NEON GENESIS EVANGELION / Bandai / Nintendo 64
 
 
Neon Genesis Evangelion basically cuts out a bunch of major events from the original 1995-96 series -- mostly the battles, of course -- and has you play them as individual levels, connected by a weird mix of video clips from the show and renderings of the video clips from the show in that blocky N64 3D we all love. It was only released in Japan, but you don't need to speak Japanese to play it, as it's just a simplistic action game. You can figure out the fight controls with a little trial-and-error and the other modes of play are self-explanatory.

Most of the game's levels are one-on-one battles against the Angels, the monstrous antagonists of the show who are here to destroy the Erf. These play like that awful Ultraman game for the Super NES, except even slower and stiffer. You're also expected to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the series coming in, as sometimes these battles require you to get beat up in a specific way that happened in the show to progress, or require you to do one particular move at one particular time because that's what happened in the show. Even when you're supposed to be winning the fight, movement is clunky and stiff and you only have a tiny handful of moves. The fights are never enjoyable.

There are two other level types -- one where you have to pound the buttons as fast as you can to outrun something, or QTE-like levels where you have to follow button presses. That's about as exciting as you would expect it to be.

The only reason I know there are other level types is that I played maybe six or so years ago on an emulator and actually somehow managed to get through most of it. This time out, I gave up on the second battle, it was just too ridiculous.

So the game is basically just a truncated recreation of the series, with some of the scenes rendered in blocky '90s game 3D instead of just using the original video, and you play select action parts that range from simplistic and unexciting to clunky and frustrating. A lot of effort was clearly put into presentation, but I wonder why they even bothered when the gameplay was such an afterthought.
 
 
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