Prepare to face hordes of monsters and robots in Blue Dragon, an anime-style, adventure role-playing game (RPG) for the Xbox 360 console. The epic, three-DVD game was created by Japanese game developers Mistwalker and Artoon, and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It marks the first collaboration in more than 10 years between Hironobu Sakaguchi (designer and producer of the Final Fantasy game series), Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball manga-series creator) and video-game music composer Nobuo Uematsu - the 'dream team' behind the revolutionary Chrono Trigger RPG for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System console. When it was released in 1995, Chrono Trigger raised the bar for RPGs, with its detailed graphics, character development, plot-related side quests and multiple endings. Rendered in 3D, Blue Dragon dazzles with amazing graphics, fluid animation and the rich character designs Toriyama is renowned for. The game centres on a 16-year-old boy named Shu and his friends, who discover special powers and use them against the evil forces out to destroy their world. Each hero magically casts and controls a distinct shadow that turns into a powerful blue creature. Shu controls the titular dragon. Friends Jiro, Kluke, Zora and Marumaro have, respectively, a minotaur, a phoenix, a killer bat and a sabre-toothed tiger. The characters also develop fighting styles, which are used by their shadow creatures in battle. Players can either run up to or sneak behind their enemies to initiate combat. The five heroes take turns fighting. A bar at the top of the screen shows which character is engaged in combat and who is on duty next. Press the right trigger button and the so-called 'encounter circle' appears, showing monsters geared for battle. A player can fight them one at a time - the weaker one first - or all at once. Thanks to a tutorial program, gameplay is easy to pick up. And because the game feels like an interactive animated movie, you become hooked into playing for longer periods. Blue Dragon's menus and commands are in English, but the full-motion video sequences are in Japanese with English subtitles. Its English version will be available next month. Pros: Excellent graphics, music, character design and gameplay. Cons: English subtitles, as the dialogue is in Japanese.