|I can't figure why this game didn't make it to the States, unless perhaps Capcom decided it was just too weird for Americans. After all you've got cave boys, teary cyber-chicks, old space-knights, floating head triumvirates, aquamen and other uncouth types piloting some very wild 2d robot designs in vicious head to head combat.|
The robot graphics aren't as technically amazing as the Gundam Battle Master games, being just straight-up sprites without taking advantage of hardware scaling or rotation tricks, but their designs are a lot wilder than the Gundam battle suits--one is basically a gigantic robotic octopus, for instance. The backgrounds are spectacularly alive for a 2d Playstation fighter: your gigantic mechs snap power lines, teeter on a slender space station, plunge to the bottom of the ocean, watch a massive space cruiser take off, stand in the midst of a raging inter-planetary battle... it's incredibly inspired stuff.
The character setup is refreshing as well: you pick a pilot from one of the zany characters, then pick one of four mech body types, then one of three weapon loadouts for that type. Each character has a full story mode with lots of fully voiced speech, etc--all in Japanese, of course. Still you can tell the voice acting is top-notch as it it kept me interested by just by inflection along with a well-drawn slide-show of facial expressions.
The battle system is nifty: two attack buttons (one per arm I think), a weapon button for long range missle/laser shots, and a "boost" button that can let you quintuple-jump (depending on how far it's recharged), dash along the ground or recover quickly from falls. You can charge up a super meter for some really damaging attacks and then of course there are throws and jump-kicks and so forth. The sprites and effects are large and pretty well animated with very little, if any, slowdown. Oh I forgot, you can also knock an enemy's arm off if you hit them with a really powerful move. Combos are fairly easy yet not incredibly abusive (that I've seen from the CPU, at least).
All in all just an incredibly packed game--there's so much unique art in here it's quite breathtaking just trying to take it all in, yet load times are quite brisk. The one knock you could make against the game is that it only has Story and Versus modes, omitting even a Practice mode. But you won't really need much practice to get into the swing of things thanks to the gentle difficulty ramp in Story mode. Gah. Capcom really should have brought this to the States and then made sequel after sequel (I'm not gonna count the 3d Tech Romancer, which plays quite differently).