Front Mission Impressions

Suddenly, wanzers are small enough to fit on a FOMA screen.

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TOKYO--The mobilization of Square Enix's legacy content continues with the impending release of Front Mission, which is now 90-percent complete. Square Enix didn't have a playable version of the game at its desk in the NTT DoCoMo booth, but the quick demo we saw looked extremely promising.

In case you never had a chance to play the original game on the SNES, Front Mission is a tactical robot fighting game set in a bleak, war-torn future world. The weapons of choice in this unfortunate scenario are enormous armored vehicles, called wanzers, which are essentially two parts Gundam suit to one part Abrams tank. Much of Front Mission's fun lies in tricking out your wanzer with the latest in death-dealing hardware in between missions, so that you can maximize the level of violence during the isometric, turn-based battle sequences.

The Front Mission demo was running on a FOMA i900 series phone, the same basic handset type that Square Enix is using to drive Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII. Unsurprisingly, the game's visuals were sharp and detailed, although they didn't quite match the fidelity of the SNES version. In terms of gameplay, the mobile Front Mission seemed to be highly comparable to the original--the demo depicted a battle between two wanzers on a bridge, swapping ordinance just as they did in the old days.

Judging from the demo, it seems that Square Enix has paid more than enough attention in developing Front Mission to ensure that the finer points of wanzer combat are present and accounted for. We hope that the final version of the game will turn out to be everything that Japanese Front Mission fans have been waiting for.

For more updates, be sure to check GameSpot's coverage of Tokyo Game Show 2004.

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