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Electronic Gaming Monthly : Review Crew : Boktai: The Sun Is in Your Hand (Shane)
Boktai: The Sun Is In Your Hand (GBA)
Also On: n/a
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami JPN
Genre(s): Role Playing Game > Action
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Release Date: 9/16/2003 (USA)
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Good: Great game backs up the sun gimmick

Bad: Low light makes gameplay insanely hard

Sorry: Gamers who live in Alaska, Scandinavia, or Seattle


Score:9 (out of 10)

Talk about subversive—Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima has successfully forged a game that will trick gamers into going outside, where the life-replenishing sunbeams will fill their cells with Vitamin D and give their lives newfound hope...or something. Well, it worked on me: I repeatedly ventured into reality's overworld in order to maximize my enjoyment of this incredible game.

The premise is simple yet effective: You're Django, a brave lad who's carrying on his father's vampire-slaying heritage in a monster-filled fantasyland. Gameplay deftly mixes equal parts of The Legend of Zelda (massive dungeons, weapon and health power-ups, and tricky bosses) and Kojima's own Metal Gear (wall-hugging stealth and gratuitous gunplay), which creates an addictive, challenging action-RPG that's completely commendable even without its solar gimmick. The whole sun-sensor deal actually annoyed me at first—having to wait for a cloud to pass before I could tackle a boss just felt so...random. But that's actually the whole idea: The chaos of nature guarantees that everyone's experience with Boktai will be fundamentally different every time they play.

I was slightly disappointed by the short length (you can barrel through it in eight hours), but secrets and unlockable items, plus the sheer solar unpredictability, warrant multiple playthroughs.

Score:8 (out of 10)

Despite the silly name, Boktai (which translates to "Our Sun" in Japanese—not much better) is a surprisingly captivating little adventure. Its main selling point—the sun sensor—is one of the most original ideas to come along in years, although it's not always practical. I usually play games during the darkest depths of night or on the subway...which made sealing away bosses difficult. Aside from that one sticking point, I found the rest of the game thoroughly enjoyable. The dungeons are vast and well-designed, combat is fun and intuitive, and replayability abounds. But perhaps the best thing about Boktai is that it actually encourages players to get out and get some sun. Who can argue with that?


Score:8.5 (out of 10)

Kojima's many fans can breathe easy: Despite the limitations of developing for GBA, Mr. Metal Gear's deft eye for detail can be found in every aspect of this charming game. The solar sensor concept is ingenious, and Boktai's basic building blocks (diabolical monsters, treasure-bearing chests, elemental-themed worlds, and an epic quest) stay mostly true to standard RPG conventions, with a bit of action and ample exploration. The graphics are crisp, the soundtrack impressive—but all you really need to know is that this portable gem is a pleasure to play.

All Reviews from Ziff Davis Publications SCORE
Electronic Gaming Monthly
The burns!

scale: 1 - 10
Game Now
Get your pasty butt outside

scale A - F
GMR Magazine
Light it up

scale: 1 - 10
DETAILED INFO for Boktai: The Sun Is In Your Hand
Release Date: 9/16/2003 (USA) Players: 1-4

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