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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Platformer

 

Publisher

Evolved Games

 

Developer

VIS Entertainment, Southpeak Interactive

 

ESRB

E10+ for Everyone 10+

 

Released

April 9, 2007

 

 

- Fun platforming experience
- A variety of gameplay elements
- Captures the Native American spirit without being offensive

 

 

- A little on the short side at 5-6 hours
- Blatantly copies from other game titles
- Difficulty level too easy, except for two parts

 

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Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

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It seems like Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer was announced so long ago and then dropped off the radar – as many games do. I feared that it was going to be yet another game that I was looking forward to playing just sliding into oblivion.

 

Fortunately, that’s not the case. Brave has finally came out and at a budget price, to boot. The good news is that in this case “budget” doesn’t equate to “awful”.

 

At first glance, Brave looks like any other platformer that you’ve played lately. The reality is that it pretty much is. Before you pass complete judgment on it though, read on.

 

Brave follows the adventures of, well, Brave – a young Native American boy who sets out to save his village from the evil Wendigo. He friends are captured and turned to evil slaves as Brave sets out to find the Spirit Dancer – the most powerful Shaman that ever lived.

 

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Along the way, Brave will explore forests and take his canoe down a dangerous river, search out the Sasquatch in a blizzard and fight amongst a herd of Buffalo. There are many creatures he will come across along his quest.

 

In keeping wit the storyline, you will collect eagle feathers, learn to speak to the 

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animals, fish for food and the story is moved forward through ancient paintings inside some caves. These elements never feel forced and work perfectly within the story.

 

The controls are well laid out. You can control the camera with the right analog stick which you will need to do from time to time. Yes, the camera has issues but I didn’t mark it as a primary negative to this game because I’ve come to the conclusion that almost every game in this genre suffers from this issue. The controls did feel a little loose on occasion, but overall it felt just about right.

 

The game is very linear. You will never feel lost and although there are some side missions you can go on, you probably won’t bother (unless you just love this game so much). By doing so, you unlock extra totems that allow you to see some concept art. Not particularly exciting but it extends the gameplay a little.

 

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In part of the game you will ride down a river. The feeling will be complete déjà vu if you’ve ever played Tak 2: Staff of Dreams which came out almost three years earlier. This version does add some additional challenge with its duck and jump options but you will find it frustrating to get through. This was the first part of the game I couldn’t complete without dying over and over again. Fortunately, there are 2 save points in the middle of this long boat ride and you will most likely need them.

 

The second place I found the difficulty level unusual compared to the rest of the game was a fight that takes place on a herd of buffalo. The concept and execution are both excellent: you land on buffalo and have to fight 20 warriors on the same herd of buffalo before the herd gets to the edge of a cliff and falls off. You will probably die long before you ever reach the edge – and you will die and die and die. You have to kill 20 of these guys and your life meter doesn’t last that long. It’s certainly not impossible, but it is a challenge and compared to the rest of the game the level seems quite out of place.

 

This game isn’t anything new. You’ll find elements of Tak and even God of War in here. However, it is put together quite well. There are the occasional blips in the audio playback (which I originally attributed to my PS3 which I tried this on originally, but the problem was still there on my slim PS2 but was slightly better) which means it loses points in the polish category.

 

Overall, it’s short but its fun. It’s also a decent price and it looks like it may be one of the last original platforming games we’re going to see on the PS2. Go on, be ‘Brave’.

 

Syd Bolton

May 28, 2007

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