Piklopedia Symphonia

Thursday, 2 September 2004 — 3:19pm | Video games

Alas, to be in Edmonton again means I have been physically severed from the Nintendo GameCube, and will remain so for at least a month.

This is a very good thing insofar as school and productivity are concerned, as it means I will be unable to continue bingeing on Tales of Symphonia, in which I have already logged almost thirty hours of play. For a sense of the sheer girth of this RPG, consider that I am still only on the first disc of two, and that battles take about thirty seconds apiece. Symphonia is a phenomenal experience with a story that starts out as the same old quest where you traipse around to various towers representing different elements like wind and fire, but then it twists and turns in some remarkable ways. And for a Japanese role-playing game, the fights are great; some of the bosses so far have made for delightfully ridiculous duels of a few minutes apiece, all necessitating a plentiful supply of reincarnation items.

Something did manage to wrest me away from it for a day, though, and it goes by the name Pikmin 2. There are few experiences like commanding an army of flowery little space creatures and conquering a microscopic landscape, especially when you make them gang up on the big lumbering insects that act like they rule the garden. Then there are the parts where you take your hundred-strong Pikmin hit squad underground into dungeons reminiscent of the Savage Labyrinth in The Wind Waker and collect all manners of treasure; on one occasion, the critters found an NES directional pad.

These spelunking forays end with some very tough boss battles. In one instance, my Pikmin piled atop a huge caterpillar-like dungeon boss reminiscent of Heimlich in A Bug’s Life and started beating it up, whereupon it started rolling around the cave, squashing half my army. I can still hear their mournful squeals of death.

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