Evil Zone (Eretzvaju in Japan) is a versus fighting game developed by YUKE's Future Media Creators (best known for their work on the WWE SmackDown series) and published by Titus Software in North America and Europe.
It should be noted that the game is not based off of any existing Anime despite all the usage of Japanese Animation used in the game and all the Anime elements you can find that would make you think it's based off one. No. Instead the game is simply Anime inspired but we'll have more on that in a moment.
After starting up the game it opens with some narration by Paul Eiding (best known for his work as Roy Campbell in the Metal Gear Solid series) who also offer up his voice for one of the main playable characters in the game. He tells us about the game's main villain, Ihadurca, a being capable of existing in multiple dimensions at one time. When she threatened the world of I-Praseru (translated to Happy Island) the inhabitants, through great cost, managed to conceal her in a confinement called “Evil Zone” thus the title of our game. Knowing that this would only be temporary the inhabitants of I-Praseru summoned warriors from different worlds to compete in a tournament to determine the strongest fighter that would then challenge Ihadurca to the death in Evil Zone.
Why they just don't send an army in there to kill her is anyone's guess.
After the beginning narration is over we get an animated montage of all the characters in the game and they are as followed:Danzaiver:
“The power of the Supreme Ruler destroys evil! The ultimate hero! DANZAIVER!” Who also looks like a VR Trooper. Danzaiver is part of the Galactic Frontier Civilization Defense System as a “special inspector” and is the game's self-proclaimed main character. Alty Al Lazel:
A sorcerer of great power but a shy, sensitive soul who tries to appear tougher than he really is deep inside. As a native to I-Praseru (at least I'm assuming he's a native) he opposes the summonings and enters the tournament to take out Ihadurca himself, even though he seems to be responsible for the summoning of most of the main characters. Oops.Keiya Tenpouin:
Keiya of Tenpouin Clan, a mysterious and dark soul with great fashion sense. He's entering the tournament because he wants to take Ihadurca power and use it to resurrect a lost loved one called Himika. Aww, I guess he isn't so bad. Ya know, when he's not stepping on you while you lay unconscious on the ground...Erel Plowse:
You know that Anime character where the first aspect of them you notice is their breasts? Say hello to Erel Plowse! Though to be fair by Anime standard her breast size aren't really all that abnormal. Erel is a Mercenary, with a suit of living armor (that's right I said LIVING) called the void, who has a love interest going on with Al, which of course is the reason she wants to enter the tournament and defeat Ihadurca so she can impress him. Because nothing says “I love you” like killing a woman! No, really, what the hell?Midori Himeno:
Well no Anime-inspired game is complete without a martial artist! Midori is a passionate young grappler who attends the “Fuin Martial Arts School” in Japan. Always seeking strong opponents to fight to hone her skills Midori jumps to the call of competing in a tournament where she has a chance to face an extremely dangerous and powerful supreme being that could kill her! Seriously, what is wrong with the females in this game? Is there not one sensible female character in this whole–!
*sighs in content* Setsuna Saizuki:
is a college student in Japan who shares her body with another entity called Karin. A kind of spirit being that only Setsuna can see and gives her her supernatural abilities and a sword called Klau Solas, her primary weapon in the game. Unlike Erel who enters the tournament to impress a boy she likes and Midori who's just looking to show off her fighting skills, Setsuna is lured to Ihadurca via an unknown connection between Karin and Ihadurca which is revealed in her Story Mode in the game.
Now while the English version of the game claims she's a college student it should be noted that in the Japanese version she was a 14 year old girl which would have placed her in junior high, not college. I can only suspect that the change was due to all the various panties shots you'll see of her during game play. She's not the only character in the game to get an age change for whatever reason, but hers is a bit more notable since well, as you can imagine, she doesn't look 21 at all.Gally “Vanish” Gregman:
Then we have our bounty hunter, Gally “Vanish” Gregman, voiced by Paul Eiding. He's pretty much the large powerhouse of the game and his motivations for entering the tournament is quite simple, he was hired and paid to do it. Though despite being a well-accomplished bounty hunter he's a good person at heart who loves his wife (yes he has a wife, and a dog, and has a wee bit of a drinking problem) very, very much.Linedwell Rainrix:
Say hello to the sociopath that only a mother could love. Linedwell Rainrix, Lie for short, is a psychopath who wants to become a metal rock musician, you figure that one out. In his possession is a magic sword called Shahal (meaning “Lucifer – god of the morning star”) who is enemies with Keiya after killing the woman Keiya is trying to revive in this game after she attempted to destroy his sword.Kakurine:
Kakurine is a priestess who is over 10,000 years old but lives beyond time and in the body of a little girl and even goes as far as to act like one but her voice will hit puberty faster than you can say YUGIOH! She has transcendental powers and is one of the tougher opponents in the game, normally found near the end of each Story Mode before you finally reach Ihadurca. Why she chose a body of a little girl is never fully explained but at least she isn't spending all her time in a school.Ihadurca:
Last, but certainly not least, “The Absolute Existence” Ihadurca! Not much back story is offered of her from the instructions manual and since I want to avoid as many spoilers as possible you'll just have to play the game to find out more.
After the montage is complete we are brought to the main menu of the game which consist of four primary modes; Story Mode, One Player Battle, VS Mode and Survival Mode, with a Practice mode near the end towards options but for the sake of this review I'll mainly be looking at the main modes of the game.Story Mode:
Every character in the game has their own unique story, even the main villain who you unlock later as you progress through the game, that is presented like a new TV show coming out with the beginning of each stage having a slide scroll of the game play narrated by the main character, with the exception of Danzaiver and Al which is narrated by the actual narrator. After the “preview” we're given a pre-match and post-match clip with the characters exchanging dialog and advancing their story further. Since there are only ten characters there are only ten episodes, meaning you face a copy of yourself in each story, with each episode being given its own title which is spoken during the narration before each fight. The end of each story isn't anything amazing though, it's done in Japanese animation but the animation is silent and often interrupted by the credits.One Player Battle:
One Player Battle is basically Story Mode without the story and having the option of choosing an alternate costume for each character. If you like the classic “arcade” feel of a fighting game this is the mode for you. VS Mode:
Challenge a friend and pick one of eleven stages available to you in VS Mode. Ten stages belonging to their respective characters, with a background song that is their own personal theme, and the eleventh stage basically being the training stage used in Practice Mode. The game is only two players though so if you have more than two people you're gonna have to take turns.Survival Mode:
Survival Mode is basically what you would expect it to be. Choose your fighter and then take on as many enemies as you can with only one life and the state of your health bar continuing over to the next fight and some times going up a bit as you win.
Now that we have gotten through the stages let take a look at the controls.
Triangle is your main attack button and the addition of the directional buttons goes through each character arsenal during a fight. Holding down on the Triangle button charges up your health bar and when it's complete a red crystal will appear at the top of your life. You can charge up to three, what this does is set the character up for his finishing move (every character has one) press back on the directional button (left or right depending which direction you're facing) and then Triangle will release the crystal and permits the character to use their finisher. The whole animation (not drawn) for the finish will only be shown if the opponent's health bar is low enough for them to be taken out with the move.
There is no regular jumping performed in the game but you can perform a jump attack by pressing up on the directional buttons twice and then pressing Triangle. If you want to block all you have to do is press the Square button at just the right time though that won't protect you from some attacks, particularly if they grab you at point blank or trap you in a circle which can be performed by pressing Down and then Triangle. It's a simple control system where you don't have to worry about complicated combos to perform certain moves, I'm looking at you Mortal Kombat.Cons:
The biggest con in the game is basically the dubbing. It is just godawful. Some times it isn't so bad but other times you can see the character is clearly still talking even though no sound is coming out of their mouth meaning the audio just isn't in synch with the visuals being shown on the screen and at times it's just distracting and can even take you out of the story.
Another flaw is that the story can be a little hard to follow at times. Some of the characters will start talking about things and offer little to no explanation on what they're actually speaking about and you may have to read the characters biography, unlocked after completing their Story Mode, for a chance at the full picture.
So, if you're a huge fan of Anime (I'm just going to assume you are...) and/or fighting games in general I definitely would recommend checking this game out.
9/10 for Evil Zone.