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Robotech: Battlecry

Preview By: Siou Choy

Developer:  Vicious Cycle
Publisher:  TDK Mediactive
Genre:  Action
Est. Release:  October 2002
Posted:  8-1-02

OK, for all 10 of you who don’t know what Robotech is, here’s the scoop: Robotech is a compilation of three separate Japanese mecha series, packaged together and re-edited into one continuous storyline for US consumption back in the early to mid 1980s. What made it special, of course, was the human drama - the romances, the personal issues, even the deaths of characters you became attached to in the course of months and months worth of blazing battle. More uniquely, there were no real reruns to suffer through or tune out from – the (rather long) series ran continuously once, perhaps twice, before fading into oblivion.

To put it quite succinctly, Robotech is almost unanimously noted by anyone around at the time to be the most important, if not first, anime they were ever exposed to (old folks love to cite the lame Speed Racer and Astro Boy, and a few hold tender memories of the more maudlin Battle of the Planets or Robotech’s late 70’s precursor, Star Blazers). Thanks to the folks at Vicious Cycle, fans of all ages can relive the series once again (sort of) with Robotech: Battlecry. Vicious Cycle is developing the game for TDK Mediactive, for a fall release on all three next generation consoles.

Never mind the fact that this is no RPG (thus missing the whole point and appeal of the actual series, to focus solely on the mecha/fighting aspect), here’s the real "sort of": instead of being able to play as such cherished anime luminaries as young hotshot pilot Rick Hunter or my personal favorite, Skull Squadron leader Roy Fokker, you take on the role of some schlub named (of all things) "Jack Archer, a pilot in the Robotech Defense Force". The explanation is that this game takes place before the Robotech anime. Of course, you still have to fight off the Zentraedi forces as they launch their attack on planet Earth. Good news mitigates the bad, though, since Roy Fokker will be in the game, as a personal trainer of sorts to assist you and guide you through various levels. For example, Roy guides you through each of your Veritech fighter's forms: fighter, guardian, and battloid. One form may be better suited than another to any given mission, which means you have to learn how to master each stage of your Veritech, both on ground and in air.

But, you ask impatiently, sweaty little otaku hands rubbing together greedily, how does it look? Nice. Cel-shaded graphics have gotten pretty popular of late, and Robotech: Battlecry will be taking full advantage of the format. What better way to give a video game an anime feel than to make it look more like an anime?

In keeping with the current rage in DVD marketing, Robotech: Battlecry will be released in a special Collector's Edition in addition to the normal edition. In the Collector’s Edition you get a Robotech T-Shirt, CD Soundtrack, "Art Cards" (including a 3-stage "Lenticular Motion Card" which shows a transforming Vertich fighter), a numbered Defense Force dog tag, and special box in addition to the game. The cost of the collection? A massive $79.99, placing it roughly in line with Working Designs' recent Arc the Lad Collection.

North American fans of the Robotech series have been taunted and teased with the promise of a domestically released Robotech game for years now. It looks like some people’s fevered little dreams may finally become a reality when the game is released this October.

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