Home > Demo Impressions, Gaming, Xbox 360 > “Virtual-On: Oratorio Tangram” Demo Impressions

“Virtual-On: Oratorio Tangram” Demo Impressions

Oh, those Japanese. You can always count on them to release at least one nonsensical and colorful mech fighting game for each and every system, whether or not that system is actually popular in Japan. And so Virtual-On: Oratorio Tangram was released for the Xbox Live Arcade a week or so ago. Hearing that this game was a cult hit on the Dreamcast, I decided to check out the demo. All I can say after spending some time with it is: if this was considered a great game on the Dreamcast, there’s no wonder that system died off prematurely.


My main problem with the game is not the annoying J-pop music, Gundam rip-off character designs, or even the fact that the much-needed control explanation is hidden away in the menus. It’s the clunky, awkward controls that lower my opinion of it. You see, for whatever reason, players cannot move and aim at the same time. That means if your enemy is off to your left, you must stop dead in your tracks and turn slowly around (undoubtedly getting shot numerous times while doing so) before firing a few shots, then turning around some more in order to set up another shot. Not that it’s really a problem to get shot. The lasers/blue blobs that get shot at you hardly do any damage at all, except to your opinion of the game when you see how blocky they look. Of course, this is a port of a Dreamcast game, so I can at least forgive the lackluster graphics. What I can’t forgive is how easy it is to pull off cheap kills within seconds of a match starting. You want to know how to break all depth this game might have had? Press the turbo button to zoom towards your opponent, then slice them with your sword. Wait a few seconds for your nearly killed enemy to arise, clunkily center them in front of you again, and hack away. Congratulations, you’ve just figured out how to beat nearly every level (some of the later enemies move quicker, but all that ends up doing is delaying their eventual stabbing).

Okay, before all the rabid Dreamcast fanboys come defending why this game is so amazing, I’ll admit that I only played the demo of… whatever this game is called. But the point of a trial version of a game is to get one interested in the full version, and considering how shallow, easy, and similar each of the 6 levels I played were, there’s no way I’ll be spending 15 dollars to play the rest of the game. Maybe the Score Attack mode will be good for some people (though I’m not sure how that would any different from the Arcade mode), and perhaps the online multiplayer will be what draws in all the players. Sure, go ahead. Go shoot each other, stop, turn, shoot again, stop, turn, turn some more, and then suddenly get killed instantly with the sword. If that’s what sounds like fun to you, then you probably already have the game. For everyone else, don’t bother.

By Josh60502

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