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Beyblade: Metal Fusion - Battle Fortress

Platform(s): Nintendo DS, Wii
Genre: Role-Playing
Publisher: Hudson Entertainment
Developer: Hudson Soft
Release Date: Nov. 9, 2010

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Wii Review - 'Beyblade: Metal Fusion - Battle Fortress'

by Erik "NekoIncardine" Ottosen on Sept. 3, 2011 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Beyblade: Metal Fusion - Battle Fortress features a complete game-specific story with the original characters from the show. Players find themselves in the midst of a disappearance of the world’s most powerful Beybladers. Sucked into a giant fortress, players must battle robot bladers and discover the mystery behind the abduction.

Beyblade is a fairly typical shonen anime franchise. Take a children's game, add awesome, and make the plot about a group of kids — or, in later seasons, teenagers —saving the world. It's well-treaded terrain with a surprising number of variants and easy merchandising potential. The children's game in this series is essentially spinning top battles, right down to the simple, classical rules of knocking your opponent's top off the arena or stopping it to score points. The game and series were fairly directly parodied in The World Ends With You with the Tin Pin Slammer minigame. Sadly, that minigame is vastly more enjoyable than Hudson's attempts at building a video game version of Beyblade. Beyblade: Metal Fusion - Battle Fortress for the Wii somehow manages to come across as a soulless, shallow take on an anime series that already isn't very deep or philosophical.

The originality ends with the plot intro, where a fairly stereotypical Dr. Wily clone goes on about how Beyblades bare people's souls; he believes that mastering it will give him the power to conquer the world. The only surprise is that he catches on that ordinary kids, who happen to be experts at the game, will be easy to kidnap ... using Beyblade robots known as "B-Killers." This may not be too bad by shonen standards, except that this is where the good, or even humorously bad, lines stop. As soon as the first character from the series (rival-type Kyoya) shows up on-screen, he sounds bored — without the help of voice acting — as he gets defeated and makes a poor attempt at snarky commentary while falling unconscious.


A few hours later, the series' main character, Gingka, is working on regular Beyblade maintenance when a giant, Beyblade-shaped fortress pops into the sky. It kidnaps him and his sidekick with a tractor beam, and he loses his Beyblade in the process. Everyone else in the fortress has been told they'll be granted "molecular powers" if they best others who have been kidnapped like them, providing a handy source of conflict at the expense of any character who looks the slightest bit intelligent — even the hero. While he promptly rejects the idea of this sort of power, Gingka will push any button that looks interesting as long as someone says it is a bad idea to press random buttons, with a predictable mix of good and bad results.

I'm not going to spoil any details, other than to say that this game represents a filler arc that will never be referenced in any Beyblade series. That's a good thing because the story is so poorly written that it could kill interest in the main series if it were connected. (I watched and actually enjoyed a few episodes of the anime series to check that the writing in the game is below par by Beyblade standards. It is.) This is not helped by the lack of voice work (not even the iconic match-starting "Let it rip!" that could have been copied from show footage) and a small number of poses (about four) for each character, causing severe mismatches of the text lines with their apparent mood; it even makes the text come across as phoned in.

The story is not the beginning of the lack of caring, though. The gameplay tries to make more out of the basic top gameplay and fails to achieve the most basic semblance of depth. Half of the game is in your launch, but the physics do not feel like they match with your input. You pick a starting target and the angle from which you will launch your top, and then you make a single, swift draw of the Wii Remote to launch it. Simply watching would apparently be too boring, so the game introduces three options that players can abuse. This only makes the game far too easy by the standards of a children's game, let alone one targeted at fans of a franchise based around a skill-based game.


First, players can "juke" their tops with a quick swipe of the Wiimote, at the cost of a little bit of the top's speed. In theory, the direction you shift the Wiimote corresponds to where the top goes, but I found little such correspondence in gameplay. Second, collisions or near-misses build up a super gauge that allows players to temporarily boost a stat, though "powerful" boosters seem to do little in gameplay. Most significantly, the game provides a way to trigger the anime's special moves by using a full gauge and a waggle motion whose timing is excessively precise for a waggle motion. It sometimes triggers a juke and then the super, further ruining your timing. If your move has one or more opposing tops in an arbitrary range, then the move triggers with a dramatic cut scene, which looks pretty terrible compared to the series. These moves are supposed to turn a fight around, but they rarely do so in practice, even when used by the opposing AI.

This core fails to capture the essence of game on which it is based, and it's surrounded by a lazy room-selection pattern, with the aforementioned cut scenes occurring before and after each plot match. The game provides a single play variant in the form of Bey Machines, which are basically targets along a track that must be struck a certain number of times within a minute. However, after the first sight of these, they are completely optional and not a significant change-up. Other than that and collecting Bey Points by winning matches to get parts shipped up to you to "improve" your Beyblade, there's pretty much no variation from the formula for the entire game.


Even the graphics tend to be extremely simplistic and boring, with play fields managing to look less dynamic than the cheapest, thinnest plastic boards of the physical game; special effects that would've seemed cheap in the 1980s; and the aforementioned minimal supply of character art. Only the titular Beyblades look half-decent, if not precisely accurate to the toys by any measure. The sound effects sound ludicrously unrealistic, don't sync up with the graphics at some points, and don't sound like the show. The music sounds like someone was copying too many notes from Dynasty Warriors, of all things — except it's even more repetitive and forgettable!

All of this adds up to the following: Beyblade fans (and/or their parents) are much, much better served by putting their $30 into the actual toys, which will last a lot longer than the game and be more fun than Beyblade: Metal Fusion - Battle Fortress. This may be one of the worst abuses of a licensed property in recent memory.

Score: 3.5/10



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