Front Mission: Gun Hazard
Review by jyforever
"Gun Hazard is a Rare Gem"
Front Mission Gun Hazard is an Action RPG game published by the fine folks at Squaresoft. It was released so late in the Super Nintendo's life, which may be one of the reasons why it was never officially translated and released here in the west. Many companies were starting to focus on the Playstation by that time. It's truly a shame that this game was never released in America and Europe because it would have been remembered as a classic, no doubt. If you are into RPGs, Action games, or you just like controlling cool Mechs with all sorts of neat weapons and equipment, then you should definitely give this game a try.
The graphics in Gun Hazard are beautiful for its time. It's not the absolute finest graphics the Super Nintendo had to offer (Star Ocean and Tales of Phantasia are two games that come to mind in the graphics department), but the game is extremely polished and of very high quality. Each area in the game has its own unique feel and environment with forests, snow blizzards and deserts. The Wanzers (Mechs) that you control in the game are highly detailed and everything moves fluidly. All levels have scrolling backgrounds, as well as the inclusion of a Mode 7 overworld map.
The controls in Gun Hazard take some getting use to. They may seem a little floaty at first...similar to how Samus controlled in Super Metroid, but they are perfect once you get the hang of it.
Gun Hazard is an Action RPG, and as such, you earn experience points and money as you complete each stage. The overworld map displays the many areas one can go to and once you are in an area, there are different stages. The first few stages may start off slow but the action quickly picks up. Most stages are filled with platforms to jump onto to get better angles to shoot your enemies and dodge their fire. As you progress through the game you can unlock more weapons, equipment, and better Wanzers to use at your disposal. Many friendly people aid you on your adventures through the game and become allies with you. Once an ally joins your party, you will have the option to have him/her join and help you during your missions (computer controlled or with a buddy using a code). Each ally has their own special abilities, such as healing you in battle or providing fire support, which adds a nice dimension to the game. Allies also gain experience as well and can be upgraded, albeit not to the extent as your own Wanzer. It's cool to see two Wanzers jumping and flying around the stage shooting enemies. Some areas of the game can only be reached on foot because the Wanzers are too big. By pressing select, Albert will be able to exit his Wanzer and get to secrets that are otherwise unreachable. Usually at the end of each area, there is a challenging boss fight awaiting you. The game has just the right amount of difficulty (not overly easy or hard).
The sound effects of the game aren't mindblowing but they definitely get the job done. Every gun has its own unique sound when fired and explosions are great. The music is composed by some of the finest composers out there including Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy series), as well as Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger/Chrono Cross). Most of their compositions in this game are upbeat...compared to their more usual emotional/somber type music.
The story in Gun Hazard is above average and will keep you engrossed the whole way through. It may not be as great as the Front Mission strategy games, but I think those games rely more on being story driven. You take control of the hero, Albert Grabner, who takes on a group called the 'Society'. The Society is hellbent on bringing chaos to the world and it's you who must stop them.
Seriously, I really couldn't ask for much more from a game like this. It's action packed and has RPG elements which I love.
Gun Hazard is a fairly lengthy game and will take around 20 hours or so to beat. The game can be played with 2 players, so that adds a bit of replayability to the game.
In conclusion, Gun Hazard is one of those games that many people haven't given a fair shot. Many people confuse this game with the more well known Front Mission strategy games and quickly dismiss Gun Hazard for being a side scrolling action game. Like every game out there, it's not perfect and there will always be something that could have been improved upon. But if you're into RPGs and Action games as well, I highly recommend you give this game a shot. It just might turn out to be one of your favorite games.
Gun Hazard is perfect for what it is, a fun Action Role Playing Game.
Gun Hazard is a must buy.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/04/09, Updated 06/05/09
Game Release: Front Mission: Gun Hazard (JP, 02/23/96)
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