Review by SeraphLance
Adds new meaning to the term "Anti-hero"
As some of you may or may not be aware, Tecmo released a fun little game called "Deception" in 1996 as an early PSX game. The game became somewhat of a cult classic, and spawned a number of sequels, the first of which was "Kagero: Deception 2", released in 1998.
Like all games of it's series, Kagero is known for being very dark -- and very violent. It's rather tame compared to his predecessor, but that's hardly saying much. The relationship to Deception 1 is a debated one. Some think Kagero is a prequel, others think it is unrelated. Regardless of its connections, what can be said is that you won't miss anything if you play first.
Now, without further ado:
Gameplay - 9/10
The game is not only imaginative, but handles itself well. In each scenario, you are given an area layout (usually the same area across several scenarios) with which to lay your traps. You are given a choice of three each of Floor, Wall, and Ceiling Traps to take with you, and may only use one of each in any given room (though you may use the same trap in any number of rooms).
In each scenario, you must kill the "intruder" via any number of gruesome deaths, from a simple boulder to a combination of oil and fire, and even a guillotine! Additionally, you get bonus points for killing your foes through chains and combinations, thereby giving good reason to a diverse arsenal. Why not make a wall that pushes them into a bomb that launches them towards a rock to drop on their battered bodies? Not a problem.
After each scenario, your performance is evaluated, and you are given a certain amount of "Ark", points that can be spent on bigger, better, and ultimately fancier traps. In your first few runs, you will likely not be able to gain access to every trap in the first playthrough, giving you a reason to play again, as if you needed one!
Unfortunately, the score gets a point docked for a few reasons. First of all, the gameplay can get rather repetitive after 20+ scenarios, and subsequent playthroughs are likely to be casual ones. Additionally, the game suffers from balancing issues. There's a few trap setups that are pretty much superior to anything else. I won't list them here, but you're likely to find them rather quickly in the course of a playthrough.
Graphics - 7/10
The graphics are pretty much standard fare for a game released in 1998. The color palette is adequate, and textures are of the quality you'd pretty much expect for a game of this era. Fortunately, they work quite well as they're used, so I can't complain.
Sound and Music - 4/10
There's little in the way of music in this game, probably for reasons of ambience or something. Sounds were rather poorly-sampled as well, often sounding SNES-quality. Really, it's the worst quality of the game.
Story - 9/10
Amidst a ton of filler and crappy translations, the story itself is quite good. It's also multi-linear, allowing for several endings, and a good story with multiple endings is quite rare in the videogame world it seems. For a cursory overview:
You play as Millennia, a young girl raised by Immortal beings known as Timenoids (TMDs for short). These TMDs essentially rule the world, but face violent opposition from a few groups of humans. That's where you come in. It's your job to lure out the enemies of the TMDs... and eliminate them. However, you are eventually faced with a decision: Serve your masters, or serve your kind.
Replayability - 8/10
The game has multiple endings; why would there NOT be replayability? Unfortunately, beyond getting the endings, there's little else. The gameplay simply gets too repetitive for anyone to want to do it again. You'll likely end up just using the strongest trap you have to end every level as fast as possible, as the game offers little in the way of challenge.
Fun Factor - 10/10
It's both original and fun, an unfortunately rare combination. Despite prospective tedium, the game is a real blast the first time you close the tray and start it up. You'll soon wonder why nobody thought of it earlier!
Buy or Rent
If you can still rent PSX games at your local store, much less find the game there, I suggest a rental first. Otherwise, it's a tough decision. The game lacks a great deal of long-term value, but is incredibly fun at it's peak. Base this one on your budget.
Overall - 8/10 (Not an average)
A quality game with some bumps in the way, like most good titles out there. Sure, it's got its drawbacks, but it's a strong, solid game.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
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