Chippoke Ralph No Daibouken
(The Adventure Of Little Ralph)
Chippoke Ralph No Daibouken or The Adventure Of Little Ralph can be named along with Umiharakawase Shun and Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night as one of the defining 2D platforming games for the PSone. The game is so good that it can proudly stand next to the best platformers, no matter on which system they are or to what generation they belong to.
In the game you play as Ralph, who has been turned back into a child by the evil demons who have invaded the land. You must get through each level filled with enemies, traps, hidden routes, great arcade action and lots, and I mean lots of well hidden secrets. With nothing but your trusty sword for protection. Well that and possible help of a furry friend.
From the moment you lay your eyes on the opening cinema, you will see that you are in for something very special. Everything about this game is created with so much attention and love that it shows in everything, even the smallest details. Like small birds flying away once you get close to them and many more of these little things. The animation is very smooth and the design of the characters as well as backdrops, items and special effects is wonderfully realized. The music is beautiful as well, and the sound effects are very satisfying.
Now on to how the game plays.... Ralph has various techniques he can use to defeat enemies. You can slash with your sword while standing or crouching, but you can also perform a downwards stab by pressing down+attack while jumping. This move is very similar to the one that can be done in Zelda II: The Adventure Of Link. Than there's the charge slash. This move can be performed by holding down the attack button for a moment, until your sword starts flashing, and then releasing it. If you hit an enemy with this attack, he will be catapulted backwards, knocking over all other enemies in his way. This will earn you big combo points.
There are certain other advanced techniques like swinging your sword to one side and charging it up, to unleash a hard slash on the opposite side. Or charging your sword while doing a downward stab and then releasing it right after landing.
There are also various items to pick up.
A shield which creates a blue energy ball that follows you, so that when you get hit ones, you don't die immediately.
A blue sword power up, which extends the reach of your strikes.
And a red sword power up which lets you blast fireballs out of the tip of your sword.
There is also Feirio. A little furry creature that follows you around throwing small bombs at enemies.
A big part of the game which I absolutely love is something which reminds me of Wonderboy. Throughout the game there is a massive amounts of invisible fruit hidden within the levels. Some fruit pops up when you come close and you will only have a couple of seconds to collect it. If you are fast enough to grab everything, other fruit or items might pop up in the same way. When you are able to grab these items quickly enough, you will receive much more combo points. Other fruit won't appear until you perform the correct action. Which most of the time means you have to stand, walk or jump on a certain location for it to show itself.
You can ignore this whole feature if you want to, but then you're probably not getting what this game is all about.
Another great feature is the many different paths you can discover in each level. You have to be very observing to get to all the hidden parts in the levels. Looking for things which stand out ones you notice them, but blend into the surroundings if you're not looking close enough. I won't go into any more details about this, since it's much more fun and satisfying to uncover these yourselves. ^__^
The game actually rewards you for knowing it inside out and for trying out thing you wouldn't otherwise do. That's one of the great things I noticed about Chippoke Ralph. It challenges you to experiment. Can you remember when videogames were something of a mystery to you? In every game you tried, you would experiment to see what was or wasn't possible in that gaming world. Sadly those days can sometimes seem like they are lost in time. It seems like when we start up a new game, and have learned the rules of that digital world, we basically know what to go by. Without too much surprise or wonder. Perhaps that's what's missing in many of today's games.....
But I digress... What I'm trying to say is that when a game makes me chase after little mice, just to see if something will happen when I can finally guide it to an other part of the level, it gets a big thumbs up in my book. ^__-
This game can't get enough praise by me. If you ever loved a platform game like Super Mario Bros 3, Wonderboy, Megaman or Castlevania 4, chances are you will fall in love with Chippoke Ralph No Daibouken. If you get the chance and find a copy, do yourself a big favor and don't pass it up! It's too much of a classic to miss out on it.
Andy De Wilde