Vist Genki!

Format: Playstation 2
From: Bandai
Year of Release: 2003
Onscreen Language: Japanese

Super Dimension Fortress Macross


Following the plot closely this graphically impressive shoot-em-up allows the player to experience all the key events of the Macross timeline. These include escorting the Cats-Eye through a meteor belt, protecting the Macross from Zentredi attackers while it attempts the space-fold and taking on the Mitrandi while Max and Miria face off. Bandai's Macross covers very much the same ground as the American made 'Robotech Battlecry' but does it so much better.

For starters the graphics are very impressive. Whereas Robotech went for the trendy Cell Shaded approach Macross chooses instead to stick to basics; to create realistic, recognisable versions of the Macross Mecha out of ordinary polygons and it pays off. The controls too are much easier than it's US made counterpart. Despite each of the three Valkyrie modes having it's own control methods (and not to mention the instructions being in Japanese) piloting your transforming jet is easy to pick up and quite straight forward.

Enough of the comparisons, how does Macross stand by itself? The answer is very well. There is far more to Bandai's latest entry than impressive locations and exciting special effects. Built within the game are dozens of special features to keep you returning to the well trodden saga. There are two plot strands which you choose from at the start by selecting your base; Prometheus or ARMD-01, there are numerous Valkyrie fighters to unlock and a nice little feature that allows you to design your own. There's also a card collecting game hidden in there somewhere too.

The presentation is top-notch also. The Macross control tower keeps you up-to-date with your mission objectives, missiles launch and fly with trademark vapour trails and there's also the neat inclusion of a camera shot that tracks your missiles to their destination too. All this adds to an exhilarating recreation of the Anime original.

But amongst all this well realised recreation with it's soundtrack of speech, sound effects and music lifted directly from the source material lies very ordinary gameplay. That not to say there's anything wrong with the simple 'blast-em-up' arcade approach but some players may find it repetitive and lacking in variety. But that shouldn't stop you from at least giving it a go!

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