In case you couldn’t tell, a good chunk of us at TechRaptor is rather ecstatic for Koei Tecmo’s upcoming Berserk Musou, a hack and slash in the vein of Dynasty Warriors set in the grimdark fantasy world of Berserk. But did you know this won’t be the first Berserk game? The classic manga had an adaptation for the SEGA Dreamcast, but it was rather sloppy and extremely short. If you want a true Berserk gaming experience, you have to look no further than Berserk: Millennium Falcon, a hack and slash title that may have never left Asia, but it just so happens to be one of the best anime adaptations on the market.
As the title suggests, Berserk: Millennium Falcon loosely follows the arc of the same name, covering Griffith’s return and Guts’ acquisition of the iconic Berserker Armor. And I say loosely for two reasons. One, it only covers from Isidro joining the group to Guts’ battle with Grunbeld, and two, there’s actually a whole new story involving a new apostle named Charles. Charles may not be as developed as the other apostles, but he can create powerful illusions—including tormenting Guts with visions of his former allies, and giving the game an excuse to let the players have a boss fight against Griffith.
Yes, you get to beat the stuffing out of an illusion of Griffith. If that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will.
But there’s more to Millennium Falcon‘s fanservice than just wish fulfillment, the game does a great job at capturing tons of iconic Berserk scenes. Some cutscenes are nearly 1:1 recreations of manga panels, and during certain boss fights, controls will temporarily be stripped from players to animate some of the more memorable bits of the respective battle in the manga. While this may sound like a bit of a hindrance, it really shows all the dedication the team had to the source material. And the fact that the original anime voice cast reprises their roles doesn’t hurt either.
The core gameplay is somewhat reminiscent of a musou title such as Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors, putting Guts against an infinitely respawning horde of quickly felled demons ranging from simple possessed soldiers to indescribable horrors summoned by the Void himself. Along with your standard combination of light/medium/heavy attacks and a dash, you can use the extra weapons Guts has on hand, such as his throwing knives or mechanical crossbow. Sadly, I never got much use out of these, and the only sub-weapon that can actually deal any real damage is Guts’ arm cannon—but even then, it’s easier to just put the Dragonslayer to use.
However, unlike the usual musou title, you have no bases to capture or armies to support. For the most part, levels are extremely linear, forcing you to go up against an endless barrage of beasts while you make it through a map. While it may sound like a hindrance—and admittedly, it can be at times—these creatures make great fodder for grinding, allowing you to level up nearly every attribute available from your overall health to the cooldown on each individual sub-weapon. So grind those kills while you can, because when you’re inevitably staring down a scripted assault from every corner of an arena, you’re gonna be glad you took the time to fight those incubi.
While the adaptation of a combat system meant for large-scale warfare to what basically amounts to corridors certainly is a bit rough, that wonderful Berserk fanservice keeps coming back to make me forget even the most glaring flaws. Every single enemy is a stunning recreation of one of Kentaro Miura’s designs, and bosses are varied enough in both design and strategies to continuously be the highlight of a level.
As to be expected with a manga adaptation as relatively obscure as Berserk, the game never released outside of Asia. Thankfully, if you have a Japanese or region-bypassed Playstation 2, there’s a wonderful fan patch that brings over the story fairly accurately, albeit with a few notable mistranslations. Still, if you’re anything like me and are always itching for a new Berserk experience, there’s no reason not to play this fanservice-laden hack and slash.