by Professor Layton
reviewed on NDS
When people think about import-only games, most think about obscure games that wouldnít pass too well in other parts of the world. Take for instance Densetsu no Stafi 4. With its cute and cuddly visuals and story, most DS owners would never dream of buying it, unless you are a youth. But then there are other games that mysteriously never make their way out of Japan for unknown reasons. Like this game for example, Chousouju Mecha MG.
In Chousouju Mecha MG, players take control of a thirteen year-old who someday wants to be a Marionation Gear operator. Fate has it that the first day that finally gets inside of one of these huge mechanized combat suits, his town comes under attack by Automen, rival robots that are un-piloted. Angered by the attack, our protagonist sets out to stop these antagonists from wreaking havoc upon his town.
Like many other Japanese imports, Chousouju Mecha MG drowns players in Japanese text, even reaching the point where players can have trouble comprehending what is happening and what to do. Since the game relies heavily on text to inform the player what to do, Chououju Mecha MG might not be the best game to import for people who know very little Japanese.
Controlling Marionation Gears
By now you probably think that Chousouju Mecha MG is just some obscure, Japan-only, robot fighting game. Though that may be correct, Chousouju Mecha MG is a little different from most of its peers. The twist lies in how you operate each mech. The top screen of the DS showcases the epic battle between robots where the bottom highlights the cockpit of each robot. You are probably thinking that the bottom screen is a complete waste of space, but really, the game would be unplayable without. The cockpit of each robot is actually the control scheme for that mech. In other words, each robot has a different cockpit and thus requires players to learn how to control it.
Donít worry, the controls for operating mechs are simple. Using the touch screen, players can command their robot to jump, shoot projectiles, swing a mechís arm, etc. There are over 100 different Marionation Gears to control, and some of them are capable of transforming from a vehicle into a robot and vice-versa.
Chousouju Mecha MG also boasts an impressive single-player mission mode. Unfortunately, non-Japanese players may encounter some problems when trying to figure out what they are supposed to do in each mission. Since there are 120 missions in total, each with extensive amounts of text, the bulk of players who complete this game will most likely be able to comprehend Japanese writing. Those game will have lost those who donít somewhere along the way.
Perhaps the best thing that Chousouju Mecha MG succeeds at is creating a very life-like experience. Though the game is played in a third-person pespective, it manages to make players feel like they are actually inside the robot. To illustrate how immersive the game can be: your robot comes under attack by another mech, the screen shakes to simulate that you have been hit.
Hit and Miss
From a visual standpoint, Chousouju Mecha MG does a decent job of making the game look good. The exceptionally well executed robot models look fantastic, but when you look at the backdrops and environments, they donít really impress. Blurry textures are understandable from handheld software, but Chousouju Mecha MG tries to push the standards down a notch, only to end up flat on its face. Another hit and miss scenario is the audio. The tracks are decent, but they lack variety and a little more personality would have certainly helped the game.
It has been a while since the game was first released in the Land of the Rising Sun and there is still no sign of the game seeing a worldwide release. Though one can hope for an international release, the chances of that happening are dropping as each day passes. For those who desperately want to get their hands on a copy of a game, several merchants sell import titles online. Though the game might not raise the bar for action games, Chousouju Mecha MG should be a welcome addition to anyoneís Nintendo DS collection.
No Pros and Cons at this time