The classic tale of a boy and his pink bunny hippo...
You are Knight, a strange, gimpish stick figure of sorts. You're out doing your errands, when what should appear before you? A pink, freaky thing by the name of Baby. Now you must return Baby to his mommy and fight the evil in the land. Geez, if you're sold by that premise, you're either 5 years old or someone new to the light of day.
Baby, best described as the bastard child of the Energizer Bunny and a Hungry-Hungry Hippo, is actually the most interesting thing about Guardian's Crusade. In the opening movie, which isn't that bad, a lame-ass stork drops Baby after being struck by lightning. Unlike all those Warner Brothers cartoons, where the stork has to bring the baby back to its real mother, that pitiful job falls into your hands. Where's Elmer Fudd when you need him?
Baby is supposed to be something like a virtual pet for you to raise during the course of the game. You can feed him a snack, like a tasty bug. You can tell him to go fetch, and he'll bring you back something. Then, you either praise him, or yell at him. The options are limited and Baby will change slightly based on what you do. If you really want a simplistic virtual pet, go to your toy store and dig in the bargain bins-- they're bound to be full of unsold Tamagotchi's .
How about some magic? Rather than summoning a great god or guardian force (like FF8) from the depth of some other world, you command the great and awe-inspiring... TOYS! And not just any toy, but LIVING TOYS! Riiiight. In battle you toss these toys into the fray, replacing the magic system found in almost all other RPG's. While it is a challenge to find all the toys hidden in the game, the idea of battling with toys is, well... childish and not much fun.
Music? When you walk into a cave, rather than music that sets a dangerous mood, you hear... the musical styling of Kenny G. Now, that is pretty frightening also, but not in the right way. The sound effects and music sound like they came from the land of bad generic Midi's.
The graphics reek of a first generation PlayStation title: little shading, blocky characters, few effects. When you enter battle mode, the screen goes into spasms, transporting you into a bland battlefield against choppy polygonal enemies. There's even a stall in the game after you win.
Sometimes you can overlook graphics and sound for the story line. Unfortunately, there isn't much of that in here either. Just bring Baby back to Mama. A good RPG holds you to the game; the story as depth and development. In good RPG's, after a few hours of play, you want to keep playing because you want to find out what happens to your character. This just isn't the case in Guardian's Crusade.
In one village from the game, you must choose whether or not to throw a fight. Could that be a sign of nonlinear game play? Not likely. When you actually face your competitor, it doesn't matter which option you chose, he immediately beats the crap out of you. Like others of its genre, Guardian's Crusade suffers from being linear, and the course of the story is totally fixed. You can only continue in the game after talking to everyone in each town, finding that "trigger" person who will set the next event to start. Yawn. Also, in each town, you simply upgrade your weapon-- no customization or strategies to use in weapon selection and creation.
The translation from the Japanese also could have used more work, with plenty of misspellings and inaccuracies.
The only people who might like this game are young kids who are starting out on their very first RPG. They're probably the only ones who can overlook the faults. The fairy companion offers hints that will help them get through the game, nothing is ever very difficult or scary, and the battle interface offers an introduction to RPG's, ensuring future generations of addicted gamers. Still, even kids deserve better games than this.
If you're a serious RPG gamer, or have been on the planet for more than eight years, stay clear of this game. It's destined to join its Tamagotchi brethren in the discount pile of toy stores everywhere.