TGS 2003 Bujingai Impressions

Taito, Red Entertainment, and some heavyweight anime producers are teaming up to create Bujingai, a third-person action game in a similar vein as Sega's Shinobi.

Taito, a well-established company that is perhaps best known for classic arcade and home games such as Space Invaders and Bubble Bobble, is displaying a flashy new action game for the PlayStation 2 called Bujingai. The game is being developed at Red Entertainment and anime veterans that participated in the production of Cowboy Bebop and Trigun are involved in the design process.

The game shares some of its action with other recent sword-based slashers, such as Otogi and Shinobi. The combat is quite simple--you really only need to hit the attack button repeatedly, but there are additional moves, such as a spinning attack that will knock down surrounding enemies long enough to give you a little breathing room. The game keeps track of how many hits you can rack up before getting interrupted via an on-screen combo counter.

The rest of your swordsman's moves also have a pretty good look to them. You have the ability to run on walls for short periods of time, as well as the ability to glide over fairly long distances after a jump. Your character can also grab onto ledges and poles to pull himself up to higher platforms, which is, of course, crucial to proceed past certain spots in the game. In addition to having to use some platforming skills to get from place to place, the levels are designed in such a way that each area is cordoned off from each other by a locked door. You'll have to defeat all of an area's enemies to break the seal on the door and move forward. This prevents players from using the game's acrobatic abilities to bypass all of the combat.

The gameplay in Bujingai seems relatively well done, even if it isn't all that different from other similar games. But what makes the game stand out on the floor at the Tokyo Game Show is its graphics. The animation is nicely fluid and the character design that we've seen so far has a good look to it. The main character is modeled after and will be voiced by Gackt, a famous Japanese pop star.

While Bujingai looks impressive, we hope that Red Entertainment will also make sure to include plenty of variety in the gameplay, since its previous game, Gungrave, was also extremely stylish, but it was overly straightforward and repetitive. Let's hope that Taito and Red mix things up a bit to keep the final product as entertaining as the first few minutes we've seen. Bujingai will land in Japanese stores later this calendar year.

See more of GameSpot's coverage of the 2003 Tokyo Game Show.

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Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.

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