Anime-based video games are a dime-a-dozen nowadays. Considering the accelerated popularity growth of Japanese animation being localized and ported to our shores it is no wonder that such video game spinoffs, a traditional supplement to the Japanese videogame market, have begun to trickle here as well. This should really be no surprise; after all, even our own animated feature films have their videogame counterparts. Ice Age, Chicken Little, The Little Mermaid, Ducktails, and so forth all the way back to the early days of the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System have all had their videogame spinoffs. Japanimation has such a large following in America now, though, it only makes sense – at least economically – to start bringing such games into the North American mainstream.
Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword. Such titles – and this is true of games based on North American animated films as well – run the gamut of awful to awesome. You have some very high quality titles such as Super Dragon Ball Z, perhaps one of the best fighters for the PlayStation 2, and some rather piss-poor titles such as One Piece: Grand Adventure.
Inuyasha: Secret of the Divine Jewel leans more toward the latter category. It is, overall, a sub-average game that does more to frustrate than engage players, particularly those that are not intimately familiar with the popular anime series of the same name. For starters, players are given an entirely new, original character to play around with – instead of requiring that the player use one of the protagonists from the series, the series characters instead become a supporting cast for Janis, the new female protagonist created for the purpose of this game. Though others tend to frown upon this design decision, I rather appreciated it. The world of Inuyasha is robust enough to support characters other than the ones featured in the anime, and I find it troublesome to play as an already-established character in an RPG. RPGs are about building and evolving one’s character throughout the course of a game, and usually an A