Ehrgeiz

a game by DreamCatcher Interactive, and Squaresoft
Genre: Fighting Games
Platforms: Playstation PSX
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 5 reviews
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Ehrgeiz
Ehrgeiz
Ehrgeiz
Ehrgeiz

One of the most disappointing arcade games of '98, Ehrgeiz is trying to make up for lost ground with added modes and lightning-fast gameplay for the PlayStation version. Ehrgeiz features 16 fighters (including Cloud and Tifa from Final Fantasy VII), multi-level arenas, and a true 3D combat system that lets brawlers run freely around the environment. New to the PlayStation will also be mini-games like Battle Beach and Battle Runner, as well as an action/RPG mode that features randomly chosen dungeon layouts. Judging from the preview version, the game still needs work if Square EA wants Ehrgeiz to be more than just a rental.

Game Reviews

If you remember Squares earlier hybrid fighting-games Tobal No. I and Tobal No. 2, you'll get an idea of where Ehrgeiz is headed. But with so many options and mini-games crammed into it, you may show up for the fight only to become sidetracked.

That Is the Question

In general, Ehrgeiz is fun, fast, and middle-of-the-road exciting. Lots of grabs, counters, and mini-combos dominate a basic fighting structure, while the characters range from weird--like Jo the Wolf Girl--to wild; plus three characters from Final Fantasy VII have made their way into the game.

The inclusion of-Cloud, Tifia, and Sephiroth aren't enough to lift this fighter out of a quagmire of mediocrity, even though Square has added a few bonuses including a foot race, capture-the-flag sprints, and a puzzle gamer Most importantly. Square has thrown in an RPG Quest mode, much like the one in Tobal, which is a lot more fun than the game's other modes because it contains magic spells, weapons galore, and some formidable opponents.

God Bless the Reset Button

Ehrgeizs other elements--standard music and sound effects, and mildly impressive graphics--never really soar, while the poor controls set Ehrgeiz apart Characters run without provocation, you can easily miss some combos because of where you're standing, and projectile attacks are all over the place. Had Square kept the game in 2D, it might've had a better chance.

With its soup of RPG. puzzle, and fighting aspects, Ehrgeiz is definitely the weirdest fighter to come along in a while.

ProTips:

  • Any comer or lowered flooring provides great cover against projectile attacks.
  • Don't spend too much when equipping Koji Masuda in the Quest mode. You'll have to buy stuff for your partner, Clair Andrews, too.
  • Almost every arena is rjiulti-level, so be sure to jump up and catch a ledge (and your breath).

Square's Ehrgeiz didn't hit widespread mainstream success in the arcades, but it still drew lots of attention due to its fantastic graphics and Final Fantasy character appearances (like Tifa and Cloud). Now, gamers are getting their first taste of the home version, courtesy of a three-character demo that's bundled in with the Japanese copy of Brave Fencer Musashiden (the same demo disc that has a playable Final Fantasy VIII as well).

Ehrgeiz is from Dream Factory, the creators of the Tobal games. It's a fully 3D polygonal fighter with open freedom of movement (like in Bushido Blade, you aren't limited to a 2D plane of action). The stages in general are pretty small, but you can fight on different heights (again, like in Bushido Blade).

Each character has dozens of moves and combos at his or her disposal that are performed with different combinations of the four buttons: high attack, low attack, guard and special. Most moves are very simple in execution, and the combos are even simpler (most involving straightforward tap-tapping). The fighters also have special attacks that can be done with the Special button. Cloud for example, will pull out his sword if you hit the circle button. If you then hold circle down for three seconds, you can cast offensive magic at your enemy. Don't think, however, you can do this over and over. Each character has a second power meter that drains as you use special powers. Once that meter is gone, you'll have to go back to conventional attacks.

Like we said, this demo only has three playable characters, Godhand, YOYO Yoko and the ladies' man, Mr. Strife. The controls work perfectly, the animation is quick and smooth, and the graphics are superb, right down to the animated crowds in the background. At this pace, the game looks like it'll be as perfect a translation as can be expected. Look for a future preview in EGM when work starts on the U.S. version of Ehrgeiz.

Were you among the millions of troubled souls who hankered after Square/Dream Factory's quasi legendary fighter Tobal 2, only to cry out in agony as news filtered out that they did not "have the resources" to translate the game? Were you among the faithful who erroneously hoped Square would somehow find it in their hearts to surprise us anyway, or that the newly formed EA/Square faction would eventually release this import-only masterpiece? Well, if you were, you waited in vain, as Tobal 2 will forevermore remain "one of those that got away."

However, if it's any consolation, Square EA will be releasing Dream Factory's arcade fighter, Ehrgeiz, to the masses sometime this May. Dubbed by many fans the "Final Fantasy Fighter," Ehrgeiz was originally released in arcades last fall. The result of a partnership between Square (publishers), Namco (System 12 hardware, arcade distribution) and Dream Factory (the developers), Ehrgeiz builds on the free-roaming 3D fighting engine that made Tobal such a critically successful endeavor. Taking it a step further than Tobal 2. Ehrgeiz attempts to enrich the concept by adding multitiered backgrounds, destructible objects and individualized projectile attacks. While there is a story line centering around the "legendary" sword Ehrgeiz, we all Know it's just a big excuse to kick some butt!

As can be expected of the creators of the Tobal series, the home conversion of Ehrgeiz incorporates a Quest Mode called "Godless, the Dungeon." In this mode you take control of one of two new characters exclusive to the game, and attempt to guide them through the rigors of a multileveled dungeon. Unlike the Quest Mode in the Tobal series, you can pick up weapons and armor in Ehrgeiz, and actually see your character wearing whatever it is you've found. If that weren't enough, there's also a small handful of minigames for anyone wanting to take the Ehrgeiz folk and make them race across a beach or play a huge game of Othello, among other things.

In any case, for the many who felt burned at the loss of Tobal 2, now's your chance to make peace with the past. Due to arrive in the States this May, the arrival of Ehrgeiz might make more than a few gamers say "Tobal who?"

  • MANUFACTURER - Dream Factory
  • THEME - Fighting
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2

Overview

When you think of Squaresoft, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? What? You mean fighting games was not the first thing you thought? Let me guess, you chose Role Playing games, right? What about racing and puzzle games? Didn't think of those either? Well, Ehrgeiz is all of the aforemention games on the same CD. Don't get me wrong. This is not just one game with all of those elements involved at some point. This CD is actually made up of different games.

If you are gamer who enjoys multiple genres then this game will be right up your alley. You have a full fledge 3D brawler, a 3D adventure RPG and four mini-games to keep you playing. I will go through each of these aspects and let you know what I thought about them individually. One thing is for sure, you will definitely feel like you got your money's worth out of Ehrgeiz.

Gameplay

Since the main focus of this game is the fighting portion, I will start with it first. Let me begin by saying that I have grown pretty tired of fighting games over the last few years so I am not a huge fan of fighters any longer. With that in mind, I found this portion of the game to be pretty decent. I was not overwhelmed by anything but I was not put off by any of it either. Here is what to expect: A full roaming 3D fighting game. Most of the fighters have some sort of weapon and some have projectiles. As any who have read my reviews of fighting games in the past will attest to, I HATE fighting games that use a combo system. You know what I am talking about right? The old 365 hit combo! Thankfully, the multi-hit combos are kept to a minimum in this game.

As far as controls go, the game handles a little on the sluggish side for my tastes. I felt like I was hitting buttons on the controller and the actions were either delayed or did not happen. There was more than one time that I found myself very frustrated because of a non-move that I know I entered correctly. These control problems become more of an issue on some of the mini-games. Overall, I found the fighting portion of the game pretty average. I think fans of fighters will enjoy it a little more than I did.

The second game inside of the game is the mini-games; this is actually a collection of four separate mini-games. The first of these games is called Infinity Battle and it is basically a survival mode. You continue to fight enemies until your health runs out. Between matches, your heath only regenerates a certain amount depending on how quickly you defeated your opponent. The idea is obviously to defeat as many opponents as quickly as possible. Pretty standard stuff. The second mini-game is called Battle Runner. This is basically a foot race around a track of some sort. There are a couple of wrinkles in this though. You can do whatever it takes to stop your opponent, plus there are items that will randomly appear that when picked up will either change the direction the racers need to run, swap strength gauges, or add special attack powers. The bottom line is finishing the laps first no matter the costs. The third mini-game is called Battle Beach and it is basically a miniature version of Track & Field. You run races by pressing buttons as fast as you can. The faster you press the buttons, the faster you will run. There is a sprint, a capture the flag, and a hurdle course that you have to time your running and jumping. The final game is called Battle Panel and this is best described as a puzzle game. There is a grid of squares and two teams. The object is for your team to control as many of the squares as possible. This is done by bracketing squares between two of your own. It is full contact so you can always knock your opponent across the grid to keep them from changing your squares.

While these mini-games were a neat addition, I really felt like they had very little value. They were fun to play a few times but I really don't think they have the depth to keep people playing long enough to make them worthwhile. I understand that they are called mini-games for a reason but I think that they are just too mini. Couple this with the fact that controlling your character on the Battle Runner level is very difficult and you may just end up more frustrated than having fun.

The last part of the game was my favorite. It was the adventure/RPG portion of the game. Now we all know that Squaresoft is famous for their Role Playing Games so the expectations are high. Keep in mind that this is only part of a large package and you should really enjoy the game as well. If you forget that the game was not solely developed as an epic RPG, you will be disappointed. Final Fantasy 7 this game is not but I think a better comparison would be Diablo. The gameplay is very much a hack-n-slash adventure through a dungeon that continues to descend while the enemies get more and more difficult. Also like Diablo, the levels are randomly generated which means that you can play over again and your adventure will be different. As far as the setting of the game, it takes place in real time 3D so you will not have any turn based combat at all. One very unique aspect of the game was the concept of food. Your character constantly has to eat but there is even more to it than that. You actually have to balance your diet between foods that have vitamins, protein, lipids, minerals and carbohydrates. Your character development is based on which of these areas you keep well fed. I thought this was a great idea. This game was just the most fun to play, period.

Graphics

The graphics in all of the games were very impressive. The fighting game looks great and the characters all had great personality. The true 3D environments helped keep the fighting portions interesting to me a little longer than they might normally have been. The graphics in the mini-games are very much the same as the graphics in the fighting game. Everything is 3D and sharp looking. The graphics in the adventure portion of the game are also impressive. While the enemies were pretty repetitive and not the most creative, the overall game still looked nice.

Bottom Line

While I enjoyed the adventure game the most, I can't really say that any three of the sections broke any new ground. They were entertaining and you will definitely get your money's worth just out of the options but don't expect to see anything revolutionary. The fighting game is just a pretty standard 3D fighter, the mini-games are pretty mini, and the adventure game is fun but does not have the depth as a Diablo but the whole package together makes it worth at least a rental.

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