catch dig 'em all!
Welcome to the magical world of
Pokémon Fossil Fighters! Take control of your little Pokémon Vivosaurs and battle them against the best of the... monsters on an island that looks like a dinosaur head!
[image1]All you gotta do to prove yourself is to battle everyone in your path using the
monsters dinos you capture dig up. Finding Pokémon fossils are easy: fire up your detector and battle dig 'em up when you've found the right spot. Afterwards, you can take them back to the lab, break away the rock, clean them up as best you can, and revive them as a monster ready to fight whenever you come across another Pokémaniac fossil fighter.
Wow... deja-vu, but I can't remember exactly where from...
Fossil Fighters takes the formula started back in the late 1990s to control the minds of young people into bloodthirsty fans of pixelated cockfighting (maybe I'm just bitter because of that little bastard Jake Bitters taking that Charizard from me in seventh grade. TRADE ME BACK, DAMMIT!). The list of collectible characters has over 100 dinos, but unlike that other “popular” role-playing adventure, pretty much all of the characters here look enough like each other that it doesn't matter what they're named or supposed to be. Sure, you get your velociraptors, T-rexes, stegosauruses [stegasauri? ~Ed], but aside from different colors, they aren't very special on their own. And with the storyline being the amazingly deep “Hey, you're a Fossil Fighter, right? Here's a pickaxe and a radar, go have fun!”, I can't imagine this one holding the attention of anyone for very long. Right now, I have a red rex, and a pink one, and a gray one, a little gray-blue raptor, and that one with the bald head and spiky tail, with only a few attacks per character. Yeah, something like that.
[image2]The battle system is slightly original: You're given a certain number of points at the beginning of a turn to distribute (in the form of attacks) or collect as you please (to save up for more powerful, perhaps condition-inflicting slams). You're allowed up to three dinos on the battle screen, though there is no ability to swap out new ones if those three are defeated, and if you have enough points, all three characters under your command can inflict damage. It's pretty bland, but it allows for some basic strategy for the kids who might get this as a gift from that grandma who couldn't remember what exactly they wanted for their grandkid's DS.
It's the look is that is honestly disappointing. It seems like it was half-assed the whole way through - the models are not very detailed, they walk extremely stiffly and awkward (maybe the sticks haven't been removed from their bums?), and even in story scenes, they're simply butt-ugly. This would have been a disappointment compared to early, early PSOne and N64 releases.
At least the sound isn't... well, I don't think anything is as ugly as the characters dotting the screen (especially the little Rosie girl that you meet up with... just hideous), but I haven't seen something this ugly since Superman 64. True, Artdink isn't known for putting out particularly gorgeous things, but they have made games stylized in a way that made them interesting to look at (look up titles like Sheep and – a personal favorite – No One Can Stop Mr. Domino!!! for reference). So it's just sad to see such grainy and blocky graphics.
[image3]Controls and in-battle menus are easy to navigate, and the option to use either touch-screen controls or the D-pad on nearly everything is a great showing of what can and should be done with games released on the DS. And it's done well enough that both ways feel intuitive, so it really just depends on the preference of the player.
If you really need a new "collection" game, you could (presumably) do worse for the DS. Of course, you could do better, like that one with the yellow rat and his friends, but if you've already played your standard 200+ hours of that and want something to distract yourself for a short while, it can be amusing. But as far as beginner games go, this is about as elementary as it can be. And I can't see too many people digging this out to show their friends their
Pokémans T-rex clones. Fossil Fighters, I don't choose you!