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Robot Alchemic Drive

Robot Alchemic Drive (RAD) is among the most unique games available for the PS2, and far better in most opinions (of whom have played it) than the more monopolized games of now, such as Grand Theft Auto, Halo or Zelda.

The most important thing to note in relation to this game is the fact that its gameplay is what truly sets it apart from other games of its genre. All other games involving Japanese style giant robots available on any console up to date utilize a sort of physics system that come off as if you were controlling a guy in a suit rather than a giant robot, the way that RAD solves this, is that you don’t move around via your robot but rather a regular person placed outside the robot instead, allowing free roam throughout the various environment you can play through. However the most unique aspect of gameplay, let alone the most enjoyable, is the controls for your robot, although they may come off as complex at first, the controls become rather second nature with time. The controls use almost every aspect and function of the DualShock™ by applying a set of buttons to each movable feature of your robot, with the L1+L2 buttons to control your robot’s left leg, the R1+R2 buttons for the right, the two analog sticks to control the arms with R3 and L3 making the arms more powerful but energy consuming. The shape buttons are all applied to different external weapons whilst the directional pad to the movement of the torso. As well as all the aforementioned there are also three robots to choose from in the regular mode of play, each having its own unique arsenal of weaponry and style to them as well as a choice of over 20 robots for the Versus Mode.

The story , when paired with the characters and the gameplay is funny and comical but for all the wrong reasons, the game doesn’t strive to be this, it just is for the sole reason of bad voice actors as well as bad scripting. There are several points in the game where people are stepped on and scream in the obvious agony, however the voicing in this game is used with no enthusiasm whatsoever and pronounces the ‘g’ and the ‘h’ at the end of ‘Aaargh’ as well as putting extra emphasis into the ‘Ki..’ at the beginning of the stereotypically manga scream ’Kiyaaaah’. The story moreover revolves around aliens and you being the sole heir to a weapons design company thought to be completely bankrupt when in reality they were to developing anti alien technology, this technology being the giant several giant robots. Together with the giant robots and your character of choice you venture through cityscapes and various landscapes seeking a preferable viewpoint in which to watch/control the epic battle(s). The one other thing to note of the story are the varying relationships one can have with each character, you can get some of the characters to despise you by destroying their homes and/or workplaces, by doing this you can also affect their financial situations.

The graphics are mediocre at best but only when compared to some of the more wealthier and famous companies worldwide such as Capcom with Onimusha or Square-Enix with its Final Fantasy series or the lesser known (worldwide) Dragon Quest, however the graphics aren’t appalling , they’re just nothing special. Although the detail and rendering are done far more professionally than the likes of GTA so as not to have randomised buildings/enemies disappearing at random intervals.

The music is another one of its key points as the music is quite often harmonious with the current point in the story and is portrayed quite well, however the general feel of the game tends to be a quite depressing one so the music trails. The sound effects however are potent and varied, on par with the recent adaptation of War of the Worlds, giving a nice change to the music whenever you send an enemy flying with machine guns and missiles to hear some good quality sound effects.

Gameplay: 98%
Graphics: 90%
Audio: 85%
Replay: 90%
Overall: 91%

Last Words: A masterpiece come to life!

Copyright © 2005 Mike Montgomery

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