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Developer:
Taito
Publisher: Hot B USA
Platform: PS2
Release Date: August 8, 2005

by Jason Ferguson




Do you like to draw? Do you get sick of clichť characters and yearn to create your own? If so, then Graffiti Kingdom is just for you. In Graffiti Kingdom, you can draw your own creatures, transforming into them in order to defeat demons. It ends up being a pretty unique gaming experience.


You take on the role of the young Prince Pixel. The Prince is a bit reckless, and somewhat of an adventure seeker. Unfortunately for him, his curiosity gets him into trouble, and he somehow ends up freeing a powerful demon from his prison. The demon builds a massive fortress and begins massing a great army. The only thing that can stop him is the power of Graffiti! With the help of a ďBox Dog,Ē Pixel masters the art of Graffiti, and embarks on an adventure to save the Canvas Kingdom! The story isnít particularly deep, but itís sort of ďcute.Ē If youíre not looking for something horribly deep you wonít be disappointed. Besides, the enjoyable gameplay makes up for what the story lacks!


In many ways, Graffiti Kingdom is like Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color. One of the biggest differences, though, is the actual combat. In Graffiti Kingdom, Prince Pixel transforms into the creatures that you draw. You can also use your powers to temporarily capture an enemy monster, and briefly take his form. As the game progresses, though, youíll collect monster cards, which will allow you to permanently change into those creatures. Transforming into creatures allows you to have access to all of their skills and abilities. You can even edit the over 220 cards that are available in the game, and make them to your liking.


The actual combat is real-time action. Itís not particularly fast-paced or deep, but there is some strategy involved in choosing what monster to transform into. Youíve got hot keys that allow you to switch to one of three different monsters, and you canít change to anything else unless youíre at a save point. So, you need to make sure to make good use of your monsters and power them up, because if you run into a tough foe, it may be too late to do anything about it! Youíll also run into a variety of puzzles, many of which force you to use specific monster skills in order to solve, so it can take some thinking.


The drawing is easy to learn, but hard to do. Although your drawing tools are rather vast (and theyíll increase as you level up), the actual drawing takes some skill. Getting a monster to look exactly how you want it is left only to the artistically gifted. Still, being able to customize your monsters to your liking is a lot of fun! Not only can you change their appearance (add limbs, change color, etc.), but you can also edit their voice, how they move, and four different actions (punch, jump, etc.), each of which coincide with a different key. Overall, there are over 160 different attack moves. How you draw your monsters can even affect how they fight. For example, by adding a tail to your monsters, you allow them to do tail-attacks.


You can save up to 144 original characters on a single memory card, and you can even duke it out against your friends in Two-Player-Mode. This will give you the chance to see who has created the best monsters!


Although Graffiti Kingdomís graphics are FAR from impressive, they fit the style of the game very well. The Canvas Kingdom is a bright, colorful world, and the creatures you draw will fit right in within the gameís environments. You have the chance to be really creative with what you draw, and youíll also run into some rather creative foes. The music isnít exactly impressive, but it does what it needs to. The voice-acting isnít particularly good. Some of the voices are even a bit annoyingÖbut itís not bad enough to detract from the game.


This is a game that isnít going to be for everyone. Itís not as deep as RPGs like Xenosaga or Fable, and the colorful, animated theme may turn some gamers away. Still, itís unique and a lot of fun to play, and with a budget price, itís a game that no artistic RPG fan should miss out on.


Final Grade: 78%




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