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Videogame Review: Fullmetal Alchemist: Dual Sympathy


Look out! It's another videogame based on a popular anime series! Well, I guess that means it sucks, so no point in me playing it... oh but what the heck, I'll give it a quick go around. So just hang on there for a sec and I'll be right back.

Five days later...

Well how about that, the game is actually fun! The play style is similar to that of the classic beat 'em up games such as Double Dragon and Streets of Rage. Usually you play as Edward Elric, though sometimes you will be able to control other characters such as his brother, Alphones, or the ever-popular Scar. Unlike many beat 'em up games, there are no weapons lying around that you can pick up and use against your foes. However, since this is Fullmetal Alchemist we're talking about here, it does make sense that your character would use alchemy when needing a bit of help rather than relying on a stray baseball bat or lead pipe.

The alchemy part of the game comes into play on the bottom screen, where you first touch which character's alchemy you want to use, and then touch which alchemy transformation you want to use. Starting out, you only have the alchemy abilities of two characters, Ed and Al. Each has an offensive technique and a defensive technique. The offensive is a type of cannon, while the defensive is a wall of stone, which you can also hop onto in order to get past obstacles such as a floor of flame. As you progress through the game, you will learn abilities from other characters, such as the Col. Mustang (AKA the Flame Alchemist) and Major Armstrong.

In addition to the hand-to-hand combat portion, there are also a plethora of mini-games. Okay, okay, so plethora isn't actually the right word there since technically it refers to an excess amount, and there aren't too many mini-games, but I'm using the word anyway because I think it sounds cool. The mini-games come in different formats, though they all have one thing in common: the touch screen. Sometimes you'll need to trace a transmutation circle, sometimes you'll need to hit the points of a transmutation circle in a particular order, sometimes you'll need to navigate your characters through an area, and so on. The variety is definitely nice, and keeps them from getting tedious.

In between the combat and mini-games unfolds cinematics telling the rather complete story straight from the series. Occasionally you'll be treated to some actual audio dialog, though usually the scenes just play out using text bubbles and what looks like snapshots taken straight from the series. This really helps make this game seem like Fullmetal Alchemist, and not just some generic game that had the Fullmetal Alchemist name slapped onto it as an afterthought. Both screens of the DS are used for these scenes, which made me feel stupid sometimes because I would find myself staring at one screen waiting for it to continue, only to realize I needed to read some text on the other screen and then press the button to move on.

I guess the only real complaint I have about this game is that the combat was a little too easy. Aside from the alchemy, you basically have a jump button and an attack button. I think I would have preferred two attack buttons, such as a kick and a punch, which could open up the way for more strategy. Or how about a back-attack button so you can smack someone behind you without having to turn and actually face them. So a little more in the combat department would have been nice, but as it is now the game is still fun to play.

Official Press Release Info

Based on the best-selling anime, Fullmetal Alchemist: Dual Sympathy is a side-scrolling action/adventure game for Nintendo DS in which you play the role of Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist, on a journey to combat the evil Homunculi and acquire the fabled Philosopher s Stone.

Features:

  • Side-scrolling action/adventure.
  • Six playable characters from the Fullmetal Alchemist anime, each with unique capabilities and special attacks. Characters are: Edward Elric, Alphonse Elric, Roy Mustang, Alex Louis Armstrong, Izumi, Scar.
  • Punch, kick, jump-kick and perform devastating melee and combo attacks against evil Homunculi who are blocking your quest to acquire the fabled Philosopher s Stone.
  • Release powerful alchemy attacks and defenses through the DS touch screen.
  • Explore the Fullmetal Alchemist story with the same voice cast from the Cartoon Network TV series.
  • More than 10 touch-screen mini-games present intellectual challenges between battles. Games include Whack-A-Homunculus and Fullmetal vs. Flame.
  • Tons of un-lockable content, including special alchemy attacks, character alarms, image galleries, sound libraries, video content, and more.
  • Two Game Modes:
    • Story Mode (Single-player): Play as Edward Elric and enjoy the Fullmetal Alchemist story with text and voice-over cinematics
    • Character Mode (Single-player): Play as one of six characters (no cinematics until the end of the character s play-through).

Fullmetal Alchemist: Dual Sympathy is availabe starting December 12, 2006, released by Destineer.

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