Saturday, November 11, 2006

DS prepped for Inuyasha, a manga-based RPG @ PocketGamer

To the initiated, it's a shonen adventure romantic comedy manga that became a hugely popular 167 episode long anime series. But for us Brits (who haven't been exposed to either), Inuyasha is just another of those weirdly-named Japanese cultural phenomenon we may or may not get a decade after its launch.

That said, Namco Bandai's DS interpretation of Inuyasha – full title Inuyasha: Secret of the Divine Jewel – is looking tasty in that touchscreen turn-based battle-way that seems to have become the standard for DS role-playing games.

Graphically, it's also looks quite lush. Thankfully, Namco Bandai has gone for a traditional sprite-based (that is, 2D) approach, which plays well to the DS' technical abilities, as well as to Inuyasha's manga roots.

Checking out the released video (hit the 'Watch It!' button for the 4MB download), you can see clearly see how the battles work, with the five player-controlled characters making up the battle group each having their attack moves selected using touchscreen buttons. The screens then switch, with the enemies moving down to the touchscreen to enable you to select an attack sequence in terms of who to target. Finally, it's cue battle cutscenes, and the bad guys getting it in the neck.

Not shown in the video but highlighted as a key game feature is the ability of the characters to work as a team, using the Cover Fellow System. This seems to be a more advanced version of the simple cover commands used in role-playing games such as Final Fantasy.

As for a bit of background to the game, it includes various main characters such as pretty schoolgirl Kagome Higurashi, who can travel in time, having been pulled down a magical well by a centipede demon. She's joined by another demon, the eponymous Inuyasha, a monk with a black hole in his hand called Miroku, the demon slayer Sango, and orphan fox demon Shippo.

A more normal bunch you couldn't hope to meet. As the game's titles suggests, their mission is to unlock the mystery of the Divine Jewel. Could it be any more simple?

Inuyasha: Secret of the Divine Jewel will be bringing its comic demon-battling wares to the UK sometime in 2007.

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