FULL STEAM AHEAD MY NAKAMA!
Ahoy matey's welcome to my gaming retrospective of 2 forgotten titles of anime/manga Titan One Piece!. Spanning over 10 years One Piece has had it's fingers in all kinds of media pies. Movies, toys, clothes, energy drinks and yes video games!.
There was a point when over in the western world we were given One Piece but unfortunately 4Kids were the providers!. A dodgy dub & even stranger censorship choices (sanji who smokes now constantly eats lollipops and every sword happens to be rubber) saw that One Piece didn't do to well over our shores.
For the die hard fans they stuck with the fan sub and in the recent couple of years we have seen somewhat of a resurgence of One Piece with release of anime box sets and even games. Most notable ones are the Pirate Warrior series. Using the Musou layout and engine both sold considerably well and have a large fan base.
Unlimited Cruise 1 & 2 also released over here but with not as much love, myself personally didn't like the series either. But what other games could you be playing featuring our favourite pirate crew?. Here are 2 fine examples of overlooked games which are fantastic not only for anime related games but games in general!
One Piece - GAMEBOY ADVANCE
Made for the US audience by DIMPS (Sonic Advance series) and released around the height of popularity for One Piece by 4KIDS. Players control loveable pirate Monkey D Luffy on his quest to become the Pirate King.
The game follows the story from the beginning at the East Blue Arc (starting with Alvida often left out) and finishes up at the Loguetown town arc. Luffy is the only playable character throughout the game but the other members of his crew (Zoro, Nami, Sanji & Ussop) appear as summons.
It's a fantastic little 2D Platformer along the lines of Dragon Ball Advance, instantly playable offers quite a challenge and the bosses are fun to fight. Each boss has a different tactic to it making the Arlong fight different to that of the Smoker fight.
What most impresses me is the attention to characters with mini bosses for forgotten characters like Helmepoppo and Jango!.
Iv been through this game personally a few times and I love it everytime, setting a high score and seeing it on Luffy's wanted poster always pleases me.
The only downside is that it never got a sequel in any form!. I can only imagine what the levels based in the Grand Line would of been like.
Plus it would of been great to see all the Strawhats side by side. I understand at the time they didn't want to pass where the viewers would be but I think now would be a good time for a 2.5D game from East Blue to Marineford!. I can only wish!
ONE PIECE GIGANT BATTLE - NINTENDO DS
Jumping forward a few years and we have the DS title GIGANT BATTLE.
Based over the Sabaody Arc to the Marineford Arc (there are bits here and there from other arcs e.g characters and items).
Featuring one of the largest playable cast you'll see with characters from every faction from The Straw Hats to The Marines to The Shichibukai and even Whitebeard himself!.
Along side them you have a huge selection of support characters and further more even minor characters in the background of stages effecting gameplay e.g Franky Family and Minotaurus.
With pick up and play gameplay along the lines of Powerstone or Super Smash Brothers. It's easy enough to pick up do a couple of missions and put down. Colourful settings true to the vision of One Piece and fairly decent writing beings this tight package together nicely.
This game performed that well it even saw a European release long after OP had died and thus kick started a relationship between Europe and One Piece once again.
There is a sequel to this but unfortunately it never left japan. This maybe down to them wanting to push Pirate Warriors or they felt it was too late in the DS's life cycle and chose to work on Unlimited Cruise instead but that is purely guess work.
Like the original it's still highly playable, very addictive and has a wealth of content for you and your Nakama to trove over!. It's easy enough to play on Japanese and there are plenty of people on forums and walkthroughs which should see you through this wonderful title. These are just two examples of One Piece titles I have played and enjoyed immensely.
Having recently finished the story of One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 it feels good to look back at previous overlooked titles.
The future of One Piece looks bright with the anime being released by Funimation over here on DVD & newest release the 3DS RPG Romance Dawn releasing in November in Europe.
Plus in Japan they have Unlimited Cruise Red which looks like One Piece crossed with Monster Hunter so I am holding my breath for that one!.
As a parting gift for you budding pirates before you set off to the Grand Line to find the One Piece here are a few Honourable and Dishonourable mentions One Piece style!
The Whitebeard!: Jump Ultimate Stars - Nintendo DS
Not strictly a One Piece game but a Jump! Smash Brothers style game with all your favourite jump anime characters. Luffy vs Goku vs Naruto with Ultimate Muscle characters interfering? It's all possible here!. It didn't release over seas but there is a translation patch on the net well worth playing!.
There is a wealth of general anime related goodness and more than enough nods to One Piece (a move turns Luffy into Afro Luffy!) one of the best games you can play on DS!
The Blackbeard! One Piece:Gear Spirit - Nintendo DS
Hot on the heels of the success of the Bleach fighting games on DS we have One Piece's answer to them!.
Using a 3D looking engine you are given a clunky looking game with clunky controls. Unresponsive moves and balancing issues (I understand in fairness but Luffy and Chopper shouldn't be equals in strength) cause this to be one of the weaker titles. It lacks content and the story mode is near enough a none starter.
The only redeeming factor to this is that it's the only OP game iv played where Shanks was playable. Pity I had to suffer this game for that experience!.
There you have it my Nakama till next time I'll see you on the Ol' briny! We are! we are! We are on a cruise!
P.S as mentioned Romance Dawn releases in Europe November time. I'll be reviewing it unfortunately I doubt Namco-Bandai will be sending me a promo so it will be a week or so after release
As always you can contact me here on the blog, on twitter @andicpunx or email firstname.lastname@example.org