One Piece Mansion (PS1)

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Introduction

Polpo– the guy in red up there– owns an apartment building. He’s doing pretty well for himself. His rival, Chocola, has kidnapped his sister– because this is a videogame and women exist to be kidnapped and push the male hero forward. If Polpo does not complete Chocola’s challenges then he’ll never see his sister again! These challenges revolve around, strangely enough, making Polpo’s mansion better suited for his tenants– These are the worst kidnapping demands that I’ve ever heard of.

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This is basically how much plot we get but I want to know more about this world. What are those buildings?

History

It’s hard to believe that Capcom made something so weird. It’s stranger yet that this game got released to the American market because it is incredibly bizarre. Hideaki Itsuno was the director on the project and he also directed Power Stone (an arena fighting game) and some of the Devil May Cry games– which do not follow the strangeness of this game. It wasn’t his first rodeo and it was released around the middle of the Playstation’s life-span.

One Piece Mansion was released on September 30th, 2001. It’s competition was Silent Hill 2 (PS2), Ico (PS2), and Devil May Cry (PS2). I see a lot of PS2 titles and I’m seeing that backwards compatability was working out really well for Sony.

Nostalgia

I saw this game in Playstation Magazine, a great publication to have by the way– I can’t tell you how many things I wouldn’t have found if not for it– and I imagined something totally different than what the advertisement for it presented. I don’t know what I expected exactly but I imagine it had something to do with helping tenants and exploring this mansion. Not the case. Thanks 00s games industry.

Gameplay

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Just look at that. Look at that up there. Does that make any sense? It’s a little overwhelming but let me assure you, that all make sense. Each of those characters in a yellow bordered room is a tenant. They pay you rent every month. Each of them inflicts or relieves stress in different adjacent rooms. That sumo wrestler– trust me, he’s a sumo wrestler– on the left center slams the walls, floors, and ceilings to practice. You can imagine that that racket pisses off his neighbors, hence their stress increase.

Those bastards in the upper left with the black bordered rooms are part of the Syndicate 5. They’re here to rob your tenants, light the place on fire, piss them off, or blow up their homes– which is your property. For some ungodly reason there’s no police force to get these guys off your property so you’ll have to scare them when they’re robbing people. Positiion those letters well, they’ll help you or get in your way when it comes to stopping criminals. The only way to get them to leave for good is to use that stress your tenants are inflicting and put them right near these chumps. After about 1600 sumo slams they’ll bugger off.

This game is all about managing the stress of your tenants so you’ll have to position, evict, and bring in tenants that fit your tenant’s stress needs. Elevators, rooms, swapping, all cost you money so it’s all a matter of managing resources. By the way, when a tenant gets too stressed out THEIR ROOM EXPLODES so don’t let that happen.

The Gush

I love the designs of these characters. They have really unique and interesting animations that I love to watch. If you zoom in then you can even hear what they’re saying and thinking. It’s really interesting and fun.

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From right to left, Ai-Chan (The happy MPDG), The Lovers, Heebee (The bamboo artist), and some unknown creature that looks like it’s gonna eat my tenants.

Each level in the game has a unique character that appears at a random time. They can either be really beneficial or really destructive. The only one I ever saw was a spoon-bending psychic with a long scarf who would rain lightning down on the mansion. Even though it was destructive I thought it was so cool.

I don’t know how but Polpo himself is immune to the stress caused by his tenants. Putting him in the middle of a stress nexus is totally fine. He’ll never flip– I wonder what his secret is.

The Kvetch

So you’re mansion is going well, everyone’s got a nominal level of stress, sometimes you have to swap a few tenants around to keep everything good. THEN, out of nowhere a member of Syndicate 5 can show up– blowing up one of the previous tenant’s rooms (at no cost to you but still)– and start causing a ruckus. At that point you’ve got to move all the tenants around to get that prick to leave. I know they’re goal is to make the game difficult but it’s really punitive when they blow up the stress lynch pin. I think it would be much better if they took up empty rooms or dropped in from above.

There are only 2 tracks of music for the game. One when everything is relaxed, and another when you’re on the verge of bankruptcy that’s really repetitive and frantic. It gets really boring really fast listening to these same tracks over and over again.

The Verdict

Nostalgia can’t save this game for me. I just don’t see what the purpose or payoff for the game is besides a high score. I’d say that it’s worth a look at but buy a copy of it and share it with your friends. Actually, the most fun I’ve had with the game is inflicting it on my friends so let that frame the game.

Next Week: Dawn of War: Soulstorm

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