So you think you know what this role-playing lark is all about, do you? There’s no way that any gamer could say that RPG’s such as Alundra, Grandia and the later Final Fantasy games are one dimensional experiences. The same can be said of Jade Cocoon, developer Genki’s entry into the already crowded role-playing market. At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking, “here we go again, more of the same”, but no, Jade Cocoon has a touch of the Pokemons about it. Role-playing with monster training elements too. Nerds nationwide are salivating at the prospect.
The game starts in a more than familiar scenario, with an oddly dressed young man (that’s you, that is) as the one chosen to kick the un-nameable (at least at the start of the game) evil’s ass. Kicking ass in this genre is a case of waiting your turn, and Jade Cocoon is no exception. But before you start to summon the monsters you can have fight your battles, first you must catch them, train them, and then possibly merge the creatures to make them tougher and therefore more effective in the heat of the battle. Finding the monsters is a job for your Cocoon Master’s legendary Flute of Capture. Play seductively enough and the gentle sounds of the panpipes will have the creatures coming out into the open, and it’s at this point where the cocoon of the title comes into play. You gotta have somewhere to keep your catch, at least until you can return to your village to do your mad scientist bit, and begin experimenting with your new friends.
It’s a fine idea to mix Pokemon-like elements into a role-player and Jade Cocoon does it very well thankyou. It was released with minimal fanfare but should not be overlooked, as it’s a fine example of a game that straddles genres with ease, and not a little success.