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Katamari Damacy
by Isaac Parakhen on Tuesday 05 October 2004

There are some games that draw you into their world from the very first moment that you pop in the disc, and Katamari Damacy is one of them. The game is pure joy right from the start with its bizarre opening sequence (imagine Monty Python doing the intro for a quirky Japanese game) and continues to be a blast all the way to the delightful interactive end credits. Passerbies to your television set arenít safe either, because they quickly become engaged players rather than observers, and even then, watching the game is exhilarating. Simply put, I have become enamored with this game.

So what exactly is Katamari Damacy about? Well, one night your father, the King of All Cosmos, ďaccidentallyĒ destroys all the stars in the sky (in the Japanese version it seems that he was drunk) and designates you, the prince, to create new stars. To do this, the prince must push a sticky Katamari/clump around collecting objects by rolling over them while trying to reach a certain size before time runs out and, if successful, the King gathers you up on a Rainbow Road that he spits from his mouth and then tosses the Katamari up into the sky to become a star. Weird? I know, but that really is the gist of the gameplay.

Simple. Addictive.

You control the Katamari using the analog sticks and, while it does take some getting used to at first, itís fairly easy to pick up and play. The only buttons used are the L1/R1 triggers which initiate a first-person view and an overhead view respectively. The controls can become a bit tricky at times because there are some basic physics involved. If you collect an object that juts out, say a pencil, everytime you roll over that pencil itíll create a slight bump, but itís nothing overly complicated and is mostly a nuance that just adds to the appeal of the game.

Only objects that are relatively similar in size to your Katamari or smaller will stick to it, and the camera blurs and zooms out as your Katamari reaches certain sizes. The game demonstrates a dazzling sense of scale with no load times within the level at all. Itís always amusing to recall that only minutes ago you were the size of a mouse and now youíre rolling over humans and cars continuing to grow by the minute.

It certainly sounds destructive, but the graphics help alleviate any guilt one might have about capturing a sumo wrestler in a giant sticky ball and then having the nerve to roll around in a river collecting baby turtles and swimmers while repeatedly rolling over the wrestlerís head. The game does look simplistic, but it has its own personality and is unique, which is more than I can say about a lot of games of this generation. Itís not pushing huge polygons by any means, but you have to keep in mind that again, there is no loading from your Katamari starting off very small to becoming a gargantuan and that the game is also keeping track of every single item attached to your Katamari.

That wrestler never knew what hit him.

Audibly, the game is yet again a winner. The frantic sounds that different creatures make are hilarious and the soundtrack is infectious. Every single track is bursting with liveliness and energy and contributes to the sensation of happiness garnered from playing the game. Iíve found myself humming the theme song at random points during my day and I've seriously considered hunting down and purchasing the soundtrack.

With all this praise there must certainly be a few flaws with the game, and there are. The biggest one is that it is a short game that can be completed by most players in a day. However, there is a lot of incentive to come back and play, whether it be the Royal Presents hidden in levels that your prince can wear, finding different characters roaming the streets of each level that can be used in the multiplayer mode, different endings, trying to beat your own records, or just experiencing the gameplay all over again. The multiplayer itself seems tacked on, too. You have 3 minutes to create a bigger Katamari than your opponent and you can even gather up your opponent in your Katamari if itís bigger, but youíre stuck in a small circular room each time with the only difference between each round being the layout of items, and it just isnít as fun as it might have been if you were able to rampage through cityís against each other. The final thing is that the camera can be a real nuisance sometimes. It gets stuck behind several different objects and navigating out from behind the object can be frustrating. There is a Japanese symbol that appears on the screen to indicate where your Katamari is, but it would have been more helpful if the designers had designated the L2/R2 triggers for camera rotation.

Innovation is alive and well.

These minor complaints donít detract from the overall appeal of the game, though. Quite honestly, I havenít had as much fun in a game in a good long time. I do hope that this game becomes successful as work has already begun on a sequel. With all the big titles coming out this fall, it certainly is understandable that this may slip under many peopleís radars, which would be a shame, because itís unique, brilliant, addictive, and creative, and I can easily recommend this title to anyone. As one of the best games in recent years, the greatest thing about the game may be its price: 20 dollars. Do yourself a favor and pick this up now before it fades into obscurity.
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Comments ...
Turd Durgler | 27 Sep : 22:19

Registered: 31 Dec : 16:00

Holy shit yes. Do yourself a favor. Get it or Die. Unfortunately that means most of you will be dying. Anyone know how many copies were released?

Houk | 28 Sep : 15:07

Registered: 31 Dec : 16:00

I actually saw three copies of it at my local Best Buy, which I think is a good sign. I mean, it's no Madden, but seeing it there at all was quite a surprise.

Anonymous | 02 Oct : 19:17

Registered: 31 Dec : 16:00


Anonymous | 02 Oct : 19:20

Registered: 31 Dec : 16:00


BiggNife | 02 Oct : 19:51

Comments: 24

I completely regret getting R type final over this. And I'm guessing mr whats his face (aka anonymous) is being sarcastic so if you are, YOU SUCK.

Anonymous | 05 Oct : 14:24

Registered: 31 Dec : 16:00

this game looks like so much fun. really.
i wish the library had video games.

aka lol | 12 Oct : 10:27

Registered: 31 Dec : 16:00

god.... for $20 this has got ot be the best game i exsitance

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