Ever had a game that you’re excited to talk about due to its status? Well this is a great example. I’ve never explored too much into anime, I mean in my early teens I watched Akira, Ghost in the Shell and anime series like Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist, Wolf’s Rain, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and Divergence Eve (Yes, I watched it back in my teens, and it was my first introduction into the fact that most anime women have gravity-confused boobs bigger than their head). After that, I was introduced to Dragon Ball Z and I’ve been wanting to watch more anime, but there’s so much and some can be One Piece…when is THAT going to end?
And then there’s this manga/anime that I saw on the internet as part of Vines and other sorts of memes (Oh yeah, Vine is dead isn’t it?). Then one day, I went to CeX and found a copy of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle for £10, that art style that I saw on the front cover pulled me in, thinking to myself, “what kind of manga/anime is this?”. To this day, I haven’t played the game and after a while, I decided to read the manga and this is where I will talk about this series.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken) is a manga written and illustrated by the ageless Hirohiko Araki. The series is about the Joestar family over the years battling supernatural foes and some characters have names based off music artists because…Araki wields it, which is probably the best summarisation of the series.
The manga is split into multiple parts, each of them taking place in different years and the series is still running to this day. So far, I’ve read Phantom Blood, Battle Tendency, Stardust Crusaders, Diamond is Unbreakable and Vento Aureo. I’ve even watched the anime and the art style is incredibly faithful to the original manga as the animation was produced by David Production and this lead them to being an animation company well respected by anime fans.
I think it’s a great manga series, as well as the anime, the action is fast-paced and crazy, the characters are memorable and engrossing depending on what part you’re reading but so far, most of the characters from Part 1-4 are likable, even the villains are made to be likable, I love that, it’s just fantastic manga.
Phantom Blood was a great start to the series with Jonathan Joestar being a great character, even if he was a goody-two-shoes compared to future characters.
Battle Tendency is probably my favourite part of the series with great characters and Joseph Joestar being a great character and probably my favourite Joestar in the family so far.
Stardust Crusaders is decent, the first part is pretty good, but the second half is a little weak, they gave one of the side-characters a bit too much screen time whilst the main character or the other good side characters did some stuff but not as character-driven as it could have been. Heck, even the ending went from being exciting as hell to just ‘eh’.
Diamond is Unbreakable is pretty good, it did take a while for me to properly like it at first but it’s good and had probably the best villain in the series so far.
Vento Aureo is my least favourite part of the series so far, none of the characters interested me, a villian that isn’t interesting in the slightest and a cop-out/needless ending that just made me feel indifferent. Though the final panel is cool though.
Also, there opening themes in the anime are fantastic…I wasn’t a fan of Diamond is Unbreakable’s first opening when I first watched it, especially since they didn’t have the 3D models anymore, but I grew to like it, and the second opening, and the rest…now to wait for Part 5…still waiting even for a teaser.
I could talk a lot about the series, but I have a game to play. Maybe I could talk about the series’ appearance in Famicom Jump: Hero Retsuden, but it doesn’t have an English translation as of this publication date so it’s time to take a look at the first actual Jojo game, titled Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, developed by Winkysoft and published by Cobra Team and was released in March 1993 in Japan only. Winkysoft has done a good chunk of games during the 16-bit era, most notably the Super Robot Wars series. But Cobra Team is a little difficult, the only games that people know they released was this game, Bastard!!: Ankoku no Hakaishin and Front Mission: Gun Hazard. The game is in Japanese but there is an English translation patch for it so that’s how I’m going to play the game.
Now here’s the thing, the game is based on Part 3 of the series, Stardust Crusaders and you have to know the plot of the previous series to understand the game’s story, so if you haven’t read the manga or watched the anime, I highly recommend doing so, you’ll have a blast with it. THE PLOT CONTAINS SPOILERS CONCERNING THE PREVIOUS PARTS OF THE MANGA!!!
It’s 1989; Joseph Joestar is visiting Japan after his daughter, Holly Kujo, calls for help in getting her son out of jail. This high school student is Joseph’s grandson, Jotaro Kujo, who believes he’s possessed by an evil spirit, but after a scuffle with Joseph’s friend, Mohammed Avdol (Holy crap, a black guy in a Japanese manga) Jotaro learns that the evil spirit is his supernatural ghostly power that’s part of him, known as a Stand.
Joseph tells Jotaro that Dio, who was defeated at the end of Phantom Blood, survived and has taken Jonathan Joestar’s body for himself as Dio said he would in that part. After defeating another student with another Stand, Noriaki Kakyoin, who also joins Jotaro, they find Holly gaining a stand. However, because she’s a kind and good-hearted person, it’s killing her. The only way to save her is to find Dio and kill him. Once they find out that Dio is in Egypt, the remainder of the series is a strange road trip where they eventually meet two more allies, a French bloke Jean Pierre Polnareff, and Iggy the Dog that has a Stand too…just go with it. That’s mostly the plot summary of Stardust Crusaders, though the plot in this game does takes some liberties…I don’t know why they made changes to the plot.
The game is an RPG…well sort of. The game is a side-scrolling platformer/point and click adventure, going left and right to places to progress through the story. Like an RPG, you have a menu with the selection of Check, which lets you check the area you’re close to, Talk, to talk to people, Item, to choose which item to use or equip, and Tarot, where Avdol, the fortune teller, will tell you which items to use to increase your luck. You can go around and click on things, especially cupboards or stuff that can be opened, in which you’ll get free items for you to use. During the game, you’ll meet up with other characters consisting of Joseph, Avdol, Kakyoin, Polnareff and Iggy, who will join your party, where they’ll fight alongside Jotaro.
OK, time for the battles, and this is where the RPG elements come into play, so it plays like any other turn-based RPG, you can Attack an enemy, Talk to them to insult their masculinity…or decrease their strength of will, Item to use in a character’s turn and Check, where you check your surroundings, though if you do that, the fighter may have an idea of what to do next, which unlocks Tactics where you can have an idea, use your Guts to perform a special attack which deals more damage. Before a battle begins though, Dio will appear out of nowhere and gives you Tarot cards; they can either help you like increase lost health or strength of will and whatnot, or decrease it. So it can either help you or doom you if the odds are against you. The characters also have a biorhythm system where changes to the characters can make them stressed so they may not fight well during battles. And what’s the only thing that can decrease your stress? CIGARETTES!!! HEEEEEEEY!!! Yeah…insert Cancer joke here, I know Cancer ain’t funny but I know you thought of one.
So how’s the game? Story-wise, it’s near faithful to the original material though there are some changes to probably not bug the game out for having too much stuff. Gameplay-wise, IT’S BOOOOOORING!!! I mean, the adventure parts are decent, but it’s the battles, they’re too long, too repetitive and just a dull affair, watching the same attacks, same tactics and same structure. I don’t really get the RPG feel either since the battles are all set in order to progress through the story. If you read the manga or watched the anime, you’d probably know where you may need to go, although don’t do that for every part of the game since some enemies from the manga/anime are fought in different locations from the source material.
The graphics are just appalling, the design is near faithful to the anime, especially the character designs (though why Polnareff’s magnificent hair blonde, I don’t know, I watched the anime), but the letterbox aspect is just awful to me. The music is generic guff…that is all.
Overall, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure for the Super Famicom is one of those games where you play it because it’s something you’re familiar with, only to be disappointed in the long run. The game is just boring overall, and it is because of the overly elongated battles. Even if you’re a Jojo fan, I wouldn’t recommend it, it just doesn’t stand up to the future games in the series…hehehe…HAHAHAHA!!!
You can get it on the Super Famicom.