You know and love them: Mechs. Giant, mechanoid arbiters of destruction. All mechs are different; some have jet-packs, some have optic camo, some sprint quickly, others have impossibly large guns or swords, or better yet, any combination of the above. However, mechs have one thing in common: They kick ass. So heres to the giant robots, those things that we all secretly wish we had.

While not the best mech game out there, Chromehounds can hold its own. The mech designs are alright, kind of uninspired, but they get the job done. You got your usual slow, lumbering mechs with huge payloads, and the small, quick ones that can't take alot of damage. However, all the mechs feels slow as dirt, even the faster ones. Combine that and a lackluster single-player game, and you have a below-average mech game. If the game is so bad, then whys it on this list?? Simple, its customization multiplayer. Building a mech is no small task, it forces the player to pay attention to detail including power limits, weight, and mech-diameter. On the multiplayer side, its Xbox Live at its finest. You can join Squads, and assist in your selected nations bid for land in an persistant online universe. Its good stuff, if only the combat didn't just revolve around circle strafing and having the best armor/guns. So as noted before, their are better mech games, which is why we'll move onto...

Not exactly a mech game per se, this more recent game does let the player control the reins of some pretty cool mechs, dubbed "Vital Suits" here, that give the player protection from the extreme weather conditions that plague the planet. And this VS' have some serious payloads, which is appropriate considering you'll be facing some truly titanic alien bugs. The best part is that all the mechs are easy to control, and its a great thing when your using your jetpack to boost on the ground while unleashing whole clips of ammo and dodging a stampeding alien lifeform.. its intense stuff indeed, especially when you throw in the fact that you always have to keep moving in fear of losing your thermal energy. Add in breathtaking graphics(in particular, the smoke effects are amazing) and impressive sound, and you have a game that'll have your jaw dropping on more than one occasion.

With initials like that, how could this game not be on this list? RAD is probably the most unusual game here, where the player takes control of the pilot of the giant robot, instead of the robot itself. Its an interesting cocept, and made even more interesting because of the unique control system. Each analog stick on the Dualshock controls an arm of the mech, enabling different punches and attacks a 'la Fight Night, and the shoulder buttons control foot movement. It'll take a while to get used to, but a few missions in and the controls will feel quite natural. In addition to the robot controls, you must move the pilot him/herself to get the best view possible, while being mindful of the flying debris that two giant robots locked in mortal combat are destined to cause. Or, to take it back to old-school robo action, you could use your hover boots to chill on your robots shoulder. Once your situated, you can let fly various special attacks including giant robot mainstays such as drills, lasers, and missiles, and more unique weapons that I won't spoil here. Combine that with great building and collateral damage, and you have a robot game thats just plain RAD.

Surprised? This game is definitely not a mech game, but it still has some intense turnbased mech combat thrown in, arguably some of the best parts of the game. These mechs mean business too, they are all armed to the teeth and can dole out some major damage, as noted in cutscenes and comabt. The game's mechs boast numerous designs, each reflecting their pilot in some way. In particular, the E.S. Reuben thats driven by Jin Uzuki keeps up with that characters tradition, it just oozes old Japanese tradition, just like the character. The mech design alone makes gives this game a reason to be recognized. As a side note, each of the twelve main mechs are named after a child of Jacob from the Bible... this game is filled with numerous allusions.

This is an odd one, especially considering one major difference from other games on this list; These mechs are tiny, and are more like Pokemon than a normal, world dominating mech. This concept, along with the surprisingly deep customization, and you have a good, arcade-y take on the normal mech combat formula. The robos battle in whats called a holosseum, where the player take direct control of the little robos in a fast paced shootout. In terms of different loadouts, the mechs can be equipped with anything from simple gattling guns to a overpowered homing dragon-shaped flamethrower, in addition to different bombs, pods(basically traps), body types, and legs, and for a kiddy-esque game, the customization has its depth, especially when you throw in 4 player robo free-for-alls. Also, kudos is needed for the sometimes hilarious conversations that go on during story mode.. I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but it made me giggle on more than one occasion.

The oldest game on this list, Armored Core was incredible for its time. Featuring an unheard of level of mech customization, intense up-close or distanced combat, and a well implemented two player versus mode, using either the PS1 link cable or a vertically split screen.The player is thrust into the role of a Raven mercenary, who(just like a true merc would) causes destruction for profit. Each mission involved your mech getting rid of something, but the gameplay and post-mission customization options is what made the game so memorable. So while it may look damned ugly by today's standards, it basially revolutionized the mecha-genre of video games when it was released.

No discussion of mech combat is complete without mentioning Virtual On. The signature two stick controls set this game apart from the pack, so its a shame the American Dreamcast version didn't come with the controls, that game hasn't lost any of its arcade-y arena warfare. You've got 12 mechs, each with different attributes as normal, and you go head-to-head in angry clashes of fast-paced robo-rage. Throw in air and ground dashes, jump cancels, up close and distanced attacks. Each mech has its own distinctive flair to it too, with some great-for-its-time detail. Now, if only Sega has thrown in that Two Stick controller...

Heads and tails above the first Xbox MechAssault, Lone Wolf is the perfect game for heated online mech-skirmishes, where teamwork and coordination is a must for victory. While there aren't any customization options for the mechs, the game makes up for it by having over 30 different vehicles, ranging from the mechs to the new BattleArmor(that'll let you jack other players of their mech rides!!) and flying transport vehicles VTOLs that allows players to play an important role in online battles, as in VTOL drivers can drop in supplies, and armed support. Those two new additions alone make this game worthy of praise, but then you add in the persistant Conquest Mode, and you have a game that will make any mech-fans pants wet with glee. Theres the usual clan support, but the Conquest Mode is almost MMORPG style, where a single player's support can shape and change the online climate for good or for worse. It helps the player feel apart of something much bigger, as there will always be battles raging more conquests. As you can tell online play is the biggest draw here, but the single player mode has its moments, including some intense boss battles. But, you'll spend the most of your time online, guarenteed.

Now this is a hard-core mech simulator.. yes, a simulator. Proudly bearing a $200 price tag, if you're a fan of mech combat don't worry, those two c-notes are definitely being put to good use. To play the game, or better yet, to take part of this mech simulator, you'll have to come to grips with a 3 foot, 40 button behemoth of a controller, complete with foot pedals. Its obviously daunting, but what other game gets this close to realizing your dream of being at the helm of a giant, lumbering walking tank? The controller even comes with a windshield wiper button to wipe away mud and other debris. To add even more to the realism, when your mech suffers enough damage and is about to explode, you have to press the eject button on the controller to avoid losing your data save. Yes, if you go down with the ship, so does your game save. The game demands the player to know every minute detail of your mech, everything from the usual armor and weapons to how fast it can go and its handling so it doesn't tip over from going too fast. Yes, the game costs $200, and yes, you'll have to press a windshield wiper button, but its totally worth the money and time needed to experience the most realistic portrayals of mech combat... ever.

As if there could be any other. Filled to the absolute brim with wildly imaginitive character and mech design(called Orbital Frames here), this game is a giant robot lover's dream. Character and mechanical designer Yoji Shinkawa has outdone himself with this series, the mech designs are so alive and brilliant they practically steal the show from the human characters! From the player-controlled Jehuty to the completely and utterly awesome enemy Orbital Frame Anubis, each seems to have their own personality, enough to be considered characters themselves. The gameplay is also outstanding, featuring fast-paced, high-speed action accented with a beautiful art design, its no wonder why this game is critically acclaimed. If you have any sort of love or appreciation of mechs, you owe it to yourself to try out Hideo Kojima's masterpeice game... you won't be disappointed.

Whew, that was a long read, well atleast now you have an understanding on why mecha can take a normal, boring old game, and turn it up to 10. What else is there to say; giant robots causing mass destruction and property damage can make anyone smile.

List by DasBoot2021 (02/21/2007)

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