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March 8, 2005
Blood Will Tell - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
23/2/2005THQSega1M15+Medium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
620KBStereoYesYesNoneNo

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Some effects are quite nice.
Blood Will Tell: Tezuka Osamuís Dororo is Segaís entry into the adventure hack n slash genre which is starting to become quite crowded with titles like Devil May Cry, Onimusha and Spawn already on the shelves. Despite being a newcomer to the games world, BWT is actually based on Japanese anime Dororo, which has been around since the 1960ís and was written by the late great Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy among others. So here we go, lets see if Sega can produce a game to back up the long running and popular series.

The story is with out doubt the highlight of Blood Will Tell. The game follows Hyakkimaru a samurai who is on a quest like no other. You see Hyakkimaru is not on your regular save the world or rescue the princess type mission; oh no this is much more personal. You are out to find 48 body parts that were stolen from you as a new born baby. Why did he have 48 body parts stolen you ask? Well his no good father traded in the life of his first born for ultimate power, but is stunned when his baby is born only to discover it has no limbs. So what is a father to do? Well he loaded his son into a wooden barrel and threw him into the river, as you would. Fortunately for baby Hyakkimaru, he was found by a man named Jyukai who happens to be a doctor. Jyukai is then stunned, as the baby is able to speak to him using his mind. So Jyukai raises the boy as his own, then as the boy gets older they start to notice an alarming rate of demons and fiends surrounding them, watching their every move.

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A 4-hit combo.
So Jyukai sensing that they are after the boy decides to outfit young Hyakkimaru with weapons that are concealed within his body, he then trained Hyakkimaru to use these weapons and become an awesome killing machine. So with his body now ready for the fight, Hyakkimaru sets off on his quest to get his body back one piece at a time. To do this he must locate and defeat each of the 48 fiends. Along the way Hyakkimaru is joined by a young thief named Dororo who will do whatever possible to aid Hyakkimaru on his journey. So not your average game story then?

The gameplay on offer here is fast and furious hack n slash with a touch of adventure and plat former. The game is controlled from a 3rd person perspective and sees you battling a huge number of beasts throughout the games large seven chapters. To beat these chapters you will need to take full advantage of Hyakkimaruís built in arsenal of Swords which he has instead of arms! A built in gun and a rocket launcher which is located inside his leg. The more you use his built in swords the more experience he gains which makes them stronger and capable of dishing out more pain. Whereas the swords you find along the way have a set power, meaning they cannot be leveled up like the built in swords. Hyakkimaru also levels up automatically after certain amounts of battle. Where the real upgrade is however is in finding the 48 fiends. After defeating one of these boss battles Hyakkimaru receives a body part back. One of the first you will find is his left eye, which lets you see the game in color for the very first time. Defeating other fiends yields parts such as his left leg which then gives you a speed dash, his nose which then makes the controller rumble and alert you to any nearby fiends and his arm which gives your attacks much more power.

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Taking on a boss.
During all these fights young Dororo will fight right besides you, though not strong the rocks that he throws do a bit of damage and he keeps the enemies from ganging up on you. You can also give him commands such as fight, search for nearby items or fiends as well as collecting all the various items that are spilled from all the fighting. At various stages of the game you actually take control of Dororo who goes it alone on missions. These are usually missions of the follow local bad guy to get some information or find a helpful item for Hyakkimaru to use variety. These sections are not stealth at all but there is certainly less fighting which is a nice change of pace.

On some occasions a second player can take control of Dororo allowing for some two player gaming. While this sounds like a pretty nice addition the game, in reality it is only a novelty as the camera only follows Hyakkimaru and leaves Dororo stranded. So it is not a game you and a mate are going to enjoy for long.

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Some nice fogging...
So far so good but there are some problems here that prevent Blood Will Tell from joining the elite of the genre. One is the camera most of the time it is fine allowing the player to manually control things but at other stages it goes into a lock mode. This usually happens at the most annoying times such as being surrounded in corridor while being attacked by enemies you canít see. The other time is when you are lining up jumps in Dororos plat forming sections. By far the worst part about the camera is when it changes without you noticing, as this momentarily reverses the controls, so you start running back from where you just came causing some frustrating moments.

By far my biggest problem with this game is the boss battles, while they all look pretty impressive the problem is they are all pretty easy to defeat. They all rely on the age old method of attacking in predictable patterns. To defeat most of the bosses you simply wait for them to attack, sidestep get behind them and slash until defeated. This pattern happens way too often for my liking. The other problem with the battles is the rewards you receive and when you receive them. It takes well over half way through the game before you get the rumble feature which alerts you too nearby finds and should have been much closer to the start of the game. The last problem is rather an obvious one, the game is repetitive. Most hack n slashers have this problem, but here it seems worse as it is the same enemies you encounter over and over, only as the game goes on they get a bit stronger taking even more time to get past. Throw in numerous sections of backtracking and you have a game that can get old quick.

Everything in this game looks pretty good from the levels themselves to the many enemies and fiends you encounter. There are a few glitches in the animations of some characters, jumping in particular looks weird. The one standout feature of the graphics has to be the cut scenes, they are simply superb and keep the story moving. Overall the graphics are okay, but not the best you will see this year.

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Dororo sneaks her way in...
The sound is another area that is a bit hit and miss. The music that plays throughout is pretty good with drums kicking in when there are enemies on screen and then quiets down when there is less action on screen. The voice acting is done pretty well for a Japanese conversion, though some of the dialogue is a bit goofy. The sounds the enemies make throughout are nothing more than moans and groans, some of which are more than a touch annoying. The sounds of this game do a solid job but never really stand out.

Blood Will Tell is one frustrating game, on one hand you have one of the most original and captivating stories in years along with some superb cut scenes, then on the other you have the incredibly repetitive battles and poor camera angles to deal with. A game with such a good story really deserved to have more time put into the gameplay. If you really like this style of game it would be a good pickup as it is quite a long game. Finding all 48 fiends will take some time and there is a bonus chapter upon completion pushing playing time to over 20 hours. With a little more effort this game could have been an absolute gem. As it is however it simply can not be recommended with the likes of Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening on the way. Blood Will Tell is good but it could have been so much better.

Review By: Graham Darko

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GRAPHICSPretty good throughout, the cuts-scenes are superb.
70%
SOUNDSolid voice acting is the highlight with some adequate music.
72%
GAMEPLAYGets very repetitive towards the end of the game.
70%
VALUE20+ hours, with 48 fiends to find and bonus chapter it is good value.
80%
OVERALLWith some more work Blood Will Tell could have been a ripper. Instead it is only average when stacked up against some stiff opposition in the genre.
73%

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