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Published by:
Eidos Interactive

Game Genre:
Arcade Game

Game Cheats:
Are Available

Requirements:
1 player, Memory Card 1 block, Analog Control Compatible, Vibration Function Compatible

Retail Price:
$42.95
Our Ratings:
Features

Graphics

Sound FX

Gameplay

Overall

Screenshots:
Akuji: The Heartless


Game Review - by StormDaemon
Prepare yourself for a journey into dark voodoo magic as you take on the role of a murdered prince who must return to the land of the living, save his wife, and save his people from the evil plans of his brother. Using a 3rd person point of view, this 3D game will give you almost full control over Akuji has he hacks, slashes, and casts spells throughout the underworld. You'll see dark and creative graphics, hear mysterious sounds, and experience weird monsters as you complete each quest that allows you to return to life.

Storyline:
The story begins with a tale of the son of a king who has long studied the black arts of voodoo magic. This son, Akuji, plans to wed the daughter of a king of another tribe, and once the two are married, peace will prevail in the land. Unfortunately, the brother of Akuji has another plan, and peace within the region is not apart of that plan. Akuji's brother then kills Akuji and imprisons his wife as he plans her sacrifice. In order to save his wife, Akuji must escape from the land of the dead to the land of the living, and save his people from going to war.

Features:
Akuji is an action game that has almost every RPG element in it. The game is certainly an interesting adventure aside from the lack of choices in what to you can do. The in-game features are the 3rd person point of view, the non-linear levels, and the spells. The 3rd person view is similar to other well-known games such as Tomb Raider and all of its sequels. The levels are non-linear in nature, allowing you to revisit the levels any time and sometimes it will be necessary to continue on. Another nice feature of the game is the vast number of spells that can do a lot of damage to your enemies. Zooming into a sniper mode allows you to shoot spells. Aside from the game features, the technical features are the dynamic lighting and shapes, which are explained more in depth in the graphics section.

Gameplay:
Playing Akuji is rather similar to other 3rd person view games, but the main differences are the camera view and that your claws become your main weapon. For most of the game, you'll be attacking monsters with only your claws because the spells quickly run out. Of course, just slashing away won't do the job, so you get to jump, roll, somersault, and do more acrobatics to destroy all of the demons. The only problem with fighting is the slow movement of the camera. If you turn or move around, it takes a little while for the camera to move behind you, so it is rather hard to maneuver if something is completely blocking your view. Besides that, the game is fun and adventurous, and is challenging enough to keep your interest.

Graphics:
The graphics of Akuji were likable and a real experience to look at, but in general the resolution wasn't really there, which was slightly disappointing. It would have been great to see where the potential for finer detail would have done for the game. The game doesn't boast incredibly detailed graphics because the gameplay is truly the main focus of the game. But if the grainy, low-resolution graphics were upgraded, overall the game would be much better.

If you ignore the graphics, then you'll see all the colorful lighting and dynamic shapes abounding in these worlds. Green, blue, or even regular lighting fill all of the worlds and always give a very eerie feel to all of the places you'll be slaughtering monsters in. The creatures and even objects are able to take on different shapes thanks to the excellent dynamic modeling that the game designers used. The lights and the shapes really help the game, but the grainy, low-res graphics hurt it a little, so that's why it only gets a 4 out of 5 rating.

Sound FX:
Not too much can be said about the sounds, as they were all decent, with the best effects coming from the characters as they speak. The rest of the sounds are either from spells, weapons, or monsters with no defects anywhere, though they could have been more memorable. Similarly, the music wasn't particularly outstanding either.

Overall:
All in all, the game is interesting, likable, and very creative. The gameplay is fun, especially for Tomb Raider fans and even including some new surprises. While the sparse problems within the game don't ruin the experience, they are noticeable. The graphics are very nice, even if they are grainy, and with all of the dynamic lighting and shapes, it all looks very eerie and very cool. The sounds are average, so overall, the game is pretty good.


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