Written for Total Control magazine, Rapide Publishing c.1998

Evil Zone

Platform: PlayStation
Publisher: Titus Software
Developer: Yukes
Style: Beat-‘em-up
Release: June
Price: £40
Players: 1-2
Analogue: No
Dual Shock: No
Memory card: 1 Block

Apparently, this game is already a massive hit in Japan, but then so are vending machines selling pants, a useful word which by a funny coincidence is also a good description of this game. Evil Zone is a fighting game for five-year-olds and people who can’t be bothered to learn how to play a proper beat-‘em-up.
Having waded through a typically execrable translation of some incomprehensible low-grade manga nonsense, it appears that the preposterous characters in this dull little game have some sort of storyline attached to them. Surely there must be someone out there capable of translating Japanese into English without erasing all trace of style, sense and meaning. As it stands, the nine characters are typical manga fare; big eyes, no noses and pyrotechnic superpowers, with motivations that defy understanding.
The game is a triumph of style over content. On screen there are spectacular graphics like a cross between Soul Blade and Akira, while the gameplay consists of pressing just two buttons. The characters have about half a dozen standard attacks, and just seven special moves each. All are activated by simple combinations of the D-pad and the triangle button. They may look flash but they require almost no player input.
The AI controlling the opponents is rudimentary, and seems to rely on simply blocking every move with the same defence. The sound effects accompanying the combat are restricted to a few crap samples, repeated over and over again to the point of absurdity.
This seems to be a game designed for people who can be entertained by simple patterns of flashing lights and repetitive noises. Anyone with a mental age exceeding four months should avoid it like the plague.

Verdict 15%