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Tech Romancer (Dreamcast)

76
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  yprbest (100)
Written on  :  Jul 24, 2003
Platform  :  Dreamcast
Rating  :  4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars
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Summary

Giant Robots! Anime stylings! Completely over the top action! What more could you want?

The Good

Its style. It has completely over the top characters, storylines and action, all obviously, um, "influenced" by existing anime series' - in fact, a lot of the fun in the game comes from spotting the "influences" behind the mecha; it shouldn't be too hard to spot homages to series' such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Macross, for example. The music too is very typical of the j-pop most anime aficionados will know and love, while the storylines take all the usual elements of anime - revenge, tragedy, teenage angst, love - and use them to make a whole variety of bizarre scenarios and storylines (each mecha/pilot has their own plotline to explain why they're fighting - often conflicting with the others')

The action. This tends to be fast and furious, and is definitely more aggressive than many other fighters - the fact that blocking attacks damages your armour bar more than just taking them helping to emphasize this point. However, there is room for evasive combat, with a simple two-button press being all that's required to quickly dash to the side and execute an attack - excellent for countering an enemy who's about to launch an attack. Also, each mecha is equipped with both short and long-range attacks, and depending on the distance between you and the enemy will automatically determine whether to use projectile or melee attacks. All of this just adds to the "style" factor detailed above, particularly considering that nearly all the mecha's attacks lead to huge pyrotechnic displays.All of this leads to a fighting game that's easy to pick-up and play, and any depth to it comes from the players' skills rather than learning any complex key-sequences to execute special moves.

The one-player mode. This has two main modes, both of which ensure the game's longeivity in different ways. Story mode is a "traditional" one-player mode, with each character playing through their own story mode. However, the fact that most of the characters have multiple paths and endings gives this mode huge value to the completist, as you go through many times picking different options and trying to beat the matches with different statistics in order to progress along the different plotlines (thankfully the game will tell you what you need to do to end up on different routes through your characters plot once you go into the "story box" unlocked by winning the Story Mode with any character). The other mode is "Hero Challenge Mode", which is simply a twelve-stage battle against each of the starting/main mecha in the game, with no storyline to think of. This adds to the longeivity because each time you complete it you are scored, ranked and, more importantly, given points with which to purchase the unlockable extras. These extras include - new mecha, anime-clips, CG clips, data on the mecha, data on the pilots, the game music and so on. This, combined with the branching storylines of Story Mode, leads to a game that will last you a long, long time.

The Bad

The repetitiveness. Sadly, the lack of complexity in the controls can lead to the game becoming a bit stale after a while - chances are this may get a bit of shelf time before you get the urge to play it again.

The cut-scenes. While the style of the whole game is brilliant, it's a bit of a missed opportunity that all the scenes between stages are just still cartoons, with subtitled characters talking to each other (the voices are in japanese - thankfully. Dubbing could have ruined the feel of the game). This is still effective, but it could have been even better.

The boss. Some games make the boss incredibly powerful. Others make them hard to kill. This takes both of these factors too far. Not only is the boss extremely powerful, but defeat him once and he rises from the dead in a new, even more powerful form. You, of course, are stuck with your previous life-bar. He's beatable, and eventually you'll learn to win without too much difficulty, but this has to take the role for the most annoying boss I've ever fought, even over Gill (SFIII - Third Strike) and Omega (DOA3).

The Bottom Line

A loud, quirky, exciting fighting game which has an excellent single player mode. Absolutely essential if you're a fan of anime and/or mechs, and pretty good as a fighting game too - particularly if you're new to the genre or if you want something to play with your non-gamer mates. In other words, great fun - just don't expect too much depth!