One Piece Mansion Hands-On

Our Japanese correspondent gets an advance look at One Piece Mansion.

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One Piece Mansion for the PlayStation was first introduced in playable form at the recent Spring Tokyo Game Show. The Capcom-developed puzzle game casts you as Polpo, the landlord of an apartment building, who must run its daily operations.

The objective of the game is to get rid of the building's bad tenants, because they induce "stress" on the surrounding good tenants. Each tenant has a stress gauge, and when it goes full, the room explodes, causing you to lose both the room and the tenant living inside it. So to get a good business going, you first have to pick possible tenants from a list and assign them to rooms in your building. Once they occupy the room, you will earn money from their monthly rent payments. This will let you build more rooms and bring in more tenants. Each of the tenants has either a pink "heal" or blue "stress" arrow that points up to eight directions around the room. For example, Aichan has heal arrows pointing at all eight directions, while Tobimaru has stress arrows pointing on the left and right sides of his room. You have to assign these tenants to suitable locations to either heal their good tenants or induce stress on their bad ones. You can move the tenants into different rooms at your will. If both tenants have the same arrows pointing at each other, the effects are cancelled out. Each stage has different numbers of bad tenants that are located in different rooms of your apartment. The challenge here is to find suitable tenants and get rid off the bad ones as soon as possible. Once in a while, thieves will also make a visit and try to cause disturbances in the apartment. In such cases, you have to make sure you have Polpo nearby to blow the whistle on them and boot them out.

The game's graphics are composed mainly of 2D sprites, with a variety of unique-looking tenants, ranging from a cute fish couple and a sumo wrestler to an old woman sipping on green tea and a ninja hard at training. The only elements rendered in 3D polygons are the individual apartment rooms, which are relatively simplistic. Overall, this puzzle game is simple, yet quite fun and entertaining. It seems, though, like the game would have been more suitable for a handheld-type console, like the Game Boy Advance. Though details have not been revealed, the game will be compatible with the link cable for the NTT DoCoMo's i-Mode cellular phone, which was recently released by Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan. One Piece Mansion for the Sony PlayStation is scheduled for a release in Japan this June 21. North American and European releases have not been announced at this point, but if some are forthcoming, they'll happen at E3 2001.

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