Review by Overlord Hikash
I owe Tommy Tallarico a dinner.
I first heard about this game on a show on G4 called "Judgment Day". One of the two hosts, Tommy Tallarico, was having a fit about the game, complaining about the controls and the camera. Looked like a fun enough game to me. I purchased it based on seeing it on the show. Tommy Tallarico, Victor Lucas... thank you for reviewing the game. You two added it to my collection, basically.
Now, I will admit, the game is flawed. It has it's ups and downs. The 8/10 I gave the game reflects the fun I had playing it. After all, having fun is the point in playing games, right? So, what could be a 7/10 game has been boosted a bit, just because of the fun factor and replayability, which shall be explained below.
Graphics: First and foremost, keep in mind that this is a Gamecube game. Graphics weren't the Gamecube's strong point. Not only that, but Gotcha Force recognized that, and didn't really try incredibly hard to utilize the systems full graphical potential. It's a somewhat childish looking game. It's kind of supposed to be, though. You're playing with figurines throughout the game. Toys aren't 100% realistic. Not even close most of the time.
Anyhow, the games appearance was passable. I did love how a lot of the toys (or "Borgs"), looked. The dragons, certain samurai, and the battleships looked great to me. Others were intentionally poor looking, like most of the "Death Borgs", likely top represent the cannon fodder nature of them. Why should the main villain make his robotic foot soldiers look good? Just gonna die anyhow...
All told, the graphics, while not spectacular, were in the nature of the game. In my opinion, they worked well with the style of Gotcha Force. The game itself wouldn't have been the same if it were released on the PS3 or similar system, making the Borgs look perfectly realistic. This is a somewhat childish game because it's *supposed* to be.
Gameplay: Well, you move from stage to stage (you get to pick what level to go to, on a town map area), and engage in battle, usually with the antagonists forces. From time to time, you get into friendly battles with other Borg users, to train and test one another. Sometimes you get into not-so-friendly battles with other people, using the Borgs.
Once you've selected a stage, you choose what battle team to bring into combat. This team is a group of the Borgs you possess, brought into one squad. You can edit these teams outside of battle, putting in as many as you can, so long as you don't exceed the point limit, which I'll mention in a bit. You can also choose an ally you'll bring into battle. The friendly Borg users you can bring in with you will increase as you go along in the story. Variety, that is. You can never bring more than one into battle with you.
Once in battle, you run around the map in a third-person view, using the first borg in your battle team. If that Borg dies, the next in the team steps up, and so on. If they all get eliminated, you lose, and are bumped back out onto the stage select. You hunt your enemies Borgs, and defeat them with an assortment of attacks, which vary from Borg to Borg. Grenades, gatling guns, shuriken, energy beams, swords... it varies vastly. Every Borg is capable in battle, though. Some more than others... but still, they all kind of have uses.
If you win a battle, you gain points, which determine the maximum size of your battle teams. Each Borg has a point value, and as you add them to a team, they take up points (The points you have never go down. Putting an 80 point Borg into a team and taking it out doesn't permanently expend those 80 points). This grants you freedom to mix up your team. You can cram as many 800+ point borgs as you can into a team (three or so, near the end of the game), or you can try to use the awful, but cheap, Death Borgs, and assemble a 20 man battle team, hoping to wear your opponent down. All up to you.
Sound: Voice acting is there, albeit barely. Each character will say a name or two, let out a disgruntled sigh, and so on. Very little... but it's there. Characters also have a little one-liner they let out at the start of battle. This voice acting is also kind of poorly done. Not the best in the world. Not the WORST... but it's closer to that than the best. Music is peppy, and kind of fun. No award winning score or anything. Nothing really comes to mind... though I *know* I had one song stuck in my head before.
Your guns in combat make firing sounds, and I believe your grenades and missiles make exploding noises. Dragons make a horrid yelling sound as they spit out their breath weapon (An often fatal beam of varying color and type). Sound is there, but it's not really all that exciting. You likely won't much notice it too much, one way or the other.
Story: You are Kou, a young boy new to the neighborhood. Of course, soon after arriving, there's a meteor shower. Of course, these aren't meteors. No, that'd make it too easy! These are Borgs. They're flying down upon the earth, either to try and destroy it, or defend it. You are befriended by G-Red, your companion Borg, pretty much. The one that follows you, and is pretty much one of the top-tier Borgs in he game.
G-Red alerts you to the threat of the Galactic Emperor, a horrible fiend who is destroying planets Earth is next. He's unleashed his thousands of Death Borgs upon the earth, in an attempt to take it over, and eventually get rid of it. The rest of the Borgs are here to help. They'll join you, and the other good hearted (for the most part...) boys and girls of the land, to get you to help them. Of course, seeings how they're half the size of a soda can, a normal person would barely notice them! You need the help of a Borg to take them on. Fight fire with fire. A small fire. Very small.
You, G-Red, and your friends must face hundreds of Borgs, humans who side with evil, and eventually the might of the Galactic Emperor himself as the battle takes twists and turns, until the enemies you face grow in size, and their true threat becomes apparent. Only you, with the help of your friends, can defeat the evil Galactic Emperor!
Difficulty: For the most part, Gotcha Force wasn't too difficult. The first ten levels or so are cake, as you're facing Death Borgs, who are severely lacking in both attack power and energy. There are a few levels that stick out in my mind as being mind bogglingly annoying. You can skip some of those, though. One or two of the storyline fights are quite tough, though. Throughout, you won't be breaking any controllers, but on or two may make you grit your teeth.
Fun Factor: Personally, I had a blast with Gotcha Force. I played it nonstop once getting it, burning through a good deal of the game. I still play it to this day, despite having it for a few years now. I can pick it up and go to town on this game. Break out my floating battleship and rain down death from above? Maybe make a team of Death Borgs, and try my hand with the weak ones, making some challenge for me. Having 200 or so Borgs gives the game massive variety in how to play. Close up, long range, or act as support for your ally. Up to you. Many ways to play, many ways to have fun.
Replayability: As stated above, I still play this game. I have a lot of fun with it. It has a "New Game+" system. You restart at the beginning with all your Borgs... but your points are reset to their beginning number. This will force you to redo some of your attack parties in order to use them. You may have to hold off on using some of your favorites for a bit, too. You do get rewards for playing through several times, like new forms of your companion, G-Red. It's worth playing more than once, without a doubt.
Gotcha Force was easily one of my favorite games for the Gamecube. It earned a place in my heart quickly. Somewhat wonky camera aside, it was a great concept, and it was executed well. Not perfectly, but well. It was easy to pick up, easily learned, and very playable. If you have a Cube, and see yourself still playing it, go get Gotcha Force. It isn't pricey by any means, and it's well worth getting.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Gotcha Force (US, 12/03/03)
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