Game Zone: Tales of Symphonia, In-Fisherman Freshwater Trophies, Kim Possible 2: Drakken’s Demise

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
August 20, 2004

TALES OF SYMPHONIA (Namco; T for teen; GameCube)

Strong storyline, appealing characters and plenty of action — this Japanese role-playing game has it all. Early on, you are introduced to Lloyd, the swordsman who is your character. He has taken it upon himself to travel and protect the Chosen One — who is part angel — as she attempts save the world from a group of slave traders called Desians. Though Lloyd and his buddies are all perfectly anime cute, they are anything but docile.

One of the things the developers did with this game that makes it so outstanding is they put as much thought into the vocal talent as they did the animation and gameplay. When Lloyd is talking to the Chosen One, it’s so easy to get swept up in their conversation that you have to remember to have your fingers ready for action.

Speaking of which, it can be a little confusing at first figuring out what button controls which action. But this is what we call a good problem, since there are so many choices during the battles. Playing the game by yourself is fun, but get a friend to join in if you can. Predicting what the GameCube is going to automatically generate can be tedious. But reacting to your buddies’ impulses can be a hoot. You’ll see what I mean when your posse encounters some monstrous creatures. Some will attack with a nimble agility that you’ll have a difficult time defeating, while others will move at a snail’s pace that will try your patience. How your team reacts to them can be instrumental to how much further you’ll progress in the game. Here’s a hint: The X button is your friend when it comes to blocking. Use it often.

KIM POSSIBLE 2: DRAKKEN’S DEMISE (Disney Interactive; E for everyone; Game Boy Advance)

Kim Possible is kind of a mix between Sabrina the teenage witch and Buffy the vampire slayer. Cute, perky and very athletic, this cartoon character is a popular high school cheerleader by day and a crime fighter at night. Instead of just knocking out the bad guys, she cartwheels and does back handsprings to set up her neat little jabs. Implausible? Perhaps, but not impossible for our little Kim. Fans of the animated Disney show will be familiar with our heroine, as well as the spunky music in the background. The designers of the video game are the same ones who created “Ice Age,” so it looks fabulous. The one problem with this game is that while its cartoon look obviously is aimed at the young audience the TV show caters to, the gameplay may be a little too difficult for the little ones to maneuver their way through.

IN-FISHERMAN FRESHWATER TROPHIES (Take 2 Interactive; E for everyone; PC)

Part of the fun of fishing is the whole experience — figuring out what kind of bait to use, picking the perfect spot to fish and then taking your photo afterward with the big catch of the day. While this video game offers a decent enough simulation of what kinds of freshwater fish are out there, it lacks the spontaneity of a real fishing expedition. And for sports-related video games, that is an integral component for their enjoyment. What would a Madden video game be like if it didn’t simulate pro football? That said, the graphics are crisp and the fish do look realistic. The developers also know how to set the mood of the day, from bright sunny skies to ominous dark clouds. But playing this game left me wanting to go out to fish for real, rather than sitting inside faking it.

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