Reviews: Super Robot Wars UX (8/10) Considering that the Super Robot Wars games started out on the GameBoy, their most natural state is generally on similar portable consoles. This has been proven time and time...
Back in 1995, SEGA were pretty much surfing the crest of success when it came to arcade games. With hardware that antiquated its competitors, the then new Model 2 boards were host to a slew of very impressive games. However, one game in particular wasn’t intended to be just eye candy. A small team at AM3 had ambitions for something more functionally complex and involved. To the extent they wanted to distill the core of real robot mecha combat and make that accessible to gamers at large.
The game they birthed was Virtual On and it was a milestone in many ways, from the use of a twinstick control setup to the innovative dashing focused combat. There are few games in the mecha pantheon that have defined so many that have followed in their wake. Even less that have influenced games outside of the mecha genre, to the point of distilling functional elements that many gamers now take for granted. Virtual On was and still remains to this day a very important game as without it many subsequent mecha games simply wouldn’t exist.
Today is a very special day indeed, as it marks the 15th Anniversary of one of the most influential mecha games ever made; the wondrous Virtual On. The series’ creator, Juro Watari, somewhat tearfully remembers the day over on the official Virtual On Force blog and that the actual day the game should have had its final rom delivered was on the 24th, a Friday. Apparently, the team were balancing the game right up until the last minute and specifically Bal Bas Bow’s floating arms caused a lot of issues. The latter had the last remnants of the team working until 9pm and after they finally nailed it, they went over to the main Sega office building with the final rom disc only to find the department was shut! So the official day that Virtual On was birthed was on the Monday, the 27th. Watari also goes on to say that at the time making a mecha game such as Virtual On was a huge uphill struggle, as the overriding belief was that a game like this could never be made. So for him to look back on the past 15 years feels somewhat miraculous and that the real “Force” behind Virtual On is its passionate base of players. In any case, Watari is suitably and justifiably upbeat about the Virtual On games he’s worked on over the years and for those that have yet to sample the delights of the original game, we can thoroughly recommend the SEGA AGES PS2 port. Finally, our first retro review will be published shortly and it shouldn’t be too hard to guess what it will be!
With an update for Gundam Extreme Versus planned for November 29th, 4Gamer have kindly reminded us that the awesome MSN-06S Sinanju will be very much present. Whilst the article talks a fair bit about the recently released second episode from Gundam Unicorn, the in-game screenshots of the Sinanju are pretty spooge worthy. Still no word of a PS3 port but considering the host hardware the arcade game is built upon it should only be a matter of time.
As we suspected the White Dingo variant of the GM Sniper II is now available for pre-order as a Tamashii Web special purchase. Fear ye not though, as places like Tokyo Hunter are stocking the toy on your behalf (as Tamashii Web specials are Japan only purchases unfortunately). Considering how much we loved the recent GM Sniper II toy, we literally cannot wait for the White Dingo version as the Dreamcast game that birthed it is very close to our heart.
4Gamer has a pretty epic breakdown of the upcoming Border Break Airburst update set for release at the end of November. Whilst Airburst is basically “Ver 2.0″ of the original Border Break, the game has a considerable amount of improvements over its precursor. Notably the new dropships that can carry multiple blast runners across a map to invade heavily fortified sections. The dropship even packs some quite notable firepower too, though at the expense of a suitably “shoot the core” weakspot in its rear. We’ve also linked a video of the new dropship setup below, though it kicks in about halfway through in case you’re wondering.
The moderately fourth wall breaking Mokei Senshi Gunpla Builders Beginning G OVA has finally had its first few episodes released. Despite being a bit “we put a Gundam show in a Gundam show so you can watch your Gundam show while you watch a Gundam show” the slightly awesome sight of seeing a pimped out Senjou no Kizuna cabinet used as a full blown linear seat is rather impressive. In terms of the show’s narrative setup, the arcade cabinets are the means by which Gunpla builders spar with one another. Using a Haro styled 3D imager, the tech then attributes abilities based off the kit. It’s a bit like Barcode Battlers in a way but with Gundam kits and insane arcade gaming production values. To be fair we’re not far off making an arcade game that works like this, but if the 3D imager could also detect colour I reckon we’d see a lot more red painted Gunpla – for the obvious stat boost. The first episode is shown below (unsubbed) and you can buy the kit of the Beginning Gundam, featured in the show, here. It’s also worth pointing out that the area where most of the combat scenes are set is actually around Shizuoka, where the full scale Gundam is based.
We meant to cover this earlier, but the much anticipated Gundam Extreme Versus was released a few weeks ago in Japan. Following up on its success, the game will also have a Gundam Vs Mobile element that will allow players to theme the HUD of the game. In addition, on the 27th October, a new EX Scene level will become available featuring the GF13-001NHII Master Gundam as an antagonist and subsequently as a playable unit too. 4Gamer has some nice shots of these updates in case you’re curious. No word on a console release as yet but expect something in the New Year in terms of an announcement apparently.