Digimon Tamers Video Game

Digimon Tamers Battle Evolution (JP)
Digimon Rumble Arena (EN)

Platform: PlayStation
Publisher: Bandai
Developers: Hudson Soft, Bandai

Release Dates:
December 6, 2001 (JP)
July 12, 2002 (NA)


Sahgo’s Notes: So I’m going to do the first video-game comparison in this website? Great Scott! I feel honored! And a little lonely for not having anyone’s example to blatantly rip-off like I usually do. Hum.So, you probably weren’t expecting that, now were you visitor? So I better let you know that I’m a major video gaming nerd! …Wait, why do I sound proud while saying that? Times are changing, if someone like me can say something like that. For the better? Hell if I know!So, I hope you’ll enjoy the comparison (and, in case you didn’t play the game, just go for it because it’s damn fun). Time to go!

Summary

I guess I should start explaining what the hell is this in the first place. Digimon Tamers Battle Evolution (known as Digimon Rumble Arena outside of Japan) is the second Digimon-based fighting game created by Bandai (the first one being Digimon Tamers Battle Spirit, for the WonderSwam, which was ported to the Gameboy Advance for an American release as Digimon Battle Spirit). Battle Evolution has a more traditional approach to fighting games than Battle Spirit, as it has an HP bar and other stuff like this while Battle Spirit was based on collecting little blue balls to win the opponent in time limit (long story).

Battle Evolution was released exclusively to the Playstation One in December 2001, in Japan. Its american version came out a few months later, in February 2002.

The game is clearly based on Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64; it has a lot of interaction with the arena and full-3D graphics (and pretty impressive ones as that, comparing to many other Playstation One titles). There is a decent amout of characters to choose from, from the first three Digimon series (as Frontier wasn’t out yet) and some from the movies as well (such as Omegamon). I think the game producers intended to make the game a 4-player fighter, just like the aforementioned Super Smash Bros., but were stopped by the Playstation One’s limited capacity. They eventually did that in the sequel Digimon Battle Chronicles (Digimon Rumble Arena 2, in the US), released for the PS2, XBOX and NGC.

The game uses some voice acting regarding the attack-shouting thing (that, of course, couldn’t be absent in a Digimon game) and some lines the chosen Digimon’s partner spit before the battle, but I’ll get into that. In a whole, it’s a damn nice game, with impressive graphics and a fun gameplay, that even allows the playable Digimon to evolve in the middle of the battle without being as mind boggingly frustrating as the Digimon World RPGs (aaaaand send the hate mails!). If you’re a Digimon fan and have a Playstation One (or can play PS1 games by other means), this is a must-play.

Side Note

As I said, the title was changed. Dear lord, the title was changed.

There were some reasons behind the title changing that make a lot more of sense than just “BANDAI CHANGES EVERYTHING AND RUINED MY GAMEZ NOW ILL CUMPLAIN IN MY MYSPACE ARGH”. First, “Tamers” doesn’t exist in America, since it’s just a “season 3” in this side of the continent. And the original title suggests that the game is a sequel/spin-off/spiritual sequel of the Digimon Tamers Battle Spirit (since they both have this “Battle” in the title), but as Battle Spirit wouldn’t be released in the US until 2003, it wouldn’t make difference to the American audiences if they changed. And it didn’t. And they changed. Booh.

Also, I kinda of support the American decision of dropping the “Tamers” of the title. While we do have Tamers’ characters in the game, and Tamers’ songs and all, they are actually minority compared to Adventure and Adventure 02’s (and their movies’) characters. The “Tamers” bit was in the original release because that was the Digimon series that was on TV, so it helped in the merchandising. But it made no sense whatsoever.

On the other hand, seriously, “Rumble Arena”? Am I the only one that thinks that “Rumble Arena” is quite a goofy name? Besides, the name kind of make the Super Smash Bros. inspiration more obvious (since “Rumble” and “Smash” are similar words, in connotation). Well, whatever.

Cut, Added, or Shifted Scenes

Ok, no more Mr. Nice Sahgo. Now I’ll complain, complain and complain!

First, WHY did they change the cover? Why? Seriously, the japanese cover is just AWESOME on its own right – we have the three main characters, their Digimon, their Digimon’s evolutions AND Renamon. Good lord, the cover just screams “SUPER CROSSOVER OF THE THREE SERIES! DAMN FANS, WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO WANT TO BUY THIS GAME?!”. Besides, the art is very nice on it’s own – it’s like one of those promotional arts for the series which are much more stylized than the series’ visual itself (it’s harsh but, face it, it’s true).

The American cover, on the other hand? Boring. BORING. BORING. We have Guilmon attacking Veemon. A scene based on the intro. Wow. This is just greeeat. Awesomely exciting. Woo-hoo. I’m so going to buy this game.
Wait. No. This cover is just another generic cover with Bandai showing off its CGI; it DOESN’T directly attract the fans of the anime and it also doesn’t have much to attract of casual gamers. It’s just very, very dull.

The Japanese version uses the same kana style of the Digimon Tamers’ anime title screen, while the American version takes its own logo Tamers-style and made a generic “RUMBLE!!!” trembled letters with smoke on the back with an even more generic “ARENA”. Seriously, this “RUMBLE” seems like could pop up in any future Crash game. And I’m not saying that positively.

Anyway, the Japanese cover is awesome, while the American cover… isn’t. When you make a game for the fans, you have to know how to show it off – and boy, showing the three main characters in pose with the show art style? That makes kids buy it. Not random CGI.

Side Note

Right in the opening! Geez!

While the opening clip remained unharmed, it suffered massive musical change. Why? Because in the original MY (IT’S MINE JUST MINE) beloved Biggest Dreamer is playing, to please the fans even more because, God, this song is so freakin’ awesome. Since the dub doesn’t have this wonderful song and probably wouldn’t go through the trouble of getting the rights to put it on a game (since no fan in America would know it), Bandai decided to compose it’s own musical piece to it. AND IT…. doesn’t suck that much. Seriously, it’s not a vomiting orchestral piece by Saban’s – ahem – ”talented” workers; it’s actually a pretty cool and dashy rock-like piece that fits the whole fighting rather well. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll NEVER prefer that over Biggest Dreamer, but compared to “DIGIMON DIGITAL MONSTERS DIGIMON ARE THE CHAMPIONS”, it’s godlike.

The sound effects of the opening were retained, which is rather odd. I guess I never mentioned that in my comparisons (because it’s minor), but the first four Digimon series changed all the sound effects when dubbed. And in the opening clip for this game, the anime’s sound effects are used, and the American version retains all of them. The bizarre factor comes when they even retained the roar at the beginning of the intro, since that roar is from the Digimon Tamers logo (which is explained below). Now THAT’S weird o.o

Ok, then there IS a minor edit in the opening clip. Big deal.

It’s pretty much just the change of the logo, but there is a little more than that…. oh boy, how am I going to explain? You see, the Tamers’ (the anime) opening begins with a “roar” from this primitive-looking Digimon (likely Guilmon, or from the primitive Digital World the Wild Bunch created in the anime), that zooms out and reveals to be the “D” in the romanized “DIGIMONTAMERS” over the katakana title.

In this game, they did pretty much the same thing, focusing on the primitive-looking one and then zooming out to show that, instead of the “DEJIMON TEIMAAZU” we usually saw we have “BATORU EBORYUUSHON” (Battle Evolution). Ok.

In the dub they kinda tried to mimicate the effect with the American logo. First it focuses on the “DIGIMON” and then zooms out to show the “RUMBLE ARENA”. While it was a fine touch really, it’s not the same thing – the Japanese version is clearly a nod to the anime. The American version, isn’t.

Yes, I’m being too picky about something minor. Sue me.

Last one from the intro sequence, I promise. In both versions of the clip, when Guilmon evolves, the Evolution Card appears behind him. If you pay attention, it’s written “Battle Evolution” in it. Ops!

The same thing happens in one of the fighting stages, where a big computer screen in the middle says, among other things, “Battle Evolution”.

Some changes were made because of our usual terminology change in the anime that always happen. Obviously, all the text was translated (shocking, I know). Also, all the characters, digimon or human, that needed a name change got their name change. I don’t really see the need to mention it, but whatever:

Taichi ————> Tai
Takeru ———–> T.K.
Hikari ————> Kari
Yamato ———-> Matt
Daisuke ———-> Davis
Ruki ————–> Rika
Jenrya ———–> Henry
Tailmon ———-> Gatomon
V-Mon ————> Veemon
Belzebumon —–> Beelzemon
Omegamon ——> Omnimon
Dukemon ——–> Gallantmon
SaintGargomon -> MegaGargomon

Now, two name changes that are actually “new”:

HolyDramon -> MagnaDramon (while HolyDramon did appear in Adventure 02’s second movie, it was barely introduced and I think I didn’t mention that in my comparison)
Gokumon -> Reapermon (this games’ villain. “Goku” means “Jail”)

Of course, there were tons of attack changes. These I won’t mention, because they are pretty much the same from the anime series, and these you probably already know. But Gokumon’s and HolyDramon’s are worth mentioning.

Gokumon:
Serpent Flame Purgatory -> Bone Duster
Skull Whirlwind -> Burning Cyclone
Skull Dance -> Grim Slasher

HolyDramon:
Holy Flame -> Fire Tornado
Apocalypse -> Dragon Fire

Originally the aforementioned “DIGIMONTAMERS’s D” with the primitive Guilmon and stuff is in the loading screen with “DIGIMON TAMERS” around it. In the dub this was replaced by the american logo of “Digimon: Digital Monsters”; although the “D” is inconsistently kept in many, many other scenes of the US version.

When the battle begins, the disclaimer goes “READY? FIGHT!”. In the american version, it says “READY? RUMBLE!” to match the game’s title. Whatever… “Fight” makes more sense.

In mid-battle, when the Digimon is with its energy gauge filled, a little “EVO!” appears near his head to indicate he can evolve. In the American version, this was replaced by “DIGI!” (from ‘Digivolve’).

And when the Evolving thing happens, it is like the Tamers’ anime, with a text saying “EVOLUTION” appearing on the screen, with a male voice reading it out loud. In the American version, as the anime dub, it was replaced by “DIGIVOLUTION”, with a female voice reading it.

Side Note

For starters, I have to say that the sound quality for the voice acted lines in the American version is crap. It sounds normal in the japanese version, but in the American version the sound is noisy and scretchy and harder to catch – there are some lines that require some effort to understand, to say the truth.

Of course, in the original, all characters (if my ears don’t deceive me) keep their anime voices. In the dub the effect is mostly mimicated, but for some reason there were some characters who got different voice actors because I think some of them were unavaliable. They were:

  • Takato, now voiced by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (who did minor voices, such as Ruki’s mom). To say the truth, McGlynn’s performance is more fitting for the character than Brian Beacock’s (who voiced him in the anime). Not because she acts better (to say the truth, those two are on the same level), but because she at least makes him sound like a kid, while Beacock made him sound like a 18 year-old (or more). But it’s also a very “forced and pulled” voiced, like Ash’s voice(s) in Pokémon. So, better but not so much better.
  • Gatomon (and MagnaDramon), also voiced by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. It’s hard to judge the voice since the only lines she has are battle lines, but she sounds WAY WAY better than Edie Mirman and her fucking “KITTIE VOICE” she makes in the anime. That’s a plus for the American version, REALLY.
  • Ken is a weird case. He is credited as being voiced by Derek Stephen Prince (who did voice him in Adventure 02), but sounds NOTHING (and I mean NOTHING) like his anime performance. I honestly can’t believe they’re the same person o.o The game’s voice is a lot more childish and, as Takato’s, forced and pulled.

Can you believe we’re gonna have a Stupid Dialogue box in a FIGHTING VIDEO GAME COMPARISON? Well, so you better put your doubts in the garbage!
Simply saying, the localization team decided to put some of that BELOVED “Saban humor” in some of the pre/post-battle lines. I could spot:

Renamon: “There was no way you could beat me.”
Renamon: “Nice try, hotshot!” (I’m being a little harsh with this one, but it’s a very out-of-character line for Renamon)


Guilmon: “I did it…!”
Guilmon: “Takatomon, hey, I won!”

I love how Steve Blum doesn’t even question if his character is an idiot for calling his human friend like that even after living with him in the same house for months and being downright told that the kid’s name was Takato, no “mon”. Geez.


Patamon: “Don’t underestimate me just because I’m small!”
Patamon: “I’m not just a bunch of hot air!”

Prove it then!


Unbelievably, Gatomon got no cat puns. It is a sign of the apocalypse O_o

Side Note

The US version’s biggest weakness against the Japanese version is the music.

In the Japanese version, some of the anime songs were rearranged in instrumental versions to be used as battle BGMs. I could catch Target (Adventure 02’s opening), Butter-Fly (Adventure’s opening), Break Up (Adventure 02’s Armor Evolution theme) and Slash! (Tamers’ Card Slash theme); there may be others. Part for copyright reasons and part for dislikness of the original music (I believe), Bandai removed all of them from the American version. Which is actually quite a shame – the game had a very neat way of playing the songs, according to the character. Example: if you play the game with a Tamers’ character, the BGM playing during the final battle (against Gokumon) will be Slash!

The dub replaced those tracks with brand new tracks which are exclusive to the US version. While they are quite cool (remind me of Mega Man X’s BGMs), they still don’t have the same awesomeness of the other ones. Heck, I actually stopped fighting and let myself get beat up just to hear Slash until the end. And singing along.

…I don’t have a problem.

And as Biggest Dreamer is the intro song, Days ~ Aijou no Nichijou ~ (Tamers’ first ending theme) is the game’s ending theme. Again, the English version replaced by a new and US version-exclusive instrumental (also pretty nice).

I got a little sad after playing the Japanese version (I played the English version first) because, God, fighting while listening to the original songs is super awesome, but is absent of the English version. And that sucks. I think.

(On another note, all of the Japanese version’s brand new BGMs, made for the game, are present in the English version)

Final Result

A mixed bag

The musical absence of such awesome songs is a downer, but other than that the game has a very satisfactory localization; most of the changes are just to fit to the dub’s terminology, and there was no change in the awesome gameplay or subtraction of characters/stages. But if only it had the original songs… sigh.

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