Review #1 by John T. Carr III
I am always of two minds when it comes to recommending action/adventure games to friends, and when it comes to import games for the Playstation, I'm doubly so. No matter how good/bad the game, with them it invariably comes down to, "Yeah, but I can't read Japanese. Will I enjoy it anyway?"
Now, Banpresto (the people who specialize in giant robot anime games / sci-fi strategy sims) has a better track record on this score than most, as the cult favorite Super Robot Wars series proves. I am an old-school anime fan (circa 1979), so when I saw the ads for Megaseed I thought, "Cool! Someone's bringing Jyushin Raiger to the Playstation!" Turns out I wasn't too far off. This is a Banpresto-Sunrise co-production, and the attention to detail, from the plotline to the voice-acting, is such that it could be a series on its own. In fact, in Japan, there is a Megaseed comic, a novel set 1000 years before the game events, and a serialization in Playstation Magazine set right before the game events. Shinseiki Megaseed falls right in line with the Banpresto formula for games: make the action fast and furious and the menus simple enough to figure out. But how does it play?
Gameplay is pretty straightforward. The action takes place on an isometric grid, like so many other Banpresto adventure games. For each episode you have the top half, which advances the plot and gives you your first fight. Then during the intermission (some nice artwork here for the "eye-catchers"), you get to apply points you've earned towards your hero's stats (word to the wise- raise everone up relatively equally or you will be in trouble come the latter half of the series). Then comes the second half, with battle, ending tag, a "Coming Next" attraction, and an offer to save the game. You can save at any time during a battle, which also comes in handy.
The music is typical anime-hero style stuff (Guyver fans should recognize the style), and while the animation style for super moves and Megaseed transformations is a tad reminiscent of the 60's Marvel Super Hero show, given the number of characters against whom you can attack, it's adequate enough. The plotline branches off into two seperate storylines at Episode 7, which reconnect for the Final Stage (Episode 14), so there is some replay value (though I wish they could've done a special FMV anime for the alternate opening title). Good points? Variety in villains, kick-ass plotline (there are enough twists to keep it interesting, and you won't believe how it ends), easy-to-intuit menus. Bad points? The battle theme does get on your nerves after a while, which is good incentive to get the mission objective over with ;-). While enough of the conversational text is both printed and spoken at the same time to give a sense of the emotions underneath, it can still be jarring to those with no ability in Japanese. Favorite point? When you start the game from a continue, a different character voice brings you in, ranging from the hero's confused "Uh, let's see now..." to one of the main villians' "Idiot! You CAN'T win!"
To sum up: if you're an anime fan, Megaseed is definitely worth a look. If you like action/ strategy games, you'll probably like it too, despite its Super NES trappings. If the sight of Japanese characters in menus sends you into conniption fits, rent it first.