- Several playable characters from the show
- Story modes offers quite a good number of fights
- Decent character models
- Easy combat system
- No Japanese voice acting
- Gets repetitive to a point of irritation
- Story makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and it is too short
It is common that an anime based game ranks under the series it is based on. Zatch Bell!! changed from the Japanese anime title Konjiki no Gash Bell!! is a very good anime, but this game is unsurprisingly less good, but it qualifies as a good fan service game. It is absolutely not aimed at anyone outside the anime's orbit, so no one other than fans should play this.
For those unfamiliar with Zatch Bell!!, this anime is based on a battle between demon (called Mamodo) which takes place every 1000 years which 100 demons from the demon world fight with alongside a human which uses a book with their heart energy to cast spells. The spell book uses ancient language so demons have to look for someone who can read it. The demons whom book is burnt automatically return to the demon world and the last remaining demon becomes the demon king. That is a main introduction of what the anime is based.
The game is overall short but offers one or two good modes. The story mode is the main mode which you choose one of the initial 4 characters from Zatch, Tia, Brago and Kanchome'. Each battle is played with their bookkeepers and can cast spells, but can't cast more if the magic meter is depleted. In the story mode you take a number of enemies in stages you choose from the available ones and win to move on. You can play one at a time, so if you start one and then another you only retain the second one. Unlockable characters can be unlocked here, by fighting them and sometimes more than once. The cutscenes are the common dialogue-style Japanese cutscenes but the characters move their mouths to talk. Most story events make no sense to the story and on certain occasion some parts are missing. The part of which story arcs don't appear in the anime is obvious, for example Brago doesn't fight Kanchome' in the anime. Throughout the story you get bonus points which you can use for other purposes outside the story mode. It is very short, even if you use multiple characters.
With the bonus points you get you can upgrade characters. All unlocked characters can be upgraded, from spell power, HP and attack power. This is limited but you need a lot to fully upgrade your character. If you don't want to upgrade characters, you can always go to the bonus mode and buy random cards and view them. The single player mode offers one-on-one fights of demons and their bookkeepers; while the multiplayer mode lets you play against a friend. Practice mode lets you sharpen your skills. There is a time attack mode which times your battle and lets you fight against random enemies. It is short too.
The combat is easy and repetitive, and if you aren't a fan of the anime you probably won't like it. There are a lot of characters to choose from, including of course Zatch & Kiyo, Tia & Megumi, Brago & Sherry and surprisingly initial playable team Zofis & Koko. There are more characters to unlock. Each character got a handful of attack types, but for each demon their skills are different. Zatch uses electrical spells like Zakeru, Zakeruga and special skill Baou Zakeruga (English names are c different from the Japanese). By filling the whole MP meter, holding the L1 and after a charging your character performs a powerful, which can't be dodge or block under normal circumstances. If the two demons perform a special spell at the same time, the two attacks collide and a press screen appears and the one who presses that button the most will manage to nail the skill and cause a lot of damage. Sometimes special skills end the fight quickly, too quickly. Other kinds of attacks consist of pressing the X button to fight close-quarters. O to block. With the square button and a directional button you can cast different spells which are unique for each demon. Spells vary in MP needed, but if you don't have enough your character won't perform a spell. Spells like Rauzaruku for Zatch increases his power for until the MP is empty.
The graphics are plain and average. Most of the character models are decent except for Zatch's model which looks the worst in the game. Nothing looks as good as it is in the anime. The backgrounds look good and colorful. The voice acting on the other hand is from the anime and I must say the English voices are far worse than the Japanese voices. I've been watching the anime in Japanese and it was very good, but the English voices are disappointing. Spell casting is very well done in Japanese, but the English version isn't as much. There are some changed names are well. For instance the title is different, from Konjiki no Gash Bell!! to Zatch Bell!!, Gash to Zatch, Tio to Tia, Zophise to Zofis, Kiyomaru to Kiyo and others. The music is ok and fit the game's bizarre theme.
We can't say it is a bad game, it is above mediocrity. This fighter is shallow, unappealing and does very little, especially those unfamiliar to the show. Fan might appreciate the little amount of good content in the game, but there is simply to enough to recommend. This is also little challenge, little depth and it becomes repetitive quickly. The story mode is ultimately all and it ends very quickly, and the gameplay doesn't sustain for long. Although the available playable characters and their skills might be enough to appeal to die-hard Zatch Bell!! fans.
Graphics = 6.0
Decent character models (except for Zatch), and the environments are colorful but nothing special.
Sound = 5.8
Doesn't include the Japanese voice acting which is superior make it a letdown. Background music is average but it the theme.
Presentation = 6.5
Attractive menu and load time screen before battle. Unnecessary loading in story mode. Cutscenes are ok, even if they are the classic Japanese ones.
Gameplay = 7.2
The gameplay is simply and repetitive. Several playable character and skills to use. Develop mode lets you upgrade characters but is limited. Controls are very basic, and the camera does its job. Special skills can make or break your match, but they look cool at first until you had seen enough of them.
Modes = 4.9
Story mode is all but too short even playing with each character. Time attack mode is short as well. Several characters to unlock lengthen the game a little. But the story arcs make no sense and may confuse fans. Too short.
OVERALL = 60 / 100
This fighter serves for a short fan service game, but nothing more.