Seething Cauldron of Pop Culture Talk

Irascible Analysis of Popular Culture

SNES vs. Genesis: Mech Action

Target Earth

The first entry in the five-game Assault Suits series by NCS Corp was released March 1990 for the Genesis by DreamWorks [not to be confused with the movie company]. Due to its age, Target Earth is fairly dated compared to the other three titles. The mechs are small and simple, the backgrounds are more sparse and undetailed. It’s a bit harder than the other games, except for the shmup levels in Cybernator, although it does feature selectable weapons before each mission. It’s a decent action game, but far surpassed by its successors on the SNES.

Cybernator

Second in the Assault Suits series, Cybernator put you in control of Jake, a mech pilot fighting against a hostile nation in the far future. It was released for the SNES on December 1993. The first level is ground-based and has you going through a space station to find and destroy its power core. The second level is a bit different in that the first part is more like a shmup, in that the mech is using boosters to fly on rails and various enemies appear and shoot at you. This is where the game gets suddenly very difficult. Your mech is quite large and it moves very fast, so there’s little room to maneuver away from incoming missles and laser, by the time you get through this segment a good portion of your health will have been drained away. The second half is a bit more freeform, although you can actually fly, since you’re in space, so it’s a bit disorienting given the way the mech controls. The boss at the end of this level is crazy hard, because you have to try to shoot it while avoiding a barrage of lasers, missles, and asteroids.

Front Mission: Gun Hazard

Developed by the team behind the Assault Suits series, Gun Hazard was released in February 1996 for the SNES by Squaresoft. Much like the AS series, it puts you in control of a mech that can suit in more or less all direction because of the rotating gun or punch things with its metal fist. The game features a heavier emphasis on characters and story than the first two AS games and completing levels and shooting down enemies provides you with money that you can use between missions to spruce up and outfit your mech with new weapons and such. It also have an overworld map that provides you with some freedom in where you want to go next. Of all the four titles, Gun Hazard is the most appealing because of its emphasis on story, detailed graphics, well-made cutscenes, and deep customization. It also featured an all-star lineup of Square composers with Nobuo Uematsu, Yasunori Mitsuda, Junya Nakano, and Masashi Hamauzu all contributing to the soundtrack. Also of note: Yoshitaka Amano did the character designs and Hironobu Sakaguchi supervised the development.Only released in Japan, but an English language patch is available online.

Metal Warriors

Although not connected in any way to the previous three titles, Metal Warriors, developed by LucasArts and released by Konami for the SNES in April 1995, features many thematic and gameplay similarities with the other titles. You control a mech that can fire in virtually every direction or slash enemies with a beamsword as you fight your way through various space colonies and other scifi settings. Despite this close similarity, Metal Warriors has a faster pace and focuses less on realism and more on action. One interesting element is the ability to jettison from one mech and take over another that’s currently unoccupied. Another interesting feature is the ability to pick up more powerful weapons like grenade and rocket launchers and use them in conjunction with the regular laser gun. The levels in this game are much more complex and maze-like than the levels in the AS series, but the game has a map that will help keep you from getting lost. Metal Warriors also has surprisingly detailed cutscenes between missions that help set up the next level and why it’s important to the game’s story, they look much better than most I’ve seen on the SNES. One more thing to note: the game doesn’t feature of HUD, damage to your mech is displayed visually by the mech beginning to decay as various parts explode and fall off, eventually leaving you completely helpless [this is where the eject feature comes in handy].

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April 20, 2010 - Posted by | Console Wars, Games | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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