New Impressions: Custom Robo

TOKYO - More thoughts on this surprisingly fun Nintendo 64 title.

OK, this game is too good. If you happened to catch our first update on the game you'll remember that we were quite surprised. After having played it a bit more I can safely say that Custom Robo is one of the best games at the Space World '99 show. In fact – even taking into account other titles like Zelda Gaiden and Kirby 64 – this may well be my pick for the best of show.

I'll run through a brief description of how a battle works. First off, before each battle you'll be placed into a menu area where you'll select which Robo suit to wear, which weapons you'd like to use, and then other options like shoes and helmets. With a multitude of options for your Robo, it's up to you to find which combinations work best.

Then you head to the battle arena. You're brought out into the arena by some big robot machine that has two hollow arms. You start out as little dice forms that are in the robot's arms. The robot will then shoot you out into the arena at random spots (the spot is different in each match) and then you'll land. Still in your dice form (called Robo Cube), you'll begin to open up into your Robo form. The cool part about all of this is that how you land in your dice form can affect how quickly you will transform. For example, if you land with the foot side of your Robo Cube facing the ground, you'll be able to stand up more quickly when you “hatch.” Also, rotating the analog pad will help you transform faster.

Then the battle begins. First, the camera (in a split screen view) will zoom in on each fighter. Then, it will slowly zoom out and the split screen line will fade away – an incredible special effect, in my opinion. So then you start fighting it out and immediately discover that the game borrows more than a little from Virtual On. There are a few similar weapons and how your Robos move around and hover in the air is all very similar to Sega's robot fighter. However, since Custom Robo displays both combatants on one screen, the game has a great charm of its own.

Custom Robo is definitely on my top five most anticipated games list – the battles are so much fun and all the different Robo options are just too cool. Stay tuned, as we'll have some new screens and information for you very soon.

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