| paleface [sys=PCCD; cat=Strategy; loc=JPN] |
|Well, I thought this was the Macross 2036 shooter when I gleefully bought it from a local second-hand store for $2, but it turns out that it's a square-map-based tactical strategy game, ala Advance Wars. So rather than a mediocre shooter, I ended up getting a pretty decent strategy game.|
Like Advance Wars you move your little ship units around a big map one at a time. Each has hit points, movement points and various weapons. In addition to the famous Valkyrie fighters, which can transform (I think the various modes have various advantages, but I've yet to puzzle those out), you even get to control an occasional space battle-cruiser, whose massive cannons have a huge range. Of course, the Zentradai enemy also have battle cruisers and suchlike, so it's a matter of concentrating your attacks correctly and avoiding falling into situations where you'll get destroyed before being able to bring your weapons to bear. Well, anyway, you know how these things go, and although the menus here are kanji, they aren't very extensive and you can pretty much pick things up as you go quite easily.
The game sports some really nice music--not from the anime, but still pretty good. The slideshow cutscenes between battles aren't the best, but they bring a few of the scenes to life, sorta. When you launch an attack the game treats you to a little side-view animated scene of what happens, these are pretty well done but of course get fairly repetitive. I think you can turn them off, actually, but I haven't tried that yet.
The computer so far hasn't been that bright, but it isn't outright stupid. You also get computer-controlled wingmen in some battles who love nothing better than to rush the enemy headlong, but at least they take a few down with them to soften things up for you. The only real downside of the AI so far is that it can sometimes take several seconds to move a unit, and when you have to wait for a dozen units or so, this can add up to a lot of time waiting for the computer's calculations to kick in.
Still and all, the battles so far have been fairly small skirmishes and move quickly. You can save to internal RAM between each battle, how nice. I'm pleasantly surprised by this game, I never would have tried it out on purpose but it turns out to be quite well done.