First Impressions: Berserk

We take a hack-and-slash journey with Yuke's latest addition to the Dreamcast.

From the first hour of play, Yuke's Berserk for the Dreamcast seems to be a traditional hack-and-slash that, while visually impressive, remains very basic in its control and overall gameplay. The game starts as you take control of a character by the name of Guts who looks as though he is the most dangerous warrior in the land. While taking a stroll with his girlfriend, Casca, who apparently has no fear of anything, Guts comes across a group of average town folk being threatened by marauders. The thieves threaten Casca, and Guts pulls out his sword to defend his woman. This is the part where you get to run around and cut all of the really inept thieves to pieces. From here, the game rolls an intro and leads into the story.

The game's control is quite simple. You can butcher enemies with Guts' giant sword, named Dragon Killer, or you can put it away and use his fists or crossbow, which you must use when you get into tight corridors or small rooms, since his sword is so big.

The visuals are incredibly sharp and detailed, and bloody. Especially when your berserk meter reaches capacity, letting Guts inflict some serious damage for a limited amounts of time. The camera angle changes quite often, and while for the majority of the time it does a decent job of letting you see the action, it occasionally switches to a view that makes it hard to see enemies.

The game also has an interesting feature similar to Shenmue's event button. At specific points in the game, a picture of a button will flash on the screen, if you press it in time you'll avoid a giant boulder or get out of the way of a giant monster. If you fail to press it in the time allotted, you of course fail to escape.

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