Sword of Berserk: Gut's Rage
If you're a fan of manga or anime, then you will most certainly be familiar with the Berserk series.
Developed by Yukes and published by Eidos, you are Gatsu, or Guts, a scruffy looking guy who wields a sword that would make Cloud pee in his pants. Included in your entourage a naked fairy named Puck and your insane lady friend, Casca. It's Casca who Guts is pretty much living for now. He travels the land looking for a cure to Casca's craziness.
In case you aren't too familiar with the story behind SOTB, Guts has this mysterious brand on his neck that is sort of a tracking device for members of GodHand, a group of demons. These demons haunt Gatsu, and it was these same demons who raped here and are responsible for Casca's loss of mind.
The game starts off with you and your strange gang, walking down a road when you stumble upon some Carnies being harassed by some punks. After Gatsu steps in to stop this, the punks get a little angry and it's too bad for them because you finally get to unleash your behemoth sword. This is where you will first notice what this game is all about - killing and cool ways to do it. You see you can actually cut enemies in half with a horizontal or vertical strike.
You also have more weapons at your disposal like darts and bombs, just to name a few. Also, when you tally up enough hits, or received enough damage, you will go into Rage mode. Honestly, I think this totally rocks! The screen gets a red tint to it and Guts swings a whole lot faster cutting anything that gets in his way in half.
Well, after you dispose of the little minions, the thankful Carnies invite you to come and watch them in the next kingdom. Of course the war-hardened Gatsu can care less about watching a magic show, Puck convinces him to do otherwise.
At the show, you see a huge guy performing with a sack over his head, something makes this guy a little ticked off, and he reveals that he is infected by Mandragora. Mandragora looks like small babies (you might have seen them in Harry Potter) and attach themselves to their victims and make them into zombies.
After the carnie begins to hurt people, it is your job to kill him. After doing so you will meet up with Griffith, the town leader. He explains to you that the Mandragora are spreading rapidly and the only way to stop them is to get the heart of the Mandragora tree.
Griffith also lets you know that with the heart, he can cure Casca. So this is where your adventure begins. Tou will undoubtedly find many hardships on your journey, but let your sword do the talking and you might be able to make it through to the end.
I think even today, Berserk can stand up to the big boys graphic wise. Sure the game shows its age, but the characters all look nicely done, and the cutscenes are magnificent. Using the in-game engine, most of the story will unfold through cutscenes. If they weren't good, the game would suffer dramatically, but be thankful they rock!
One of my favorite parts in the game are the bosses. They are usually tough, especially the huge demon you have to fight, and you have to find out what their weakness is before most gamers will be able to defeat them.
Overall, the graphics rival any Dreamcast game you throw at it, and will usually win.
The biggest complaint is the that several times throughout the game, you have to fight enemies in tight spaces. And since you are carrying a huge-assed sword, you can't go freely swinging it with reckless abandon. Most of the time you just hit the wall and bounce back. But this logic goes out the window once you enter Rage mode. I really don't understand that, just because you get really mad you can start swinging through solid objects without doing any damage to the structure. I also have some issues camera.
But those are mainly small complaint because throughout the game I was thoroughly impressed with what I was offered.
Seasoned gamers may want to start out on the hard mode, because the enemy AI isn't really that tough.
Fans of the Shenmue series might be delighted to find some quick time events scattered throughout the game. It really doesn't add that much except to keep you on your toes.
If you take this game for what it is, (and that is a hack and slash) then you will probably will not get bored with slaughtering hundreds of baddies, but if you're looking for a game with more strategy, you may be a tad disappointed.
Like I said before, most of the story will unfold through the cutscenes. This leads me to one of the strongest areas of the game - that is the voice acting. This game still sets the bar for what voice acting is all about. Every single voice fits its character. From Gatsu's gruffy voice to Puck's extremely irritating squeak - it all fits nicely.
Sadly enough, the game ends way too soon. You will probably beat the game the first day you play it, if you try hard enough.
There really isn't a lot here that will make you want to play the game over and over again. But you do get a VMU game and get some background information about the characters that is kinda fun to read about.
Worth buying now?
Any fan of Dreamcast should own this game, because you can get it pretty cheap nowadays. It's not as common as some of the games out there, but you shouldn't have a really hard time finding it.
Supposedly, Eidos has plans to bring a sequel to the PS2. Hopefully, they'll continue with the superb graphics, gameplay and top-notch voice acting.
To be perfectly honest, I think this game really rocks your socks off. Others will disagree with me saying it's too easy or too short. That may be to a certain extent, but I sure had fun while playing it, and that's all that matters.
As you play, you will be pulled into Gatsu's world and you will want to know more about him and what happens next.
You can usually pick up the Berserk anime at your local video rental store. Just know that there are two separate discs containing several episodes a piece since it was a series.
Worth Buying Now?: 8
As you can probably tell by the above photo, you will satisfy all your inner urges to spill blood and more in this game.
Blood, blood and more blood. Senseless slaughter and mayhem ensues throughout the entire game, and I can say that I love it.
Most of the story will unfold through in-game cutscenes. Don't worry, they are top notch!