One Piece: Swan Colosseum


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 6


onepiecewonderswan1.bmp (2359350 bytes)Fighting games have a rather small and forgettable history on handheld systems. There has yet be a major success mostly due to the limited buttons and weak graphics. One Piece: Swan Colosseum isn't the game to change that perception. It's still solid fun, just lacking in a few areas.

Based off a Japanese anime (and manga), One Piece offers players the choice between six characters from the start, and more are unlockable as you progress through the game. Of course, each one is from the show. Options are few, ranging from the usual story to versus mode.

Gameplay is fairly unique, pitting two characters against each other on a stage that allows for plenty of platform jumping. With only two buttons to work with, only one really attacks. The other is sadly used for jumping. There's nothing wrong with using up and saving that precious second button for some variety.

You can vary moves with the d-pad, but it still doesn't allow for much strategy. Combos are pulled off in the classic style of the beat-em-up, rapidly pressing the button in succession for a few hits in a row. Special attacks are performed in basically the same way, just with both buttons pressed together. There are no half circles or dragon punches to worry about. One final complaint about the controls: Down should never be used for blocking, even with a wide-open fighting game like this. It's far too confusing after playing years of fighters.

onepiecewonderswan2.bmp (2359350 bytes)Getting those secret characters (which there are many of) is a real pain. The first step is to beat the game which each character, then finally you can gain access to one of the extras. You continues beating the story mode (on at least normal) and meeting certain criteria to get the rest. It's annoying and far too many playable characters are left hidden.

Keeping in tune with the license, the graphics are spectacular. The sprites are a little small, though this is necessary for the gameplay. Animation is plentiful and downright amazing at times. There's not a moment in the game where something looks choppy. Backgrounds are full of detail and plenty of color. It's great package that takes full advantage of the systems capabilities.

Not sure if the music is from the show, but it sounds fantastic. Even the opening cinematic has a great tune running with it. Each stage offers up a unique theme that not only sounds great under the fight, but also ends up being insanely addictive.

This seems like a solid foundation for series that will likely never materialize. It would do really well as a simple platformer, keeping the same basic fighting engine intact. Any doubts as to the Wonderswan's ability to push sprites are put to rest here. Can't really say the same for the gameplay, even if it is mildly enjoyable on a very basic level.


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Thursday, September 22, 2005 10:37 PM