Black Matrix

   Hidden amongst the bigger names in Tommo's vast Dreamcast line-up is a decidedly less recognizable name: Black Matrix. A remake of a fairly successful Saturn strategy RPG, Black/Matrix (no relation to the movie The Matrix) was released on the Dreamcast as Black/Matrix AD, but will come to the U.S. as simply "Black Matrix."

   The title is at least partially derived from the unusual game world. Long ago, a black-winged god and a white-winged god battled, and the black-winged one won. The followers of the white-winged god, who also bore white wings, were enslaved. Many years later, a Black Wing master confesses her love for one of her White Wing servants, and both are promptly imprisoned. The player, as the White Wing servant, teams up with various common criminals and stages a breakout to rescue his lover -- certainly a unique beginning for a game.

   The gameplay, however, is mostly generally strategy RPG fare. You guide a team of characters with varying abilities through a linear series of missions (with plenty of FMV and voice acting in between, of course). Langrisser and Kartia fans should feel right at home.

   That's not to say Black Matrix's gameplay is completely without innovation. In order to defeat enemies,you'll have to first lower them to 0 HP and then hit them with a final killing blow that nets you "bloody points." (Later on, you'll also be able to use necromancers to resurrect dead enemies to fight for your side). "Bloody points" are necessary both for casting spells and for powering up your weapons and armor. In somewhat of a nod to dating sims, you're also given a choice of five different Black Wing masters to romance; how much this will impact the storyline is unknown.

   Information on Black Matrix is still extremely scarce, so it's hard to get an accurate picture of what Dreamcast owners will see this November. Count on the GIA to bring you full coverage once more details emerge.

Preview by Kevin Gifford, GIA.
Black Matrix
Developer NEC Interchannel
Publisher Tommo
Genre Strategy RPG
Medium GD-ROM (?)
Platform Dreamcast
Release Date  08.27.98 (Saturn)
 Unknown (DC)
Evolution, Seventh Cross, Black Matrix all U.S.-bound
14 assorted screenshots
Japanese Dreamcast packaging