Pros: Flashy action sequences, loads of fun, great graphics, excellent
Cons: Short, really really really short, easy to beat
When Tatio and Red Storm Entertainment set out to create Bujingai
people often questioned the game. Red Storm Entertainment's lukewarm
success with Gungrave already raised doubts in people's minds about the
quality of the game. Hearing the inclusion of the Japanese pop star
Gackt being the main character, Lau Wong Yu raised more doubts. The
character model didn't help raise people's hopes either. If you
take a glance of character model his pink hair, visible lipstick and
feminine dress makes anyone question him as a hero. Bujingai proves that
you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover because Gackt.. umm.. Lau has
some cool moves. In the end Bujingai ended up being a surprise hit and a
well deserved success for Red Storm Entertainment.
The game doesn't stop with the celebrities there. The story of
Bujingai was written by Yousuke Kuroda, best known as the writer of
Trigun. In 22XX, after a nuclear reactor explosion, civilization
collapses due to the lack of electrical power. Lau lives in this period
along with his friend Lei Shen Long. However, Lei is possessed by demons
and it is bent on destroying what remains of the world. It is up to Lau
to stop his old friend and save the world. Lau isn't exactly on his own.
He's trained by martial arts master Takehiro and accompanied by the
When you first pop Bujingai in your PS2 you're thrown right into the
action. Lau is placed in a small city level where you get a chance to
experiment with the gameplay mechanics. After about two minutes the
level closes and your actions are played back in a small music video
accompanied by the game's credits. Watching the flashy swordplay
movements of Lau in the music video sets the tone of the game, which is
this game is cool. Everything in this game is graphically stylized. Even
the smallest gameplay details like running from location to location
looks well done. When you actually engage in combat it looks more like a
movie scene or something out of an anime series than a video game. Lau
dances around his enemies waving his two swords around him like a
graceful Chinese fencer. Every movement is fluid even when side stepping
around enemies and changing into different moves. The eye candy
continues when using Lau's magic attacks which include shooting a
fireball and an attack that launches Lau at his enemies.
While the combat looks beautiful, it's extremely simplistic. You have
one button for your basic attack and another button for a whirlwind
attack. By alternating pressing these buttons you can do different
combos. These combos include a fanciful Chinese swordplay dance, an
aerial rave and even an attack that has Lau kicking his opponents
repeatedly. Add in another button for a magic attack and you've got a
combo system that anyone can learn in a few seconds. Each time you hit
an enemy it is added to your Gungrave style hit counter. You even have a
brief three second grace period to find another enemy to wail on to
continually increase your combo meter. There are plenty of enemies to be
found so stringing together a hundred hit combo or more can be done
easily. If Lau is attacked by any of the endless enemies he can easily
counter attack. By doing nothing Lau will block a number of hits
indicated by the white flames next to the yellow life bar. If you press
either attack button before the flames run out Lau will instantly
counter attack and you're treated to more flashy attack effects than a
While Lau has an arsenal of melee moves, Lau is also versatile for
moving on the ground. He can jump, double jump and even double jump off
of buildings. He can also run up walls and even have glide by holding
down the jump button after leaping. All of these moves are required to
get from area to area since there will be high buildings to leap over
and far away platforms to reach. The controls are simple enough and
responsive enough so you won't get too frustrated when trying to control
Lau. The only exception is gliding. When Lau is gliding the controls
don't seem as responsive so you may find yourself falling down again and
again when trying to float to the next area.
Red Storm Entertainment did a good job of having different level
styles. Instead of seeing bland backgrounds over and over again each
level is in a completely different setting. The first level puts Lau in
a city and the second one in a bamboo forest. Each of the levels are
large and contain a lot of hidden items, like Tai Chi symbols that can
unlock extra features and hidden magic attacks. Each level is also
packed with blue orbs, which can also be obtained by beating enemies.
These orbs can be used to increase Lau's life, magic gauge, combo length
and even the amount of free hits he gets. Customization is up to the
player, but the options are somewhat limited. While each level feels
fresh and has secrets, there are only seven levels. Let me say that
again, there are only seven levels. Of course you can play them again
and again, but only seven levels? The lack of levels compounded with the
ease of the game means it can be beaten in one sitting. Beating the game
does unlock "harder" difficulty modes, but they're still not that
Even with the lack of levels Bujingai shows that the developers at
Red Storm Entertainment weren't lazy. The amount of detail put into the
presentation of Bujingai is amazing. Besides the fluid graphics and
gameplay mechanics there are lots of little details added into the game.
For instance in the bamboo level you can actually cut the bamboo around
you. So while your slashing away at enemies there are bamboo stalks
falling down around you. The full motion video sequences show immense
detail, the level of detail that you would expect in a Final Fantasy or
other Square Enix game. The voiceovers are also excellent. After all
they star famous voice actors Hirokazu Yamadera from Cowboy Bebop and Maya
Sakamoto from Escaflowne. The background music completes the sound
package. Most of the in game music sounds like a techno remix of
traditional Chinese opera music or remixed Japanese drum sounds.
However, the music retains an organic feel even though it is clearly
synthesized. One great thing about the soundtrack is that it keeps the
pace of the game at a constant energetic level.
While Bujingai is a short play through, it's fun the whole way
through. Everything about the game is so well done, its action
sequences, the music and even the voiceovers make you want to play the
game over again even after completing it. This game proves that Red
Storm Entertainment can include a lot of professional talent with solid
gameplay to make something that anyone can enjoy.
While the game is primarily in Japanese, most of the crucial menus are
in English. You won't need Japanese to know how to play the game, it's
pretty self explanatory after ten minutes of experimenting with it.
Update: Due to the popularity of Bujingai in Japan it will be
published by BAM! Entertainment and released in the US in May.
While Bujingai doesn't offer anything new, it does what it does well.
Simply put Bujingai is an engaging action game from start to finish that
is a blast to play.