Ehrgeiz Review

For PlayStation

By Contributing Writer Jimmy Payne

Rating: Average
   Most games out on the market these days have some kind of catchy appeal 
to them, a hook to draw consumers in.  For Ehrgeiz the hook is that you get
to fight in multi-tiered arenas and play as several characters from Final 
Fantasy 7 (!).  Can these two factors make Ehrgeiz an instant classic, 
though?  Unfortunately, the answer is no.
   The fact is that a fighting game is just that- a fighting game, and to 
tell you the truth I have a hard time classifying Ehrgeiz as that.  Ehrgeiz
suffers from a serious split personality disorder which should have been 
taken care of before it ever got its pretty little logo on a CD.  One 
minute I think Iím playing a fairly impressive fighting game and the next
minute Iím running field and track events against Tifa. 
   Iíll come back to the track and field issue in a moment, but right now 
Iíd like to focus on what the developers of this game should have focused 
on: the fighting.  To be honest, the fighting was very fun at first, but 
I slowly grew tired of it.  This was mainly because Ehrgeiz is on a very 
thin line between being a button masher and being... uh, whatever a non-
button masher is called.  This is due to the fact that there are very few 
moves for every character, and combos are very easy to perform by going 
crazy with the control pad.  All of this leads up to the climatic moment 
when your opponent gets so frustrated, they finally exclaim, "Gosh, youíre 
such a cheater!" or "Why donít you use some other freakin' moves for a 
change?"  These remarks become second nature to most people after playing 
this game for only 15 minutes.  
   One thing that I personally liked at first (notice that I said at first)
was the option to push the O button and use your character's unique special
attack.  For instance, Cloud can pull out his sword and perform moves with 
it, while Tifa releases a pretty cool energy ball which made me what to 
yell, "Hadoooken!"  The downside to these moves, however, is that some 
characters' special moves are very unfair and can cause a 12-year-old girl 
who usually sticks to playing Mario Party to whoop up on a 26-year-old male
who has been playing fighting games since Street Fighter.  
   I think I should comment on the characters since thatís what usually 
pops into someoneís head when they think of this game.  Yes, you can play 
as Cloud, Tifa, and Sephiroth.  Along with them are some other creative 
characters who were not in FF7, but none of which strike me as "classic 
characters."  One fault with the game that deals with the characters is 
when you play the arcade game, the characters are always fought in the same 
exact order.  This leads me to believe that the characters arenít balanced 
because it's a given that that game gets harder as you progress, so it's 
obvious that itís not the difficulty level thatís rising, itís that the 
characters are just better as you get farther into the game.  I donít think
I need to tell you that a fighting game is nowhere near awesome if the 
characters arenít balanced.  Oops, I guess I just did...
   I initially thought that the combat arenas almost make up for Ehrgeiz's 
average play mechanics.  Itís a very fresh and cool idea to be able to run 
around the arena instead of always facing your opponent, but it gets old 
after a while when you realize there is no point in running around the 
arena in the first place.  Maybe if you could jump up onto a ledge and do 
a cool flying kick off of it or something like that there would be sense 
in running around, but the arenas are small, boring, and stupidly designed.
What I expected were countless strategies to knock out my opponent and what
I got was a cowardice romp around a generic arena.
   The quest mode is something you will either love or hate.  If you liked 
Tobal No. 1ís quest mode (or Tobal 2ís if youíre an import junkie) then 
youíll probably like Ehrgeiz's quest mode because itís way better then 
Tobalís.  However, I fail to see the entertainment in running around a 
bunch of square dungeons that all look the same while I constantly hack at 
generic monsters to collect pointless items.  On top of that, the quest 
mode's story line is weak, if you consider it a story line to begin with.  
Not many games can give me headaches, but Ehrgeiz's quest mode made me run 
to the medicine cabinet for two extra strength Tylenol.
   I donít really want to give any respect to the mini games in Ehrgeiz by 
writing about them because they suck horribly.  Whose bright idea was it to
create a mini game that requires you mash the X button to successfully win 
a hurdle race?  It seems Mario Party's influence is spreading faster than 
Iíd like it to.  
   Ehrgeiz had the potential to become a really great fighting game.  
Everything blew up in Square's faces, though, when they tried to jam 
pointless mini-games, quest modes, and multi-tiered playing arenas into it 
instead of focusing in on the gold mine that was right under their noses.
Square should stop making fighting games and focus on what counts- Final
Fantasy 9, or hereís a brilliant idea, Chrono Trigger 2.  

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