Product Type: Bandai Nintendo DS games
Newest Review: ... battle against the homunculi, a group of artificially created humans, and the master that is pulling their strings. At the start of each... more
I have no sympathy for short boring games
Fullmetal Alchemist: Dual Sympathy (DS)
Member Name: Dentolux
Fullmetal Alchemist: Dual Sympathy (DS)
Advantages: Some of the mini games are fun, includes good artwork and voice acting from the show
Disadvantages: Only takes a few hours to complete, basic combat, all the characters play the same
The game tells the tale of Edward and Alphonse Elric, two young alchemists on a quest to find the fabled Philosopher's stone to restore their bodies. Years ago when their mother passed away they attempted a forbidden human transmutation to bring her back. The ritual failed and in the process Edward lost an arm and a leg which he has since replaced with artificial limbs called auto-mail. That may sound bad, but trust me Alphonse came away worse from the ordeal. His entire body was lost so in order to survive his soul had to be bonded to a suit of armour. Being a suit of armour means that he doesn't have to worry about mundane things like eating... but crossing an airport metal detector must be a pain when your body is composed mainly of steel!
Dual Sympathy's ten levels pretty much cover the entire series. The opening level, like the show, starts off with the brothers facing off against Cornello a false prophet who has taken over a remote desert town. As you progress through the game you get to help Edward travel to the city of Central in order to join the military and become a certified state alchemist. From there you move onto the battle against the homunculi, a group of artificially created humans, and the master that is pulling their strings. At the start of each level you get some cut scenes and narration from Alphonse to bring you up to speed as to what is going on. It's sufficient for fans of the show, but I would imagine that people who are not familiar with the cartoon will have trouble keeping up with the plot with the limited information you are given.
Graphically FMA: Dual Sympathy is not an ugly game, but it doesn't push the handheld to its limits. The in game sprites look decent and move along smoothly, but visually speaking what we get doesn't look much better than a Gameboy Advance release or late Super Nintendo title. The artwork used in the cut scenes is good, but most of it seems to be ripped from the show and not created specifically for the game. I don't have any issues with the sound which includes music from the anime and dialogue read by the English language cast responsible for dubbing the series.
For the most part what we have here is a side scrolling beat-em-up akin to Streets of Rage only far more basic. In the story mode you control Edward who has to walk into an area, defeat a bunch of enemies and then move onto the next stage. You can dash, jump, punch and that is pretty much it. Combat is pretty much reduced to button mashing which wouldn't be so bad if they gave you a varied selection of enemies to battle. Unfortunately all we get are humans who walk around aimlessly and barely attack along with chimeras whose sole move is to leap at you which is easily dodged. It's fun at first, but after a couple of levels the lack of moves or challenge gets monotonous.
To try and spice things up you are given the ability to use alchemy in the form of an offensive move (create a cannon) and a defensive one (erect a stone wall.) Calling upon these powers is as simple as pressing the touch screen although I wish they would have mapped the moves to the L and R triggers. Maybe it's just me, but I found it uncomfortable moving my thumbs down from the d-pad to the bottom screen. The cannon hits enemies for major damage and can blow up obstacles that get in your way. In terms of defence the wall blocks projectile attacks and can be used to scale over traps such as spikes and flames.
Although I wasn't a fan of using the touch screen during the main game, it worked well for playing the min-games you come across. Using the stylus you'll get to do things like compete in an arm wrestling match, chop wood, colour in transmutation circles, run away from a giant rolling boulder and guide the brothers past a masked man in a stealth level. The mini-games on offer provide much needed diversity and are a laugh the first time you tackle them. Due to their simplicity, much like the in game combat, you'll however tire of them fast after a couple of goes.
I think the biggest complaint I have with this game is how short it is. Given how repetitive the combat gets this may be a blessing in disguise, but you cannot help but feel cheated by how quickly the whole thing can be beaten. I can only imagine how exasperated someone on a tight budget would feel coughing up full price for this. Heck even picking it up from a bargain bin feels like a con as the story can be finished in a few hours. Ten levels might not sound too bad, but you have to take into account that some of those levels consist of just a mini-game or beating a single boss that can be downed in a minute flat. I personally got through the whole thing in a couple of days and I would imagine most players could get to the finish in just one sitting.
Replay value is encouraged to unlock gallery pictures, but if you don't like the game I don't see the point of going through it multiple times. Upon completion of the story you gain access to other characters which should add a new lease of life to the game. Unfortunately it doesn't. All the characters have the same pool of moves at their disposal so the only difference between them is their appearance. Playing through the character mode skips the story segments, which is handy if you don't want to rewatch the cut scenes, but the omission of the story only serves to ram home how short the actual game is.
What else can I say? This game was a real disappointment especially given the rich source material they had to work with. The combat is too basic for my liking. They don't even utilise all the buttons on the DS. At the very least they could have assigned one button to punch, another to kick and maybe the option to block attacks. The boss fights were mildly entertaining as they have attack patterns to work out, but the regular enemies are pathetic. You just move forward, bash the attack button and move on. I liked the idea of using alchemy powers to get past obstacles, but as you only have two powers to work with the scope of puzzles you come across is limited. More of an effort should have been made to add a wider selection of alchemy spells to play around with.
I cannot recommend this game to anyone other than a hard core fan of the anime who is content with just adding more merchandise to their collection. Perhaps younger gamers would also enjoy it more than I did. The lack of difficulty makes it accessible for kids as do the easy to pick up controls and mini-games. For me though it just isn't worth it. One of the themes of Full Metal Alchemist is "equivalent exchange." It states that "to create, something of equal value must be lost." Shame that this title doesn't follow that rule. The entertainment value I gained did not equal the financial cost I paid.
Review originally posted on Ciao.
Summary: Another dire licenced game. Not worthy of the excellent anime it is based off.
More reviews in the field of Nintendo DS Game
- Arguably the best game on the DS
- Colouring never looked so complicated
- Touch Master DS. Nice Collection of Games
- A Quality Game: Updated for younger Mario fans!
- Sonic Tonic
- Oh lala! Give me an outfit now!!
- My Childhood - Repeated
- Good Game but not as easy for my daughter as i thought!
- Adorable Kittens and Puppies in 3D
- Not for everyone