• Blood of Bahamut Review - Nintendo DS

    Poke and slash - is it a new genre? The Nintendo DS has certainly brought forth a number of unique gameplay styles -*cough* Doki Doki Majo Shinpan*cough* - and Blood of Bahamut might be a little late to the table. The story is about a group of people forced away from their homes as the very land underneath their feet has come back to life. The question of why they live atop giant monsters in the first place is one that doesn't get answered. In order to reclaim their homes they have to silence the beasts that have been awoken. By poking them with swords!

    The player is the one who has to do the poking, which is translated to sword swipes on the screen of the console. Attacking is done entirely with the touch screen, movement can also be controlled that way or via the D-pad/ABXY buttons. Up to three special attacks can be set before missions and accessed via icons at the bottom of touch screen.

    The quests in both story and free mode revolve around destroying particular parts of a monster, like its horns or knees. Achieve this and the player receives that part of the monster as a reward, along with anything else they may have broken along the way. Quests are played out on platforms positioned around the monster, which are in turn littered with various kinds of smaller monsters. Two common examples would be spiders that shoot webs which slow the movement of the player, and dashing beasts which just tend to be annoying. Killing these will also gain the player elemental pieces, like fire and ice, but also sometimes health and strength, the former of which is the only one which is used in situ.

    Weapons, armour and items can all be made using pieces of monsters and elemental pieces obtained during missions. However, no money is ever received, so parts and pieces must be sold to gain the necessary funds.

    Most monsters have a particular elemental weakness. Use a weapon with this association and defeating them is not difficult. Breaking certain parts of the monsters does prove to be nigh on impossible. Where's the logic in that? Take Fenrir the Lightning Fox. It is weak against ice weapons and attacks. When trying to sever its tail though, an ice weapon literally won't cut it - only a fire weapon will.

    Oddly enough, the natural drive of a player to attack the monster can lead to failing a quest. In free mode they have a life gauge, in story mode they don't. Kill the monster before breaking what needs to be broken and fail the mission. This happens far too often. Discipline and patience are necessities when wielding stronger weapons against weaker foes.

    The big bads are properly 3D, as are the platforms. The playable characters and smaller monsters are all sprites. This does give the game a slight similarity to FFXII Revenant Wings. The sounds effects are tolerable and thankfully the music palatable.

    Blood of Bahamut is quite a simple game to play, and while it may well have been designed to be played with others, it is perfectly playable alone. It's certainly enjoyable enough to lose a good few hours in, although its flaws will put a cap on that for all but the most dedicated player. It's fun to a point, and then it'll go on the shelf.