November 30, 2000
Fantavision could easily take the prize for the most unique Playstation 2 launch title. Fantavision is essentially a puzzle game where you are a fireworks conductor of a display and have to string a series of colored fireworks together to create a spectacular show over a city. It may not sound too interesting but the game works remarkably well. However, due to it's puzzle style Fantavision will probably not generate anywhere near the amount of interest that it deserves to.
Fantavision is quite simple game to play, although it may initially appear daunting. The left analogue stick is used to select a colored bulb and then X is pressed to link it. You then select 2 more bulbs of the same color using the same method and can hit O to detonate them or continue linking more together. At time the bulbs will flash allowing you to link different colors together and raise your point totals. These bulbs are only in the air for a certain amount of time and must be detonated before they dwindle out. The game ends when you run out of energy in the energy bar, which can be topped up by large combo's. The game also includes bonuses such as boosters, stars and energy. These stars help to spell out STARMINE, which launches a starmine bulb to which 3 other color bulbs can be joined. It may sound a little complicated but the game is surprisingly simple yet so addictive.
After you have finished you fireworks display it is possible to replay the entire display so you can sit back and watch your creation. This is actually a very enjoyable experience, especially if you can't get enough of the real thing. Perhaps the most interesting feature is the 2-player mode where you must string together more fireworks combo's then your opponent.
If ever there was a game to show off what particle effects in a game were then this is it. Fantavision, with multiple fireworks on screen at a time, has hundreds of particles on the screen from the explosions. Each of the fireworks is different to another with the usual normal explosions, swirling fireworks and more. Each of these displays usually occurs in front of scenic background such as a city which are also wonderfully detailed with cars driving down road and stars in the skies. The buildings also illuminate according to the colors of fireworks in the skies above.
Strangely, of all the Playstation 2 launch titles in Japan this was quite commonly regarded as one of the better games. Perhaps it's the originality or the addictiveness that has generated the interest but I feel that many people may overlook this title at launch for a more mainstream title. I beg you, at the very least, to have a look at this very addictive game.