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Katamari Damacy


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#1 zektbach

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 11:28 AM

Right, this is the first time I will ever do this. I will write a serious game review. I have written some reviews before for games like Metal Slug and some rubbish fighting game series... but after spending a week with this game I feel extremely compelled to spread the word and write a review so good about this game that it makes everyone who reads it want to play just to experience the game.

So without further a do, a review of the greatest videogame ever created, presented to you by Namco...

Katamari Damacy

Throughout the years we've seen many strange games spanning many consoles. We've seen a game where you played a small yellow circle with a mouth that picks up pills and munches ghosts, and games where you play a digging man who has to pick up cherries and explode monsters by pumping them up. Now, both of these games came from Namco, and they've been a huge influence on the gaming industry out of their sheer simplicity and design. Everyone has heard of them, you just mention their names and people appear.

"Pac-Man"
"YES!"
"Dig-Dug"
"Uh-Huh!"

It is inevitable. Now Namco have brought to us what will surely become one of those games that everyone will know by name, whether they have played it or not. The games name? Katamari Damacy. The game's aim? Roll stuff up.

Yes, that's right... roll stuff up.

You, are the tiny prince. You're a few centimetres tall, and your father is The Great King of All The Cosmos. One hectic night, your father and his friends decide to have a bit of a riot, and a sequence of events unfold that somehow lead to all of the stars in the sky disappearing. Now, if you were the Great King of All The Cosmos, would you rely on yourself to clean up the Cosmos and rebuild the night-sky... or would you get your tiny little son to do it. Thought as much really.

So, due to your father's clumsiness you are burdened with the task of rebuilding the stars, by collecting as many "things" on earth as possible using a giant expandable sticky ball called a "Katamari." You roll the ball about, and try and fulfill a target diameter for your Katamari in each level, picking up small things, until you are big enough to pick up bigger things... and so on and so forth.

So here come the actual review sections! REVIEW, STARTO!

GRAPHICS
-------------

Short to the point, the game looks absolutely stunning. Every single object, from each individual little rubber, cherry of battery, right up to the giant squids, clouds and skyscrapers, is exquisitely modelled. The detail in every single object is absolutely stunning, and the scale of the game is just completely out of this world because of this. You could be rolling along and see a small rubber sitting on the ground, then when you come back after your Katamari has become bigger, the rubber is still sitting there, but it is all in perfect proportion to the size that you have become. Same with all of the buildings. You start off small, and you notice a house. A lot of rolling later and you come back to realise that you're 5 times bigger than said house, and that you can now roll it into your little bundle of things.

Only when you have rolled up EVERYTHING (and I mean everything, islands, houses, skyscrapers, beaches, entire masses of land, even countries) can you begin to understand just how rediculous the design of this game is. The gradual growth of your Katamari is just completely stunning, and seeing it 800M in diameter and big enough to roll up huge tanker ships and tornados is the most beautiful thing ever in a game.

The one other thing I have to comment on as far as the graphics are concerned is the art used. All of the games cut-scenes and the art used when speaking to the King seems all very "pop-art." It is as if it has all just jumped out at you from some fresh 90's abstract comic. The cut-scenes involving the japanese family that the backstory follows are just fantastically fresh and breath-taking in a charming way. Again, I apologise for saying "short to the point" but, long to the point 10/10. Beautiful.

SOUND
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I know reviews are entirely subjective. An opinion varies from one person to the next, but there is just something about the soundtrack of this game that makes me think it was created to unify every single music-fan on earth with the aim of creating a new world order where there are no "this is better than that" arguments and everyone loves all types of music. An eclectic mix of lounge music, hip-hip, neo-rock, electronica, jazz, pop, acapella, there is just something in this soundtrack to please everyone. When you start up the game you are treated to the strange sound of a man, with a microphone, just going "baaaaaaaaa, babababa baaaaa baaaaa, bu baa ba baba baaaaaaa..." Then you are lead on a fantastic musical journey from start to finish, toe-tapping and humming all the way.

Songs like the lovely jazzy lounge number "Que Sera Sera," through to the bloody amazing "Tenshifuumi No Okurimono" will just stun you. Seriously, you could stick a Death Metal fan infront of this game, and by the end of it he'll be asking where he can buy a Kenny Burrell CD. So the music, as I have established, is absolutely fantastic. Now onto the more special part of the game, the sound effects.

These, are I feel, the core part of the game. There are thousands of sounds, every item you pick up, makes a sound. Every person you pick up makes a sound, every building, creature, machine, object... EVERYTHING makes a sound.

The fantastic thing about about these sounds is, some of them will make your blood curdle, some of them will make your heart melt, and some of them will make your ass fall off. You're rolling along, you pick up a person on your Katamari, and you are treated to one of the most horrifying screams of agony you'll ever hear in a videogame, it actually made me want to stop playing the game for a brief moment out of fear for the people I was hurting. However as I rolled on, I noticed that not every human I rolled over screamed in agony. When I rolled over a punk on a motorcycle he made a lovely little "lalala lala lala" noise. I was happy again, then I rolled over an entire building full of people and my blood began to curdle once more. It felt great that Resident Evil, Silent Hill and games like Eternal Darkness can leave me feeling completely relaxed and unphased, yet a game where I roll a ball around can make me fear for the lives of characters ingame. Then there are pleasant noises, like when you roll over a little bouncy ball, or a big massive sunflower that just make you smile with glee. 10/10

Now onto what makes this the greatest game ever...
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#2 zektbach

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 11:29 AM

GAMEPLAY & CONTROL
-----------------------------

Wow, simply just WOW. You start the game, and you are treated to the fantastic intro, and then brought to a small training area. Now the controls are very VERY strange. The entire game is basically controller using the 2 analogue sticks, there is a jump button you can use but very rarely will you want to actually press said button. The way you do things are as follows.

Both analogue sticks up, moves you forwards.
Both analogue sticks down, moves you back.
Both left, moves you left.
Both right, moves you right.
Pushing both buttons in makes you do a quick reverse, where you hop to the other side of the Katamari.

Those are the basics, but to master the controls you need a good solid few hours of playing before things finally fall into place. There are moments when some extreme controlling movements and attention are needed so the best thing is to try as many complete movements in the earlier levels, before you attempt some of the more difficult parts of the levels (see : moving a Katamari 60m in diameter along a 1m wide bridge.) Extra movements such as sharp turns, strafing the Katamari, and simply moving around to a different part of the ball need a lot of practice before you perfect them. So now that the controls are over, its time to go over the main gameplay.

Pick. Stuff. Up. Yes, thats all you do, literally, nothing more or nothing less. Using the above control scheme you have to roll yourself around stages set in 3 different worlds (House, Town, and World) and pick up as much stuff in the time limit set, to try and reach the target diameter and go as far beyond it as possible. Now you may be thinking "hmmm, that sounds dull" but again I can refer back to the graphical part of the game when I was talking about the scale of things. There are thousands of things to pick up, each one with a different reaction. Your main aim is to pick up as many of these objects, beat all the stages and complete the sky. Each stage has different objects, and there are 2 different types of stage. The initial main stages are the "build a star" stage, where you pick up everything until your Katamari is of a satisfying enough size for the King. The second you reach the target size, depending on the amount of time you have left, you can pick up the remainder of the objects to try and build the Katamari bigger, so as to get a more pleasing reaction from your father.

Now, the other type of stage involves constellations. The stages where you have to build a constellation are themed. For the "Build Cancer" stage, you have to roll around picking up as many crabs as possible, and my personal favourite "Build Taurus" where all you have to do, is pick up one cow or bull. Just one, but be careful, because if you pick up a tiny 2cm tall cow... the stage is complete, and your father won't be too pleased at all with this tiny cow. Needless to say it is something that has to be seen to be appreciated, but the gameplay is just unlike anything you'll ever have experienced before, and once you have tried it, you won't want to stop playing. The way it is all presented is nice and fun, you run around your home planet going to the various houses, and then press R1 when you want to visit earth to try one of the stages, or L1 when you want to go to the 2 player planet.

The 2 player mode in the game, is a bit limited... I think it is the only thing I have a problem with in the game, nevertheless it is fun, and good for a laugh if you have a spare few minutes. But with a single player mode so fun, you'll rarely want to actually share this game with someone if you're in the middle of playing it yourself. Gameplay gets a solid 10/10.

REPLAYABILITY & LASTABILITY
--------------------------------------

When I talk about there being thousands of items, I mean it very seriously. There are THOUSANDS of objects, on my first run through the game I managed to pick up 1,500 different objects, and to my surprise the game was only about 40% complete at that point. Each world has exclusive items, and you will want to collect all of them just to say that you have completed this game. It's a time consuming task, but with the available Eternal Stages, which basically are untimed versions, but with exclusive items make it a bit easier... but there are some items that you have to find in the timed levels, especially the prince's presents which are little headgears that you can customize the prince with (I love my prince's headphones <3.)

Each area of the game has a percentage, and your goal if you are up to it, is to get 100% with a crown under each area in your collection screen. There are around 1,000 different people and animals to collect in the game as well, and some of them are extremely well hidden, so finding them as well is another task, but when rolling a ball around is this fun, none of this seems tedious or boring in the slightest. Replayability gets a solid 10/10 because you WILL keep coming back to this game, be it to rip through a city, or even just to calmly stroll about the worlds and enjoy the scenery... or even just to turn the game on at a social party and leave the soundtrack running in the background.

CONCLUSION
-----------------

I cried at the end of this game, that is how good it is. The ending movie and the interaction of the end is so gorgeous and moving whilst combined with the music that you will shed a tear after the experience, but then you realise that you've unlocked a new stage because of that extra bit of play in one of the stages, and that you've still got those extra 5,000 items to collect, and you've got to make the constellations bigger to please your father even more. Simply put this is a destined classic, there is nothing more to it.

In 10 years time it'll be like this

"Pac-Man"
"YES!
"Dig-Dug"
"YES!!"
"Katamari Damacy"
"YES!!!!!!!"

10/10

Best game ever

Period.
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#3 Reynard

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 05:29 PM

It's good and all - I like it a lot, but I don't think it's anywhere near as good as you're making out.

I found that the novelty wears off pretty quick (in my case, about 4/5 days), the game's too short and the control could've been generally better.

The music and overall presentation is ace though.
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#4 Rin

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 10:49 AM

Did someone say "FANBOY"?
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#5 zektbach

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 10:54 AM

Did someone say "FANBOY"?

Yes, you did, just there now.

FANBOY


Not to put words in your mouth, but I believe the phrase you were searching for was "Can someone say "Fanboy?""

And I'm not a fanboy, I'm just very passionate about games, and I thought this one was a particularly fantastic game that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. Also happen to think that Namco are an extremely great company, and that without them videogaming today would be completely different.
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#6 Sgt Chaos

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 10:56 AM

Hundreds of consoles? care to list them? :)
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#7 Rin

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 10:59 AM

but I believe the phrase you were searching for was "Can someone say "Fanboy?""

No it wasn't.

You're brilliant, though.

Post some more.
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#8 zektbach

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 11:00 AM

Hundreds of consoles? care to list them? :)

FIXED :lol:

I really don't think when I write, which is why I shouldn't write reviews.
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#9 Reynard

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 12:18 PM

FIXED :)

I really don't think when I write, which is why I shouldn't write reviews.

Hey man - I thought the review was well written and the obvious fun you had with the game came through.

I just personally didn't agree that it's quite as good as the review claims, but it's still better to have your point-of-view than having none at all. At least you wrote a review! :lol:
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#10 zektbach

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 03:57 PM

Hey man - I thought the review was well written and the obvious fun you had with the game came through.

I just personally didn't agree that it's quite as good as the review claims, but it's still better to have your point-of-view than having none at all. At least you wrote a review! :lol:

Heh

At least I didn't look at it from the point of view of "how much would the public like this..."

That's a one way ticket to gaming hell

O

w8
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#11 Prox

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Posted 16 October 2004 - 12:04 PM

10/10
Best game ever
Period.

Whoa, easy there.

I agree with your point it's a game everyone should play at least once, it's one of the few software innovations that's appeared in recent times. It's mix of fun, absolute crazyness and jazz that you won't see anywhere else.

However it's very short and easy to finish, and the graphics and presentation are basic at best (though that is tempered by the loonacy they contain).

But since it's something like 14 to import anyone who's able to run US region PS2 games has little excuse not to try it. My USA copy should be arriving soon - I had borrowed a friend's JAP version a few months back.
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#12 Tailfly

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Posted 16 October 2004 - 12:29 PM

This is a great little game that I've enjoyed playing a lot. If anyone looks for unique, fun experiences then Katamari Damacy is an easy reccomendation.

And whoever did the English conversion of the King of all Cosmos, deserves a hearty slap on the back. Simply just the greatest script EVER.
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#13 Dimahoo

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 03:56 AM

:lol:
That is some review dude.

But crying at the end? Are you sure?
Really?
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#14 zektbach

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Posted 20 October 2004 - 12:14 PM

;)
That is some review dude.

But crying at the end? Are you sure?
Really?

Yes, the ending combined with the music is that beautiful.
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#15 acidbearboy

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Posted 21 October 2004 - 12:34 PM

Just got this yesterday and on the first try it seems great. Crazy Japanese presentation, I love the music and the gameplay seems pretty sound. Shame I was so tired last night that I could only manage an hour on it. Look forward to playing some more but I seriously doubt it will become the best game ever in my opinion.
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#16 sensible

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 05:50 PM

I also think this is the greatest game ever. It has the collect 'em all ability to rival Pokemon, a sense of humour, great music and visuals, and most of all an interesting gameplay element that captivates from the moment you touch the controller.

It could also be classed as educational, in that it teaches you what all the different items are, tells you all about them and teaches you asrtonomy. It also borrows a great deal of it's vibe from The Little Prince much like The Wind Waker took a great deal from The Alchemist. All good things.

I might be a fanboy too, as I bought a PStwo to play this. I own the Jap version but play the US version and also have the soundtrack on order. But at the end of the day we're shouting about a game that is as great as it is original.

And that's worth shouting about.

matt
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#17 rjpageuk

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 10:32 PM

Its great to have some enthusiasm around here, fantastic review.

The intro to this game is simply the best intro in history:

Have a look at it here.
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#18 zektbach

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 10:34 AM

Cheers for the feedback, I still play this game at least once a day... and after a few months I still haven't completed it fully... hopefully it'll be done in time for Katamari Damacy 2, which NAMCO promise will be out before the end of the year :)
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#19 Don Rosco

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 12:54 AM

Also happen to think that Namco are an extremely great company, and that without them videogaming today would be completely different.

I used to work in their 'Fun' Park and, let me assure, like most companies, they are total cunts. I still loved working there though!! Best McJob I could have wished for. And I am REALLY dying to play this game. What's the story with a European Release?
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#20 zektbach

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 09:12 AM

I used to work in their 'Fun' Park and, let me assure, like most companies, they are total cunts. I still loved working there though!! Best McJob I could have wished for. And I am REALLY dying to play this game. What's the story with a European Release?

No plans to release the first game in Europe

However they are planning to release the sequel over here!

Joy \o/
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#21 tyagi

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 12:07 AM

<devil's advocate>
It's Pac Man. In 3D. With a time limit.
</devil's advocate>
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#22 Cheeko

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 03:52 PM

I was explaining this with Kerraig to his girlfriend Linda last night at the city meet, we had a truly amazing night playing it at Horribleman's place last year. We kept his poor girlfriend awake for hours because everytime your ball gets bigger you get excited at what you can now pick up, shouts of 'Get the cassette!' 'Washing up bottle!' etc its brilliant, and the laughter when someone gets a lamppost sticking out of their ball and it rolls awkwardly all over the place.

When we got big enough to start rolling over an entire town and the camera pulled up above the clouds it was all too much, a gaming moment thats up there with the greatest classics.

Magical.
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#23 Sabreman

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 12:22 AM

Its great to have some enthusiasm around here, fantastic review.

The intro to this game is simply the best intro in history:

Have a look at it here.

Nice to see Terry Gilliam branching out into new media.
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#24 Tottoro

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 11:00 AM

so many jpn games,miss europe ::)
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#25 jiroczech

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 11:09 AM

Posted Image
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#26 zektbach

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Posted 02 July 2005 - 01:54 PM

6 months on and I'm still listening to the OST... really getting worried that the soundtrack for Minna Daisuke Katamari Damacy won't be as good, however as long as Takako Minekawa's Fantastic Cat is actually on the OST I'll be happy... hell they could just put one of her albums as the OST, she's ace, really really ace... so is her husband Keigo Oyamada (Cornelius) his music needs to be on it. What a charming musical couple.
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