青の6号: Antarctica (PS1) – Game Review
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This is a detailed, objective review of the BS6: Antarctica playstation game. I purchased a copy of this game in 2001 while I was vacationing in Japan, for about 4000YEN. Hope this review will prove helpful in your decision to buy (or not buy) this game. If you’re keen on purchasing it, you can still find several used copies on Amazon.co.jp, or Yahoo Japan auction. Alternatively you can try to find a torrent for it (booo…)
Story & Plot
The story in 青の6号: Antarctica stretches from a few months (I estimate) before OVA EP1 till a few days after the conclusion of EP4. So much of the plot therefore takes place during the events portrayed in the anime, with the bulk of it devoted to unseen events that occurred in between what was shown in the OVA. The central character is Kino, whom the player controls throughout the game. About 5-6 new human characters are also introduced. The primary villain of BS6 Antarctica is a new character called Marcello, a hybrid who constantly harrasses Blue 6 throughout the game. He is supported by a pair of goons and the Mutio twins (also new characters).
The writers and game designers themselves admitted that these new characters/story elements were conceptualized only after the release of the anime, and were not stuff that they had to ‘take out’ from the final anime script. In that sense, they had to work with the task of coming up and fitting in this side story into the OVA without making the final script appear unbelievable, and personally, I found that they did a great job doing that. The new characters are engaging and likeable, and the plot was very helpful in explaining some ambiguous bits in the OVA, making the overall story feel ‘complete’. As a BS6 fan, I’d get this game for the plot, if nothing else.
Grade = 9/10
Graphics, Controls & FMVs
The graphics are decent for its time (as a PS1 game), but obviously uncomparable to the games of today. Most of the CG’ed characters resemble their OVA counterparts, and quite abit of attention was devoted to the small details (e.g. hairstyles). Graphics during the battle segments of the game are clear and well-drawn, with little to no flickering. The FMV sequences are on the most part smooth, but tend to be a little blurry or pixelated at certain moments. Controls are simple and very easy to grasp after the first mission.
Grade = 7/10
Like BS6: Time & Tide, this game consists of 2 modes: interaction and combat mode. For interaction mode, the game takes on the style of a dating sim/RPG game, where you would be moving around the sub (and inside Blue Dome in one part of the game) and talking to people, in order to progress the story. At times, you would have to choose the facial expression to adopt when replying to people, or decide how to answer questions posed to you. Obviously, some knowledge of the Japanese language and of the OVA is necessary here, otherwise it’ll be hard to follow whats going on. Fortunately however, its easy for folks who don’t know a word of Japanese to get through this part of the game, as you simply have to find the right people to talk to in sequence.
The combat portion of the game is where you would be frustrated about from time to time. I won’t go into details, as thats covered in my separate guide post, but basically, much of the how the battles are fought is based on luck. Enemies that ‘join’ the battle will spawn at totally random locations – sometimes all the way across the map, and other times right on top of you or worse, Blue 6. The hit rate of your weapons is also governed by a little by luck, and thus it can get annoying when your entire torpedo volley misses the enemy ship. Overall however, it is easy to get by, and simple to learn. You get an unlimited number of chances to retry a mission, should you fail.
Grade = 7/10
Sound & Voice Acting
Voice acting is excellent both in the FMV sequences and in selected conversations during interaction mode. It appears that they employed the same voice actors from the OVA for the game as well, as all the characters sounded the same. The voices of the new characters are fitting as well, especially for Marcello.
Sound effects are decent. Its easy to tell that the game designers were trying to use the same sound effects from the OVA, most notably the sounds of explosions and weapons fire.
Grade = 8/10
About 90% of the music pieces in the game are remixed versions of the sountracks from the OVA, which is an absolute delight for fans. The classic “Blue 6 Battle” theme (EP4) is used as the main battle theme during combat missions. The Blue Dome attack score is used during boss fights, and very appropriately if I may add. Several new tracks as well as unused OVA tracks (which can be found in the OST) can also be heard during the game. If you’re a fan of The THRILL, you’d definitely enjoy the music in this game.
Grade = 8.5/10
Extras/Goodies/Replay Value etc.
The game doesn’t fare too well in this aspect unfortunately. Completing the game will not unlock any new options/secrets, which is a real shame really, as an FMV viewer would have been nice. Depending on the choices you make during the interaction segment of the game, you would be given various different endings, so players may be tempted to play through it multiple times to see different endings. Thats about as much replay value as there is.
Grade = 5/10
Overall verdict = 7.5/10
BS6: Antarctica should IMO be regarded more of as an interactive movie than as an actual videogame. The game was clearly designed to cater to fans of the BS6 series, and in this aspect, the game performed magnificently. As a game by itself however, its rather mediocre. Players who have never watched BS6 before may find it a little hard to follow the plot, and may not appreciate the references and atmosphere of the game. Compared to BS6: Time & Tide, this game is slightly less fun, despite being more involved in the OVA universe.
+ OVA characters are given more development, while new characters are likeable and engaging
+ Logically supplements and builds on the existing OVA plot (for completeness)
+ Game is on the whole easy and pleasant to play; feels like a movie
+ New FMV sequences are an absolute treat to BS6 fans
– Combat mode can get frustrating at times due to randomness and repetitiveness
– Enjoyment of the game and its plot hampered considerably if you don’t know Japanese
– Not much replay value