Thursday, February 9, 2012

Super Dimension Fortress Macross

Kyuun-Kyuun! Kyuun-Kyuun!

That's right, it's Macross on the Famicom! Ever watch Robotech: The Macross Saga as a kid? Well, Super Dimension Fortress Macross was the anime that Harmony Gold decided to bring over from Japan & market to us as Robotech.

This game is an arcade-style side-scrolling shmup based on elements from that show. You play as a VF-1 Valkyrie transformable fighter, capable from switching between Battroid (robot), Fighter, and Gerwalk (halfway between robot and jet.) The object of the game is to fly to shoot as many enemy battle pods on your way to the Zentradi battleship, which you ultimately infiltrate and destroy by "shooting the core!" all this while a chiptune version of the song from the show, "Shao Pai Lon" plays. Wash, rinse, repeat.

And that's just what this game is, the same level repeating over and over. At least, I think it's hard to tel,l as I usually lose all my lives on the first level. The game is crazy difficult.

Let's talk about the gameplay. You begin each level in fighter mode, the fastest of the 3 modes. Changing modes determines how fast the background scrolls and enemies fly by. You maneuver reasonably quickly in each mode, but the enemies prove to be ultimately faster. I usually play in Gerwalk mode, as it's not as insanely fast as the fighter, yet not as slow as the Battroid, and I still have trouble even then. Either you're running headlong kamikaze-style into bullets and enemies as the fighter, or you're a sluggish sitting-duck robot for the enemies to fly into anyway.

Thankfully, unlike other shmups, the game sports a health-bar, rather than one-hit kills. Still, though, it's nearly impossible to maneuver between the enemies and bullets, and even more impossible to shoot them all. You're also given a limited arsenal of seeking missiles, which really do no more good than your regular blaster.

There's some degree of fun to be had with Macross, but only for about 5 minutes. The repetitive levels and nearly-impossible difficulty make this game, for the most part, unenjoyable. If you're a fan of Macross, it's worth picking up as a novelty, as it's typically pretty cheap, but otherwise, I'd leave this one alone. At least it's better than Transformers: Convoy no Nazo.

1.5 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. Hello!
    I just stumbled on your blog while searching for stuff on Thunder Force II. I liked what I read so far, since I maintain a similarly themed blog.
    So what happened, did you give up?
    I hope not!