With sales of just 4,356 (*) and priced at just ¥1,192 on Amazon it could perhaps logically be assumed that Nippon Columbia’s videogame adaptation of Takara Tomy’s anime Beast Saga is either a low budget affair and/or contains uninspired gameplay, but similar to Kant critiquing pure reason one should really question such logical assumptions of Beast Saga: Saikyou Gekitotsu Colosseum! (literally Beast Saga: The Strongest Clash in the Coliseum!). Not only containing excellent graphics (and amazing 3D) and a brilliant soundtrack, the gameplay certainly packs a punch.
Beginning in Story Mode you fight as Liorga (a green haired roided up lion man in armour) outnumbered against two of the (Guereu) frog minions from the Cataphract Palace then three before a three-on-three battle with two Gloria Kingdom compatriots (both work as NPC’s) against a further two frog minions and the Palace Tyrant Lord Aldyle. If the frogs are the equivalent to pro-wrestling jobbers then the crocodilic tyrant is one helluva monster Brock Lesnar type heel who you must also defeat one-on-one in Liorga’s fourth (and by far the hardest to date) battle.
Inevitable defeat results in you bashing the X button arcade style for resurrection (Aldyle does this twice!) with the eventual victory opening up both new stories and new (playable) characters with an impressive fifty two story mode episodes in total. If you hadn’t guessed by now, Beast Saga: Saikyou Gekitotsu Colosseum! is an arena fighting game and with just a handful of similar brawlers on the 3DS (Toriko: Gourmet ga Battle, Kirby Fighters Z and the upcoming Super Smash Bros), fighting fans have little to choose from. Fortunately Beast Saga is good, really good.
Each fight has a brilliant intro with character interaction and the usual “Fight!” And “Finish!” voiceovers. All fighters have both a HP bar and an SP bar. Controls are super simple (the game is aimed more at children than hardcore gamers) with the Y button being the basic offensive move, B being avoidance (dash), A is Psycho Lot Launch (a missile), X is special attack and R is the Deathblow which is only usable after the SP bar is filled and to use a bit of Google Translate: “you can greatly affect the war situation”! Victory also gives the player points in which to level up each character (even the NPC).
One of the greatest aspect of Beast Saga is the enemies’ AI with differing enemies either attacking from afar, stalking, hit-and-run, protecting their base and so-forth. In total there are 39 characters (from the land, sea and sky), 14 different arenas, 3 different modes and a character picture book. Both other modes can be played with up to three players (local only) with any combination of players and CPU’s in either cooperation or as opponents in singles, handicap and tag team up to three on three battles. Mission Mode can also be fought alone with a whopping 100 total missions.
The final mode (Battle Mode) has a million customisable options with just combat and no story/mission. Character picture book is exactly that detailing all 39 characters. There’s also an inputtable password option with passwords presumably found on the official website and Corocoro Magazine unlocking hidden missions and characters. The graphics zoom in and out similar to Smash Bros. with excellent camera work. The entire arena (plus opponents’ whereabouts and any items) are on the bottom screen. Did I also mention that levelling up stats are carried over in both Story and Mission modes?
I should perhaps mention the game’s faults too. Fortunately they are few and far between with the relative lack of moves (only five) plus the dash sucking defensively being almost impossible at times to escape an ass kicking combo. The simplicity of the controls shouldn’t indicate a lack of challenge as there is an absolute ton of content without ever the feeling of padding. A ton of other neat touches such as the anime intro, slow motion deaths and quite simply Beast Saga is many hours of pure fun that is not just the brawler to keep you going until Smash Bros. hits but quite realistically the game it has to beat.
Review by Bri Bri. For more information on Beast Saga: Saikyou Gekitotsu Colosseum! go to http://www.columbia-games.com/3ds/beastsaga/