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Spectrobes: Beyond the Portal review

Sci-fi Pokemon wannabe gets better, but not by much

For

  • Solid art design and graphics
  • Seeing what evolves when you feed them
  • Excavating portions are quite good

Against

  • Battle still simplistic
  • Clumsy controls
  • Grade-school dialogue

The first Spectrobes was a space-based, 3D clone of Pokemon, except you were digging up your critters, recreating them from fossils, and then using two of them at a time to fight off alien invaders. It had some great character designs, was nearly crippled by an absolutely useless real-time battle system in which the shoulder buttons executed attacks, and ended up selling remarkably well. The sequel makes marked improvements in most regards, though it still has quite a distance to go.

The plot just retreads the first game, but does it better: There are new invaders and bosses, so main man Rallen (you) again has to wade through cheesy dialogue and bounce from planet to planet beating in alien skulls and collecting as many of the 185 Spectrobes you can find. Gotta unearth %26lsquo;em all, or so they say.

When you disembark on a planet, your character wanders around looking for fossils and other goals %26ndash; with an over-the-shoulder 3D view this time instead of the first game%26rsquo;s isometric view. Enemies are visible on this map, and can be punched, laser blasted, or bashed in the piehole with a sword. The controls are wonky here though, a strange combination of d-pad, buttons, and stylus action.

Some enemies on the map are too big for Rallen to handle alone. That%26rsquo;s when your two Spectrobes enter the fray. You control one entirely and the other acts on its own, with you jumping from one to the other at will. This actually works pretty well, much better than the awkward, %26ldquo;both at once%26rdquo; maneuvering of the first game.

More Info

GenreRole Playing
Description<p>Consider this RC Cola to Pokemon's Coke; it's tasty if you want some new ideas, but it isn't what you really want out of a monster collecting game.</p>
Franchise nameSpectrobes
UK franchise nameSpectrobes
PlatformDS
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
UK censor rating
Alternative namesSpectrobes 2
Release date:7 October 2008 (US), (UK)
Available platforms:DS
Genre:Role Playing
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