As you know if you’ve been keeping up with Cyberphile, I’ve been replaying the GameCube Animal Crossing. As you progress in Animal Crossing, the main shop in town where you do all of your buying and selling eventually upgrades to carry more items. Unfortunately, to do so, it has to close down for the day, rendering most of the day useless as a player, as your inventory will fill up, and you have nowhere to unload it. So, on a whim yesterday, I tried out Maken X for the Dreamcast.

Maken X, published by Atlus and released in 2000 is a first person, sword-fighting, supernatural, action game. The art is done by the same people who worked on the early Persona games as well as Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. It also retains the atmosphere of the early Shin Megami Tensei and Persona games. The story is about a pharmaceutical company who is creating an artificial intelligence that will be able to cure disease, but one day the facility is attacked, and the main character’s father who heads the project is kidnapped. 16 year old Kay awakens the artificial intelligence and wields it as a sword. The AI, called Maken, (technically, you play as this AI, not the character) essentially uses the soul (called psi) to fuse with people and control them, in a process called brainjacking. Kay/Maken begin their quest to find and rescue her father.

The gameplay is first person, and really fun. You can dodge, block, and even jump over enemies to disorient them. After you complete the first stage, you leave Kay behind and brainjack an enemy, giving you stronger attacks, and new special abilities and stats. Each character has their own set of stats and skills, and no two players are the same. In fact, you often need to brainjack weaker characters just to get information or abilities out of them. Blademasters will help you in your quest to defeat baddies by offering up their bodies to Maken. You will need certain characters to progress certain ways, and there are a number of split paths, hidden areas and characters to find. As you kill enemies, you rank up, which I can only assume increase your power slightly.

I still need more time with Maken X, but I must say that I’m really enjoying it. The enemy designs are really cool and unique, and it has great level design, and, most importantly, it’s very fun to play. Check it out sometime!

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These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

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