Beyblade: Super Tournament Battle
Dammit, I miss watching Saturday morning cartoons. And I’m not talking about all of that Yu-Gi-Oh stuff that’s being shoveled into the minds of the current generation of children. I’m talking about the older, cookie cutter shows like G.I. Joe or Thundercats, or even some of the early episodes of Reboot. Now, those were the days, sitting in front of the television with your bowl of cereal, watching your favorite hero bash some baddies. Unfortunately I’m a little behind on the times now. Apparently, Beyblade: Super Tournament Battle is based on a cartoon series run on Fox on Saturday mornings. If the show is as pathetic as this game, I’ll never turn on Fox again.
You’ve battled with Pokemon. You’ve battled with trading cards. Now it’s time for you to battle again…with spinning tops of doom? That’s right, the most important fight of your life depends on a small piece of gyrating metal in and enclosed arena. If your Beyblade can knock out your opponents’ respective blades, you will become the Beyblade Tournament Champion! If you don’t, you will bring utter shame and desperation upon your pathetically soiled reputation! Well, maybe not that bad. Nevertheless, there’s a lot riding on this tournament even if we don’t really know why. We’re just allowed to walk around a dinky little lobby and enter a tournament. We aren’t given any explanation as to why we’re actually taking part in this absurd contest of tops. It’s like this game was created just to cater to the supposed legions of Beyblade fans out there. But for folks like me that have no understanding of the background of the anime, we’re left in the dark as to who or what this game is really all about.
So you’ve entered the tournament with only your supposed skill and technique to guide you. You’re given an assortment of blades to choose from. Some blades have excellent attack power, whereas others have better defense or spinning longevity. Also, you can unlock new parts and blades to customize your gaming experience. But what kind of blade you choose doesn’t really matter. You’ll still be subject to the same mind-numbing Beyblade battles and the irritating commentary by the announcer. Basically, you have to press the A button at a precise time, giving the blade more spin and power. All you have to do is keep smashing your blade into your opponents until they either break apart from loss of HP or get sent flying for a ringout. Since there’s nothing technical or strategical about hitting two spinning tops together, you won’t find anything much deeper than a limited amount of customization options.
Now, this whole idea could have been fun, but the lack of control kills any possible form of enjoyment. It’s great that you have to make direct contact to weaken your opponent, but chances are your blade will go spinning away in the opposite direction. Instead of dealing out massive destruction, you will gaze in wonder as your beloved blade spins aimlessly around the ring. It’ll get smacked around so many times that you’ll either stop spinning or get lucky and your opponent will go flying out at random. Also, the game designers tried to implement the “beast bit” special attack into the progress of the fights. If your blade takes enough damage, you can summon some sort of hologram of a mythical creature and command it to attack your opponent’s blade. Instead of adding something to the game, this little extra quirk is detrimental most of the time. Either the attack is always too weak to take out your opponent, or it randomly sends them flying off the screen and to your victory. While these beast bits can be used as an easy victory, they are poorly implemented and unreliable throughout the game.
But if there’s anything detrimental about this game, it’s the presentation. We’re fighting with spinning tops. Granted, it’s not the most epic spectacle that the human mind has ever conceived, but I’d still expect just a little bit more effort on the part of the game creators. It’s like the in-game character designs were ripped out of some obscure SNES game and put into the Beyblade lobby for display. Not only do the characters lack any quality, but they’re also overshadowed by the anime characters that appear in the menus before and after each match. For the cartoon fans, you’ll be happy to see the little anime cutout of Tyson and his little band of Beyblade cronies as you progress through the game. Also, the beast-bit animation is of mediocre quality at best, nothing spectacular in terms of the graphics that we’ve come to expect in this generation of consoles.
But if the graphics don’t kill the experience, the sound will. It’s bad enough that the music is a generic techno mix and offers nothing to the experience. But what really hurts this game is the overused voice acting. I swear, I hope I never meet any of the voice actors of this on the street someday. That goes double for the ridiculous announcer. I know that it’s his job to call the fight, but he says the exact same lines whenever something happens. You’ll hear, “What a great launch!” or “Unbelievable!” or “An amazing collision of two forces!” multiple times during the battles. After a few bouts, you’ll end up wishing the guy would just shut up and declare you the winner. Unfortunately, these annoying voices are obnoxiously loud and over-emphasized, leaving you with a headache and a desire for some peace and quiet.
All this said, a single question still remains: why bother with this game? Did you know that most gaming stores still sell this game for thirty bucks new? I found this for only five dollars at that Circuit City sale a few weeks ago. The sad thing is, I still feel ripped off. This game has no story, almost non-existent controls, pathetic graphics, and audio quality that will make you twitch in discomfort. If there’s any saving grace, it’s the unlockables hidden within the game. However, I’d be surprised if you had the patience to see this game through. Unless you’re a fan of the Beyblade series, stay away from this game. Those spinning tops will make you dizzy.