Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cowboy Bebop on Playstation. Say What?!?!?

Cowboy Bebop is, without a doubt, my all-time favorite anime series.

At this point, the anime nerds out there are probably chastising me for my "safe" and "predictable" taste, while those who are not anime nerds have most likely stopped reading altogether. What can you do?

Premiering in 1998, the show (about a rag-tag group of interplanetary bounty hunters) quickly became regarded as a classic for its colorful characters, amazing musical score, and a unique blend of action, comedy, drama, and suspense. I first came across it in 2001 when it premiered on [adult swim] and I was hooked instantly. So back in 2005 when I heard they were going to release a Playstation 2 game based on Bebop I actually got pretty stoked. So stoked in fact, that I even went down to my local GameStop and plunked down $5 to reserve a copy. By the way GameStop, you and I have had our ups and downs over the years, but I've always hated how you instruct your employees to pester people about "reserving" video games. That shit gets really irritating. I'm not saying it's NEVER a good idea to reserve a game, but honestly, if you don't have what I'm looking for I'm just gonna go to Target or Best Buy or Toys-R-Us. Just saying.

Sadly, although the game was released in Japan in 2006, the US version was ultimately canceled.... GAH!

Recently, while browsing YouTube, I came across a playlist featuring subtitled clips of each and every cutscene from the game. Not to fawn shamelessly, but these are some gorgeous cinematics! Featuring the original Japanese voice actors, as well as the original score (plus 3 new songs!) by composer Yoko Kanno, these scenes lovingly recreate the vibrant world and unique vibe of the show. Put together, they represent over an hour all new material. It's like a lost feature-length episode! Fans of the show should absolutely check this out, the title sequence alone makes it worth a look.

In terms of gameplay, Cowboy Bebop seems to alternate between one of three modes; action sequences, hand-to-hand fighting, and shooting. The action sections usually play out as chase scenes that have your character avoiding obstacles while closing in on your latest bounty head. The fighting sections sort of remind me of Kingdom Hearts or maybe Devil May Cry in that a bit of button mashing leads to stylish combos and fancy takedowns, and the shooting sections play something like Manhunt with a 'bullet time' option thrown in for flair. Overall it seems like an enjoyable enough (though dated and a little repetitive) gameplay experience, but the real star (stars?) of the show are the story sequences. A little callback to the days when cutscenes were considered a reward!

So check it out. Click the image above (or just click here) to see the videos.

Also, there's this:

In my search for videos and info about the Playstation 2 game, I also came across a Bebop game for Playstation 1. It's a space shooter that looks (and seems to play) an awful lot like a Star Fox game. Apparently, it also contains original music from Yoko Kanno. I wish I could get these games for a reasonable price. If you have these games and would consider selling them, please know that I would pay a HIGHLY reasonable price for them.

Special thanks to Sokodei for posting (and perhaps translating) the PS2 clips. Check out his channel, he has a couple of other cool and funny anime and video game related clips.

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