to the spiritual successor to Magic Pengal: The Quest
For Color. Magic Pengal was definitely on the endangered
species list and I'm surprised to see Hot B USA release
Graffiti Kingdom stateside. In Magic Pengel, you created
characters called "Doodles" by drawing them
with a "pengel" which brought them to life.
Once they were alive you could battle them with other
creatures in this Monster Rancher RPG type game.
Kingdom adopts that same idea and enhances on it,
but be forewarned, you will most likely need to be
on summer holidays and have oodles of time to experiment
before the game begins to draw you in. Excuse the
your own monsters has always been a fascination of
the Japanese and so their obsession becomes our gain.
In GK, the stroy goes as follows: The androgynous
Prince unleashes monsters upon the land, but he is
powerless to stop them. Using his ability to draw,
he/she can create monsters that will fight for him.
The more enemies you defeat, the more coins they will
drop, allowing you to unlock more creationist abilities.
This is the entire point of the game and will be the
impetus for most, and at that, it's a little weak.
But the point here isn't about the journey, like most
games. It's all about imagination and let me say once
you start advancing in terms of creation, most gamers
will be sucked up, hook, link and sinker.
Taito created an expanded interface for GK from their
previous Magic Pengel game, you can well imagine that
it's a finely tuned piece of craftsmanship. Creating
creatures is great fun and will whittle away the hours.
Unfortunately the rest of the game, as mentioned,
is a tad weak, although the insane enemies you'll
fight are always entertaining. Walking around and
fighting creatures to get their coins becomes almost
annoying due to the constant repetition. Boss battles
can be an exercise in complete frustration due to
camera control. If you can overlook these aspects
of the game that are less than perfect, you'll most
likely love the freedom of creation that Taito has
provided. Once you unlock everything there is to see
and do in GK, then you and a friend can battle each
others creations and see what unholy mutant comes
out on top.
characters takes some time to get used to due to the
plethora of options that will eventually become available
to you. And don't panic if you can't draw very well.
Using the PS2 controller to draw with isn't the easiest
thing, but the game will do its best to understand
your scribblings and present you with an option that
best represents that crappy doodle of wings you just
attempted. Once your character is created, you'll
have to decide what attack options and animations
you require. Depending on your level, your offensive
choices will be limited. Trust me when I say that
once you unlock everything GK has to offer, you can
literally spend days on one creation, perhaps even
creating characters that already exist within pop
culture or other videogames. I'd say the sky is the
limit, but by the standards set in GK, that sounds
entirely too limiting.
GK isn't going to win any awards. You won't find a
ton of eye candy here because the only eye candy found
within is what you create. GK's environments are a
little simplistic and drab, but that will only make
a difference to the shallowest of gamers. Control
is hit and miss. The creation interface is excellent
and well crafted, while controlling your character
is generally solid. It's the camera and the way it
wants to show you anything but what
you want to see in confined spaces that will drive
GK doesn't have quite the same appeal to me as Katamari
Damacy or the upcoming We Love Katamari, the visual
style is similar and the gameplay will definitely
entice gamers who love the oddball imaginations of
Japanese developers. I'm not taking anything away
from this title; I'm always pleased to see a game
that defines definition. If I play another FPS on
the Xbox or action game on the PS2 I'm going to unleash
hell on someone or something. Graffiti Kingdom's strength
lies completely in its intuitive interface and limitless
creationist abilities and those aspects will provide
gamer with literally months of experimentation and
have to think of GK as more of a cool toy than a game.
If you come around to that line of thinking, you'll
probaby understand and appreciate what Taito has created
here. This isn't a game in the traditional sense,
although certain aspects such as the fighting enemies
tries hard to pretend that it is a game. If you leave
your pre-conceived notions at the door, Graffiti Kingdom
will most definitely entertain you.