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Puyo Puyo DA! (Dreamcast) artwork

Puyo Puyo DA! (Dreamcast) review

"As much as I enjoy the atmosphere, this game isn't going to create any new fans. The characters' behavior is amusing only because I already know how they're supposed to act. Without any dialogue or actual character-to-character interaction, Puyo Puyo Da fails to internally flesh out anything."

If you missed out on Compile's Disc Station series, then you're a failure as a human being. I might as well tell you what you missed. You missed MSX (and eventually PC) diskettes packed full of demos, mini-games, and loads of random but awesome crap. Booting up each issue was like pouring the Christmas stocking out on the kitchen table; you never knew what would be inside, but you always knew there'd be something good.

...or so I hear. I'm one of the failed humans.

So, when I heard about Compile's dance game starring Ellena Stevens from Disc Station volume 22 or 27 or whatever, it meant nothing to me. However, this dance game happened to be set in the world of Puyo Puyo and that meant a lot! I'm a huge fan of lovable huggable Arle Nadja and the creatures that inhabit her world. From that ornery tea-drinking skeleton known as Skeleton-T, to Satan's hen-pecked antics, Puyo Puyo had never failed to entertain me. Naturally, I bought the game.

Now, if you've heard anything about Puyo Puyo Da (which I find pretty unlikely), then whatever you've heard probably wasn't good. That's because it's a terrible game. Consider this: Puyo Puyo Da is a dance game that doesn't support a dance pad. You and the computer (or another player) simply take turns pressing a few buttons in "Simon Says" fashion. The onscreen characters keep performing the same canned animation, regardless of your dancing success or failure. There are only eight songs (with no sound test). And there's absolutely nothing zero, zilch that you can do to screw with your opponent's efforts, even though each dance is presented as a battle... and even though the Puyo Puyo series has always focused on messing with your opponent's progress.

In short, it's a travesty to both the dance genre and to the Puyo Puyo series. On top of those killer flaws, Puyo Puyo Da embarrasses itself further by stamping the word DISQUARIFIED across the screen in GIGANTIC letters whenever you happen to lose (which shouldn't be often, since it's so easy to beat on any difficulty level). That would be funny if it were intentional, but I'm pretty sure it's just careless, like the rest of the game.

I don't care if it's careless. I don't care! Despite the game's numerous issues and inadequacies, I've played Puyo Puyo Da for hours and hours on end. I've admired Arle's hip-hop magic, laughed at Satan's skin-tight disco dress, and danced to the hypnotic melody "Memories of Puyo Puyo (Euro Mix)". Bad game or not, I love the characters, I love the cute 3D graphics, and I love the AWESOME tracks by LMS Music and Katsumi Tanaka, which have been lifted straight from various commercially-released Puyo Puyo albums.

I'm pretty sure there's something wrong with me.

Even though I personally enjoy the atmosphere, this game isn't going to create any new fans. The characters' behavior is amusing only because I already know how they're supposed to act. Without any dialogue or actual character-to-character interaction, Puyo Puyo Da fails to internally flesh out anything. Why is a fish wearing a tutu? Why does Skeleton-T wear a green cap? What's up with Schezo's dorky attire or Rulue's skanky mannerisms? The answers are found in other games. Taken by itself, Puyo Puyo Da would just be... weird.

"Weird" isn't necessarily a good thing. Even if it were, it wouldn't make up for characters dancing out of sync with the music, the short short single-player mode, or the complete absence of perks beyond a bare-bones versus mode. Puyo Puyo Da is essentially a Puyo Puyo fan disk: the kind of thing Compile would have once upon a time included as a bonus in Disc Station. But they sold it as a full-priced retail release. The next time Compile produces a spin-off parody of what was already a spin-off parody, I hope they put more effort into it.

Oh, wait... they can't. Compile went out of business shortly after releasing this game.



zigfried's avatar
Staff review by Zigfried (October 20, 2006)

Zigfried likes writing about whales and angry seamen, and often does so at the local pub.

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