Boktai: The Sun Is in Your Hand
|Boktai: The Sun Is in Your Hand|
European cover art
|Developer(s)||Konami Computer Entertainment Japan|
Boktai: The Sun Is in Your Hand (ボクらの太陽 Bokura no Taiyō?, "Our Sun" in Japan), is a video game released on the Game Boy Advance in 2003 by Konami. It was directed by Ikuya Nakamura, and produced by Hideo Kojima.
The player takes the role of Django, a vampire hunter, who uses a weapon called the "Gun Del Sol" (Solar Gun), that fires bolts of sunlight at enemies. Boktai's game cartridge includes a photometric light sensor that measures the amount of sunlight/uv rays exposed to it. In order to charge the in-game weapon, the player must actually take their Game Boy Advance outside in the daytime (as verified by the light sensor). If the player's gun runs out of light reserves and there is no sunlight available, then the player must avoid enemies.
In a place not too far from here and now... The End of the World approaches... The Undead appear, breaking the natural cycle of life and death. The evolution of species ceases... and one by one they become extinct. In the age of darkness in which people have forgotten the sun, the "Immortals"—the beings of the dark—have appeared and turned San Miguel, the City of the Sun, into a land of death. The dark curse has turned all species into the "undead". "Dark matter" has brought about the "undeadening" of all life. The man who was known as the strongest vampire hunter has fallen, and the people's hopes have been shattered. But one day, a boy left San Miguel to avenge his murdered father. This boy is Django—the heir of the solar gun "Gun Del Sol" and the last hope for humanity. In him flows the blood of the greatest vampire hunter of all time. He heads for Istrakan—the City of Death, to pursue his father's murderer. Can Django avenge his father's death with the use of sunlight as his weapon? Can he stop the undeadening that threatens the lives of all? Can he bring back Our Sun?
Accompanied by Master Otenko, together they stop the undeadening and that does not went unnoticed. They purify Istrakan from the four Immortals that roam there, by bathing them into sunlight. But that is noticed. In Django's adventures, they meet a dark figure that tries to stop Django and Otenko from saving the world. Django later learns that this dark figure is his brother and together they defeat the queen of Immortals, Hel.
A unique feature of Boktai is that before a game is started, the player is prompted to set their current time and time zone. The engine can then determine when the sun will rise/set, and will simulate the position of the sun inside the game. This way, the player has an advantage during the daytime because, according to lore, vampires cannot be exposed to sunlight. Sunlight also affects the world around the main character. A good example is the Solar Tree. This tree is affected by all the darkness of the Immortals, and can be cured by playing in sunlight. The game also simulates times of day by putting bird chirp sound effects in the morning, and giving the outdoor environment a soft orange glow around sunset.
Unlike other action RPGs, the combat focuses on stealth. An integral concept is shooting an undead in the back, stunning it then running away or finishing it off. Getting caught by a monster (indicated by a red exclamation point above the head) will reduce the grade received at the end of a stage. The highest grade one can receive is an "S", and the lowest a "C-". A number of other factors also determine the grade received, such as total time taken to complete the level. While playing the game, the player goes through a number of levels called dungeons. After a certain amount of these dungeons, the player will encounter a level that somewhat bigger than the others. These levels all called Immortal, because the four Immortals reside inside these levels. The player will have to fight his way to the so-called boss creature, or Immortal, of the level. The player must defeat the "Bosses" and return them outside the dungeon level, to bathe and battle the Immortals into sunlight, called a Battle Drive (this is from the name of the device, used to defeat the Immortals, called the Pile Driver, summoned by Master Otenko). The player must use the solar sensor inside the game pack to defeat the Immortal. The sunlight will activate the Pile Driver. The Pile Driver will shoot the amount in sunlight to the Immortal. The Immortal will get weakened faster if the amount of sunlight is higher.
The "Gun del Sol" is the only weapon used by the main character. It has the ability to charge with sunlight and being the only weapon to defeat the undead and Immortals. It is a very versatile weapon, because all parts of the gun (lens, frame, battery, and grenade) can be customized. By changing the Lens, the element used by the Solar Gun will be changed. There is a wide choice of lenses, Sun, Luna, Fire, Frost, Earth, Cloud, Dark and Star. They all have different effects at different situations. Some monsters have specific weaknesses against an element. As you use the lenses, they will gain experience and if it gains enough experience, the lens will become stronger and level up. This will increase damage and effectiveness. Some element lenses (Fire, Frost, Earth and Cloud) will be used to solve puzzles. A frame is the part that will determine the shots of the gun. The gun's fire can be changed by adding different sorts of Frames. Some of the frames are inspired on existing weapons (shotgun, automatic gun) and some are fantasy based (a sword spread, a vortex or a wide spread). They have their own strength, based on grades from C- (weakest) to A (strong). Batteries are the gun's power source. By increasing the quality of the battery, the gun will be able to store more energy from the sun. Grenades are explosives with different types of effects. Some will explode, attracting or hurting enemies and some will be able to reveal hidden objects.
In Mega Man Battle Network 4, Django is part of a funhouse ride featuring vampires. The boss of the vampire robot, whose network contains a story following the adventures of Django fighting the evil vampire Dracky, is ShadeMan.EXE. Django (and Otenko) later appears in the Undernet as part of a mini-quest to acquire the "S. Sensor" item and activate the PileDriver. He hopes that the PileDriver will delete ShadeMan.EXE, who sleeps in a coffin before Django, regaining strength to revive. The Program Advance 'PileDrvr' also appears in-game.
Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it a score of 9/8/8.5: the first reviewer, Shane Bettenhausen, called the game "incredible", while the third reviewer, David Chen, said that "all you really need to know is that this portable gem is a pleasure to play".
Boktai was followed by three sequels: Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django, Shin Bokura no Taiyō: Gyakushū no Sabata, and Lunar Knights. The first two games continue to use the solar sensor, while the third game does not. While Lunar Knights was called Boktai DS in Japan, the name was changed to distance it from earlier games due to the lack of a solar sensor.
A manga was produced called Solar Boy Django. It was produced by Makoto Hijoka and was loosely based on the Boktai storyline. It does not follow the plot of the games directly, although it does include many of the characters, such as the Count and Sabata. An English version of the manga is currently available from a Singapore manga production company. In 2007, Elex Media Komputindo licensed the manga for the Indonesian market with the title Jango the Solar Boy.
- "Boktai: The Sun Is in Your Hand - GameRankings". GameRankings. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
- "Boktai: The Sun Is in Your Hand Critic Reviews for Game Boy Advance - Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
- Bettenhausen, Shane; Chen, David (October 1, 2003). "The light... it burns!". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Archived from the original on March 26, 2004. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
- Dingo, Star (2003-09-15). "Boktai: The Sun Is In Your Hand Review for Game Boy Advance on GamePro.com". GamePro. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
- "1UP.com Previews: Lunar Knights - Just don't call it Boktai DS.".
Yoshitomi: I've had quite a large say in the rebranding of Boktai as Lunar Knights -- we want to tell users in North America and Europe that this is something new, something totally fresh, and there's no sun sensor. This is a good way to do it, to let everyone know this is a different world with so many new features it almost doesn't feel like a sequel at all.