I found out about Super Robot Wars back in 2003 when I active on the Mechwarrior: Dark Age (collectible tabletop miniatures game) tournament scene in Manila. My favorite weekend tourney was held in a gaming center that also had lots of console gaming. One of the players I used to fight put the game on and I was immediately transfixed.
I saw all the old super robots I used to watch and then all these robots from other shows… Gundam that I wasn’t into yet, but oh my Macross was there. Unfortunately I had no idea what was going on because the game was entirely in Japanese. Despite the best intentions of friends who directed me to English guides, I wouldn’t get to play the game at all… until now.
Super Robot Wars J (for the Game Boy Advance) is now translated in English, and now I can experience the goodness of mashing up a whole load of robot shows and leading the heroes in the battle against evil.
How can such a story work? I don’t know if it really does, but basically you’re a hero piloting a giant robot and collecting allies until you can assemble everyone in a huge battle with the final boss.
The story of J:
Mankind has expounded beyond the bounds of Earth, entering an era of space travel and spreading their way of life as far as Mars.
However, humanity is still plagued with problems, struggles, and quandaries they have yet to find an answer to.
Many expected such drastic changes to usher in the dawn of a new age, but with those changes came misunderstanding, dissent, and strife.
There are the genetically modified humans known as the “Coordinators.” The ruins of an alien civilization buried deep within the seabed called “Orphan.” And finally, mass emigrations to a terraformed Mars.
The Coordinators, gifted with faculties suited for life in space, constructed research colonies known as “PLANTs.”
Nonetheless, those remaining on the surface grew jealous and paranoid of their genetically altered brethren, and the rift between “Natural” and Coordinator” eventually erupted into racial violence.
In the midst of this, those calling themselves “Reclaimers” suddenly entered and established permanent residence within Orphan. Their existence is oft-rumored, but rarely documented.
Then, in the 69th year of the Cosmic Era… They arrived from Jupiter suddenly and without warning. A mysterious force of unmanned, robotic weapons invaded Mars, eventually defeating the United Earth Federation Army in a protracted battle.
The Federation was left with no choice but to abandon the Martian colonists and remove its military presence.
The invaders, now termed “Jovian Lizards, ” then dispatched numerous devices known as “Tulips” across the Earth Sphere, each capable of deploying a seemingly endless supply of unmanned weapons to anywhere in the region.
The world was plunged into a constant state of warfare against these mysterious foes.
With the conflict escalating daily, numerous terrorist groups and shadow organizations opted to seek profit from the chaos, furthering their own illicit causes in the process.
Meanwhile, the PLANTs pushed for independence in the name of self-defense, but faced opposition from the Natural-led Atlantic Federation, whose representatives demand the forceful imposition of sanctions upon the space colonies.
Now, in the year 70 of the Cosmic Era… The Jovian Lizards, as enigmatic as ever, continue their conflict… Tensions between the PLANTs and the Federation rise…
…And Nergal Heavy Industries finishes construction on a new model warship, dubbed the “Nadesico.” It is here our story begins.
LMAO. That wild mash-up of robot anime storylines increases the trainwreck potential by OVER 9000. I haven’t seen Brain Powerd yet but I think some elements are there, but otherwise it’s mostly Martian Successor Nadesico, and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. No way this doesn’t get to be awesome. Impossible.
I get to set up my character, choosing between a male and a female. I get to pick from three kinds of robots (I pick the most super robot looking machine), then I get to name three “favorite” robot anime series. The less popular the series is, the more cash bonuses you get after battles. I min/max a little, and pick a series that keeps my power-gaming in check as well as remind myself of my own masochism: Banpresto Originals, Chodenji Machine Voltes V, and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED.
The fun part is how I get to change my own name, the name of my robot, AND the names of my attacks. ahdgjhjkhdjghkjhga This is beyond awesome.
After I dream about the blue-haired loli, I find myself in high school, albeit an AWESOME one because my schoolmates include Kaname et al, from Full Metal Panic, and then Kabuto Koji and Yumi Sakaya (and Boss with flunkies) from Mazinger Z. Of course, something terribly wrong is going to happen on this otherwise normal day. Robots Attack!
First, some Jovian Lizards (Nadesico) then Mechanical Beasts (Mazinger Z/Mazinkaiser). Koji and Sayaka get on their machines to save the school and it’s amazing to be able to control them as the player…
…but suddenly a mysterious robot crashes from out of nowhere, with three fetching girls inside completely unable to pilot it! I’m the first person they see. You know what this means right?
I Must Seize the Reins of History.
And I do, somehow, although my character is this whiny, emo, wimp of a wannabe normalfag faggerhack. I bleat, whine, and shout at the women… and have to be begged to pilot the machine. I suppose part of the ultimate gratification of this game is taking this annoying wreck of barely an excuse for a human being and turn him into a BURNING MOUNTAIN OF HOT-BLOODED JUSTICE as I lead the robots of righteousness to the final battle of Good vs. Evil.
Of course, his potential is hinted at me WITH THE LOUDEST WHISPERS IN THE UNIVERSE:
I have no doubt that I will take Lothar Hiragi to the galactic path of manhood and emerge with the kind of nuts the comets themselves will orbit around. The singers of songs will sing songs of glory, how the great evil was bested, by…
The Inviolable Battler Raigardius
Protect my dreams, grind the great evil
Beneath your heels of iron.
WE CAN BE HEROIC,
How can we fail?
Our souls are joined by courage;
Invincible chains of brotherhood
Bonded by the blood of fallen heroes,
Forged by the fires of strife
Lit by the evil of our foes.
LET US BREAK THEM: One by one,
Despite their number multiplying those of the stars themselves
THEY ARE NOTHINGS In the face of our love
For freedom and all it stands for.
Are you ready?
We can do it!
GHOST LIGHTNING DIVIDER!!!
In the heavens: a shining cloud of the spirits of slain heroes
Cracks a thunderbolt of truth upon the breast of evil
Where at once you strike a kick of justice
Erasing every sub-atomic particle
Releasing the energy back into the universe.
Oh great defender, lead us past the shadows of planets
To our place among the distant stars.
This blog post isn’t a review, so I won’t really comment on the gameplay. I haven’t been a gamer for the past 3 years and I am completely new to this gaming franchise, so I lack the vocabulary to talk about the game in a useful way. However, beating this game is a foregone conclusion. I will assemble an overwhelming robot army beat the tar out of the final boss. The fun for me is getting there, acting out my robot hero fantasies, seeing characters from all these different shows interact, and so on.
I can talk about this all day, but I still have to drag that fail Hii-chan’s ass into the Nadesico. I’ll share more adventures of the INVIOLABLE BATTLER RAIGARDIUS in Super Robot Wars: Justice later on.