Inuyasha DS: Where’s the classic cast?

By Louise Yang . February 15, 2007 . 11:19am

Imagine you’re a little kid and your parents promise you a DSLite for Christmas. Then imagine getting one of those Tiger Electronic handheld toys instead of the DSLite come Christmas morning.  That’s what Inuyasha: Secret of the Divine Jewel feels like.  The secret isn’t the divine jewel, it’s the disappointing fact that you don’t get to play as any of the main characters from the anime.  Do you feel let down? Me too.


Instead of playing as Inuyasha or Kagome, you play as Janis, an American girl who is forced to move to Japan with her parents.  She befriends Kagome and one day while looking for Kagome, goes down a mysterious well and finds herself in feudal Japan and that is how the game starts.  From the get-go, my impression is that the game is catered to a younger audience. No, it’s not the cute super-deformed characters or the catchy music that tipped me off.  It’s because the game over-explains almost everything.  Younger gamers may find this a welcome feature because they might not catch things the first time around, but it gets a bit condescending for older gamers.

As noted before, the characters are extremely cute in a super-deformed-chibi kind of way.  Overall, the visuals are decent and what you would expect from an anime-based game.  Towns are vibrant and crisp and fighting cut-scenes are exaggerated.  The music is equally as pleasing, goes well with the feudal Japan setting, and actually reminds me of the anime.  While the colors are vibrant, sometimes I think some screens are a little too vibrant.  I have a hard time staring at the bottom screen with the red tiling background for long periods of time because the way the background tiles and the brightness of the screen gives me a headache.  It also doesn’t help when there’s text to be read off of there.


Luckily, there isn’t too much text to go through and most of the time seems to be spent exploring the world.  What does exploring the world entail? Lots and lots of random fights.  For a game tailoring to a younger audience, the frequency of random battles is surprising.  I honestly can’t walk more than five steps without getting into a random fight.  This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if the fights didn’t take so much time.  When first entering fighting mode, the game is split between two screens. On the bottom screen is the player-controlled team and on the top screen is the enemy team.  In a typical turn-based manner, when it is a character’s turn, the player has to pick what action to take (attack, special, items, runaway, defend, etc.). When an action is taken, the bottom screen switches with the top screen and the player can pick which enemy to attack with the selected character. After that, the screen changes once again and the bottom screen shows an animation of the characters’ brawl.  Repeat that for every attack for each character on each team and you get a lot of scene switches and a lot of time spent on random fights.


I’m confused about the motive of the game designers of this game.  The chibi-artwork and dialog seems to be catered toward children, but I don’t think a younger gamer would have the patience to wade through so many random encounters.  If the designers made the game to cater to fans of the series, why make them play as an unknown character instead of as Kagome or Inuyasha?  I’m not that far into the game, but maybe these questions will be revealed when the secret of the divine jewel is revealed.

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  • narley

    this tends to hapen when the game producers want to recreate the feeling of the anime with out making the fans feel like their playing the episodes because they know what’s going to hapen… yet, they stray away from the formulla of the anime that made it a hit in the first place, the undeniable example is Naruto. I like the anime as much as the next guy, and the games are nothing but decent brawlers, but i would rather defeat sabuza, gaara and fight all the other guys in a mission based game with fidellity to the anime, like killing a ninja with a face i would actually recognize instead of killing 1000 nameless ninjas who look exacly alike. Not even the narutimate series have done that well, but all the anime based game creator are getting there.

  • Pichi

    They did the same “play as an unknown character” with the PS2 RPG of Inuyasha. I have no problem playing as an unknown character, but the random battles seemed to be a big problem with this game.

  • Veilknight

    Although that’s still not enough to keep the battles from getting stale and repetitive fast when they’re so frequent as they are in this game, I think the only really redeeming quality about the random battles is the Cover system. Basically, this allows you to select another surrounding character during your own attack by tapping their icon with the stylus.

    On the defensive side of things, when your enemies get ready to inflict damage on one of your own party members, you’re allowed to substitute one character to take the full blow or two characters who will both receive half the damage. Needless to say, I found it more useful as a defending mechanism compared to when you’re using it as a attack.

  • Mythril

    I almost didn’t bother to finish FF3 because of the frequent random encounters.

    OK, well, maybe it’s more because I couldn’t save properly inside dungeons, making me have to restart if I fail a boss.

    But I’ve found that I really dislike random encounters, so I guess maybe I won’t try out this game after all, even though I considered it.

  • Veilknight

    Worst yet, following in direct opposite of RPG lore there’s no leveling up for Inuyasha and the cast. As a matter of fact, besides Janis, everybody already has their attacks, armor, and weapons the minute they join your party. You can only update the characters with amulets and orbs that will increase everyone’s powers.

    With frequent random battles with every few steps you take, this only helps but give the impression of gaining no reward for all the demons slain, especially when they turn out to be the same ones over and over again. Thing is, you get the feeling that there is no progression as you transverse the game world in Secret of the Divine Jewel.

    In FF3, you know your effort of going through random encounters actually paid off in the long run in the form of gaining levels; in SotD, it comes off more as a chore.

  • I like the fact that you start off as Janis, and play as Janis as the main character.
    This way, the story is more open for interpretation, of course I’d like to be Inuyasha,
    but introducing Janis into the game is a nice thing to me, the story of the game does not interupt or conflicts with the anime in a sense that, they’re not really related. (Like the movie versions of kamen rider’s movies) and at the same time, it IS related to the anime/manga storyline in some way.

    so, yeah, I like being Janis, it’s a new perspective to the story, being Janis, you remain observant of the character’s and their relationship, which is.. pretty interesting ^^

    the big problem for me was the random encounter, it’s just too frequent that sometimes I just decided to ignore exploring the map and just use the shortest route throughout the game.

  • ItachiForLife

    idk what i think of it

  • Wanna know something weird? The anime, InuYasha ended in April, 2006 and yet this game was released in January 2007, I am 10 years old and a big fan of InuYasha, it’s my fav show eva! I wish they would make InuYasha games for PSP….

  • GASP! I am getting every InuYasha movie, games, and books for Christmas! Yay me!! *claps hands like London*. I don’t have a site…

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