PS2 REVIEW: FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST 2: CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ELIXIR
Fullmetal Alchemist 2: Curse of the Crimson Elixer is the sequel to Broken Angel. You might care to know that it's also an animated, adult, cartoon series based on the adventures of two brothers attempting to track down the coveted philosophers stone to eradicate all that is evil in their world. With the use of magical alchemist powers these brothers are able to transmute everyday objects into weapons, vehicles and gadgets that James Bond would kill for.

Curse of the Crimson Elixer is part action adventure and full-on RPG. There's very little filler. What you get is a fast-paced game with lots of gameplay variety which unfortunately comes at the expense of length. It's possible for the average RPG enthusiast to complete this game in a day. Others may take a few days but it's fairly easy and totally addictive. There's really nothing for replay value so you might be advised to rent it.

Brothers Ed and Al travel throughout their world in search of answers to the mystery of the shadow monsters and the disappearance of people from their village. They come across crimson stones that possess great powers but they are unsure of their origins or predilection of good or evil. Ed's leg and arm have been replaced by metal limbs and his entire body is covered in armor. With the ability to transmute objects he's like playing a magical robot. He can turn his arm into a sword for melee combat, a lance for ranged combat or fighting hordes of enemies. He can also transform it into a hammer which enemies cannot block in addition to a blade or spike to facilitate a specific threat. You'll be able to change weapons on the fly quickly and easily.

On your journey you will find different objects that are highlighted by a flashing circle. You can combine these objects with other ones for some truly interesting weapons, gadgets and vehicles. It's truly fascinating to see what you can combine but the novelty does tend to wear off since you don't really have any control in creating combinations of your own design. These transmutations are already taken care of for you. Some of the items you will acquire include bombs, boomerangs, tanks and mechanical mice that will explode in the enemy's territory.

Ed has a rage meter that fills as he fights. When you use it he will hammer down all of the enemies in his path. His brother Al is not controllable but like other characters that will join your party from time to time, he will fight alongside of you. You can give Al some orders to attack or just let him be. He holds his own in a fight but his aggressive nature will tend to bring you into some troublesome situations. If he runs low on heath you can choose to replenish him but you'll lose juice from your rage meter.

Stats will increase your alchemy skills, in some cases doubling the amount of output. You can also choose to share some these stats with your brother to keep him in good shape. As you can guess you will encounter some incredibly powerful foes as the game progresses. You don't want to give too much away to Al but you have to keep him topped up so that you aren't constantly reviving him. It's not difficult to keep a good balance. The game will help you out with suggestions and there are plenty of potions available when you get into trouble.

With a cel shaded look the animation takes on almost 3D proportions while retaining an anime style similar to the cartoon series. The environments are large but not as barren as Dragon Ball Z arenas. For the most part Ed is easy to control but you will encounter the odd command delay especially during jumps.

Voices are provided by the English actors who do a great job of not pandering to pre-teens. There are plenty of custom cutscenes which propel the story along at a good pace, establishing and solving mysteries in an ever-deepening spiral that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Fans of the original material will obviously get the most out of Crimson Elixir, but due to the stylized look and easy to pick up gameplay even newbies to FMA will find a lot to like. Its biggest flaw is the short length but it's definitely fun while it lasts.

Preview By Gooseberry

Fullmetal Alchemist 2: Curse of the Crimson Elixir is the fast-paced, action RPG prequel to Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel. The second installment to the Fullmetal series brings an enhanced battle system, cell-shaded graphics, thirty minutes of original animation, and an enthralling story. Based on a wildly popular Japanese animation and comic of the same name, Fullmetal Alchemist 2 follows the continuing journey of two brothers on their life-changing quest.

Story
The story begins in Lior, the desert city that the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse encounter in the first episode of the anime series. Just as the brothers are unveiling the secrets of a cult called Leto, they engage in a battle with creatures from the unknown. Immediately after this, they encounter a mysterious woman who hands the brothers a ring and then disappears without a trace.

A frightening phenomenon is apparently sweeping the country; people in many regions are simply vanishing. In Resembool, the brothers come face to face with an extremely talented alchemist. It seems that he has some kind of connection with the vanishings and the strange creatures that have been sighted.

Colonel Mustang sends the brothers to a village to investigate these monsters, where they meet another interesting man, an archaeologist named Arlen who is studying the ancient civilization of Lebis. Now, the brothers must venture to Siam-Sid, the ruins of the capital city of Lebis, to discover the truth about the mysterious vanishings and monstrous creatures. Keeping with the spirit of the anime series, players will take on a fast-paced action adventure with a compelling original storyline that complements the anime saga.

Key features include:

  • Thirty minutes of original animation created exclusively for the game
  • Fully voiced event and movie sequences featuring actors from the top-rated anime series
  • Cameo appearances by the anime’s fan favorites
  • Features the hit song “Ready Steady Go" by L'Arc-en-Ciel
  • Greatly improved modeling and animation bring Ed and Al to life like never before
  • Cel-shaded graphics enhance the Elric Brothers’ adventure with stunning visuals
  • T ransmutable weapons from the previous title return, plus an arsenal of new weapons and items
  • Brand-new alchemy attacks and a customizable combo system make for improved gameplay
  • Enhanced artificial intelligence allows Alphonse to automatically adjust to the situation and attack accordingly

Character Descriptions

Edward Elric The youngest individual to ever achieve the title of State Alchemist, Edward is just 15 years old. His nickname, Fullmetal Alchemist , comes from the fact that his right arm and left leg are automail, artificial limbs made out of steel. Edward travels with his brother to find the Philosopher’s Stone, the only object that can help him reclaim his original body.

Alphonse Elric Contrary to his alarming appearance, Al is a 14 year old child with a gentle heart. He travels with his older brother Edward in hopes of regaining his original body and escaping the armor that contains his soul. He is a person of firm character who keeps his cool and frequently chides his easily-provoked brother. His compassion and understanding are an inspiration to all.

Jack Crowley A national alchemist once called “The Silver Bullet,” he is currently deprived of that title.

Elma She seems almost transparent. The story rapidly unfolds as she entrusts Edward with ring and disappears from sight. The ring has strange alchemic markings that probably have to do with the ancient civilization.

Arlen Glasner An archaeologist, who was at one time an adventurer immersed in his studies of the ancient civilization. Although he is almost 70, his mischievous attitude, physical build, and mentality belie that fact. Even though he is currently retired, he will be quick to investigate anything that sparks his curiosity. Handsome in his early years, he could not marry the girl that held his interest. Since then, he has remained single.

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System: PS2
Dev: Racjin
Pub: Square/Enix
Release: July 2005
Players: 1
Review By StewXX
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
4.0
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
4.5
VALUE
2.0