Malcolm Owen On March 27, 2004 at 4:49 pm

Nintendo have a lot to answer for, even for this title that has nothing to do with them. They decided to release a small game called "Pokemon" into the West, which just happened to be accompanied by a huge marketing campaign, the most significant of which was a TV show. Since then, TV channels have been quick to scoop up the latest Japanese Kids Show in an attempt to have more "cred" and be "Down wit da kidz", and also cash in on the huge marketing opportunities that go with it. Beyblade happens to be one of these.

Beyblade (The TV show) follows "Tyson" (Annoying kid) and the "Blade Breakers" (Team of annoying kids whom are apparently good at the whole Beyblade thing) as they take on other teams in contests and fights using their "Beyblades" (aka a Top, a gyroscope with plastic bits, a spinning thing). You’d think that this is boring, but it isn’t especially since there’s some sort of soul within each Beyblade (A "Bit Beast"), which affects the battle, usually in a way that ends up with the Blade Breakers winning, so that all the viewers watching it can have a good ending.
The marketing opportunity within Beyblade happens to be the blade itself. Walk into any toy store and you will find tons of parts to create your own, and they even supply official "Beystadiums" to fight in. The real life Beyblades do not have proper working Bit-Chips, as they’re really just bits of plastic with stickers on them, and so all matches end up being a contest of luck rather than skill.

Someone believed that Beyblade would translate well to the computer-games arena. Indeed, it’s probably better to have a virtual representation of a physical manifestation of a fictional being in a game rather than in real life. At least the Bit-Chips would work and have some sort of real bearing in the game. In this title, you take part in a tournament against other bladers in an attempt to become the greatest blader ever (Think of Pokemon’s "Gotta Catch ’em All" with Ash becoming the greatest Pokemon master ever, except replace the word "Pokemon" for "Beyblade" or "Blader". Modern day kids TV doesn’t take much in the way of thought to understand it at all any more, instead it’s all just moronic drivel that mirrors the previous incarnation). Staying true to the series, you can play against various main characters, along with the mysterious "Blader A" and his brothers "Blader B" and "Blader C" at the start of it all. The first three you play against will be the worst players you could possibly play against, usually having a weak blade created for them and with little in the way of control, but against the normal characters it’s a much harder prospect to defeat them.
Every round has the same formula of "ripping" the blade at the right time for the most speed possible, followed by some marginal control of where your blade goes in the arena. Swerving the blade around in the dish is part of the game, where you have to either destroy your opponent (almost impossible), slow them down (tricky) or throw them out of the arena (fairly likely), and you can do special "attacks" using your Bit-Beast (The thing that lives in the Bit-Chip, naturally) against your opponent, which has a 20% chance of working, and even then it does practically nothing to your opponent at all, but when they do it to you, it’s almost impossible to block, but it also causes tons of damage to your blade. Even the battle itself is pretty boring, with various bars looking like a rip-off of a normal fighting game, and a control system that requires no thought, and hardly any requirement for skill at all.

As expected, by playing the game more you get points, which can be saved up and spent in the shop by getting new parts to create a new blade with. As an incentive to continue playing this is pretty good, and the parts you buy do affect your blade, although only in a minor way. The lack of explanation as to how each part affects your blade is a disappointment, as to a normal person who doesn’t buy the latest toy fad, it becomes a bewildering world of wasted spending, until you find two parts that do actually work together.

The biggest problem with the game is the Announcer (Let us call him "Terry", as his in-game moniker is something so painful to say, even uttering it once makes you lose 40 IQ points)
Terry is a nice man at first. He appears in the show and starts battles as well as some mild commentating for the in-stadium crowd. He’s a bit of a prat then. Terry appears in the game as well, giving insightful comments about what’s going on, how you throw your blade ("What a great launch"…) and even the inaugural "3, 2, 1, Let it riiiip!" at the start of each and every bout. Terry becomes a symbol of everything bad and hateful in the world after the hundredth time he crows something out.

Beyblade is a pretty crap cash-in of a game. The controls are naff, the lack of skill involved is pitiful, and the music is terrible. Terry compounds the problems further, which makes this purchase only for misguided parents for their children’s birthday in an attempt to get something trendy.


Little or none. Depends on how you look at these things.


Unspectacular. If the “Greatest” part of it happens to be the FMV opening sequence directly ripped from the TV show, there’s no hope for the rest of it


“Terry” destroys all hope of decency upon first hearing, but then again the rest of the game’s sound isn’t that good either.


Save your money and get yourself the plastic toy version… hang on…

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