Atlus Co. is a game developer that specializes in weird, off-beat games and they show no signs of changing directions. The developer is currently working on Baroque, a remake of a title originally released for the Saturn and Playstation. The game follows the same twisted, surreal vision as other games in the Atlus Co. catalogue.
The game is a dungeon crawler. There is only one dungeon - just one huge seriously messed up dungeon. The layout changes every time that the protagonist enters, so you are guaranteed to get lost. This style of game is reminiscent of the older RPGs, specifically the text-based ones, where the purpose was to either get the hell out of the dungeon or find your way to the bottom (I never understood the fascination with going to face your ultimate demise at the hands of some three-headed beast on the bottom floor of a dank dungeon).
Now, the game may not sound so strange, but in Baroque, dying is part of the game. You actually have to die to progress and discover more about the game’s abnormal world. That is just messed up. Furthermore, you have to fight angels, demons, creatures and a bunch of strange crap that look like they would be at home in any horror movie. The clincher would be if you had to fight God as the player always has to do in Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei series.
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Atlus, aside from its strange games, also has some strange practices. They continue to release games for the Playstation 2, despite the fact that the console is in its last days. And it’s not like they’ve only released one game as a final hoorah for the PS2, last year alone they released Odin Sphere, Persona 3, and Growlanser. But don’t get me wrong, I like the idea that they are bringing all these games to the states, it sure beats playing Final Fantasy MCMXVIII.
The developer is pretty big in Japan, but a lot of their games get overlooked as they are often released during the holiday deluge of games. Sometimes the games are just to damn insane for American audiences. Persona 3, released last year, has high school kids aiming a gun (the game calls it an Evoker, but it’s undoubtedly a firearm) at their heads and pulling the trigger in order to summon their guardian demon, called a Persona. That game isn’t as graphic as it sounds, there is no blood or brain matter splattering across the screen, but the idea is weird enough on it’s own.
I have high hopes for Baroque. It’s different, dark and psychotic, which means an excellent story in my book. Honestly, who doesn’t want the opportunity to slaughter supernatural creatures with a hero who, for once, isn’t out to save any princess? -- Elvis Ramirez
Baroque is slated for a March 18, 2008 release date on both the PS2 and the Wii.