| The Good
Levels and mechs look great in action
Menus are well designed
| The Bad
Cutscenes are boring
Needs more arenas
Very little strategy needed
In the year 2025, the Japanese have moved to Neo Tokyo, leaving
Old Tokyo to fall into ruins. A series of mech pilots create
a Gladiator-like game, known as Rumbling, in the old city,
where they pilot mechs called Scoobies into arenas to fight
it out with other pilots. Winning in Rumbling earns the pilots
money and a higher ranking, where one day they may fight against
certain well-known pilots to rise through the ranks.
The game opens with an awesome CG sequence that looks like
the battle is going on in the actual streets of Tokyo. The
game's menu and character design is wonderfully executed and
gives the game a personality that sets it apart from most
of the competition. Mechs also have a certain style and design
that's a nice change of pace. Phantom Crash's Scoobies
are more rounded and have an anime bent to them (along the
lines of Masamune Shirow). Levels are fairly sizable and capture
the feel of a ruined cityscape converted into a gaming arena.
I will say, though, that I wish there were some better lighting
effects, especially during the night battles, and a more liberal
use of visual effects.
Players will have three choices of manufacturer style (Holy,
Aeron and Photon), but from there, they have a good bit of
choice in customizing their Scoobie. The mech type really
only sets what weapons and parts can be bought for the mech.
When not Rumbling, you can go to a few locations, including
your garage, a used parts shop, a few manufacturers to buy
new Scoobies and even Sonic Amp, where the player can purchase
new music to play in their Scoobie while in combat.
During the heat of battle, the control scheme itself feels
fairly intuitive. Using the control sticks in tandem, the
player can move around the arena with little effort and the
Scoobies can use boosters to skid fast in certain directions.
Arm weapons are fired using the triggers and the Y and B buttons
fire back weapons. The Black and White buttons allow sidestepping,
which can be used to dodge missiles and you even have access
to a time-limited stealth camo. The fast and easy controls
really play well to Phantom Crash's strength - quick,
high-speed combat. Unlike some of the competition, this title
really throws fast mech action at you, whether it be in the
single player Quest Mode or in the multiplayer. You won't
have to trudge around in a slow mech as every type of Scoobie
seems to be outfitted to move about with quickness.
During a Rumbling, you'll have to navigate the area to find
"power-ups", which are dropped from time to time
and consist of more ammo, money and armor repair. Each enemy
you waste will be worth money and at the end of the Rumbling,
your earnings (minus repairs cost) will be totaled and can
be used toward other purchases.
Outside of the Rumblings, you'll be treated to small cutscenes
that develop the various other pilots, giving the player a
sense of their personality. These sequences are told in barely
animated "cut-out" sequences, which quickly makes
the cutscenes boring and tedious. In fact, a lot of story
sequences tend to be lengthy and boring and you'll probably
want to skip past them as fast as you can to get along.
Phantom Crash has a fairly strong and energetic techno
soundtrack that works wonderfully with the design and style
of the game. Tracks from Dunkirk, Batangui, Tre, ByeByeGames
and Kyo Ichinose are part of a large and impressively
effective soundtrack that really adds to the style of the
game. Sound effects are a fine compliment to the gameplay.
Phantom Crash is not without flaws, though. It won't
take long before you realize that there are only three locations
to carry out battles and that just about every battle has
the same goal - destroy wave upon wave of enemies. Nothing
more, nothing less. On top of that, you'll find that trying
to create a strategy of any kind is ultimately useless. All
you really need to do to survive is just find people to kill
and avoid damage.
Phantom Crash provides a lot of potential, but I tend
to think that Genki could have done just a little more with
this title. Design, music and the flow of battle itself works
great, but I really wished that there just was more to it
- more arenas, more objectives, more reasons to go through
the annoying puppet-shows that pass for cutscenes. If you
can look past the shortcomings, you'll find yourself a fairly
enjoyable mech title.