Review by Hurricane Higashi

Reviewed: 06/24/01 | Updated: 06/24/01

This should've been a pack-in with KoF'99 Evolution

In essence, The King of Fighters: Battle de Paradise is a very simple concept; a party game done KoF style. Now although it sounds like a neat concept, THAT'S the one fatal flaw in logic that really brings this game down... the NGPC is a handheld meant for only one player, or two via link cable. Two people is not much of a party, and that coupled with the fact that the mini-games and general gameplay aren't really all that great, makes KoF:BDP a fairly lackluster experience... even for a rabid KoF fan like myself. Yes the interaction of the characters is amusing and the KoF related subtleties are novel, but the novelty factor doesn't keep it afloat for very long.

Now if you didn't already know, the biggest feature and only real hook of this game is the inclusion of the Extra Strikers from KoF'99: Evolution for Dreamcast. The game itself is built completely around both them, and the process of leveling them up for download to the DC. Now as a result of this, KoF:BDP doesn't really have what it takes to stand alone as an independent game... meaning that with the striker level up process being the focal point and general goal of the game, a person without KoF'99:Evo and a Dreamlink cable would really have no incentive to play it at all. That is, unless they actually found the sleepy nature of the gameplay to be entrancing in some way.

**One thing I want to add even before I start is that this game has efficient ''gaijin protection'' in effect. I suppose you could use a FAQ to guide you through the game and learn it all by trial & error, but because there's not a single word of English text in this game at all (and no English language option), I wouldn't recommend importing this game without a basic knowledge of Japanese.**

GAMEPLAY
KoF:BDP is basically a board based party game that doesn't stray too far from what has already been established by games like Mario Party and Sonic Shuffle. You choose a completely arbitrary character to be yourself as you move around the board, and then choose which Striker will accompany you (in case you're not familiar with the Extra Strikers from KoF'99:Evo, the list is as follows: Daimon, Billy, Yamazaki, Kyo, Chizuru, Athena, Fio, Alfred, Sho, and Gai). As you roll dice to make your way around the ''path'' that acts as a board comprised of various squares, your Striker competes against the other player's Striker in little mini-games in order to win ''coins''. The point of the whole thing is to gather ''coins'' in which you then try to cash in for ''stars'', and the player who has the most ''stars'' at the end of the game, wins.

The mini-games themselves are a collection of all the main, simplistic party games that you'd expect such as button tapping races, jumping contests, etc., all custom tailored to fit the KoF theme. Now the mini-games are ok, but for some reason they just don't seem as good as the ones in SNK vs Capcom: Match of the Millennium. Those games were fun and you actually looked forward to playing them, however, these ones are actually more annoying than anything... you almost start to dread having to play them at all. Why? I dunno... partially due to the repetition factor, but also because there's just easier/faster ways to make ''coins'' than the mini-games.

Like in all party games, you have alternate ways to gain points and effect the other players, and in KoF:BPD this concept manifests as ''cards''. The ''cards'' can either be bought in the board's card stores with ''coins'', or just given to you during special events. They all have various effects that manipulate things like your dice rolls, yours and your opponent's coin/card stocks, etc. The problem is that the cards are actually more important than playing the mini-games seeing as they have a more dramatic effect on the players' ''coins'' than the mini-games tend to.

So with all that said, the gameplay consists of you playing through the level/board for a set amount of turns while playing the mini-games and taking differing courses around the board. To be honest, it gets rather boring in a hurry, and progressing to higher levels in the game doesn't really add anything to the enjoyment... just new board locations and mini-games. Even if you like the game at first, you'll probably tire of it all rather quickly.

CONTROL
There's not really much to say here. The control is simple button tapping and direction pointing so there's really nothing to screw up. However, there is this mini-game concerning Kensuu walking around a Pac Man maze eating nikuman that controls strangely. Rather than just letting you have full control as per usual, Kensuu has to keep moving at all times and can only go forward, left, or right. Why they chose this method of control is beyond me, but other than that the game has no control problems.

SOUND
Well this is NGPC we're talking about, so it probably won't come as a shock that there isn't anything mind blowing to mention. Basically the sound is on the same level as the stuff in SNK vs Capcom: Card Fighters Clash only... well, not as exciting. The music isn't good or bad, it's just there. ''BGM'' to every extent of the word.

GRAPHICS
Here's another area that KoF:BDP mirrors SvsC:CFC. The graphic quality is very similar, in fact, the two games look almost identical. If you took the ''world'' portion of SvsC:CFC and the mini-games of SvsC:MOTM, then what you'd have are KoF:BDP's board and mini-game graphics respectively. Mind you, the mini-games in SvsC:MOTM looked a lot better than these, but you get the picture. About the only thing that really shines in this game graphics wise is the artwork. All the little Striker interaction events that happen during the game are done very well and are in the same SD style that all of SNK's NGPC titles utilize. I have to give this game one thing, the artwork is extremely nice and... well, cute.

OPTIONS
The only real options in the game besides message speed and stuff like that are an art gallery, the ability to play the mini-games outside of an actual game in progress, and the striker & DC upload/download feature. The art gallery is great actually. It's a series of pictures that you unlock during the course of the game that are not only great looking artworks, but have little overlayed captions/stories that explain the significance of each picture. The prospect unlocking the mini-games for practice use will probably not interest you after the first day or so, and the place where you level up your Strikers, although relevant to the game, is only really exciting when preparing to upload them to your DC. Remember those ''stars'' you had to collect in order to win the match? Well this is what they're ultimately for... leveling up your Strikers.

REPLAY VALUE
Replay? Well, I suppose if you managed to get through the entire game even once, then you liked it more than I did (once I unlocked, leveled up, and uploaded everyone, I put this game away for good). In that case you may just be compelled to play through it again, but the repetitive nature of the game in general will probably lull you off to sleep well before you ever reach that point... the gameplay has no addiction factor whatsoever.

FINAL COMMENTS
To me it seems as if SNK created this game with the soul intent of making a DC-NGPC Dreamlink application... it's an entire game sprung from the premise of having Extra Strikers in KoF'99:Evo, and how they could somehow tie a NGPC game into it. I mean really, the whole game is designed around leveling up the Extra Strikers, and like I already explained, it simply doesn't have what it takes to stand alone as an independent title. Honestly, the feeling you'll get from KoF:BDP is that it should've been a pack-in with KoF'99:Evo, in fact, I wouldn't really recommend buying it unless you do intend to use the Dreamlink feature.

This is a game tailored for KoF fans, more specifically, KoF fans that own a DC, a copy of KoF'99:Evo, a Dreamlink cable, a NGPC, and the desire to level up their Extra Strikers. Even though KoF:BDP does score slightly higher with those criteria met, when considered as a stand alone game I can only bring myself to give it a 5. Not horrible, not excellent, just average... very average.

Rating: 5

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