Sunday, January 17, 2016

Gameday Sunday: Akira Psycho Ball (Playstation 2 / 2002)

The Playstation 2 was an incredible system. The game library was vast and, early on, it was kind of a big deal that it played DVDs (of course, nowadays that's about as impressive as the PS1's ability to play CDs).

However, there was one major thing that sucked about the PS2--it wasn't region free! But for those that modded their console or owned a Japanese model, they were able to play one of the most bizarre and greatest anime-based games to never come to North America.

Akira Psycho Ball for the PS2 is a long forgotten and underrated gem of a game. It's not an RPG, nor is it a first or third person shooter, it's a pinball game and, wow, is it a blast.

The game features four distinct digital pinball tables, each modeled after scenes from the film, including the laboratory, the stadium, and my favorite Neo-Tokyo! The music is lifted right from the classic anime, along with the storyline and clips from the movie play after beating a stage. The game even featured multiplayer, so you and a friend could compete for top score, allowing for rival shouts of Testuooo! and Kaneeedaaa!

What impressed me with this game was how interactive each of the themed tables were, and the ball/flipper movements were slick and felt incredibly natural.

The game was released by Bandai in Japan (2002) and Infogrames handled the translated European release in 2003. Why this never came over to North America is beyond me. The game hit shelves overseas around the same time the remastered DVD of Akira did, so it certainly had a tie-in selling point...

Fortunately, I was only able to play this game a number of times at a lucky friend's house, but never owned it myself. Should the day ever arise when I get my hands on a Japanese or European PS2, this would be the first game I'd buy.

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