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Code Lyoko: Fall of X.A.N.A.

Score: 60%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: The Game Factory
Developer: Neko Entertainment
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 2 (Multicard)
Genre: RPG

Graphics & Sound:

Code Lyoko: Fall of X.A.N.A. is a license that has slowly started gaining momentum in the videogame market, and while it offers an interesting fighting mechanic, it really doesn't have a whole lot to it.

The visuals of the game are broken into two parts. Inside levels, the game takes on a top-down 3D perspective with low detail (about on par with other 3D DS games) and very linear levels. Levels themselves are sparsely populated by... well anything, and it isn't long before the different zones start to blend together.

The other visual style is in between missions where you hang around the school yard talking to other characters from the show. Here, everything is 2D stills and the character and background art look like the art from the show.

As for audio, there isn't really anything to talk about. There is background music, but it's very forgettable and doesn't really add anything to the game. A lack of voicework and lackluster sound effects means this game can be just as easily played with the volume off.


Code Lyoko: Fall of X.A.N.A. takes place around the events of the fourth season of the show. The kids have defeated X.AN.A. and are working to rebuild Lyoko. But as they explore the land with their new abilities, they also get a chance to travel across the Digital Sea where they learn that X.A.N.A. has taken hold of many other lands. Now the kids must not only search for and free William, but try to rid the other lands of X.A.N.A. and Volcano Raplika, which resides at the core of this evil virus.

Between levels, you will talk to your various classmates at the high school, and before jumping into Lyoko (while in the lab), you will have the opportunity to customize the items assigned to each of your party members. But once you step foot in the digital world, you will have to keep your wits about you as viruses pop up and attack you.

During combat, you can perform various fighting moves, use items and functions, as well as the character's special powers. And while the game's fighting system is interesting, because of the real-time nature of it and the need to act quickly, I found I rarely watched the attacks themselves as they played out on the top screen, but more on the combat system later.

Outside of the Single player mode, Code Lyoko also offers a couple of multiplayer options, but they all boil down to taking your party and going up against your friend's party. Classic multiplayer is a simple fight. You get to use your items and abilities without any consequences to your single player campaign. Another mode, on the other hand, has each player putting up an item as a wager. Whoever wins the fight gets both items, and yes, it does change your in-game inventory so losing an item in this mode will cause it not to appear in the single player mode.

I also feel I have to report a possible glitch in the game. We were not able to reproduce the error, but while testing out the multiplayer features, Cyn and I found a point when all of her characters' actions were set to In Progress, as if they were getting ready to do their moves. The game itself wasn't locked up. When I performed attacks against her characters, they showed up on her screen, and once the match was over, she had complete control again as if nothing happened. Like I said, we weren't able to reproduce this issue, but there is something not quite right there.


I would say the hardest part of Code Lyoko: Fall of X.A.N.A. is the fighting, but that really isn't the case since it isn't all that hard to beat. Actually, it's probably the waiting. It's that time in the game when you've given commands to all your characters, they've all executed their attacks, and you simply have to wait for their powers to recharge. Meanwhile, your opponent has done basically the same thing, and you are both just sitting there.

Plus, the encounters you will face aren't really random, so short of figuring out a way to physically avoid fights, your characters will level up in a pretty predictable pace and you will be just as powerful as you need to be in order to take out the next big enemy.

The only place difficulty really comes into play is effectively using your items, but even that doesn't add a lot of depth to the game since you will find pickups pretty frequently and shouldn't really be all that worried about using up items.

Game Mechanics:

The only real mechanic in Code Lyoko: Fall of X.A.N.A. is its fighting system. When you encounter a group of enemies, the game puts you and your opponents on the top screen with each of your characters displayed at the bottom. In (what I'm told) is a Final Fantasy 4 fashion, the fight itself is in real time. Meaning, you don't have to wait for your opponent to attack in order to decide what you want to do. Simply use the stylus to select an action for a character, and then select an opponent. As soon as you are done with that, you can queue up the next attack from another character. While the attacks themselves will only happen one at a time, it is possible for you to put in three or four character attacks before the opponent can even land a blow (and vice versa).

In order to add a little bit of balance to this system, the developers put in a waiting period after each character's attack. Basically, once you have told the game what your action is, and it performs the action, a progress bar appears for that character. Once it is done, you can send it another command. As I mentioned in the Difficulty section, this means you can send all your attacks and sit back. You will not only have to wait for each action to occur, but then wait some more for your characters to recharge.

It might be said that this should lead to more strategic fighting, you know, holding off with some characters so you can use them while others are recharging, but that really just keeps you from getting bored since the time you are waiting to use a character could easily be the amount of time it takes for your opponents to become available again and attack you. I don't know if this system just needs refinement (maybe shorter wait periods) or what, but it definitely isn't perfect. In fact, it feels more like the DS equivalent to button-mashing since I always found myself tapping a random option in order to get my attacks in as quickly as possible.

When playing multi-player with Cyn, she commented that it was like the worst of both worlds (those worlds being real-time and turn-based combat). You don't have the time to plan out and strategize your moves, but simply hacking away isn't the best approach either.

Unfortunately, I have a hard time recommending this game to even hardcore Code Lyoko fans. The game feels like little more than a tech demo of the fighting system with a license attached to it, and I just don't see very many people enjoying it all that much.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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