Kamen Rider: Blade

Is this the Kamen Rider game fans have been waiting for?


The Lowdown

Pros: Fans will appreciate being able to play 24 different characters.

Cons: An iffy fighting system that has one button combos with the other button dealing random attacks.

Purchase at Play-Asia

Purchase at Lik-Sang

Games based on movies, TV shows or anime usually don't have the best conversion to a video game. Although, there are a few games like Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3, Naruto: Narutimett Hero and Astro Boy: Omega Factor that have pushed the limits of what people expect from licensed titles. Bandai previously released Kamen Rider 555 with mixed results did they fix their mistakes with Kamen Rider Blade?

Kamen Rider Blade is the latest entry in the never ending Kamen Rider series. America had a brief chance to check out Kamen Rider when it was released under the title of Masked Rider back in 1995. After one season of dubbed Kamen Rider Black the series was cancelled. Back in Asia Kamen Rider is still growing strong. This is where Kamen Rider Blade comes in.

Fans of the Kamen Rider series were disappointed with Kamen Rider 555 for a number of reasons. One of them was the lack of characters in the game. This time around Bandai has included 24 characters, with four different riders to play as. Also included are a bunch of undead villains like Joker and Lotus that you can fight as after beating them in story mode. There are three riders to pick from in story mode when you first get the game. After selecting your character you'll engage on a few one on one battles. Win a battle against the undead and you'll seal the enemy in a card. Best of all you will unlock an extra character to play as in versus mode. All of the story modes can be completed in one sitting. Mainly because the AI or lack there of in this game provides no challenge. The one round battles also make beating the story mode really quick too.

Kamen Rider 555 had a bad fighting system, at the very least you would expect an improvement. Instead this game has an even worse system, maybe even the worse fighting system ever. There aren't any complex combos to learn in the game because all of the basic attacks are done with a single button. With only one button you don't really have that many different attacks. Of course this is one of the problems with the game. With out a bunch of useful kicks and punches the game is reduced to a button masher. Besides button mashing you can do special attacks by pressing the card attack button. Some of these card attacks involve using a bow and arrow or slashing your sword. These attacks vary from character to character, but you don't have complete control over what attack you do. The problem is you can't select the card you're going to use. As soon as you use the card it circles back in your pile so you can't select it for awhile. So even if you come up with a combo and plan to finish with a card you're not guaranteed to be able to actually the combo. You also lose the card attack when you get attacked, which also messes up any flow that the game could have. If your life is lower than 50% and the enemy has an advantage over you the motorcycle card combination might come up. Activate this and you'll do a little extra damage, but this system isn't balanced enough to make this a comeback move. The other super attack you have is when your opponent is almost finished. You can perform a super combo move like a fire kick or finish an enemy off with a slash of a sword. When a super move comes up there is an opportunity for both players to press a button. If the attacker presses the correct button first, the attack goes through. If the defender hits it first, the attack will miss. In any event the system is really simplistic, even simpler than the system set up in Kamen Rider 555.

Besides the story mode and the obligatory versus mode there is a trivia section in the game. You will need to complete the trivia questions to unlock the final character. This could be a potential problem for importers who can't read Japanese, but you can also complete the questions just by using trial and error. Even though that might take a long time, it can still be done.

Bandai didn't spend any extra time in making Kamen Rider Blade look presentable. It easily passes as a PS1 game with it's flat, uninspired backgrounds. The character models are also incredibly blocky. On top of that they have rigid movement, which makes the entire game rough on the eyes. The in game music is pretty bland fare except for the theme song, which plays when you use a super attack.

I'm sure that there are going to be Kamen Rider fans that will like the game just for the characters. However, the game has so little gameplay and it's so easy to beat it's not worth a purchase. Maybe if the fans stopped buying bad Kamen Rider games Bandai will step up to the plate and make a good game with the license.

Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 3

The game is really easy to learn because there aren't any complex combos. What will frustrate gamers are the trivia questions that need to be completed to unlock the final character. These are all in Japanese, just like the menus.

US Bound?

Almost zero chance for this to come over to the US.

Overall

Kamen Rider: Blade is extremely easy to complete and since there is no fighting system to master this game is entertaining for a very limited amount of time.