Robotech: Battlecry Updated Preview
We take a closer look at a nearly complete version of this fast-paced shooter.
The release of Robotech: Battlecry is only a few months off, and TDK Mediactive has sent out one of the latest builds, which features the transformable Veritech jets and the alien aggressors known as the Zentraedi. When you start the game, you'll have the option to select the training mode or go directly into the story mode. The training mode in Robotech: Battlecry helps you become familiar with the three different Veritech modes--battloid, guardian, and jet.
In the battloid training mode, popular Robotech character and Skull Squadron leader Roy Fokker (complete with the original voice actor) takes you through the basics. Some of the first things that you learn are basic maneuvering skills. You'll have to learn how to use the battloids' boosting capabilities to skim across the landscape and even place yourself on top of relatively tall metallic structures. When that part of the training is completed, you'll go into basic weapons training, which isn't too involved since the battloid can use only the gun as a weapon, as opposed to the missiles and the gun that are accessible in the two other Veritech modes. However, to help make it seem like the battloid isn't completely underpowered in a firefight, it has the ability to automatically track and shoot down enemy missiles when you press the secondary fire button. You'll get to test this out in the training mode when a series of destroids start bombarding your battloid with missiles.
The other two modes have a similar training process. In guardian training, Roy will instruct you how to use the boost, how to pick up items, and how to use the guardian's weapons. While the guardian has the missiles and the gun, its missiles aren't quite as powerful as those on the jet. In addition, the guardian's secondary action only enables it to pick up various items, ranging from supplies to cockpits from damaged Veritechs that need to be returned to a safe area. Generally, both the guardian and the battloid can take some time to get used to since their movement is based on momentum, so you can expect to be colliding with a few objects in the environment before you move around in either mode well.
The jet mode is a different story because you have much more space to work with, and the controls are similar to those in just about every other arcade-style dogfighting game out there. The jet training will show you how to perform barrel rolls and a split S, as well as how to boost and use the jet's weaponry. Barrel rolls and other evasive maneuvers are especially helpful for dodging enemy missile attacks or getting into position so that your missiles will inflict a greater amount of damage. One of the major benefits of using the jet over any other mode (other than its speed and maneuverability) is that it can target multiple enemies at once. For example, if you're in one of the space battles and you see two Zentraedi battlepods on your screen, you can target the primary battlepod as well as the other one by holding down the missile button, Panzer Dragoon-style. Likewise, when attacking a Zentraedi scout ship, you can target multiple cannons at once. Unfortunately, the enemy targets won't take as much damage since you're hitting them with a reduced number of missiles, but it's still helpful nonetheless. The jet can also shoot down enemy missiles, but since it moves so fast, you're usually doing it by accident.
We Will Win
Battlecry has been designed to harness the advantages of each mode. Dogfighting missions are made specifically for the jet, while close-quarters fighting is made for the battloid. The guardian mode can work within either environment, but it works best when you're fighting targets at midrange. Eventually you'll get to the point where you'll be switching between all three modes within a single level, depending on the situation. For example, in one of the earlier levels, you'll have to guide your Veritech through a series of canyons to seek out and destroy Zentraedi supply boxes that have been spilled out as the result of a crash. Since these areas are spread out from each other, you can use the jet to travel quickly between them and to avoid any lingering Zentraedi foot soldiers or battlepods wandering around the canyon floor.
However, when you start to reach the supply point, the walls of the canyon start to close in on you, making it a little too difficult to move around as the jet. You could transform into battloid mode, but since there is some fierce resistance around the supply points, you'll get riddled with bullets and missiles within the first few minutes of making visual contact. So the best option is the guardian mode because it has a little more speed, it can adjust its altitude quicker, and its missiles can do some serious damage on the Zentraedi troops guarding the area. When you've dealt with all of the enemies, you can swoop in, transform into battloid mode, and then take out the supply crates using the battloid's sniper mode.
There are even some levels--such as the space battles or open-air areas--that are obviously designed for specific modes, but there are certainly still opportunities to use the other modes. In one of the first space missions, Dolza sends a massive fleet of Zentraedi warships at Earth to retrieve the SDF-1. The jet is the most useful mode during this battle simply because you have so many targets to keep track of, but later in the battle, you'll take on a female Zentraedi in a one-on-one fight. Since she uses the female Zentraedi battle armor, she's incredibly fast, so the jet is probably the best mode to use, but when she launches an enormous swarm of missiles in your direction, you can transform into battloid mode, shoot down the missiles, and then switch back into the jet and launch a counterattack.
The split-screen multiplayer mode in Robotech: Battlecry gives you the chance to take on a human opponent in a one-on-one battle. At this point, it seems like the jet will be the mode of choice in the multiplayer mode since the battloid and the guardian are essentially sitting ducks. Of course, that also depends on the type of map, and you can unlock additional maps by playing through the story mode.
Robotech: Battlecry is certainly shaping up to be an enjoyable game. Most of the visual aspects of the game appear to be done, and the voice acting appears to have been integrated into the game. It's worth noting that Cam Clarke (the voice of Liquid Snake from Metal Gear Solid and Max Sterling from Robotech) supplies the voice for the game's lead character, Jack Archer. In addition, fans of the Robotech series will almost immediately recognize the music in the game, as most of the tracks are slightly remixed versions of the original. Robotech: Battlecry is scheduled for release at the end of September for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 and in October for the GameCube.
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