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Sacred Reviews: Digital Monsters - Taichis Story

Intro

In some ways I'm genuinely surprised that "Digital Monsters - Taichis Story" hasn't received more reviews over the years. After all, this site has had some pretty prolific reviewers over the years like myself, nhubi, pianotm, and others. Add in how short this game is and how many reviews jams have happened over the years you'd think this game would have a lot more than a single review to it's name. This is especially weird when you consider that messiah9's review of this game is the only review he/she ever managed to successful submit to this site as far as I can tell.

As for how this game managed to avoid getting slapped by reviews by others for so long. My best educated guess would be that this game kind of disappeared into the backlog and those looking to review such projects tend to focus on game's that haven't been given a review yet. At least that tends to be my preference when I'm looking through older games on this site with a complete tag next to their name. And this project being a fan game may have also contributed since fan games tend to have a reputation for being pretty bad in my experience. This isn't to say there aren't good fan games out there after all. In fact, I've run across a few over the years, but some of the worst RPG Maker games I've ever played were fan projects.

And I suppose it's nature of a fan game means one needs to not only consider the game's fundamental mechanics, but if this game give fans something they would want. Does it offer a new adventure with old heroes? Or does it faithfully recreate iconic moments from the show in a new medium in order to appeal to someone's nostalgic feelings for their youth? And if this game manages to do that does it mean people should be more forgiving to this game's issues as a game? I suppose you'll have to read the rest of my review if you want an answer to that question.

Story
Translation

The translation work for this game is pretty rough. So much so that several other people have referred to the dialogue as being in Engrish. A testament I have to agree with. In fact, I find the dialogue so Engrishy as some would put that it I find it a bit hard to follow some of the finer points of the narrative. Thankfully you can puzzle out the basic plot pretty easily, but the Engrish makes the details harder to decipher than they need to be.

Plot Summary

You play as Tai whose been summoned to the Digital World in order to save it from great evil yet again. Along the way you'll team up with your partner Agumon and spew pepper breath at anyone that gets in your way. Of course, your not just trying to save Agumon's home but Tai's as well since if you fail it means Digimon will run lose in the real world and cause utter havoc.

Ending

The game ends on a rather dark joke with Tai asking how he will get home. Admittedly this game is just one part in a much larger series as far as I'm aware, but I don't think the other game was ever given an English translation. So I don't know if this question is ever addressed.

Gameplay

"Digital Monsters - Taichis Story" tries to implement an active battle system. A decision that rarely works out particularly well since hit box detection in RPG Maker 2000 is rather wonky. And this definitely pops up here with enemies sometimes hitting you from what appears to be over a space away. In fact, the wonky nature of the hit detection in this game is probably why most of the bosses near the end of the game are so massive your basically forced to try and simply out damage them instead of trying to avoid their attacks while landing your own.

To make matters weird your long range attacks can sometimes pass through solid objects or magically turn 90 degrees multiple times in order to go over mountainous terrain. In fact, this does allow you to attack some enemies that should be utterly unreachable while other enemies in a similar position were apparently made untouchable by the developer so your shots will simply pass through them. I suppose some would argue these issues should mostly count as graphical glitches, but I'll admit that I did take advantage of this stuff in my Let's Play in order to score a couple of cheap wins.

All and all I'd say the combat while not horrible is still inferior to the standard system. Though, I'd probably be ranting and raving about how bad combat is in this game if it had all of the wonky hit box issues of "Castle of the evil witch".

Fan Service

On the fan service side of things the game is pretty solid with the developer going through the trouble of trying to recreate the process of Digivolution from the first season to filling the map with random objects from the real world like the first season of the anime did as well. These are pretty good nods that an old time fan like myself can appreciate. The game even includes a decent amount of varietty in terms of the Digimon you'll run across as well. Though I'll admit most of the variety comes in the form of townsfolk with most combat areas being filled with one or two Digimon.

Graphics and Sound

On the graphical and sound side of things it feels like the bulk of the game's assets come from the RTP for RPG Maker 2000 with the bulk of the flavor coming from the enemies and townsfolk you'll encounter. I suppose this is good enough to give this game a bit of a unique flavor.

The game also includes a few sound bites from the show as well when Agumon Digivolves into Greymon and MetalGreymon, but I don't remember the inclusion of any iconic songs from the anime like the opening theme or "Hey, Digimon" but this game was translated into English so maybe some of the songs are from the German dub of the show.

Conclusion

If this was just your average RPG Maker 2000 project with an active battle system I'd probably give this game a slightly below average rating. After all, the combat in this game is a bit of a mess with the player able to take advantage of impassable terrain to both protect themselves as well as attack enemies. Add in some wonky hit detection issues and multiple boss battles that boil down to just stand in front of the boss and spam the attack key in order to win and your left with a combat system that leaves quite a bit to desire. Admittedly it's pretty standard for active battle systems in RPG Maker 2000, but stuff like this just showcases that the engine really wasn't designed with this kind of combat in mind.

On the other hand, the game definitely appeals to me in some ways since I grew up with the first three seasons of Digimon so it's nice to experience a journey with Tai and Agumon again. Even if that journey was through a game with a questionable combat system and boring boss battles. As such, I find myself willing to let some of the issues with the combat system slide.