Author Topic: Fox's Review: Space Griffon VF-9 (PS1, Dreamcast?)  (Read 2564 times)

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Fox's Review: Space Griffon VF-9 (PS1, Dreamcast?)
« on: January 17, 2009, 02:54:46 PM »
(NOTE: Ahead of time, I haven't been able to confirm the existence of the Dreamcast version, but several Google searches have linked this game and the Sega Dreamcast)

The year is... I don't know.  The largest Moonbase mankind has ever built, "HAMLET" has become an incredible icon in this game's popular culture, exporting a product known as "Lunar Tears".  However, from where the game starts, HAMLET has completely stopped communicating with Earth, and has done so for two weeks.  A-Max Factories, a corporation heavily involved with HAMLET, has sent in a private military unit, codenamed "A-Max Cleaners" to investigate why HAMLET has just come to a dead halt.

It was developed by Panther Software and released by Atlus Inc. in 1995, at least in the US.

(Graphics 7/10):

For a PS1 game, it's got fine graphics for the year 1995, while not exceptional, you have to remember that 3D technology was hardly even broken in at that point for consoles, so there are warping textures, no shaders, and the black fog pretty much covers up the fact that the actual in-game graphics engine nearly chokes when there's a lot of detail being shown.  The texturing doesn't really help to detail much other than there's a lot of square in HAMLET, excluding the mines which I didn't think looked all that exceptional.

The character graphics, however, are drawn in the style of the portraits I posted, and are animated just well enough to get the point across.  The in-game effects aren't that exceptional, and as I said, if you're expecting graphics like the gods, you're gonna be disappointed.  But I'll give it an okay rating because the style is consistent.

You've got in-game maps which actually detail the maps you travel through well.

(Sound 8/10):

There's little bits and pieces of music scattered about the cutscenes, but the game is pretty much lacking in ambiance which is kind of disappointing if you're starting to zone out.  You've got the sound of your machine, and such, but other than that, there's barely any ambiance whatsoever.  There also isn't that much of variety to the sound effect catalogue, a lot of sounds are pretty much just re-used.

The music, at least for me, didn't do too much to put me into whatever mood, but it was used where it fit.  The only track of actual un-MIDI music is the credits theme, every other piece pretty much is the Playstation MIDI Format.

Though the voice acting is pretty good, and bad.  For one, Bighorn's voice actor seems completely out of touch, though that may be because of his character.  Boss's VA you might recognize from a few nature documentaries, Killer's VA is a black guy, and Jim's VA sometimes sounds a bit too formal for the character, but he passes off the "completely new guy" motif well.  Stormy's VA doesn't quite sound all that macho for the character, but at least it's a distinctly female voice for a distinctly female character.  As for Thief, he starts off cocky, gets creepy, and then near the end, he's got a completely insane tone to his voice.  Thief probably sounds the most natural out of the voices.

(Gameplay 9/10):

Now as far as the gameplay, it too is a mixed bag, but a little less of a mixed bag nearing good gameplay.

This is easily one of the earlier games to implement the common practice of strafing, and unfortunately, in this game, the A.I doesn't expect you to do that so the toughest enemies can be beaten by just circling them.  Of course, some of the enemies are smarter than that, and will turn in a much higher radius towards you to keep you in their sights, so you have to employ some clever use of strafing.

The main weapons you can use consist of:

  • Laser Cannons (fire a straight beam directly ahead)
  • Rocket Launchers (ammo-limited weapons, two breeds)
  • Vulcan Guns (Low-damage rapid-fire machine guns)
  • Linear Cannons (Kind of like the Vulcan and Laser combined)

Alternatively, you can also equip a shield and block enemy fire between shots.  If you know what you're doing, you can get just outside of an enemy's attack range and kill them while avoiding your Griffon's battle response times against higher targets.  Damage doesn't really change, and there are strategies for each enemy which all involve shooting them.

Battle response times are the 'level' system of this game.  After fighting a certain amount of enemies, depending on level, your VF will "level up" which simply gets you a faster response time when fighting enemies a proper way.  Your Armor and Energy don't increase, your stats don't improve, just that 2-digit number on the side.

The Armor and Energy, max at 8000 for each, are the flesh and blood of your machine.  You can pick up Repair Kits and Power Units.  Armor depletes when you take direct hits, and Energy depletes as you use certain weapons or after extended periods of time.  It's easy to replenish both, though keeping both in prime condition is harder than it looks.  As Boss says, "Fuel shouldn't be a problem.  You should find more than enough if you look around."

Your VF has 3 modes: Combat, Assault, and Cruise.  Combat is your stand-on-legs Mecha mode.  It's slow and the weakest of all the forms, but has the highest attack power.  Assault is the middle-of-the-range mode, which higher speed, higher defense, and somewhat lower attack power.  Cruise drops attack power completely for defense and mobility and is the fastest mode you get until your VF is upgraded, where you lose the Cruise mode but keep the first two modes with upgraded stats.

(Story 10/10):

I'll just say this: This is probably one game you'd probably be able to do a Let's Play with.  I can't really review the story fully effectively without doing one of those, since the game covers a wide range of plot twists.

There don't appear to be any missed opportunities, and the entire thing is presented as if it happens in a single day or so. 

Overall (8/10):
« Last Edit: January 18, 2009, 09:41:21 AM by Fox McCloud »