Review #1 by John T. Carr III
If there is one thing I'll say about Konami games, they're fun. Some, like Dracula X, are the standard bearer for the genre; others, like Paro Wars, are inspired twists on an established theme. Still others, like Policenauts, help to redefine just what games are. But with few exceptions, they are all first and foremost fun to play.
And so it is with Lightning Legend - Dai no Daiboken (Dai's Great Adventure). At first glance you might dismiss it as yet another cutesy fighter, but don't be so fast to judge. The best way to describe it is "a fighter with RPG elements". Personally, I find both it and Namco's Soul Edge being released on the same day as being more than a little suspicious...
When you first start to play, there are only two modes to choose from: Story mode and Versus Mode. This increases as you play to include Timed Attack mode, Collection Mode and (not confirmed yet) TURBO mode. The story itself is pretty standard stuff - 450 years ago, the demon Dragless ran roughshod over the tiny country of Japonese until Dai's ancestor mangaed to seal him in Ohsore mountain. "But," says Girigiri Oyaji, your guide, "lately strange rumblings have been coming from Mt. Ohsore. Me, I've got a bad feeling about this." You choose one of ten characters who, for various reasons, ultimately ends up *trying* to send Dragless back from whence he came.
What elevates this game from the usual "Kill the boss" fighter are the 16 characters - the original ten, sub- boss Naughty Noa, Dragless, and four hidden characters, ranging from the hero-in-training Daigo, the looking-for-love-in-all-the-wrong-places Misa Atago, to Mokomoko, who's just out for a walk... The set pieces in between stages add to the fun. My three favorites: (1) Maya vs Naughty ("Prepare to die - wait, where's that music coming from?"), (2) Risa during Misa's ending ("Adolf... HEY! I'm a master thief! My little sister can't go around dating a *hero*!") and (3) Risa, who, after her loss to Yuki is being made into a snowman ("I hate kids..."). The other unique feature are the treasure items: everytime you fight (with the exception of Versus mode), win, lose or draw you get an item. You get them for completing the storyline with different characters; you get them depending on who you fight with, how you fight, and how you win or lose - for a grand total of 208. Getting the items releases various things that can be used in the game (note what the room all the characters are in looks like when you start, and how it changes as you get stuff) as well as behind-the-scenes history and "making of" details. The music is great (love the ending theme); the gameplay is somewhere between Toshinden 1 and KOF '96 - simple enough for casual fighters like myself, complex enough to sustain interest of fighting gods (name me one other fighting game where character height plays such an important role).
In short, LL is a fun game, and makes for a good break from its more standard brethren (you gotta love a game where one characters name is "Terrific Forelock") . But what else would you expect from Konami?