[REVIEW] Odama – Gamecube27th May 2018
In the early day’s of this site I set myself a challenge. To review EVERY PAL Gamecube game officially released for the console during it’s lifespan. Retrocollect advises this is 447 titles, however with overseas only releases (and that darn Maxplay 10 disc) this moves up to 454.
This is the continuing saga that has me looking through the fodder and well as the classics:
In ancient Japan, youthful general Yamanouchi Kagetora vows to avenge his father’s death with the use of an audacious military weapon – the Odama, a huge ball so powerful that it will destroy whatever it hits, friend or foe. With the Odama spinning around a medieval battlefield, it’s up to you to use the Microphone (included with each copy of the game) to direct soldiers toward the enemy – and away from the crushing power of the Odama! Each battlefield acts as a separate level – shatter the enemy’s gates with the Odama, then send your troops through the gates to move on to the next level. A unique fusion of war game and pinball simulation.
ODAMA, a bizarre title for the Gamecube, is a gotta-see-it-to-believe-it game that blends battlefield strategy with pinball action to produce a flawed but unique gaming experience. Fields, city streets, and towns serve as the pinball table. The odama is a giant metal ball that rolls around, wreaking destruction on men, buildings, animals, vehicles, and just about anything else that gets in the way.
Players guide the odama with flippers and by tilting the battlefield, all the while protecting a giant bell that is being carried across the battlefield to a goal. Most destruction comes from the rolling odama, which can gain power-ups that recruit squashed enemies to the player’s side or put more time on the game clock. But players also command their troops by shouting “March Left!” or “Rally!” into the included microphone.
If this sounds crazy, that’s because Odama is a truly bat-shit crazy game — and fun. Battlefields are chaotic, with little men rushing everywhere, while the odama causes Godzilla-level destruction (on allies and enemies). The game is a delicious sensory overload: Players frantically command their troops to capture a strategic position, smash the ball with the flippers, tilt the table to direct the shot at a giant samurai warrior, and launch food to distract the hungry enemy army, all at the same time.
There are a few problems: Collisions with objects on the field can send the odama careening in unpredictable ways. Some battlefields restrict ball movement, confining it in some cases to predefined lanes. Additionally, players will have to repeat some commands to keep the armies on task. But yet even against all this, Odama still managed with the mix of story elements and frantic action to keep it appealing despite the flaws.
As one of the big box titles for the GameCube, this is worth hunting out for a collection just to play in those moments when Katamari just cant scratch that itch!