In a wonderful case of Steel Battalion infused nerdiness, David Shuff has made a real life cockpit for the game. It has all manner of cockpit type features from flashing lights to that nice claustrophobic feel. We have yet to review this classic game for the site but we included it in our top ten mecha games of all time list recently in case you’re curious. Naturally we have also played the game to completion too. That aside, there are some wonderful videos of the cockpit in action below.
We’ve tried to avoid doing these kinds of lists over the years. Mainly because they end up being contentious and misinterpreted. That said it’s about time we got around to doing this. Especially as other places have attempted similar lists and ended up being laughably parochial and clearly ignorant with it.
Before we start, there are a few a disclaimers. “Best” in this context means that these games are obviously great fun to play but they also went on to influence other games as well as approached mecha gaming in a unique way. They might have even resolved design issues that had plagued other titles too.
The games listed are also not necessarily based on our reviews either, as some we have yet to even cover, but more how they have defined mecha gaming over the years. These are also games that we regard to be very well wrought, based on our years of experience from playing lots and lots of mecha games.
As we’ve mentioned a few times already, the lovely Cloud Breaker 01 from the Xbox game Murakumo is now set for release in January of next year. Whilst the game was a bit bobbins, the mecha designed by Takayuki Yanase were beautiful to behold. It seems that PLUM have done an exemplary job too. You can also pre-order the kit here.
Update: GA Graphic has a nice update about the kit as well.
Back in 2001 From Software announced their support for Microsoft’s first foray into the console market. With games like Murakumo and Gaia Blade many of the Japanese press and public regarded the Xbox as a possible contender, after all this was a staunch Japanese developer making games for an American console. The thing was that whilst Murakumo was available shortly after the Xbox’s release in Japan, Gaia Blade disappeared into insignificance.
The promotional in-game movie for Gaia Blade that was shown at the 2001 Tokyo Game Show displayed a rather lush “real time simulation” RPG set in a mythical almost ancient Greek inspired landscape. A scantily clad female warrior dispensed with multiple beasts in a pretty brutal fashion.
Roll forward a year to the following Tokyo Game Show and now people were asking what had happened to Gaia Blade. This time there weren’t any in-game movies but instead a few instances of pre-production artwork. Again, set in the mythical world but now with bipedal mecha and the game’s name had been changed to that of Gaia Gear. Admittedly, very few were surprised to see mecha in a From Software game but they were confused after seeing in-game footage of what looked to be an entirely different type of game. The question on everybody’s lips was what in the hell was From Software doing?
A year later a game finally appeared, the name had changed yet again as had the setting but the same design of bi-pedal mecha were present; the world had finally been introduced to Chrome Hound: Age of Arms.
The current Wonder Festival coverage has recently surfaced and there is a veritable panoply of mecha gaming related kits that have been displayed. From the the wonderful Kotobukiya stall showing the first Nineball from the original Armored Core games as well as the Sobrero from Armored Core For Answer. In addition, their Jehuty kit also finally reared its head too. However, the most impressive kits shown are from PLUM’s stall with the suspected Valken kit shown as well as an amazingly intricate Cloudbreaker 01 from Murakumo, the latter was originally shown at this year’s Winter event.
Similar to a post we made back in 2009, GameSetWatch have found another industrious individual has taken the epic Steel Battalion controller and used it for DJ-ing purposes. Called the “Zero System”, no doubt a nod to Gundam Wing, The Asterite as he’s known also has two additional joysticks to help him mix. Again, we always find this re-purposing of gaming hardware pretty nifty and we’re always happy to see more use made out of the brilliant Steel Battalion controller.
Famitsu has the scoop on a big LAN party for the suitably wonderful Xbox game, Tekki Taisen (or Steel Battalion: Line of Contact) that was renowned for its online play setup. Specifically the “Project FireWorks” group has organised this awesome gathering as well as helped to show off the scratch built VT kits by a chap called “nanaC”. The event gathered over 100 fans of 5 by 5 teams, some even brought their own homemade cockpits. Many met one another for the first time too, despite having played together via an online battlefield. In any case, it’s nice to see that the fans still support games like these. Whilst there is a new Steel Battalion game on the way, we still think a properly complex controller is still what made the original games so very special. Thanks to Atsushi Kawashima for the heads up.
Whilst this is yet another cool looking kit from PLUM, of prior Leynos fame, the Murakumo mecha are curious due to the man who penned them. Specifically, that of Takayuki Yanase who’s had a rather gilded career as a mecha designer in his own right since he left From Software. Something that From Software have been keen to capitalise on, as this design was featured (albeit modified) in the first Another Century’s Episode, not to mention the Ixbrau units Yanese exclusively designed for Another Century’s Episode 3. He even worked on the OG mecha for Super Robot Wars W too. In any case, whilst Murakumo was a pretty wonky game the designwork was lovely. So this is yet another kit that’s been added to our wish list.
If you want to have a gander at the remaining reportage for the current Wonder Festival, then GA Graphic and AkibaHobby (pages here and here) should satiate your needs. A mild warning though, as some of those links aren’t exactly work safe. We’ve also included some videos of the Cloud Breaker 01 in action below.
A chap on flickr by the name of m_o_n_k_e_y has been rendering various cool mecha in Lego form. Specifically, he’s moved onto the vertical tanks from the original Steel Battalion games on the Xbox as designed by the wonderful Junji Okubo. The above model is based on the Vitzh, that’s basically the grunt of the VT forces. The guy has even had a crack at the internal cockpit as well, which is pretty cool really. Thanks to Persona for the heads-up on this.