Sin and Punishment is, if nothing else, an oddity. A bizarre cross-breed of the best both 3rd person and on-rails shooters have to offer. Developed by Treasure and published by Nintendo, it features an uncharacteristically dark plot that tells of a world where overpopulation has destroyed global food supplies. Desperate, mankind's only hope is to engineer a new food source, but the plan back fires when the genetic mutations, called Ruffians, escape and overrun Japan.
Struggling to quell the spread of these abominations, a new international peacekeeping organization is formed, the Armed Volunteers, who quickly begin an assault on Japan, slaying Ruffians, but also oppressing the Japanese. Thus, from the fires of occupation a new band of rebels is formed. Known as the Savior Group, they fight to destroy both the Ruffians and the Armed Volunteers, freeing Japan and saving mankind.
In a surprising departure from other titles like Bangai-O and Radiant Silvergun, Sin and Punishment utilizes a third person over-the-shoulder perspective, allowing the player to move freely on a 2D plane, while being thrust forward on a rail. Jumps, double-jumps and evasive rolls allow you to quickly dodge incoming project tiles, but timing the action will take some getting used to as object depth is not always clear. Larger projectiles like missiles can be deflected using your sword, removing the need to evade while dealing massive damage to your opponents. Combat weapons are, unusually, limited to just an automatic blaster and a sword, but the method of execution makes this pairing perfect. Holding the fire button will fire your blaster, while tapping the button when an enemy is near will trigger a powerful sword slash. No switching of weapons creating an opening for enemy attacks, just a smooth quick transition.
Controlling your character can be a bit of a challenge due to the awkward shape of the original Nintendo 64 controller. Character movement is handled by either the d-pad or X/Y and R, while aiming the cursor falls to the analog sticks. It's a layout that allows for left- or right-handed players to feel comfortable, but it feels awkward not being able to use one stick for each type of movement. Considering the extra development Nintendo claims to have but into this localization, I'm surprised they didn't allow one to use the analog sticks in the more traditional modern manner.