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September 3, 2005
Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
8/9/2005SonyVIS Entertainment1GEasy
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
205KBDolby PLIIYesYesNoneYes

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Graphics are fairly neat.
If we go back in time to say the mid 1990ís adventure/platformer games from Disney were a real big seller and usually pretty high quality. It seemed every second game was aimed at children with big bright graphics and a quest to save your land from an evil doer. Well Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer is much like those games but done with a new coat of paint for the Playstation 2. Though it is not produced by Disney, the Mickey Mouse gang has obviously had quite an influence over developer VIS Entertainment. The question is have they produced a game up to Disney standards of the mid 90ís? Letís find out.

The game follows the adventure of a young Native American boy named not surprisingly Brave. The early story to Brave sees the evil Wendigo which is a powerful shaman demon rip straight through Braves village. Brave then gets the tip that the only person that can help him restore peace is the greatest shaman that ever lived, Spirit Dancer. So in classic adventure fashion Brave promises a bit of revenge then sets off on his epic quest to become a great warrior.

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Time to run guys!
The gameplay in Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer is pretty solid right throughout the game. Brave has many skills that he can use and he learns plenty more as the game progresses. In the early stages Brave must use sticks to fight of the various enemies, but as the game goes on he finds tomahawks, a bow and arrow and a throwing axe and some other decent weapons. There are plenty of enemies standing in Braves way coming in all shapes and sizes. From fairly weak bugs to wolves to armies of the undead, Brave has a fight on his hands wherever he goes. The more you fight and the further you get Braves fighting skills and abilities also grow stronger.

Brave has a few other neat additions to its gameplay. One is Braves ability to mimic other animals that he sees. Sometimes this will cause an animal to fetch you an item or help you solve a puzzle, other times you have to take control of an animal and use their skills to do something that Brave can't, for example taking control of a rabbit to squeeze through a small hole to disturb a bear. Other times that animalís can help Brave are when they give him a lift to an otherwise unreachable destination, like when the eagle flies you to the volcanoes. Some little missions even involve taking out enemies while on the eagles back. My favorite moment though was taking control of a huge bear and wiping out wave after wave of enemies. Brave also features some other neat little features with activities like fishing and going down a stream in a canoe. The rest of the game is all pretty familiar with tasks like collecting items and solving simple puzzles.

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Cruising down the river.
As with most adventure games Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer is a single player only campaign. There could have been a few missions that you could have used some sort of co-op play that would have given the game some more appeal.

It is hard to be too harsh on Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer as the problems are pretty much unavoidable. The game is obviously aimed at children which will annoy older and more experienced gamers. The game really is not that hard and you always know were to go and how to get there without thinking too hard. The only other problems that I think is worth mentioning are graphic glitches. On quite a few occasions Brave would walk through an environment and the game would look a bit choppy when there were too many enemies on screen at once. The other problem was the camera, while you can control it with the right analogue stick it moves pretty slowly and you will find yourself fighting enemies that you canít see on screen.

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Look, Brave can climb!
The graphics on the whole are really well done for this type of game. All the characters and environments are big, bright and colorful. All the games varied environments from the waterfalls, caves, rivers, jungles and volcanoes all look superb. Brave himself looks like he is straight out of a cartoon, as do most of the enemies. Overall Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer is a pretty solid looking game with only a few of the issues I mentioned earlier bring it down a bit.

The sounds also get the job done quite nicely as well. The background music fits the on screen action well at all times. The sound effects are solid, while most of the voice acting is pretty well done and on occasions pretty humorous and will certainly amuse younger players.

Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer is a pretty solid adventure game in many regards. It is certainly aimed at the younger players, but the game retails for $69.95 so it is a bit cheaper than most other new releases. While there probably isnít enough in the game to warrant a purchase for older gamers, it is a very good pickup for kids looking for a good adventure title.

Review By: Graham Darko

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version).
GRAPHICSBright and colorful characters look great as do all the varied environments. A few glitches bring it down a bit though.
SOUNDThe sound is pretty good in Brave, with solid background music and sound effects and also some solid voice acting.
GAMEPLAYBrave has quite a few good gameplay elements and they all play well.
VALUE$69.95 RRP is pretty good, but it is not a long game and there is not really any need to go through the game twice.
OVERALLIf you are looking for a game for your kids or a young relative Brave is a pretty solid pick up. Older gamers should give it a miss though.

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