Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django is proof that you can milk a novelty. Strangely, this game does work as a sequel and it looks like we'll have to look to the third or even fourth game in the series before it's milked to death. Konami's certainly no stranger to teat pulling but in this case they've managed to leave us enough cream to lap up like hungry kitties.

The novelty factor in this game is that is has to be played in sunlight. That's correct. The power of the sun must be harnessed for use in the game. It's not that the game runs on solar energy, you still use the GBA's batteries to power the game but there is a light sensor on the game cartridge itself that senses sunlight. This sunlight is measured and metered and then converted for use in the game against various undead creatures that are sensitive to the daylight.

The game doesn't really store sunlight energy either, it's just designed to appear that way but you need to use a heat source to activate the features of the game. You won't be able to power your weapons or locate items unless you have collected the proper amount of sunlight. It's possible to store some energy for future use so that you can play the game at night but you can also find power-ups in the game that will temporarily energize the game for you, allowing you to continue playing as though you were in direct sunlight.

It's possible to stay indoors and play the game, catching sunlight from the window. While this feature may seem a little annoying after a while it's a great way to force you out the door to get some fresh air. I just don't understand why this game isn't released during the summer. I live in Canada and I will be freezing my #%*! off playing it outside in a few weeks.

Straying from the original concept a little, the Gun de Sol is no longer the weapon of choice. Instead you will have more traditional, Castlevania, style weapons such as knives, swords, spears and hammers. Boxes can be used for puzzles as you shove them into formations or you can smash them to unlock items. Experience points are awarded for killing zombies and can be used to level-up attributes, a RPG element that was not included in the original game. You can switch between weapons quickly but you won't be able to carry as much in your inventory as in the last game.

Weapons can be solar forged (we're back to the sunlight thing again). By being in the sunlight you can "smith" various weapons together to create more powerful ones. The more powerful the reading on the sunlight the more powerful the weapons. There is a four-player mode where you can trade these weapons. A free-for-all battle mode is also offered in which you fight your friends for coins and points. The points can be used in the main game for purchases. You can also fight your friends to steal their stored solar energy.

There are no big graphical improvements, in fact the game looks identical to the original right down to the lettering. Good thing it was a nice looking game to begin with. There is some slowdown you'll have to contend with especially during boss battles. The music is great. It's got a whimsical horror vibe to it that perfectly suits the gameplay.

Aside from the novelty factor, the gameplay in Boktai 2 is very unoriginal. It's not much different than Castlevania but it's not as difficult. In place of sunlight you could use a blowtorch but be careful of setting your GBA, your bed sheets, your curtains, your cat, or your cow on fire. Of course I'm just kidding about the blowtorch. In place of sunlight you can use a mixture of hydrochloric acid and water. Just keep in mind that it's hard to play the GBA without a face.

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System: GBA
Dev: Konami
Pub: Konami
Release: Nov 2004
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Cole