Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja

Living Dole.

Version tested DS

Applicant ref. no: 9-26-21-14-1
Applicant review

Name: Izuna
Age: 16
Marital Status: Single, straight and under-age
Nationality: Japanese
Address: Currently residing in North America
Blog: http://www.atlus.com/izuna/

Education:

ASCII adventure games, Rogue, Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon, Diablo.

Languages:

A native Japanese speaker, Izuna seems to have worked hard and commendably (under the tutelage of Atlus' expert translators) to become fluent in witty, occasionally irritating but nevertheless grammatically robust, teen-speak English. This doesn't stop her lapsing into loud spoken Japanese outbursts every now and again - although arguably this adds to her inimitable charm.

Criminal Record (if yes please give details):

Immediately prior to Izuna's last full-time job she was caught attempting to steal a priceless village gem dedicated to the local gods. This angered said deities who promptly cursed all of the villagers with various character-warping ailments. So began Izuna's previous employment, which, in short, entailed seeking each of the six deities lurking in the depths of their six respective local dungeons in order to beg forgiveness, atone for her mistakes and rescue her companions back from the hopefully cured villagers.

Employment History:

Izuna worked as a local castle's in-house ninja until a year ago when she, her sensei, Gen-An, and her sister, Shino, were unexpectedly made redundant. Izuna and her companions became a team of freelance ninjas who were seeking employment in a remote village when the aforementioned criminal misdemeanour took place.

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She threatens to kill herself at numerous points through the game. You'd shout DO IT if she hadn't already died so many times to get there.

Medical History:

Izuna appears to be fit and healthy although she admitted that during her previous employment she was subject to frequent and repeated brutalisation at the claw of local monsters. Her former employer forced her to explore numerous, multi-floored random dungeons filled with increasingly tough enemies and forbade her from running away from battles. If and when she was unevenly matched in a face-off, she had no option other than to take the beating until knocked unconscious and summarily returned, minus all of her hard-won items, back to the village. May have hidden scarring from enduring these long-outdated working conditions.

Izuna can restore her HP simply by running around. Alternatively, if she holds down the L and R triggers she can also restore health while standing still - something she asserts was an irritating but crucial minute-by-minute interruption to her recent dungeon-exploring experiences.

Izuna admits to have been driven to using potion-based drugs to restore her health while under extreme stress at her previous employer. She claims she doesn't have a drug problem but does appear to have a special 'LUV' stat which records her current 'love' for her equipment which increases its effectiveness the more she uses it...

Religion:

Polytheist. Having to systematically face and defeat six local deities apparently undermines the resolve of even the staunchest atheist.

Driver's license:

None. However, Izuna demonstrates an unusually quick speed when holding down the B-button to run.

Key Skills/Professional Assets:

- A trained ninja, Izuna demonstrates excellent if rudimentary fighting abilities. She has one attack move, dictated by her current choice of weapon (which may break unfairly at any time). Her only experience of combat is facing up to an opponent before taking turns to hit each other until one of them dies. In her previous employment neither her employer nor her local shop provided weapons and so she had to either use her fists or search for items of use in the onion-layered dungeons that made up her daily routine.

- Izuna is good at thinking on her feet. In her previous job she was required to negotiate numerous, seemingly endless dungeons - each one generated on the fly. Enemy monsters only moved towards her when she took a step, and so careful (and laborious) planning and estimation was required at every stage.

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The Orb of Earth: curing teenage self-esteem issues the world over.

- Izuna is used to working tirelessly, perseveringly and with little reward or recognition. While making her way through dungeon floors and ever more difficult enemies she was frequently and inevitably wiped out, her employer requiring repeated attempts at a dungeon until she was sufficiently levelled up to make it to the final floor and face off against the dungeon's deity.

- Izuna has experience augmenting weapons by applying special talismans to them (also found in the field) as well as in sealing monsters into a special Fuuma talisman. Izuna has then successfully summoned these monsters to temporarily fight alongside her.

Reason for leaving previous job:

Izuna recently completed her quest to restore harmony to the local village she pissed off. Following her success, she was offered an eighth dungeon for fun (which would have seen her abilities reset to level one for an indefinite and time-wasting contract). However, she wisely decided it was time to move on before the tiresome, repetitive and over-laborious work sent her completely insane. Despite these reservations and the tough difficulty of her previous work Izuna claims that it was extremely satisfying when she did manage to emerge victorious from a tricky situation.

Ambitions:

Would like to travel to Europe if she can find a suitable sponsor.

Would like a new vocation that offers more than one tiny village as its sole location and some work that is more varied than relentless and unforgiving drilling through dungeons.

Likes:

- Retro chip music
- Elaborate in-game character portraits
- Witty, written-in-character instruction manuals
- Pithy one-liners
- Intelligent and intelligible localisations
- Invisible traps add unpredictability to random but similar dungeons

Dislikes:

- Bland sprites and environments
- Merciless difficulty levels
- Losing levelled-up weapons upon each easy wipe-out
- Auto-saving each time you enter a dungeon or are wiped-out
- Random dungeons
- Invisible traps which finish you off just when you managed to make it through a horde of monsters
- Concept reviews
- Self-depreciating meta-jokes

For office use only

Candidate summary (FAO: Metacritic):

Izuna is a complex character combining a modern personality (funny, irreverent, and born from a unique and interesting scenario) with deeply outdated gameplay mechanics (literally JUST random dungeons to plough through mostly at the mercy of chance and persistence).

In many ways Izuna is wholly incongruous to the modern world of JRPGs - despite her appearance and manner of speaking she has more in common with thirty-year-old dungeon text adventures than even the decade-old Final Fantasys. Indeed, any prospective patron should be well-prepared for an extremely challenging relationship that will strain even the most-committed Rogue-devotee. But, for the very few fans still looking to recruit in that toughest of niche sectors, Izuna is a worthy hire.

How would you score the applicant in the following areas:
Looks: 6/10
Musical taste: 6/10
Endurance (lastability): 7/10
Character: 8/10
Overall (not an average):

6 / 10

Read the Eurogamer.net review policy Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja Simon Parkin Living Dole. 2007-04-18T08:00:00+01:00 6 10

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