B-Quality Gaming All Stars: Cavia Inc

Around 2003 and 2004 was the tipping for me when it came to expecting high quality games and movies. I think it was The Matrix Reloaded that finally pushed me over the edge. I realized that ridiculous plots and over the top action can make incredible experiences regardless of them actually making sense.

Drag-on Dragoon / Drakengard

I think Drag-on Dragoon (aka Drakengard) was the video game equivalent for me. Published by Squaresoft in 2003 (2004 in US), Drag-on Dragoon was touted as their answer to Dynasty Warriors. You were one man against massive armies of enemy soldiers. On the battlefield, your soul is fused with a Dragon, and together you fight to end the war and achieve piece.

It sounds pretty normal... but Jesus was this game bad. I'm pretty sure it broke me. In fact, I have the text to prove it! Read my original thoughts from 5 years ago: May 22nd, 2004, May 27th, 2004, June 1st, 2004, June 6th, 2004.

First off, The title is pretty ridiculous in its own right. Japanese titles in general are sometimes pretty crazy, but what the hell does Drag-On Dragoon even mean?!

Secondly, War brings you to some crazy places. Killing shit loads of soldiers doesn't really get to me when they're trying to spear or slice me. But after a few hours in the game, you come across a village whose only defense are their children. These children hardly hurt you, and they SCREAM very loudly when you tear them apart with your sword. What the hell is this game trying to teach me?!

Then shit gets weird...

Drag-on Dragoon has 5 endings. The first 3 are pretty normal, but the story branch for the other two endings opens the gateway to HELL. This massive expanse unloads hundreds upon thousands of gigantic hideous flying human babies into the sky and out for BLOOD. The first thing they do is devour one of your characters like a fucking animal. Tearing off her arms and legs. Stripping the meat from her bones.

It was the most grotesque surreal image I've ever seen in a video game. Then the level begins and you're flying around killing these babies. When these babies die their skin begins melting from their face and bodies as they let out a scream that will haunt me forever.

I will never forget this video game... Though, I'd still never heard of Cavia.

Cavia Incorporated

Underneath the cries of dying melting demon babies was Cavia. Cavia was founded in 2000, partly by Hayao Nakayama, former President of Sega Japan.

After 3 years in business, they finished their first original game Drag-on Dragoon with Squaresoft publishing. Their previous games were Anime licenses and such. And really that's the bulk of their work. Some Naruto games, Ghost in the Shell, Steam Boy, Dragonball Z, Death Note. A lot of Namco/Bandai licenses, actually. These are the type of games you wouldn't play anyways.

But they pay the bills and give them the freedom to go crazy with games like Drag-on Dragoon. 2 years later they made Drag-on Dragoon 2, but I have not gotten around to playing it. In that same year, they also finished Beat Down, published by Capcom.

Bullet Witch

In 2007, I would be graced by Cavia's developmental (emphasis on mental) expertise with Bullet Witch. Bullet Witch was published by Atari in North America. I wrote about this game, too! November 13th, 2007.

Bullet Witch takes place in the near future after half the world has been killed by biological warfare. An airborne virus has infected and killed most of humanity. And makes them just weak enough to be ravaged and torn apart when demons climb out of the ground.

You play as Alicia, who is not quite human. She has magical abilities to dispel the demons. But when that doesn't work she has a big gun to rip apart her foes with bullets.

The demons definitely aren't as off-putting as 30 feet demon babies. But they still distort and contort their human victims in unnatural ways that made me shake a couple times. Every enemies still erupts in gallons of blood, too!

Bullet Witch lets up on the weird psycho shit a bit, and focused a lot more on gaming moments. My favorite moment is 10,000 feet in the air and fighting some huge flying demon on top of a 747 airliner. The flying demon is a huge cloud of eye balls that break off and lung themselves at you.

The dialogue is absolutely b-quality-tastic! While Drag-on Dragoon is a repetitive boring pile of shit, Bullet Witch has fun with itself. It's a great way to spend 6 or 7 hours.

Nier

You may have heard of this game recently. Cavia and Squaresoft are back together again for a new tale. You are a one man army killing hordes of demons. The world is plagued by disease and darkness. Yes! That sounds like Cavia to a T!

Last week at E3, Square released a trailer that described a bit of the story and some of the gameplay. But that was pretty much it. The website actually has some content now: http://na.niergame.com/. But overall, there isn't much known about Nier.

I pity the poor person who sees footage of this game and thinks it's the greatest thing ever. I mean, I'm somewhat excited for the game, but the "Game Experience" is not what I'm after. I want this game to shock and disturb me the way that Drag-on Dragoon did when I first sliced into a child. I want to root for the home team as the characters stumble over their lines of ridiculous dialogue.

I want to have fun with it. ^_^

In the meantime, there's Drag-on Dragoon 2 and Beat Down, both on Playstation 2. I think I'll check those out and bridge the gap between 2003 and 2007. Stay classy, Cavia.




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