Robotech: Battlecry
Game Info
Platform(s)
GC, PS2, Xbox
Publisher
TDK Mediactive
Developer
Vicious Cycle
Genre
Mech Action
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Cel-shaded graphics look mimick cartoon well
• Audio seems ripped straight out of show
• Lots to unlock

The Bad

• Battleoid/Guardian modes are sluggish
• Area graphics and design are weak

 
Grade
B-

North American fans of Robotech have never known the joy of even a remotely decent videogame based on the long-running anime series in which an alien ship crashes to earth. From the wreckage, humans rebuild the ship and use the technology found aboard to create the Robotech Defense Force. When an alien assault force comes to Earth to retrieve the ship (now know as the SDF-1), the crew manages to escape to somewhere else in the solar system through the use of a teleporting "Fold System". Battlecry details the events and missions of Jack Archer, an ace pilot who is left behind on earth after the SDF-1 departs from earth. His story parallels the path that the cast from the anime takes through the war.

In designing the graphics, Vicious Cycle decided to build the game in a cel-shaded design, which manages to mimick the look of the cartoon well. All of the mechs and ships are dead-on accurate and a lot of the little things, like the smoke trail from a hail of missles, work to bring back a sense of nostalgia for fans. But, once you look away from the mechs and ships, you'll notice a number of bland textures and fairly boring looking levels. Cities are sizeable enough and have a number of buildings you can shoot down during combat, but there's very little life to accent and make it feel like a real city. Also, the wilderness levels look rather plain and the backdrop for aerial missions seems to lack any detail. On top of that, I really wish the cutscenes had been animated instead of hand-drawn stills.

The story mode is set up into missions, which are lumped into chapters. The player will use their mech to perform various objectives, including escort, attack and defending locations. Using the D-Pad, the player can switch modes from Battleoid (robot) to Guardian (half robot/half plane) to Fighter (plane). Each mode has certain bonuses and drawbacks, so learning how to switch them on the fly is key to finishing most missions. Also, knowing which mode is the best for a certain mission is also helpful. Firefights can be hectic and fast paced, with losts of gunfire and missles being flung about. Using the strafe buttons is to your benefit in this game and the controls at times can feel sluggish. In fact, both the Battleoid and Guardian modes seem to lack speed. Unless you keep your hand on the boost button, it make take you some time to get anywhere and turning tight corners is next to impossible. Players can earn medals based on performance, which will unlock new mech designs (including Skull Leader) and new arenas for the Versus Mode.

Just about every aspect of the audio department is well done and feels pulled straight from the series. The music uses original themes effectively and even includes new tracks that feel fairly similar in style. Sound effects are nicely done and likewise feel reminiscent of the show. Considering most of the original voice cast returned to do the game, fans will enjoy the voice parts.

While I did enjoy the fact that they managed to capture the Robotech feel well, there were some things I wish had received a little more polish. As stated before, some of the modes feel sluggish in control. From time to time, I felt like I was fighting with the controls to get my mech where I wanted to be. And on top of that, there seemed to be minor collision detection issues that would leave me stuck between two buildings until I could boost or blast my way clear.

Fans of the original series should check this game out. It does manage to do well in recapturing the original anime, even if some of the issues seem to hold it back. Outside of the license and the tranformation aspect of the game, Robotech: Battlecry is your standard mech action title.

- - Vane

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