Vist Genki!

Format: Super Famicom
From: Bec
Year of Release: 1994
Onscreen Language: Japanese
Campaign 1 - Banner 2

Mobile Police Patlabor

Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor
(Mobile Police Patlabor)

Spend a week in the lives of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Special Vehicles Section 2 Division 2 in a sort of "Cops" style action-adventure.

Respond to crimes as either Noa or Isao and use their Ingrams to resolve cases of Robo DUI, trespassing, disturbing the peace and kidnapping as well as the usual destructive rampages.

In order to apprehend these criminals you can use hand-to-hand combat (including devastating combos), judo moves, your trusty giant sidearm or, in some cases, good old fashioned diplomacy (it's up to you to work out which to use). All of the attacks will sap you mecha's battery reserves, particularly combos, so make sure to top up your power from the Police Truck before it runs out.

The battles are similar in style to those of an RPG. You engage the enemy, or worse- he engages you, and choose your moves from the options available. The results of the confrontation are played out in a short animation in the centre of the screen. The world of role playing games also has an influence elsewhere. Each battle earns your Ingram experience points which increase it's overall level as well as earning you additional moves. In between levels you can have practice battles against other members of Division 2 in order to build your Mecha's stats in time for your next run in with a criminal.

There are a total of 21 missions in the game with two exclusive to each character which in turn translates to two possible endings. The game is pretty long and quite tough so it's handy that you have three save slots at your disposal- your progress can be recorded at the end of each successful mission.

Patlabor makes very good use of the Super Famicom's abilities. There's plenty of 'Mode 7' scaling, lots of colour and the battle animations are impressively smooth. The presentation is top notch, opening with movie-style credits and plenty of stills and animation accompanying the story scenes. The SFC's musical abilities are well used too, producing some great tunes and accompanying sound effects.

Held, by some, as the best video game of Patlabor to date, this SFC version sure beats the lacklustre Mega Drive version but the amount a Japanese reading knowledge required (for mission strategies, plot movements and negotiation) mean that foreign players will come unstuck time and again. Still, language problems aside, well worth trying out!

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