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Retro Monday Game 92 – Hybrid Heaven

Hybrid Heaven was a game with an unusual blend of genres action/adventure and RPG for the Nintendo 64 that was made by Konami and released in 1999. Its design was in hope that it would create a new style of RPG Battle System.

Chosen by the community of GRcade via a poll of three games chosen by Jenuall.

Well, I had not heard of this game before. I knew literally nothing going into it other than what was said in the Retro Monday thread which was basically it’s an oddity.

Now, having no clue what is going on you’re treated to a few cutscenes of a naked guy doing various things in what appears to be a flat (apartment,) then getting a visitor, then going to a subway station and getting shot. You then play as the shooter. I still have no idea what is going on at this point, it’s really odd. The gameplay proper starts when you enter a facility and here is where the hybrid gameplay in that you explore in a 3rd person view and you have a similar kind of stand still to aim and shoot to actually shoot things, then, you also get into fights. Fist fights, I must add. Here’s where there’s the real mix in genre, you fight things and have a bar fill to select your attack, and the enemy can Step – meaning the can step aside and take no damage, though if they get hit they take all the damage, or they can Guard – which makes you take less damage or, you can counter 0 simply avoid the hit and smack them back. You can also bloc, step and counter the enemy attacks.

The fights take place in small rooms where you can move around the 3D space, and remember the bar you want to fill to attack, the bar is for the power you use, you want it full and the fastest way to get it to fill is to stand still. I find it’s best to move away as fast as I can and just wait for a bit, rinse and repeat. You also learn more attacks, you can even grapple and learn different moves via that too. Neck Thrown, Body Slam, there are a few that I saw myself. You also level up, like an RPG, but you also level up your body parts – left leg, right leg, torso, right and left arms too, not only that, your body parts have separate levels for attack and defence.

The sound was decent too. The very beginning cutscenes has some sinister music happening and when you’re travelling around the facility you’re in there’s this music, but it’s more atmospheric than anything and it really fits a sci-fi soundscape. During fights, the music is again the low key, but it really adds to the tension and I think it’s really well implemented as it really suits the slower paces of the fights and it adds weight to the situation that you are in. The Sound Effects carry weight to them and punches and kicks are meaty, the only odd SFX to me is the gun, it kinda sounds like a weird water drop or something, where I think it’s meant to be pew-pew.

Verdict: Recommend.

If you’d like to take part in voting for the games or even picking the games yourself, take yourself over to the GRcade forums and pop into the Retro Monday thread and just post to show your interest. Not just that, you can watch the gameplay live over on Twitch where it’s streamed at 9pm on a Monday evening.