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atari breakout
Written by  :  Elliott Wu (44)
Written on  :  Nov 14, 2008
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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"The most important thing in cheerleading is LOVE~~!!"

The Good

There are just too many good things for me to talk about with this game. (Of course, I'm a little biased, but still...) I will start with the basics.

The game play mechanics are surprisingly simple and have been implemented masterfully. Game play response is fast, simple, and allows for a very high degree of precision. From a technical standpoint, this game has done it's job perfectly.

The songs and level design for said songs are also very well put together, and the difficulty level is surprisingly well controlled. Pacing in between action and pauses are handled masterfully with cut scenes splashed between verses seamlessly. So basically, from a rhythm game perspective, it was done perfectly.

But really, this only makes this game as good as say, it's american counterpart, Elite Beat Agents. So why do I love this game so much more? (and consider it far superior to Elite Beat Agents?)

It's a combination of things, ranging from the attitude to the game itself and the cultural aspects of it all.

The central theme in this is basically talking about how hot blooded passion can allow an individual to overcome obstacles in life. ANY obstacle. I really do mean that. Ranging from the simple task of passing an exam, to DESTROYING A FRIGGIN' METEOR WITH PURE RAW PASSION ENERGY! I can't make this up if I wanted to. While the main cast themselves are designed to look like extremely serious with hypermasculinity, the subject matter of the game is anything but serious, which makes the contrast even more downright hilarious. C'mon, they save the world from meteoric impact by cheer leading, how serious can this really be? In addition, the game takes a lot of Japanese manga conventions, and lampoons it mercilessly. Combined with the absolutely ridiculous situations you see the cast solve through cheer leading, this game just has it's own unique charm that you cannot deny.

The art direction takes queue from Japanese manga presentation, and blends it with the simple animation to make very effective presentation of the material. And this lends to central theme very very well, which makes the cut scenes between action quite a bit of fun to watch.

Really, what this comes down to is that the game does not aim to be anything more than just a good romp that is not afraid to make fun of itself. It just doesn't take itself very seriously and as a result it's a roaring good time for anyone who is familiar with Japanese manga conventions. Combined with the polished game play implementation, Ouendan is a game no rhythm game fan should miss.

The Bad

There is probably only ONE thing I would say that bothers me about Ouendan, and that is the scoring at later levels. While in earlier levels, you can be getting a grade ranging from anywhere between S (highest) to D (lowest) and still pass, the later difficulties you pretty much HAVE to deliver an S performance to even pass the level.

The Bottom Line

Rhythm game about Japanese male cheer leaders who save the world... through the power of CHEER LEADING!

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