Ever wondered how it feels to slice through a dozen half-zombies with a sword as tall as you? Why wonder when you can do the very same thing on Dreamcast’s Sword of the Berserk: Guts’ Rage!
The story and characters are based on the magna/anime Berserk created by Miura Kentaro. If you’re a die hard fan of Guts and Casca then it would be a travesty to pass up this game. The plot takes place after the anime and is considered a part of the magna series still being produced today. As a diehard fan of Berserk I couldn’t resist but indulging in its videogame counterpart.
The environmental settings are parallel to those one would expect from an old European tale. Guts and his love interest, Casca, come across a kingdom plagued with beasts called mandragorans. The ruler, Balzac, is obsessed with the beasts and says the only cure for them lies in the heart of a Great Tree. Through a chain of expected twists and turns Guts finds himself searching for Casca. Exciting battles ensue, including one with the popular Zodd character from the series. In the end we come to find out that Balzac has given his soul to a supernatural group called the God Hand. Balzac then becomes an evolved monster and Guts must fight for his survival yet again! After vanquishing a final evolved state of Balzac, Guts is left with as much as he started.
The game itself is impressive. Considering the year the game was published the graphics are still up-to-date. Yukes used the full potential of the Dreamcast’s 3 million polygons per second render rate enabling a crisp and smooth image. If one wonders how much different a newer version of Guts’ Rage might look like on an existing console then they should find reviews on Berserk for PS2 (Import). And to be honest, they don’t look very dissimilar!
Gameplay for Guts’ Rage is fairly simple. A health meter in the upper-right corner monitors Guts’ life. A few buttons will be all you need to hack, slash, and blow up every enemy in your path! But if you do happen to stumble across the other buttons gameplay will be surprisingly heightened.
There are a few extra features that can be unlocked during the game. Beating the game on the three difficulty levels will let you receive three prizes. When you finish the game on easy you are rewarded with a mini-game. Winning the game on medium grants you infinite chances to duel with every major villain you encountered throughout the game. Completing the game on hard provides a "No Limit" mode where Guts is given unlimited ammo. Other treats consist of an art gallery and a section where every cinematic from the game can be viewed.
The only true drawback to the game is the camera directions. The angles in which you see Guts from are often abstract where gameplay is concerned. In tight spaces this annoying aspect becomes nearly unbearable!
Despite the poor reception America gave Sword of the Berserk: Guts’ Rage, the game is rather superb. The game offers straightforward controls intended for those looking for no more than a few hours of nonstop bloodbaths. As well as a strong enough story to keep Berserk fans entertained, and enough excitement and intrigue to create a few new recruits.