavia have delivered some quality and memorable goods. This is why itís such a disappointment that Steamboy doesnít follow the trail their other offerings have blazed.
Steamboy starts out on a low note, with a few seconds of high quality animation lifted directly from the movie, a bewildering beginning (I suppose knowing Japanese would help, but even then it starts very abruptly), and some decent but dated looking cel-shaded graphics. After the brief beginning, you gain control of the character, and this is where things start to fall apart. The entire game is presented with the classic Resident Evil style pre-set camera angles, which for some games might not be a problem, but here it makes not only exploring but fighting VERY difficult. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to aim your small jet of steam (your only weapon) at an onrushing opponent while the camera is looking down from some weird angle, and not having a lock on button to point you in the right direction. Exploring the levels is also very, very annoying since the damn camera keeps changing in the stupidest of places, youíll be running head first into walls more than youíll be doing anything productive. Itíll all seem very archaic and outdated, the kind of shit T.R.A.G. was doing about 8 years ago.
This is 2005, that kind of shit should have died with the original Playstation.
Not only do the graphics mimic the moldy old Resident Evil games, but the game play is blatantly stolen from the same school of horrible game design. For starters, each area is divided into rooms, with loading screens every time you go through a door (sound familiar?). Things you will be occupying yourself with range from finding a long crank to start a machine, to finding a wheel crank to turn on a valve, to finding yet ANOTHER type of crank to turn on a machine/valve. Not only that, but the game throws its first crate puzzle at you in the first 10 minutes of play! Thatís exactly what I want to be doing in a game I paid $60 for, pushing fucking crates around while the camera switches angles every 5 steps, looking for yet another fucking CRANK to start a machine to lower some stairs.
If the poor design hadnít already doomed this game, the god awful controls put itís ass to rest for good. Steamboy himself controls basically like one of those characters from the old Prince of Persia or Flashback games; by this I mean that he behaves realistically, when you turn he doesnít magically face the other direction, he actually turns around. When you jump he doesnít go flying 20 feet, he jumps about how far somebody with strong legs could jump in real life. Firing off your steam attack takes an ungodly amount of time and is completely useless in a pinch; he actually reaches around and grabs it, braces himself, then fires it off, taking up precious moments of time you need to fend off that iron knight running you down. This all makes for some cool looking animations, but in practical use itís frustrating to say the least, especially during one of the cheap ass boss fights where if you die you have to go ALL the way back to a poorly placed save point.
Steamboy comes off as Cavia just trying to make a quick buck; it has all the hallmarks of a rushed, crappy product. Dated graphics, extremely dated game-play, and crate puzzles doom this game to the bottom of the bargain bin, festering underneath stacks of Powerful Pro Yuke Baseball 97, which is exactly where it belongs.
Community review by guts (July 15, 2005)
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