What wonders of transforming robots this series has brought! The plane-turned-humanoid Veritechs have gone through full-scale wars and much destruction. Time and time again they have suffered through so many failures at what would seem such a great concept for a videogame. With only a couple of the games based off the series worth playing, it is quite refreshing to encounter yet another that is actually pretty fun to play, even if it would not be at the top of the pack were the license removed.
The first thing that shows is the cel-shading on everything, but this unfortunately goes hand-in-hand with blurry textures. Everything does look very good and true to form to the anime series, but there is a lot of repetition among enemies and stage goals. It tries hard to recreate the Robotech atmosphere, and does so by focusing on the combat and adding in some arcade-style elements to keep the pace up. Unfortunately, a lot of the feeling is lost as many missions take place in crowded land areas that hamper the speed and yearning to fly around. The pure flight missions have another problem of their own, in that the background remains static, making it impossible to tell how far one has flown, making positioning problematic. All sorts of small flaws are abundant throughout, but thankfully all of them are just that, leaving plenty of good fun to be had - especially if you are a fan of the series.
The missions, which basically stick to killing or protecting, give plenty to kill and unlimited ammo to go with it. Missiles and the machine gun can be drained temporarily but recharge fairly quickly, allowing the Veritech to go nuts unleashing bundles of death upon enemy squadrons at will. A few of the missions have hazy goals Ė the second level has the same outcome if you lose as when you win Ė and most stick you to going from group of enemies to group of enemies slaughtering them all. The difference in modes actually works quite well during close firefights, as the Battloid can shoot down enemy missiles and spins well, while the Guardian can launch its own missiles and is fairly speedy. When the range begins to increase the fighter comes into play, with powerful missiles and the greatest speed. Unfortunately, the game really needs a lock-on camera more like Sky Gunner as it becomes very hard to keep track of specific enemies. Many enemies end up off-screen a lot in the flight stages, though this thankfully doesnít plague the ground stages nearly as much.
Switching between transformations is fast and easy thanks to simply tapping the D-pad, although most missions conform to a single mode. Having a larger variety of enemies in each stage and more open areas would have really helped a lot in this regard, to force variety in forms. The straight-up destruction does have its merits with the over-the-top rapid killing, and the mission objectives sometimes get in the way of a good fight. A huge battle can be going on with Jack, the hero, being assaulted from all sides, and suddenly you have to fly somewhere else and pick someone up to go drop them off. Sometimes it is done well and creates tension, but other times it simply interferes with the flow and comes off as too scripted.
One effect I liked was the explosions, which look exactly like they came out of the TV show. Iím not sure how they were done exactly, as they do not appear to be 3D cel-shades like the rest of the game, but instead 2D bitmaps. In either case they look sweet as hell.
Those times when the game does come together, usually during the pure flight scenes when you are taking on waves of enemy fighters and maybe even a Zentradi Cruiser, it is an absolute joy to play and be part of. After a while, you can sense the feeling of when to transform for the current situation. Once that starts to seep in and combine with the balance of knowing whether to be defensively attacking or just on the offense (the game is built around continuous applied force) it really starts to feel like you are part of the show. Too much time is spent on random missions that feel far too much like videogame setups, but each time that special moment arrives, it all makes up for the average areas.
A lot of variations of the original theme music are present throughout, mixed in with various other tracks from the series. Quite a bit of work was put in here, even though a perfect recreation of the theme seems to be lacking. The voices overall are nice but nothing special, and a few of Jackís one-liners get repeated a lot. Par for the course for hero quips in games, I vividly remember hearing, ďJack, the giant killer!Ē twice as often as I would have liked. A lot of the original voice actors were obtained for use in the game to help lend a hand in authenticity, and interviews with a few of them can also be unlocked through gameplay.
There are actually a fairly nice number of things to unlock, though many consist of paint jobs and additions to the two-player battle mode. These one-on-one fights arenít quite all they are cracked up to be, but still provide a fun distraction from time to time.
Probably the best recreation of the Robotech universe in playable form that gamers are likely to get for a long time (maybe ever, if this track record keeps up), this is a game that needs to played by fans. Others with only a mild interest in the series will still find it fun, but I know Iím partially blinded by my love for seeing a Veritech used so well, even if the surrounding circumstances arenít quite as good as the main vehicle.
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