Beyblade: Super Tournament Battle
Dammit, I miss watching Saturday morning cartoons. And Iím not talking about all of that Yu-Gi-Oh stuff thatís being shoveled into the minds of the current generation of children. Iím 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 Iím 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, Iíll never turn on Fox again.
Youíve battled with Pokemon. Youíve battled with trading cards. Now itís time for you to battle againÖwith spinning tops of doom? Thatís 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 opponentsí respective blades, you will become the Beyblade Tournament Champion! If you donít, you will bring utter shame and desperation upon your pathetically soiled reputation! Well, maybe not that bad. Nevertheless, thereís a lot riding on this tournament even if we donít really know why. Weíre just allowed to walk around a dinky little lobby and enter a tournament. We arenít given any explanation as to why weíre actually taking part in this absurd contest of tops. Itís 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, weíre left in the dark as to who or what this game is really all about.
So youíve entered the tournament with only your supposed skill and technique to guide you. Youíre 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 doesnít really matter. Youíll 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 thereís nothing technical or strategical about hitting two spinning tops together, you wonít 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. Itís 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. Itíll get smacked around so many times that youíll either stop spinning or get lucky and your opponent will go flying out at random. Also, the game designers tried to implement the ďbeast bitĒ 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 opponentís 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 thereís anything detrimental about this game, itís the presentation. Weíre fighting with spinning tops. Granted, itís not the most epic spectacle that the human mind has ever conceived, but Iíd still expect just a little bit more effort on the part of the game creators. Itís 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 theyíre also overshadowed by the anime characters that appear in the menus before and after each match. For the cartoon fans, youíll 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 weíve come to expect in this generation of consoles.
But if the graphics donít kill the experience, the sound will. Itís 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 itís his job to call the fight, but he says the exact same lines whenever something happens. Youíll hear, ďWhat a great launch!Ē or ďUnbelievable!Ē or ďAn amazing collision of two forces!Ē multiple times during the battles. After a few bouts, youíll 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 thereís any saving grace, itís the unlockables hidden within the game. However, Iíd be surprised if you had the patience to see this game through. Unless youíre a fan of the Beyblade series, stay away from this game. Those spinning tops will make you dizzy.
Four out of ten