Review by Tenshi No Shi
"One of the greatest science-fiction sagas of the 80's finally makes a comeback."
I've been a fan of Robotech since it first aired in 1984 and I've been a fan of gaming since I was old enough to hold a controller, so the marriage of these two elements seemed natural to me. Fast- forward eighteen years and the long- awaited video game based on one of the best sci-fi shows ever finally becomes a reality.
In Robotech: Battlecry, you are Jack Archer; an ace pilot and friend of Roy Fokker. The game starts at the beginning of Zentraedi invasion, but after just a few missions, you find yourself near the end of the war, preparing to defend Earth and the SDF-1 against Dolza's final onslaught. From there the plot delves into the conflicts that took place on Earth during the rebuilding process when renegade Zentraedi would raid, and even destroy, the newly built cities. Your tour of duty
takes you into the Wasteland- a barren desert where life is sparse but conflict is frequent.
Graphically, Robotech: Battlecry is a masterpiece. Employing the cel-shading technique to give it a cartoon feel, the game looks nearly identical to the show. The colors a bright and vibrant, backgrounds beautifully rendered and the special effects (such as explosions and smoke) look almost hand animated. Speaking of animation, you will be hard pressed to find a smoother mech transformation in any game. Are there flaws? Sure- The Veritech's wings disappear in Battloid mode, the Veritechs themselves don't quite transform the way they were depicted in the cartoon and the buildings that make up the war-torn cities are often colors that were not present in the show. Do these thing detract from the game? Absolutely not.
As impressed as I was with the authentic look Battlecry exudes, I was blown away by the game's sound. Not only are all of the audio effects from the show present (from the footfalls of the various mechs to the sound of multiple missiles filling the screen), but most of the original voice actors reprise their roles as well! Talk about nostalgia. Then there is the music. The developers took the original soundtrack and re-recorded it, adding a little to the composition to 'modernize' it. While I wouldn't go so far as to say it surpasses the Ulpio Minucci's score, it is certainly more than a worthy tribute.
It takes some getting used to, but the controls in Battlecry are much better than I expected. Using a 'standard' layout for each of the three Veritech forms, you basically only have to adjust to the constant need for transformation in the thick of battle. Each form has advantages and disadvantages which play out well through the various scenarios in the game, all which lends itself more authenticity. The learning curve is steep but the tight response time and the easy-to-memorize button configuration makes the transition much easier. Sure you can't do everything you saw in the show, but given what's there, you can certainly pull off a few maneuvers that would impress even Max.
The missions, the levels, the story- in essence the very design of the game- defines Robotech. From the intro sequence to the menus to the layout of the cities, there is no mistaking Battlecry for what it is: a long-overdue addition to the Robotech universe. With its multiple branching story (you are rarely confined to just trying to complete one mission) to the unique boss battles (which are guaranteed to bring out the controller-thrower in all of you), you can tell production value was high and the folks who so lovingly brought this game together were fans of the series. My only wish would be more missions that took place during the SDF-1's long journey back to Earth (a Sara Base mission would have been a swell touch). Oh well, perhaps in a future game we'll see the Macross Saga from another pilot's point-of-view.
If you're looking for a game with a lot of replay value, Battlecry might just be what you need. With several variations of Veritech to unlock (all of which have different stats which effect your performance), paint schemes to uncover, multi-player maps to open and medals to earn, you'll be playing this one for a while. Other bonuses include videos from the various voice actors who leant their talent to the game as well as armor and booster upgrades which will give you a serious advantage when you play some of the later missions. All I have to say to you is if you are the type of person who must unlock absolutely everything in a game, have fun with the medal sets. ~_^
Robotech: Battlecry represents nearly everything I've ever hoped for in a Robotech game and surpasses nearly all previous Macross efforts (the exceptions being the three arcade games, the Super Nintendo game and the PC Engine RTS game). It captured the essence of the show perfectly and gave me many hours of entertainment. Even without the Robotech license, it's still a damn fine game, so check it out if you like your mech action Transformer style.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/10/09
Game Release: Robotech: Battlecry (US, 09/25/02)
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