Editor’s Note: This review was written shortly after the launch of the PSP, in 2005.
The PSP has only been out for less than four months and has already spawned many great games. Unfortunately, Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory isn’t one of them. Instead, Hudson has created a very repetitive, very boring, very bland PSP game.
In The Tower of Purgatory, your main objective is to get to the top of the tower. You are an A.D.A.M. (Autonomous Dueling Armed Machine), a machine that was meant to be the ultimate warrior, created to end war. The War ended, but the A.D.A.M.s kept fighting. The A.D.A.M.s lost a purpose, and were sealed away in a tower to fight each other. Now one A.D.A.M. seems to question his existence and why he was created. To seek his answer, he must climb to the pinnacle of the tower.
There are no plot twists or any exciting points. The story might as well be non-existent. Your hero seems to be questioning his existence, while you will find yourself questioning what the point of this game is.
If you’re looking for some original game play, look further. The Tower of Purgatory puts you in a maze of rooms that all look the same, with no map or anything useful to help guide you. Your screen has a radar and compass on the top right hand corner, a health bar at the top left, and an ammo/heat meter on the bottom left. Sure, a radar sounds useful for when you enter a maze, but all it does is show dots. The blue dot represents your hero, the red dots represent your enemies. The compass is the most confusing compass I have ever seen in my life. There is no mark to represent which way is North, South, East, or West. The compass is a circle with a 90-degree angle on it. All the layout on the screen does is block your sight from enemies and obstacles.
Here’s how ammo and heat work: The weapons you collect waste ammo and use heat differently. The way you get more ammo is by destroying a bunch of crates and hoping one of them has an “energy boost” to restore all of your ammo for all of your weapons, or you can backtrack to the terminal, which is where you save, and restore your health/ammo there. The more powerful your weapon is, the more heat it uses. The more heat it uses, the more likely your weapon will overheat. Once one of your weapons overheats, you must wait for it to cool down. This usually takes up to 30 seconds, depending on the type of weapon you use. If you need a faster way to cool it down, just destroy a bunch of crates and hope one of them has a “cool down” item to cool your weapons down.
The game’s environments consist of crates, low walls (Hudson’s sorry excuse for an obstacle), enemies that look exactly the same, and doors that mimic each other. There are loads of texture problems. You can even see the pixels on our hero in the opening credits, which is one of only two cut scenes in the game.
Once you start a new game, and finish watching the tutorial that you can’t skip, you are a naked lab rat ready to scurry about in his maze. You start out on the bottom floor, and then go to a warp point. Blue warp points send you to the floor below while red points send you to the floor above. Once you are on the first level, you are in the terminal. This is the ONLY place you can save your game. You can’t equip weapons or save on the go, so you must go back to the terminal to do these things. Two warp points are also found in a terminal; one blue, one red. Once you’re ready, you must run through the first door, which can be opened by standing in front of it and pressing X, and kill every other A.D.A.M. on that level. But in order to advance to a new floor of the tower, every enemy on your current level must be killed.
So once you’re all ready to fight, press the L button to lock on to an enemy and get ready to hack, slash, and blast your way to victory. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. In order to get weapons, you must kill your enemies and hope that one of them drops a weapon. Enemies are usually tougher than you until you gain more weapons and power. Once your enemy drops a weapon, and “elixir skin,” you can now equip your weapon. This is where things get frustrating. In order to equip weapons, you must backtrack all the way to the terminal. If you are deep into the maze, you might take a wrong turn and become lost. If you become lost, you will risk going into a room you might not already have been to. That means the doors are sealed and you must fight all other A.D.A.M.s in the room.
Enemies will most likely hit you no matter what. The only way to avoid this is by double tapping the D-Pad in any direction. This will make your character either do a roll or dash. Fighting works in a similar way.
Elixir skin is used to create a better hero. You can go to the terminal and customize your hero’s power by spending elixir skin on them, kind of like experience points. You can raise your physical strength, electrical strength, heat resistance, max health, and your weapon capacity. The more you raise all of these powers, the more elixir skin it’ll cost you.
You can equip a weapon in five different places. You can equip swords and guns in your right or left arm, a small sword or gun in your head, some boosts in your legs, and some armor or a huge gun in your chest. These A.D.A.M. robots have no hands, so that means they have swords in their skin. This might be cool if everyone was still in the third grade.
As I’ve learned from Dark Cloud, repairing and breaking your weapons is very frustrating. Instead of breaking your weapons in The Tower of Purgatory, you lose them. If any enemy defeats you, you lose all of your equipped weapons forever. If you want them back, you’ll have to kill enemies and pray that they drop a weapon that you had before. Not only do you lose weapons, but you also get sent back to the bottom floor. If you were on the top floor of the tower and you just died, that means you have to load eight different floors to get back to the top.
Your enemies and the main hero in the game are alike in many ways. Both of them are hacking and slashing for no apparent reason. All characters in this game look exactly alike. Your character that looks nothing like a hero! He’s not even tough looking. The only thing that looks good about these characters are the drawings that Jun Suemi drew for the gallery in the main menu.
After you have defeated all of the enemies on a floor, you then go to the boss battle. After an extremely short and uninteresting text display, you fight. The boss usually has a strong weapon and looks nothing like a villain. The boss attacks you rapidly, and the only way to defeat it is by rolling or dashing your way to victory. Unfortunately, boss battles are just like fighting any normal enemy.
The music and sounds in this game are horrible. All the music is composed of lite-techno beats and piano music mixed together. The sounds are very cumbersome as they repeat over and over. Characters don’t even make footsteps sounds when walking. It is a shame that this PSP game’s audio wasn’t taken more seriously.
Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory might as well be ignored by all gamers. This game is not even worthy of a rental. Just stay away.
Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory is a rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Violence.Powered by Sidelines