When I saw the first screenshots of Black/Matrix I was blown away and I couldn't wait to get my hands on the game. Now that I have completed it, I must say I'm slightly disappointed. Still, this is a very good game, but I was just expecting more.
Black Matrix (B/M from now on) starts off really cool. You get to pick whom you want your master to be from a list of 5 girls. While none of the girls were drawn very well, I still like the concept. After you choose the girl you want to start the game with, you find yourself in a house with her. In the house you can play a few mini games with her (I didn't understand them, but they where cute) and you talk with each other etc. Then, one day solders come in and throw you and her in jail. In the jail you meet some prisoners and you break out. This is where the first battle is and, sadly, from this point on the game is a cakewalk.
B/M is probably the easiest Strategy/RPG I have ever played. Even a strategy flunky could murder this game. B/M is easy, not because of the lack of enemies in number (they almost always outnumber you), but because the computer players are so stupid in the game. The computer players spread themselves out making them easy to gang up on and mutilate. I really don't like it when the computer helps me out. Now, in the later boards it gets a lot harder, but the rest of the game should have been as hard as the end.
Ok enough of my ranting, here's what I think of B/M broken into the different sections.
I have already briefly touched on B/M's gameplay, but I'll go a little bit deeper. B/M is, of course, a Strategy/RPG that uses grid movement on standard sized maps and is broken into chapters (10 in all). B/M has many unique aspects that really boost its ratings, the coolest being its experience system. When you kill an enemy you get experience, but it doesn't go to the character who killed the bad guy, instead it is totaled at the end of battle and you give it to whomever you want. Say you have a level 29 guy and a level 2 healer, well the level 29 guy could kill a bad character, but you can give the experience to the level 2 healer, very cool!
Another leap from the normal B/M takes is its magic system. It uses blood points instead of magic points (also known as MP). You use blood points just like you would use MP in other games, except in B/M you can put blood points into your weapons to make them do special attacks. Yet even another unique part of B/M is its towns. Instead of walking around in towns like normal games or looking at a pretty still of the town with a menu, B/M towns are point and click. You put the square over people to talk to them or over doors to enter them, it's very strange but not bad at all.
To further my comments on B/M being to easy: most of the game you are at a higher level then the bad guys and that is without fighting extra battles. Sometimes the computer is as much as 4 levels below you, and that is just dumb-dumb-dumb! But like I said before, the end is hard and you had better fill up on healing potions if you want to survive it!
The music in B/M is the worst in the history of RPGs. It has to be the worst music I've ever heard in my life. It is so awful it hurts to think about it. The main track that plays during the battles is this annoying guy who keeps saying, "Checkin' out y'all" or something like that in a rap-like manner. The voice, on the other hand, is a breath of fresh air. Tons and tons of spoken dialog and not once did I hear an annoying voice (except for the blonde-haired girl I picked as my master =P). If the voice acting wasn't so good I'd give the music/sound a 0%.
The graphics in B/M are wonderful and make the Saturn shine as bright as ever; tall, sleek sprite-based characters with dark gothic backgrounds, this is great stuff! The colors, while dark, are very awesome and, though I almost always hate dark games, this one look so good I just couldn't help but love it. The graphics are all you could ask for and the magic attacks, man oh man they are very impressive (most of them at least), some of them are down right freaky!
Overall if you are a Strategy/RPG fan that imports you must own Black Matrix. However because of the games short printing I doubt you will be able to find it. B/M is suppose to be coming to the Dreamcast so I would wait to get it then, and maybe it might even come here via the US Dreamcast(Sega of America: fire Bernie Stolar and port more games so this can happen!). While it has its drawbacks it still is a very solid Strategy/RPG. Go out and get it!