Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Earth (Nintendo 64) Review

By Adam Riley 28.09.2007

Review for Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Earth on Nintendo 64

The Nintendo 64 suffered a disappointing fate of dying off before it had seen the release of many of its greatest games. Therefore, as a result, sales of games such as Perfect Dark, Conker's Bad Fur Day and Paper Mario failed to reach the heights they deserved. But it also meant that certain games never made their planned moves from Japan to the Western world. One such game was Nintendo/Treasure's Sin & Punishment. Read on to see what you initially missed out on, but can now grab on Virtual Console in Europe...

For a game that was only ever released in Japan, it actually has quite a dark feel to it that would have suited to Western market down to the ground. Treasure's usual upbeat fun nature is totally eradicated for this outing, replaced by a melancholy feel that was mainly noticeable in another Nintendo 64 title, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. The scenario begins by focusing on rebels who have been shot down during battle. Unfortunately they are few in number now due to many casualties, leaving only the leader of the group, Achi, as well as two other members, Saki and Airan. But they are fighting for a good cause; to protect what is left of humanity from 'Rufians', genetically mutated creatures. And even though the armed forces are meant to be working alongside the rebels in this grand battle, unfortunately corruption has led to the minority group having to face two evils instead on just one...

For a game so late in the lifespan of the Nintendo 64, you would half expect it to be of a dazzling quality in terms of visuals, enough to blow your socks off. However, unfortunately the game starts up with angular characters that are hardly that impressive, although they are placed against a wonderfully dark background setting. And this is where the game's charm and style overpowers its somewhat lacking technological state. There is absolutely no slowdown as you hurtle along the various levels, full of giant enemies, spectacular lighting effects and all manner of breath-taking touches. It becomes quite apparent that a tough decision was made in the speed and effects versus high textured polygonal characters stakes...and it definitely turned out to be the right choice.

Screenshot for Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Earth on Nintendo 64

The game features a fair amount of voice acting as well, all in English and all of an impressive calibre for the most part. But it seems to lack the emotion you may feel is necessary to carry such a dark game at times, leaving you with just the soundtrack and sound effects to beef up the adventure. And if you do not like cheesy Japanese-style synth and 80's guitar music (hey, some of us quite like it...), then you will find yourself annoyed by Sin & Punishment's audio side. However, the tunes are fitting enough for the action that takes place. Sound effects are equally suited to the on-screen mayhem, although it is quite unusual how your weapon fire only makes a noise upon impact with enemies!

Trying to summarise what Sin & Punishment is similar to is quite difficult, but it can be likened to something like Lylat Wars / Starfox 64 most (in a positive way, of course!). In fact, the sheer amount of enemies that are hurled in your direction as you move forwards 'on rails', each one notching up another HIT point on your tally of shots when successfully despatched, helps to make the whole experience marvellously exhilarating. The game may be short, as mentioned later, but just like most Treasure games (such as the unforgettable Ikaruga), Sin & Punishment has that wonderful finesse that helps to give it such charisma that it becomes addictive to the point of not wanting to stop until the final credits roll.

Screenshot for Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Earth on Nintendo 64

For the uninitiated, thankfully the first level eases you into the action by allowing gamers to become accustomed to the simple, yet intuitive controls and the scoring system. Players can use the left C and right C buttons to strafe as your character is guided forwards due to the 'on-rails' format, with a double-tap of each respective button leading to a nifty roll to help dodge the onslaught of bullets you will likely be facing very soon. The 'Z' trigger works as you weapon (firing away or changing to a beam sword to slice away at nearby enemies) and the R button lets you jump, or double-jump if tapped twice. This control system can also be reversed for left-handed gamers, but in whichever case it is deep enough to prevent boredom creeping in, but simple enough for the twitch-controls required in such a high-octane action game as this.

Just like in Treasure's space shooters, bullets and other weapon fire must be dodged on such a rapid basis that the unskilled will die time and time again far too quickly. However, thankfully the beam sword acts as a deflector of some incoming fire and the rolling option becomes an essential manoeuvre, especially later on when faced with multiple boss enemies. Careful planning about where you shoot will lead to higher scores and since this is a high score challenge type of game, every hit counts, so stringing together nice combinations of hits will definitely leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

Screenshot for Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Earth on Nintendo 64

The game itself is split into various levels, with sub-sections within each one, ranging across various Japanese pieces of scenery, and eventually even into space. And all the while, the story progresses as you play, with cut-scenes advancing the tale at various points during the game. It all fits together perfectly; far better than Nintendo and Treasure's other collaborative effort, Wario World, which appeared on the GameCube. If this had originally been released in the West it would have undoubtedly been hailed as a classic finale to the Nintendo 64's lifespan. Instead, though, now it can be deemed as Nintendo's friendly gesture thanks to its European Virtual Conosle launch under the mantel of September's Hanabi Festival. Sin & Punishment, with its devastating amount of action and thrills, has indeed become something of a cult legend and no doubt its VC sales will reflect this, despite the increased amount of Wii Points required to download it.

Agonisingly, though, the game is far too short. It will only take the majority of gamers a few hours to blast straight through to the end. However, on the upside, both of the game's difficulty levels are worth playing through, as Easy will let you build up your skills sufficiently and Normal allows access to more levels and enemies. And since the whole experience is so fast-paced and action-packed, you will come back time and time again just to blast past your previous high score. And there is also the chance to open up extra modes, such as a music test, or even play through with two-players (one moving the main character, whilst the other is aiming at various targets, in a way similar to Jet Force Gemini).

Screenshot for Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Earth on Nintendo 64

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Sin & Punishment is one game that did not need much translation to bring to the West, and has thankfully now made the leap courtesy of the Wii's download service. This wondrous mixture of Nintendo goodness and Treasure mayhem should definitely not be overlooked now we have all been given the chance to play it - be sure to download it as soon as possible!

Also known as

Tsumi to Batsu: Hoshi no Keishousha









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (5 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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