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Reviewed: Robotech: Battlecry
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: October 27th, 2002
Page: 2

Robotech, for those who aren't familiar with the series, is an anime wherein human pilots fight against invading aliens using transforming vehicles called "Veritechs", an apt name given that they have an airplane form, robot form, and a sort of hyprid form. That's the background. The game itself spends a good amount of time on story in between fighting settings, so I'll leave the spoilers on what actually happens in the series out.

In each form, players control different weapons. Fire type one is always some form of gun, either a rifle or nose-mounted artillery. Form 2 is invariably a missile weapon with tracking capabilities (sense a pattern yet?).  In plane form, there's also counter-agents like chaff to ward off incoming enemy missiles.

Control-wise, the game is pretty simple, incorporating an analog stick, fire buttons, and strafe triggers. Changing between forms is accomplished with the D-pad, and changing targets is done with the second analog stick. Both the PS2 and Xbox controllers handle the tasks very well, though the Xbox is slightly better suited by layout. The Battloid (robot mode) is the most complex form to handle because it's the most versatile, requiring liberal use of the strafe triggers and "boost" button (a catch-all for a dash function and flight modes). The Guardian, the in-between mode, is next, and carries more firepower but a severe loss of agility. The Fighter mode, a jet fighter airplane, is the fastest and suited best for combat in high-air or orbital situations.

Beautiful control setups are one thing, and are complemented well by the game's graphical brilliance. Previous games such as Monster Rancher 3 and Cel Damage have explored what can be done with cel shading for a polygon-based game, but Robotech takes this to another level, with every aspect looking as if it were hand-animated rather than rendered by a computer. Liberal use of texturing (as opposed to Monster Rancher 3's minimal use) is in order, managing to look gorgeous in city, landscape, and air/space settings.

The one downside to the game is size constraints on some of the levels, which seem to be imposed as much by control constraints as by level design. In city missions, it's impossible to fly over (certain) buildings, though it looks as though all should be possible. Likewise, space and air battles carry a "ceiling" which, when hit, causes the VeritechMax to revert to Battloid mode. Given the apparent scope of battles, and lack of warning when nearing the boundary, this can prove to be an incredible nuisance. 

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Added:  Sunday, October 27, 2002
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 2/3

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