Despite the rather lukewarm reception of Boktai: The Sun is in Your Hand for the Game Boy Advance back in September 2003, publisher Konami has decided to import the sequel, Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django for North American release. The first title in the action RPG series from creator Hideo Kojima (of Metal Gear fame) was praised for its innovation, while being condemned by some for the very same reason.
Boktai 2 follows the mission of the vampire hunter Django in his quest to destroy the undead that plague the town of San Miguel. Evil beings called "Immortals" have turned the world to darkness and caused the species in the world to turn into undead. In Boktai, Django, son of the world's strongest vampire hunter, leaves San Miguel for Istrakan, a focal point of darkness, to avenge his father's death. Utilizing the solar-powered gun, "Gun Del Sol", Django must stop the "undeadening" of the world. Boktai 2 sees Django returning from Istrakan to his home town of San Miguel, which has now been infested by undead.
The gimmick of the Boktai series comes in the UV detector chip built into the game cartridge. To power up Django's various weapons, the chip must be exposed to sunlight. When the chip is exposed to sunlight in the real world, the sun comes out in Django's world. This weakens the undead enemies that Django faces while simultaneously recharging his solar-powered weapons, powering up his attacks, etc. Too much sunlight can cause his Solar Gun to overheat, so control of the light levels in real life is necessary to optimize the gameplay of Boktai 2.
Gameplay in the Boktai series is similar to other action RPG games like Secret of Mana, with a few slight twists. In addition to the solar chip aspect of gameplay, some strategy is required by the player to sneak around certain situations and solve puzzles. For example, Django can lean up against walls and sneak by enemies to avoid being seen, much like in the Metal Gear series.
This time around, Django has an arsenal of weapons at his disposal in addition to the solar-powered gun. Over 60 solar-powered weapons will be available. Weapons can be fused together and made more powerful via the "Solar Smith" system by using energy stored from sunlight. Django will have a sword, spear, and hammer to help him solve various puzzles during his adventure. Django will also have magic at his disposal that can be used to attack enemies and power up his weapons.
In addition to the normal story mode of Boktai 2, a multiplayer mode will also be available. Up to four players can be supported via Game Boy Advance Game Link Cables in a player versus player grudge match similar to the recent Four Swords Adventures.
The first Boktai was noted to have impressive graphics for a hand held console. Boktai 2 does not disappoint, being just as colorful and crisp as the original. The music for Boktai 2 was composed by Norihiko Hibino, who also worked on titles from the Metal Gear and Yu-Gi-Oh series, as well as the original Boktai.
Despite many critics panning the Boktai series for its sometimes annoying necessity to play it at least partially in daylight, it is difficult to argue the fact that the series is one of a kind. For fans of the original, Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django is something to look forward to when it is released in mid-October.