Monday 9 March 2015

The Masked Rider: Kamen Rider ZO (Mega CD / Sega CD review)

Developer: Toei Video
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1994

The Masked Rider: Kamen Rider ZO is a quick-time FMV game featuring footage from the 1993 Japanese movie.

There's a total of 10 stages and the majority are boss battles where to need to press the correct button while watching the live action. If you choose the wrong button your life bar will deplete until eventually you die. The presentation is excellent especially the user interface and there's tons of video content that looks decent for the Mega CD. The voice acting is terrible though; for example, the intro features children chatting in the street but they've been overdubbed with adult voices! The chase sequence in the first stage is lengthy and there's many button sequences to interact with. It's just disappointing that all subsequent stages are extremely short and can sometimes be beaten with just one or two button presses. The weirdest part of the game is that you can actually beat a boss while the video still shows the battle in progress. This happens if you manage to drain your opponents lifebar quicker than the currently displayed video sequence. It's strange seeing 'You Won!' displayed on the screen while your character is engaged in a tense fight! There's also times where you have multiple options to choose from and some result in you losing a life. Imagine the two options are 'ZO Punch' or 'ZO Kick' to finish a boss - there's no way to know that one of them will kill you! The game doesn't take long to complete and if you strip out the video cut-scenes and focus purely on the total amount of gameplay there's probably less than ten minutes of content here. This is unacceptable, especially when the promising first stage takes up the bulk of that.

The Masked Rider: Kamen Rider ZO is a great idea but it's executed very poorly. The lack of content and variety make for a shallow experience and once you've seen the credits there's really no reason to return to the game.

Random trivia: The Kamen Rider franchise has seen a variety of games released across multiple genres. One recent example is the 2013 RPG called Kamen Rider Travelers Record for the Nintendo 3DS.

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