Hey hey! Last week I covered a crazy free-roaming, car throwing game.
Today I check out a game based on one of my favorite anime shows. A game that kinda went overlooked even by fans.
Robotech: Battlecry came out way back in 2002 for the PS2, GameCube, and Xbox. Kinda sorta (not really) following the storyline of the TV series; though it focuses on new characters created for the game, it does feature guest appearances by characters like Roy Fokker and Lynn Minmei.
(Side note: Yes, I know Robotech is more or less just Super Dimensional Fortress Macross. No, I won't be going into that here, but feel free to do so in the comments. There won't be any Macross comparisons in this article, however, since the game is based solely on Robotech.)
So being more or less based in the Robotech canon, the story follows pilot Jack Archer (voiced here by veteran voice actor Cam Clarke) as he joins the Robotech Defense Force and fights in the Battle of Macross Island, in the First Robotech War.
Much of the game is a flight sim (well, arcade-like anyway) that sees you fly the famous Veritech fighter in battle against the invading Zentraedi. The Veritech Fighter is, of course, a heavily-equipped fighter jet that transforms into two other forms-the Battloid Mode, which is your standard humanoid mech design, and Guardian Mode, which is...um...somewhere in between, as seen in the screenshot. Make no mistake; it's quite powerful in this configuration.
So the game takes place in space as well as on Earth; space missions are focused mostly on dogfights, while Earth missions involve switching between forms to battle the (somewhat numerous) alien forces. That's really one of the selling points here; the game is never boring. You always have something to fight.
Sadly, the game never really evolves past the usual mission tropes; there's the "destroy all enemies" missions, there's "protect this or that" mission, and, of course, there's the truly awful "escort missions." Admittedly, there's not a ton of variety in Battlecry, but it remains fun throughout, thanks to a better-than-expected story and a solid control scheme.
But the main problem with Battlecry is the same problem with every game based on an anime: It's really only going to appeal to gamers who are fans of the source material. If terms like Veritech, SDF-1, and Lynn Minmei don't mean anything to you, chances are you won't bother finishing this game, or even checking it out. If you are a fan, though you may be a little put off that you don't play as -insert favorite character here-, you'll likely still be thrilled that you get to be part of the Robotech universe. The gameplay is solid; like I said, you'll never be bored outright. It's easy to switch forms, and each has their uses (switch to Guardian Mode and let the swarm missiles fly, or use Battloid Mode to shoot down incoming missiles) and so, you have to determine which mode is best for each purpose.
Oh, and there's split-screen multiplayer. It's pretty fun.
Graphically, Battlecry uses heavy cel-shading, which was all the rage back then. It's awesome, because the game faithfully resembles the anime it's based on. There's really no slowdown (as far as I know from my recent playthrough) and there's a lot of variety in enemy and ally ship design. All of this sounds great, too, but the weird machine gun sound and transformation sounds might only appeal to Robotech fans. Voice acting is awesome here, with a lot of Robotech cast members reprising their roles from the 1985 series. Just awesome.
I had fun digging up Robotech: Battlecry. It's a faithful, if not canon, recreation of Robotech featuring cameos by characters from the series, voiced by their original actors. But it felt a little too much like a "throwback," especially when played today. It's still the best Robotech video game out there (and one of the only besides Invasion and The Macross Saga) but it's a game that's a little tough to play today. Still, if you're a Robotech fan like me, you'll probably find it worthwhile to revisit this somewhat overlooked gem.
Questions, comments, future GOTW suggestions? You know where to go.
Next week, we run in terror from a dude with a big helmet, and an even bigger knife.