Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 3 has its official release tomorrow and already I offer a glimpse of the first half hour of the game. As the name indicates, this is the third episode of a game series that has, somehow, been able to reach audiences outside Japan under names like SOS The Final Escape, Disaster Report or Raw Danger. The first episode is a simple and daring game that is utterly unique in its day. For the sequel, the small Irem team lead by Maki D and Kazuma Kuijo has gathered more resources and were able to weave a plot so complex and interactive that is simply unbelievable for a small budget game.
This third episode points to a return to the roots, added the new feature of multiplayer game up to four simultaneous participants - a feature I have not yet tested. Because I believe this game might not be converted to an English-speaking market I thought about making a feature about the progress of the game.
Some images from the intro, the main menu and the character selection menu: Naoki Kousaka (Boy) or Rina Makimura (Girl).
The game starts off nice and quietly with the character on the seat of a bus. Two girls talk beside him and the player is given the chance to express his thoughts. Suddenly the ground begins to shake and the bus suffers a violent accident.
After going by a number of people stuck helplessly inside the bus while crawling the way out, the tunel shakes once more, producing piles of rubble that cover the way. Such is the first narrow escape of the game.
Wandering into the tunnel, a group of abandoned cars can be found. An unknown person is seen on the far end running. Again the player is given the menu choice for a reply or action. Those who are familiar with the series might be surprised to know that the number of choices reaches unimaginable numbers in this game. (Too bad my knowledge of Japanese isn’t enough to fully grasp this wonderful feature.)
After crawling the way through the smoky part of the tunnel, a massive hole on the tarmac forces the character to jump and grab to the ledge.
As expected, one of the buttons is assigned solely to the action of shouting out loud. The blurry effect around the screen edges represents the level of high stress in which the character is at the moment. In the first game the meter indicated the stamina, recoverable by drinking water. In the second episode the meter would indicate temperature or dryness. In this PSP sequel, the meter points the level of stress. So panic situations, expected to be plentiful during the game, will trigger certain reactions such as slow and jerky movements.
The team’s signature obsession with compass decorations, ready to be equiped once found. Over the years they have surely designed about a hundred different variation of compasses - quirky to say the least.
Saving points. Instead of faucets or heat sources, this new game allows the player to sit and rest from the accumulated stress by simply seating on a bench. Just watch the ST meter decrease and the HP going up.
The first great moment of the game. Reaching the parallel tunnel the screams of a girl can be heard. Responding to them (shouting) will reveal her location underneath a car. In order to lift her up, the character must find a car jack on the trunk of a vehicle about to fall into a gigantic crack on the floor. The altruistic gesture is replied with many a thanks from the rescued girl, now a new partner in the quest for survival.
The character and his newly acquired shirt facing the detailed representation of a fissuring tunnel.
Both characters take a rest in a bench initially designed for two: it seems that ICO is still very vivid in the memories of Kazuma and Maki.
Tragedy ensues: the water pipe breaks and massive ammounts of water start flooding the closed spaces - a wink and a smile for those who got their feet wet on Geo City (in ZZT2). The new feature - new to the series, that is - invites the player to repeatedly press the circle button to push the door.
The signal points to a surface exit…
… and with the surface comes this catastrophic sight of a devastated city. The characters’ stress levels automatically rises up to the maximum as they learn the incident has not only affected the tunnel but it shook the ground of the whole cityscape. People can be found sitting on the floor, unwilling to continue to fight for their survival. Thick clouds of dark grey smoke indicate the location of large fires that burn inside large buildings. Cars, trains, bridges and street lamps compose the appaling background of twisted metal.
More to come on future diary entries.4 years ago