E3 06: Zatch Bell! Mamodo Fury Preshow Impressions

We check out the next manic fighting game in the Zatch Bell! series at a recent press event.

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By now, the crazy little cross-dressing demon known as Zatch Bell is a veteran of video games. With releases on the Game Boy Advance, GameCube, and PlayStation 2, it was only a matter of time before the high-strung, ridiculous antics of the popular anime and manga would return in playable form. At a recent press event, we got a first look at Zatch Bell! Mamodo Fury, a newly announced fighting game from Namco Bandai Games for the PS2.

Zatch Bell! Mamodo Fury is a manic 3D fighter starring more than 20 demons and their human counterparts. The pairs team up to duke it out in a variety of stages modeled after specific locations in the anime series. The three modes of play available are the requisite story, versus, and arcade modes. The game also supports up to four players, so you can have chaotic free-for-all battles with your friends. We didn't get to see much in the way of story sequences, but the basic plot is that all of the demons and humans are fighting for the distinction of mamodo king. The objectives vary depending on the stage, but the means are the same: tons of button-mashing combos and lots of exaggerated special moves. In one stage, the goal was to knock a book out of the opponent's hands, while other stages kept it simple by just asking for a straightforward beat down.

When playing single-player, you control a human character with a computer-controlled demon providing support. You can take control of the demon character as well if you decide that you want to mix up your fighting strategy. The stages seem quite large, so there's plenty of room to move around. We saw one stage that took place in a grassy courtyard at a school, one stage set under a freeway overpass, and more.

The game moves fast and looks like it will remain faithful to the look and tone of the anime. There are plenty of silly jokes, exaggerated reaction shots, and colorful power moves to look at, although the game does look very much like just about every other anime-based game you've seen. For added authenticity, the American voice cast provides the voice talent for the game.

We're looking forward to getting some hands-on time with Zatch Bell! Mamodo Fury at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, so be sure to check back for more details. In the mean time, check out the recently posted screenshots on the gamespace to get an idea of what to expect from this frenzied fighting game.

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