Vist Genki!

Format: Saturn
From: Bandai
Year of Release: 1997
Onscreen Language: Japanese

Super Dimension Fortress Macross

Chojiku Yosai Macross: Ai Oboeteimasu ka
(Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love?)
See also the Playstation version at PSX Anime List

This game was the first 32-bit Macross video game and it's release was timed to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the series. Do You Remember Love is based very closely on the 1984 movie; so closely in fact that at it feels more like an interactive movie than a straight-forward shooter. It may look like a traditional shoot-em-up but DYRL is a 2.5D game which means while your jet stays in the middle-ground the enemies appear in the fore, middle and background and can move between the three.

You only have a single life but a shield gauge stands between you and death with extra energy power-ups infrequently dropped by a supply ship. There are also unlimited continues at your disposal and if that were not enough you can save your progress between stages.

Throughout the game you play the main role of Hikaru in stages (or phases as they are called here) based around key sequences from the Macross story including the initial Zentredi attack on earth, a dog fight amongst a meteor shower, Minmei's tour of the rings of Saturn and the assault inside Macross to name but a few. There are 11 phases in all spanned across 2 CDs, 1-5 on the first disc, each usually ending with a boss encounter.

The movie's plot continues before and after each stage in the form of windowed FMV clips and invades the game itself through character conversations (newly recorded by the original cast) and is even acted out by the sprites themselves.

In stark contrast to the Super Famicom's Scrambled Valkyrie DYRL is very easy to play through. For the most part the gameplay requires little more than holding down fire and repeatedly letting off missiles without thought. When you are required to employ some tactics to avoid damage the screen takes on a very cramped feeling and dodging between bullets and enemies themselves is a lot less accurate than most games of the genre.

Along side the simplistic gameplay the controls won't trouble you too much either. You have one button for the main gun, hold down a second to lock-on and unleash a barrage of missiles and press a third to launch one of your limited stock of grenades. The shoulder buttons switch Valkyrie modes and Z executes a barrel role or, when press with a direction, a short burst of speed. From the title screen and also between phases it is possible to switch the behaviour of three main weapons between two settings; direct and group, but there is little need to alter them.

As this is the Macross saga's first foray into the 32-bit CD world all the stops have been pulled out in terms of graphics and presentation. Along with the pre-mentioned FMV cut scenes (including all new cell animation and CGI sections) the decision to stick with a traditional 2D game allowed for the extra processing power to be used to display the 3D pre-rendered sprites. While you may not see anything unusual about the smaller sprites the pre-rendering becomes far more apparent with the larger baddies and particularly the boss enemies, all of which are new creations.

The music and sound effects from the series are put to great use here in creating a highly immersive experience. In fact all the FMV, plot recreations, digitised sound effects, music and multiple plane graphics almost manage to paper over the decidedly thin gameplay. This is not a great game in it's own right and really will only appeal to Macross fans.

Completing the game, even without infinite retries and save points, is a very easy task. Bandai kindly reward you for doing so with a number of new options and modes that are unlocked by repeated play through's. These include an invincibility mode, the facility to play back both the animation and stills and the game only mode which plays as normal but without all the cut scenes.

Note: This game was also released two years later on the Playstation. Also there are some problems with audio timing when playing this game on a non Japanese system.

Comments or suggestions?
Email Anime Video Games!