by Metal Slug


US Title: Dark Arms: Beast Buster 1999
Japanese Title: Dark Arms: Beast Buster 1999
Year: 1999
Size: 16 Megs
Pocket Link? Yes
Dreamcast Link? No
B/W Compatible? Yes
Color Compatible? Yes
Japanese Option? Yes
English Option? Yes

NEOP0045. 16 megs. SNK 1999.
Supports link cable, colour and Monochrome hardware.
Genre. Role Playing Game.

“I crave power. Power Lucifer can only imagine!”

If you are expecting an RPG, along the lines of Zelda, or Evolution, or even Final Fantasy. Then forget it! This is a splatter fest! Pure and simple. Well, perhaps not so simple, because this game does have more depth than that!
You are the “Beast Buster” and you have been entrusted with the task of obtaining some mysterious living weapons from the shadowy “Dark Realm” a place filled with all manner of zombies, ghouls, specters, vampires, and all kinds of other un-dead and just plain un-friendly!

Your guide in this realm is the mysterious “Master” a shadowy robed skeletal figure, whose motives are not clear!
Now as is ever the way in these games, your first weapon is a small pistol, which is just about capable of dispatching some lesser minions! Which is where this game departs from the norm. The creatures you kill have “souls” or at least some kind of life force that you can collect! Now you need to kill them with “catcher” weapons, and you can store the “souls” that you capture for later use. You also list any “species” that you slay, in a sort of catalogue, which allows you to assign their life force to a specific task.
Now before too long, you will find an “Oum” or “egg”. This is the egg of a “Dark arm” one of the living weapons that you seek! Once you have found one of these it must be prepared for hatching, and once it has hatched, it must be grown and “Evolved” into a powerful weapon. You can choose to assign different attributes for these weapons, and the various stages of the weapons evolution are attained by feeding it the souls of the dead that you have collected. There is slightly more to it than that, the weapons are assigned a different element, depending on what you have been feeding them, and this affects the weapon’s effectiveness on various enemies. But that in a nutshell covers the gist of your quest for the ultimate “Dark Arm”.

Now if that sounds a little bit samey, then you will understand why this game has received mixed reviews! Also you will understand why anyone expecting a classic RPG, will be disappointed! That aside, if you can play this with an open mind, and no preconceived ideas, it is really a rewarding experience! Developing one of your weapons to the point where it evolves into a massive energy weapon and a suit of Guyver’esq bio-mechanical armour, is a great feeling! You wont be able to wait to try it out on some hapless un-dead! The majority of the weapons have a biological look to them, and most are somehow joined to your body in a symbiotic relationship. Tentacles is a bit of a theme, believe it or not!

Now I don’t want to give to much more away about the plot, so I will move on.
The Graphics are excellent, simple, but clear and with a real “classic” 16 bit look to them. The gameplay, although slightly limited, is more than made up for, by the huge variety of enemies, and the amusing and varied ways of dispatching them. If you are lucky enough to know someone else with a copy of “DARK ARMS”, and you have a link cable, then there is a very enjoyable two player battle mode. Sound effects are on the whole of a high standard.
If I have one gripe with “Dark Arms” it is that enemies will always reappear, if a room is re-entered. Whilst this is perhaps an advantage, when you are trying to collect as many souls as possible for evolving weapons. It can be slightly annoying when you are low on energy and you re-enter a room in which you just killed a particularly difficult enemy. As I said, this is only a gripe, not a real fault, and it does have it’s advantages as well, so it is easily forgivable.
Dark Arms is a game that requires some persistence in order to find its best points. That said it is worth the effort.
I genuinely recommend that anyone who is a looking for a new angle on RPG’s should give it a serious look!

Graphics. 8/10
Sound. 7.5/10
Gameplay. 7.5/10
Replay Value. 7/10
Overall. 7.5/10. Well worth a look.

Verdict. Not to everyone’s tastes, but a must for fans of the genre. Well above average.

Dark Arms  -  Buy Me!!!!


More Reviews of This Game:

by Chan - Courtesy of Kazuya's


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