Kensetsu Juuki Kenka Batoru: Buchigire Kongou!! Man I wish I could've made this title screen animated, it'd look so pretty with the cherry blossom blowing in the breeze.
This was one of the PlayStation 2's earliest games, out in Japan before the console had even launched in North America or Europe, though it took three whole years before it got an English release. Sadly the game never did make it over to the US, but it did make it over onto my shelf somehow; which is weird because I definitely didn't buy it. It just sort of appeared there one day out of nowhere. I'm hoping that if I play it for a bit and discover its dark secrets it might disappear again and become someone else's problem.
I do know that it was developed by Artdink, makers of A-Train, No One Can Stop Mr Domino, and a whole bunch of anime tie-in games. Though it's been published by Midas, which is kind of a big warning sign to me as... well it seems harsh to say that everything they touch turns to shit, but I haven't had a lot of luck with their games so far.
The overexcited redhead from the title screen is a bulldozer driver called Hayato Kongo, though you wouldn't have guessed from his accent. I can't pinpoint it exactly, but I'd put him closer to London than Tokyo.
"I was born in a construction vehicle. No one can match my control! - Hayato Kongo," he assures me.
My favourites are the ones with the longer names like 'Tamanojo Matsubayama' and 'Kyoko Tachibana', because of how awesome it is hearing an obviously English voice actor come out with it and try to make it sound natural. Not that shouting out your name isn't going to sound goofy wherever you're from.
"Shut it gramps" is basically his response, though he eventually agrees to come down to the office and have a proper conversation about it.
Danoura has Hayato trapped, but he's trapped in a warehouse full of heavy machinery. He runs for a bulldozer and starts it up while giving a speech on how he hates a crazy, balding, toothless, bespectacled, dumb and rampaging old pensioner more than a dip in raw sewage.
I'm definitely getting the impression that it may be on.
I figure though that my best chance of causing some damage is to dodge to the side of the crane arm and ram right into him with my blade.
So I've decided to take another approach: slamming into his back wheels instead. I don't mean to give you the impression that anything about this process has been fast though. Now I'm basically just keeping him pinned against the wall and tapping triangle to repeat my main attack.
Though hang on, what does a yellow dotted circle mean? Should I be backing out of it? Does this thing even have a reverse gear, because pulling back doesn't seem to be doing much.
"Crane sword blade!" Danoura helpfully explains. It seems I have a lot to learn about construction work.
I couldn't bear to leave him like that though, so I chose to continue and this time I pushed that bastard's crane into a corner while tapping that attack button even harder! 34 seconds later it was all over, I had won.
Oh and by the way, there's no one else working here as they all quit when his father died, so now Hayato and Danoura have to recruit a new team. Danoura's first suggestion is Tamanojo Matsubayama, known as the Machinery Prince (hey I know him from the intro), but Hayato thinks it's more sensible to go after the Machinery King instead. Why Danoura struggles to explain the nickname, Hayato interrupts to find out if he has a shot at meeting the Machinery Queen.
Eventually Danoura manages to drag him over to see Tamanojo in action, and Hayato decides to offer him a job on the spot.
So yeah basically this escalates into another construction vehicle fight.
I'm still playing as Hayato, though I seem to be driving Danoura's crane this time. There's no way to pick trucks or characters in single player by the way, it's Hayato all the time.
Danoura made claims earlier than Tamanojo could make machinery float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, which was kind of backed up I guess by the way giant translucent butterflies flew out of his vehicle while we spied on him at work. But right now it's mostly just crawling around like a digger at a construction site.
But hang on, how come they keep getting to do special attacks on me? When do I get my own dotted circle to get them pinned within?
It seems that the special moves charge up while we're hitting each other, so we can only fire them off once or twice during a fight. That reminds me, battles only last the one round in this and I have apparently infinite continues, so there's always a chance I can pull off a lucky win.
They keep going with this set up for a while, but...
Weirdly I don't have to fight Beth here as he joins the team without any drama. So the chapter just ends after the cutscene and I'm given another chance to save.
I was curious about whether they'd only drawn the one picture for hot blooded Hayato that they keep reusing, but a thorough investigation has revealed that it's not quite that limited.
By the way I didn't have to play around with the camera to get this shot, it does this on its own. The controls are vehicle relative though, so it's not a huge issue... until I end up driving right into a wall I couldn't see and getting stuck. Though I at least get to have a good look at all that beautiful battle damage I've inflicted on the enemy bulldozer.
I am really not enjoying the gameplay in this at all, maybe there's some hidden depth to it I'm not seeing but it's so slow that it doesn't really encourage exploring the levels or trying new things out. Though if all the fights are going to be over with as fast as this was then I'm happy enough to keep going just to watch the cutscenes.
Alright fine, lets get this over with then. This guy's the last person I've yet to recruit from that group shot at the start of the game, so I must be getting near some kind of conclusion by now.
I'm trying to steer this ship around to hit him from the side, but he's got the same idea so we're just slowly circling each other. It's a fairly big yard with some junk lying around, so I guess I could try luring him into it, but I'm just as likely to end up getting stuck myself driving this thing.
I'll need to figure out something to break this stalemate soon though, or else that timer's going to tick down to zero and Hayato will lose everything.
Oh well I'd love to give him a rematch, but... oops I just selected not to continue. I was kind of hoping for a cutscene where Hayato loses everything and is thrown out onto the street (which is basically what he wanted from the start anyway) but all I got was a game over message.
Seeing as this is the only chance I get to play as someone other than Hayato, I'm going to choose Shurabe driver Aya Jumonji over on the right. She drives a green bulldozer, which I don't think I can change, but hey green's different! I haven't been green before.
BCV: Battle Construction Vehicles feels like a game based on an anime series that was never made, but that isn't really a bad thing. I found the cutscenes to be genuinely funny for the most part and the British dub actually works to the game's benefit. The real problem with the game is all those bits in between where you have to smack two construction vehicles together.
I'm not so great at fighting games and vehicle deathmatch games ain't my thing, so I'm perhaps not the ideal person to be passing judgement on it, but so far I'm not finding the fun here. Switching up to hard mode seems to speed it up and make the driving more bearable, and it might be a laugh in two player, but I can't wait to never play this again.
Leave a comment if you feel like it. Opinions are welcome.