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Given all the new games coming out and all the new games that have already come out, there’s actually a few good gems tucked away in our older consoles. Yes, many older PS2/Xbox games are being overhauled for the "next-gen" systems; Ninja Gaiden Sigma for the PS3 looks great and Tenchu Z is on every ninja-in-training’s wish-list. However, there is one mythological Japanese game that isn’t receiving the same kind of upgrade treatment as the competition, though it could certainly use it; I’m talking about Otogi: Myth of Demons.
While Otogi received a sequel, the entire series is about as popular and well known as John Tesh’s Avalon playing at a rave party. But that’s okay, here at CB Games we’ll be throwing down reviews of present and past games, just so you’re a keen, well-rounded gamer. Now for those of you who never heard of Otogi, that’s quite all right. That’s the purpose of this retro review...to inform you of this lesser known title.
The story is rather difficult to explain, so I’m not going to burden my fingers trying to type out an explanation for something that would probably better suit the interests of a buff for mythological, Japanese history. The general premise of the story, however, is that a fallen warrior named Raidok, is partially resurrected to cleanse the world of demons (sounds familiar, eh?). Unlike Chakan: The Forever Man or Razeal, Raikoh doesn’t struggle with conflicting moral dilemmas or long-time rivalries that have turned vengeful. Instead, he simply follows the ethereal female voice that guides him through 25, strangely beautifully and mythic looking stages, as he seeks to cleanse the realm of evil.
The game is about 75% action/fighting, 10% RPG, 10% plat-forming, and 5% other. That pretty much makes it 100% strange. But hey, this isn’t a class on percentage. Gamers will basically spend their time hacking and slashing various enemies with a nice variety of single-handed, two-handed and dual-wielding weapons. In all honesty, though, don’t expect Bushido Blade weapon wielding in this game. The attacks are simplified with a quick attack and a strong attack. By combining them in different ways, players can string together a series of devastating attacks.
One thing to note in particular, is the way in which air combos can continually be used to air-fight, similar to – but not quite like – Dragon Ball Z games.
Remember that 10% RPG I was talking about just a paragraph ago? Yeah, well that also plays a part in the game’s fighting. Players receive [light] level-ups and money that can be used to purchase new magic, upgrades and accessories. Again, the magic use is more-so on the line of Naruto
, rather than the classic spell-casting found in games like Dungeons & Dragons
or the Hunter
series. Different magic skills can be charged up and released, with varying results that follow. My favorite is the butterflies – I know they’re one of the earlier magical spells in the game, but they’re quite effective when the enemies seem to be too overwhelming. And that’s not to mention that they have a really cool visual effect on surrounding, destructible objects.
I suppose that’s another part of the game that’s definitely worth mentioning; the environments are nearly entirely destructible and they stay that way through the entire stage. Players can even go back and replay Cleared Stages to uncover new weapons, magic and abilities. Even though the story is hard to follow; the enemies seem odd and incomprehensible; and the levels free-roaming in a very linear way, I must admit that the destructible aspects to the stage designs are just remarkable. It’s a simple, effective and entertaining concept, nonetheless.
What’s funny is that it’s almost sad that a game so old could show off so much of the Xbox’s raw power. It’s terribly disappointing that the original Big Black Box died so quickly, especially when games like Otogi showed off so much potential for it. But then again, I guess Bullet Witch
is the supple replacement for it on the Xbox 360, no? (I was being sarcastic with the rhetorical Bullet Witch
question, just in case.)
Overall, though, Otogi Myth of Demons is a simple game to pick up and play, yet a very hard game to actually complete. Decent enough graphics (even compared to the latter Xbox games) and a strange, yet intriguing soundtrack, still makes Otogi a challenging, fascinating Xbox exclusive, even to this day. And given its ubiquitous budget-price, I can’t help but recommend to anyone looking to expand their library with something a little bit (or a lot of bit) off-center and unique, that Otogi Myth of Demons wouldn’t be a bad route to take.
You can check out the following online retailers for Otogi Myth of Demons:
Used Xbox games