Space World 2001 Hands-on: Doubutsu Bancho

Become the "king of hundred beasts" in Nintendo's upcoming GameCube game.

Roughly translated as Animal Leader, Doubutsu Bancho was previously shown on the Nintendo 64 at Space World last year. Since then, the development has shifted onto the GameCube, and the game was reintroduced at this year's event. The game is being created by Saru Brunei under Marigul Management, with writers and artists coming from non-gaming backgrounds. The graphics are simple. Though the game uses 3D polygons, everything is made out of square blocks with different colors--the environments, trees, clouds, and even the animals themselves are all made out of blocks.

The objective of the game is to become the "king of a hundred beasts." You start out as a normal pig, and in the open fields, there are other types of animals which you prey on. The game works like Zelda--you lock on the enemy and press the A button. When you knock them down, you have to devour them. After several kills, you will morph into another type of animal. But what makes it so odd is that your head is always that of a pig, while everything else changes into a different type of animal, so you might turn into a pig-headed snake, for example. The different types and colors of animals produce different results. In each area, there is the so-called animal leader, and you have to kill it off to become king. So, as you keep progressing, you are given a title such as the king of five beasts. In between, you can also create an offspring by returning to your habitat to reproduce with your mate. Depending on what animal you are morphed into at that time, you'll produce different types of offspring.

The Japanese release is expected in March of 2002. Nintendo currently has no plans to bring the game to the US.

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