|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Taito||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Taito / Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 8, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Much like Kage 2s gameplay, the production is good, but it could also be much better. Similar to Contra 4 on DS, Kage 2 looks like an SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) game. The games backgrounds are very basic, and though everything is uniform and collision detection is sound, theres absolutely nothing remarkable about the games visuals. Character sprites, however, fare a bit better and are on par with what weve seen in the DS Castlevania games. Character stills during conversations are also attractive and probably offer the most visually appealing aspects of the game.
The aural elements of Kage 2 dont excel beyond the games graphics, and much of whats here is quite dated. The sound of flying shurikens is decidedly archaic, and enemy sounds are wholly unambitious. Themes during level romps are fun and fit well alongside the adventure, but most of the music during conversations is overly dramatic and makes the overall story come off as campy perhaps the actual intent of the developers.
Along with music that might conjure visions of daytime drama, Kage 2 has some utterly cheesy dialogue. Though the story offers some interesting ideas based on authentic, feudal-era Japan, conversations between the games main characters are, simply put, bad. However, its hard to imagine this wasnt the developers intention from the start; everything is so hammed up and heavy handed, its difficult to think otherwise. Playing as either main character offers minor variations in the story, but the differences are negligible.
In spite of the games flaws, The Legend of Kage 2 still offers a fun bit of side-scrolling action for hardcore DS gamers. Though the games story is quite short, youll rarely see everything there is to see in a given level the first time through. Chapter bosses, though a bit drawn out, are fun and rewarding to defeat. The gameplay gets a bit repetitive, but there are incentives for exploring every nook and cranny of the game. Youll also unlock a few extras, and at $20, Kage 2 is a pretty decent bargain. Casual players will likely give up midway through the second chapter, but for those folks who like it rough, youll get a good and mostly fun challenge from this game.
CCC Freelance Writer