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Gunstar Green
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Re: December Together Retro - Robots Fighting Robots!

by Gunstar Green Sun Dec 08, 2019 9:01 pm

lordb0rb4 wrote:I'm halfway through Metal Warriors and i like it a lot, it draws many good aspects of Cybernator and improves in some of them!
I just love how the different mechs scattered throughout the stages and recover spots opens up plenty strategies and ways to tackle up the mission.
The cutscenes are an amazing display of 16bit goodness and the fact that you have to rely on visual condition of your mech ,since there's no HUD, is realy impressive and ahead of it's time.
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One of my friends had this game in high school. The multiplayer versus is ridiculously fun. It's crazy that this was a US developed game. I've heard conflicting stories about whether or not anyone in Lucasarts were aware of Cybernator but it's hard to believe they weren't.
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MrPopo
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Re: December Together Retro - Robots Fighting Robots!

by MrPopo Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:33 pm

Given it was out in the US two years before Metal Warriors launched SOMEONE had to have seen it.
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Sload Soap
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Re: December Together Retro - Robots Fighting Robots!

by Sload Soap Mon Dec 09, 2019 6:01 am

Did a run through Virtual On for Saturn. Took me an embarrassing amount of time and I didn't even end up beating the final boss so got the "Failure" ending. I think I'm much more sold on Virtual On as a series as I was previously however. Once you learn to be constantly moving and almost as constantly jumping to re-engage your lock-on the game becomes much more managable. Obviously it's hard to replicate the twin stick set-up the arcade had but the controls aren't as horrible as I remembered them being.

I do find the game to be a bit rock/paper/scissors as far as combat goes although I fully admit there are depths to the gameplay I don' t understand as yet. That said I had to alternate between Viper and Bas-Bus-Bow to get anywhere. Cool game and I have Onatario Tangram installed on my Xbone so I'll give that another go soon.

I started Gungriffon last night, also on Saturn. This is a much different take on the mech game probably closer to Mechwarrior or tank simulator games. It's a 1996 release by GameArts and looks pretty good actually if a little sparse. Basically you stomp about in your mech in the far distant future of 2015 blowing up Russians and stealing their oilfields. It is objective based but my copy is the Japanese release so since I'm not totally sure what I'm supposed to do. When in doubt, I just blow everything up. Has worked so far. I've beat four missions and unlocked a further two more but they are pretty tough.

The controls, like Virtua On, take some getting used to as you steer by putting the mech into an auto walk state going either forwards, backwards or dead stop. You then use the pad to steer or hold down the L button to spin the turret without changing direction. It's a bit fiddly but works okay for most enemies as they are themselves mostly either static tanks or slow moving mechs. However it is pretty bad against anything fast moving which is where my problems with these newer levels are. Still it's pretty fun overall and quite advanced for an early 3D saturn game.
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Ack
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Re: December Together Retro - Robots Fighting Robots!

by Ack Mon Dec 09, 2019 3:04 pm

Originally, I figured I'd play Z.A.R. for this Together Retro. Then I actually played it, and I realized that what I thought was possibly a robot fighting robots was in fact a guy in a space suit fighting robots. Then I got further into the game and discovered the guy is apparently some kind of cyborg, and often times the forces of humanity send along groups of hacked robot drones to fight alongside you as you take down the Z.A.R. supercomputer that has weaponized itself against humanity.

So screw it, there are now robots killing robots. I'm gonna talk about Z.A.R.

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Z.A.R. is a first person shooter about a war to save an Earth overridden with pollution and in desperate need of a rare element known as Iberium to keep the ecological situation from reaching the breaking point. To save the planet, humanity sent the Z.A.R. supercomputer system into deep space with the ability to construct, replicate, and think strategically, with the plan that it would automate the mining of Iberium and ship it back to Earth to sustain the planet. It worked...for a time. Then the computer got struck by a meteor, and the resulting calamity caused the program to commit a faulty execution. Now it's building military machines and holding hostage the same element it was originally meant to ship.

To stop the computer and save the Earth, one man, Colonel Hermit, is strapped into an armored space suit and sent out to do the dirty work of combating the supercomputer's forces. As you fight your way across a myriad of planets with different ecosystems, you'll blast the automated defense systems, production facilities, computer networks, and a variety of military hardware that the computer is planning to use. You'll also occasionally have to fight for Iberium storehouses, protect communication systems, strip defenses off of power supplies, and even destroy robot convoys. Sometimes the military sends in squadrons of hacked drones to give you air support. Sometimes the computer system on a given planet has gone so haywire that all machines are in an open war with each other, and you're wandering into a hail of artillery and gunfire from every angle.

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You know what the most impressive thing about this game is? It has fully destructible environments...in 1997! In fact, there are weapons which operate purely on this mechanic, such as the whirlwind gun which shoots out a tornado that ravages the landscape in a straight line. You can blast craters, shoot out firing positions, and freaking mine your way through things if you so desire. One level even has the player navigating an ice floe while dealing with incoming artillery fire which destroys the ice, making it a lot trickier if you want to go back to resupply your ammunition. And you will, because your guns don't hold much.

The weapons are also an interesting mix, with lots of explosive options. Nothing is hit scan, so you either get to rely on the auto aim or must learn to judge distance and lead your targets properly. There is no shotgun option, which is a little weird since it's usually a mainstay, but your minigun, rocket launcher, grenade launcher, and even a flamethrower and napalm launcher are all possibilities. You just won't get most of these at the same time, because there's an interesting quirk: the teleport system you're using isn't the most advanced. It has to beam down your ammunition and weapons separately, so every level starts with a mad dash to grab your gear. Run out of ammo, and you have to wait for more to be teleported in. When you finish the level, you also have to find the teleport extraction point and jump in it; there is no locking on your position, you better find it, and you better hope you've got the gun, the armor, and the balls to get to it if it's in a bad position.

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Now get used to getting hurt, because this game offers up short missions, but they can be grueling matches. One quirk of Z.A.R. is that shrapnel will hurt you, so even if you just killed the enemy, their death might result in yours. Pieces of the landscape blowing up also create potentially deadly shrapnel, and some offer up geysers or things like acid lakes, lava, or freezing water which will hurt to enter. Also, if you get hit at the wrong angle by an explosive, you may well find yourself launched, which will hurt further because fall damage is a nasty fact of life, and even your suit's jump jets will launch you high enough to hurt you. Yep, you can self-inflict by hitting the wrong button, flying up into the air, and hitting the ground at the same level you left it, so you better get used to your maneuverability and the couple of jumping options you have to get around.

It's a shame this game has received so little attention. It may not be the most attractive thing in the world, but for what it does, and for when it was doing it, it's amazing. It's also a lot of fun, and you get very used to employing ambush and hit-and-run tactics.
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MrPopo
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Re: December Together Retro - Robots Fighting Robots!

by MrPopo Thu Dec 19, 2019 2:39 pm

I'm currently in a non-retro robots fighting robots (MechWarrior V), but once that's done I'm planning on firing up both Earthsiege games. I'd originally asked for Earthsiege as a kid but got MechWarrior 2 instead because my parents didn't know the difference.
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Gunstar Green
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Re: December Together Retro - Robots Fighting Robots!

by Gunstar Green Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:48 pm

As much as I love Earthsiege, your parents did you a service.

The original game is pretty rough, all the terrain is flat and the trick is mainly to just outgun the Cybrids before they can do too much damage, pumping all your shield energy to the front. Also try to leg everything. You only need to take out one leg to disable enemies and the scrap currency you get to build weapons and HERCs is dependent on how little you destroy of the enemies. Keep all of the enemies more or less intact and you'll be rolling in dough which will help you stay ahead of the enemy in the firepower arms race.

Earthsiege 2 is basically the same game but is much improved with actual variable terrain. It's Earthsiege 1 improved in just about every way. Though if you get to ES2, try to challenge yourself by not using the plasma cannon (use it a few times just to see it in all of its glory), it's immensely OP since it one hits all but a few things in the game AND it's homing. That and some of the other larger varieties of the normal weapons aren't in ES1.
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lordb0rb4
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Re: December Together Retro - Robots Fighting Robots!

by lordb0rb4 Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:08 am

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While certainly not my favorite Capcom Beat'em Up, Armored Warriors can be apreciated by it's sheer amount of gameplay variety and amazing graphics.
Played this one from the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle online with some random guy and i was quite amazed by just how perfect it worked.
My main gripe with this kind of Beat 'Em Up is that it can get pretty overwhelming to manage it without freeplay and that's why i like games tailored to consoles like Streets of Rage.
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MrPopo
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Re: December Together Retro - Robots Fighting Robots!

by MrPopo Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:12 am

Gunstar Green wrote:As much as I love Earthsiege, your parents did you a service.

The original game is pretty rough, all the terrain is flat and the trick is mainly to just outgun the Cybrids before they can do too much damage, pumping all your shield energy to the front. Also try to leg everything. You only need to take out one leg to disable enemies and the scrap currency you get to build weapons and HERCs is dependent on how little you destroy of the enemies. Keep all of the enemies more or less intact and you'll be rolling in dough which will help you stay ahead of the enemy in the firepower arms race.

Turns out you're secretly a prophet. It's interesting how much difference one year makes in terms of user experience. Earthsiege pulls a little too heavily from the flight sim genre, with lots of MFDs and toggles to play with. MW2 greatly simplifies it so that everything flows much more intuitively. Plus, they wisely realized that you should set throttle to be in a less used place and torso tilting to be in a more used place. I'm finding that the game does actually make good use of the notion of active/passive radar, as turning on my radar gets enemies to swarm me AND fuck me up with missiles. It's unfortunate that so many of the weapons aren't really worth using due to engine limitations; it seems that I can't hit anything that's not actually rendered on screen, which means all the long range weaponry is no better than the shortest ranged stuff, and since they tend to be high damage, high cooldown for you to be sniping with I'm sticking with the cannons and lasers. I also wish missiles weren't so clumsy to use, as the later chasses start having missile-only hardpoints.
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Re: December Together Retro - Robots Fighting Robots!

by Ack Sun Dec 22, 2019 4:18 pm

Serious question: is Earthsiege better or worse than Shattered Steel?
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MrPopo
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Re: December Together Retro - Robots Fighting Robots!

by MrPopo Sun Dec 22, 2019 4:27 pm

Having just finished Earthsiege I'd say I liked Shattered Steel better overall, but it also had a couple of bullshit missions that were just nasty (including the last one) and required a lot of luck to beat. Earthsiege is a more consistent experience, but about midway through you've seen everything the game has to offer, and the only difference in later missions is that there are more enemies, or they have a few additional guns (but so do you). The last mission is just an extra long version of a previous mission you did in that campaign that frontloads all the difficulty; once you're past those first three lances you're home free if you have any companions up, as you can have them take out the enemy.
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