Eretzvaju was a really good Japanese game. It's like watching Dragon Ball Z or Yu Yu Hakusho, but being able to control the battles. During especially flashy attacks, the camera angles change as if you were really watching it as a TV series (each character with its own show and story line). This isn't Eretzvaju, it's Evil Zone, and the translation is horrific. It's as if they put the dialogue through a Japanese translation program and left the literal translations in. It makes me cringe when I see a publisher not spend enough energy to do a Japanese game justice. Some great examples of this are the episode titles, "The Power of the Supreme Ruler to Destroy an Evil" and "Assaulting Thrust: The Love of a Mercenary Girl." Maybe it's for cult value, but the rest of the game's text pretty well sucks too. If it'd been polished, it would've gotten a higher score. Apart from that, this is a fun fighting game whose charm lies in the very "Japanese TV"-style setup. In fact, the game's opening animation was done by AIC, one of Japan's premier animation studios, responsible for such shows as El-Hazard and Battle Athletes. It's not the deepest fighting game ever (controller motions are the same for each character), but that's not the point. I wish the translation was better and they'd left in Eretzvaju's kick-ass opening song, but if you're an anime fan, you won't be disappointed.
If you're a fan of silly-ass, Japanese fighting flicks you'll love this. It has all the same elements--dumb story line, laughable translation and outrageous fighting moves. They should've gone the extra inch and made this a full parody of the whole genre. The fighting engine is OK if not a little awkward. The special moves are, umm..creative but far too prevalent. Some more traditional moves would be nice. Check this one out for its cheese appeal alone.
I have a feeling fighting game classicists will scoff at Evil Zone for its simplistic combo system, or how it uses no more than two buttons throughout the game. But fans of Psychic Force and anime-based fighters should feel right at home with EZ. The graphics are stylistic, and the dynamic camera angles add a lot of flare to the otherwise canned animations for the special moves. Some of the voice-overs are pretty limp, but thankfully, Titus left the game uncensored.
This is one of those games that I just can't get into. I wanted to give it so much of a chance, coz I really dig the whole anime vibe...but I hate the gameplay mechanics. As a piece of production work, it's quite unique, especially in Story Mode where it weaves things into a series of character-specific episodes. I despise the control system though, and I'm not a big fan of the graphics either. The Japanese translation leaves a little to be desired too!
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Most fighting games on the PSX tend to fall in one of two categories: 3D fighter ala Tekken 3 or 2D ala Marvel Super Heroes. Evil Zone happens to not really fall in either of these two categories, rather it falls under the Japanese Anime fighter ala Psychic Force. I think for this reason alone, I gave the game more of a look than I I otherwise may have. I am not the biggest fan of fighting games but when something different comes along to charge up a stale genre, I am all for it.
Now, I am not a huge fan of Anime, but I do have to give them credit for their representations of the female body. Evil Zone follows this overly enhanced character style along with a number of other Anime characteristics. Throw in a distinctly Anime camera system and story and it is not hard to notice the roots of this game. As a pure fighter, it is not the best game on the block but fans of both fighting and Anime with surely enjoy this game.
Evil Zone is a fighting game that is broken into three different game types: Story mode, Battle mode and Survival mode. Each of these game types will appeal to different types of gamers but my personal favorite was the Battle mode, which is the more traditional fighting mode. You must battle your way past the different characters in the game to reach the end and battle the ultimate warrior. This mode was very challenging and took forever for me to fight my way through. See, unlike most fighting games, it is not a best two out of three system. You will fight no less than four fights against each character making it a real pain to continue onward.
The Story mode was supposed to be a confrontation with each of the warriors to learn why they have entered the tournament. This consisted of only one fight against each of them. To be honest, I suggest playing through the story mode one time just for the sheer humor of it. Let me say that something must have been lost in the translation because I came away more confused than enlightened not to mention the fact that the voice acting was pretty bad. I will give them credit for some pretty provocative comments that are made. As far as the pure gameplay of this goes, I found it to be too slow. I spent more time watching the characters say confusing thing than I did actually fighting. Like I said, play it through one time and you should have your fill.
The third mode of gameplay is the Survival mode. This has become a standard mode in all fighting games lately. The objective is to beat as many opponents as you can with only one life. This is very challenging and if you think you are good, this mode will remind you that you are not that good. Oh yeah, the game also has a two-player versus mode so you can beat up on your buddies but every fighting game has this.
So the real question is, how does it play? Well, the fighting engine is very simple and only uses two buttons (why no analog support?). You have a block button and an action button. That is all. For me, I really liked this because I am not big on memorizing long strings of commands to get you fighter to pull off a move. This was not a problem in this game. Hit the action button and a directional button and you will pull off any move. The moves depend on the direction you push and the proximity of your opponent. The bottom line is that you will not have to remember a 32-button press sequence to pull off the moves. Some might find this too simplistic but those are usually the people who have no lives and enjoy memorizing those stupid button combos.
Another thing that I liked about the game is that it did not use a multi-hit combo system. There were some special moves that did hit numerous times but it did not feel exaggerated like some games (ahem, Street Fighter, ahem). They felt more like the combos in Tekken. I would just sit back and watch them execute. Each character had a special move that was very exaggerated, almost like a fatality it Mortal Kombat but not as gruesome. I thought these moves were great and added to the game nicely.
The game uses a nice mix of projectiles, weapons and hand-to-hand combat. Not all characters had weapons but most did. I am usually not a big fan of projectiles in fighting games but they did a good job on these. The block button allows you to easily block these projectiles but if you are trying to attack you will find that you are not able to get your guard up in time to block. This made things very balanced and kept opponents from just standing back shooting projectiles. I do wish that there was more hand-to-hand combat though. It was rare that I would ever do more than get in a single hit or kick before my opponent knocked me away with a projectile or special move.
One final item I would like to mention is the characters themselves. Like I said in the intro, this game draws heavily from Anime and it is obvious. Most of the female characters have exaggerated breasts or are made to be sexy in some way. One is dressed up in a school uniform and occasionally you get to see a flash of her panties. Another character wears shorts that are hiked up so far her butt is hanging out. I think they call them Daisy Dukes. A third female character has huge breasts that do not resemble anything humanly possible. Why am I bringing this up? Because I want to make sure that if you have kids at home (or if you are a kid) you know what to expect. That and I kinda liked it. Umm, never mind.
The graphics would be best described as a 3D fighting game but they were not on the same scale as a Tekken. I was a little disappointed in the overall darkness that most of the arenas had. It was difficult to get a really clear look at the game because it felt shrouded in darkness. The movies, however, look great. Once again, Anime fans will really dig this. One last thing is that I must admit the special moves did look really cool as did the changing camera angles during the fights.
If you are looking for a pure and hardcore fighting game, you may be a little disappointed in the simplicity of this game. If you are like me and don't like memorizing button combos, you should enjoy this game somewhat. If you dig Anime, you should really like the game. I do wonder if the bad voice acting and the confusing stories in the Story mode were intentional or if they just did not do a great job translating the game. Either way, it is worth a look just to experience it.