Name: Shogo: Mobile Armor Division (81.67% in 6 votes) Type: ACT Platform: WINDOWS Company: Monolith Release date: 1997 Reviewed by: KurenaiJiku
The latest hype seemingly for the latest generation of 3D gaming for both the PC and console systems seems to be first person shooter or FPS for short. Another trend is "Anime" which is obviously making it's merry way into everybody's lives all over the world; from Pokemon to the "made for girls show"; Sailor Moon. Anime's many foreign fans in the Americas and Europe have always prayed, hoped, or wanted some sort of game which was based on Anime. So people could finally romp through worlds which run similar to cliche-ish Anime stories and destroy Anime-like baddies. Well, a new trend will arise and it's Anime inspired games mainly generated by "fans".
Shogo is made by a relatively young company called Monolith. Shogo (totally forgetting what it really means in Japanese) used to be called Riot and was in production about a year and a half ago if I remember correctly. I recall seeing the brilliant screen shots and the beautiful graphics, but that was much time ago. Now these graphics are simply absolete. After playing some Shogo though, I noticed that Shogo stands a bit from it's line of Quake/Doom clones. Each of the 20 weapons is quite unique for one thing. There are basically two modes of play which don't really differ except for the feel and visual aspects of the environment. One is where you ride around in an Anime-like mech that attempts to mock Gundam or Patlabor, and the other one is where you're on foot away from your mech performing more intricate missions and tasks. I don't know much about the story so I won't talk about it much. All I truly know is that the game story awfully reminds me of the first Battletech RPG game for the PC. I bit cheesy, fun, was great for nostalgia's sake, but a bit bland because I don't think a FPS game really gives a justified expression of a conspiracy-type story.
Anyways, I played only the PC version and not the PSX version so I don't know if they're any different. But the system I tested Shogo with was a Pentium 233 with 96 MB's of RAM, and a 16 MB Diamond Viper V550 PCI. The game will still run under software rendering, but looks terrible; worse than Doom. I suggest anybody to play Shogo with a 3D accelerator. The Viper V550 works perfectly fine with Shogo and maintains a fairly good frame rate under relatively high display settings. The models of the mecha are terribly modelled; I don't know whether the designs were originally bad, or whether the actual process of modelling ruined the mecha. I have to complain even more about the character models. They don't even look Anime-ish in terms of shape and texture detail. The human's heads are horizontally flat and seem disproportionate to the body. The body armor designs seem truly strange as they look alien more than human. One unique thing is that each mech can transform into a hover vehicle; not a tank, but a vehicle of some sort. I still haven't figured out the true benefit of this transformation other than speed; you can't even attack. These problems with the details of the game really damage it's reputation due to the fact that these same details define the game's place in the market.
Good thing though is that your character is quite volitile to enemy fire and explosions; even in mecha. There are special damaging hits which are referred to as "critical hits", which most of the time kill your enemy in one or two shots. The inexplainable thing is that you receive bonus life everytime get a critical hit on an enemy. The enemy can get critical hits as well meaning that your character may even have a higher mortality rate. I liked the concept of the main character being very sensitive to death, problem was that I found myself quick loading a lot during the game.
Not because the game was too difficult, but because the AI was too accurate or mostly unpredictable. The AI would sometimes have enemies standing a few feet way from you and not fire, but sometimes the enemy would be too far away to shoot at with conventional weaponary; yet they would be able to hit you. Another example is when there are enemies on a second floor above you and there is a large opening between the two floors. You can be on the first floor right under the second floor so that you can just barely see the edge of the opening. You see no enemies, yet right above there are enemies already shooting at you. So in other words, the enemy could be literally cutthroat, or they can be so lenient in killing you. This was the most frustrating thing as I expected them to do certain things a some times but not at others. I guess that would mean that the game would be more difficult in some way, but I found it more laughable than difficult.
The weapons are fairly common including the first weapon you get; a of close combat weapon which doesn't require any ammo. As a small detail, I found that the energy close combat weapons made sense, but not the metal ones. One mecha had a metal sword which actually did pretty good damage to enemy mecha. One must ask thyself; "how could a metal blade actually cut armor that explosions couldn't destroy?" Small detail yes, but it somehow makes me doubt the source of inspiration for the game. I'm not so picky as it would kill me but just something that made me wonder. Anyways, the first weapon; the Pulse Rifle, you get is actually quite useful as it fires quite quickly, has fast reload time, and even does splash damage. So it's great for taking out small infantry and lighter mecha. One funny thing when you blow away infantry is that they have a lot of blood flying over the place. However, I think the infantry splashes a bit too much blood and makes one wonder how much blood the human body really carries. The second weapon is the trusty Laser Cannon. Does pretty good damage on light mecha but heavier mechs take quite a bit more before they go down. The good thing is that the Laser Cannon does pin point damage so it's pretty accurate although the recoil on the cannon can make aiming or re-aiming difficult; more realistic though.
Then there's the Spider Rifle. I personally love this weapon because primarily it is nothing more than a mine laying weapon. Instead of lobbing mines into the battle field, it shoots the mine straight forward so that whatever you pointed your gun at it attaches itself to. I love using this weapon as I like to attach mines to unsuspecting mecha and watch them explode; sometimes taking down other enemy mechs. The game balance for this weapon is that the mine travels quite slow, and to fire the mine is slow, and reloading to fire the next time is slow. So other than the slowness of the weapon it's great for pestering multiplayers or computer players. Another weapon is the Rocket Launcher, it's not called that but that's what it essentially is. Instead of other games just firing one missile straight forward, it fires four missiles in a wibbly wobbly fashion in a firing pattern strangely similar to Macross missiles. This weapon I wouldn't recommend for pin point accuracy since it simply fires randomly and doesn't seem to heat seek anything. Wasting ammunition with this weapon is a definite; however, if any one of the missiles do hit the enemy will receive quite a bit of damage. If the enemy is quite far away and you don't really feel like destroying everything possible, then I think the Sniper Rifle will be more suiting. Since the Sniper Rifle really is a Sniper Rifle; it has the ability to zoom in on the enemy and easily take out the enemy. I thing I like about this weapon is that when not in zoom mode, it acts more like a machine gun and you're able to stun and pester your opponents. Problem is that the damage that it does in non zoom mode is minimal; the real damage comes when you're in zoom mode. In one or two shots you can destroy your opponent, and if you can figure out how the critical hits work then it's easy with this weapon. Then there's a weapon called the Bullgut. This weapon is like a grenade launcher which simply just fires straight foward, and I don't think the canister even bounces before impact. I found this weapon to be extremely dull compared the Shredder. The Shredder is one of my most favorite weapons and I think is the final weapon your mech can get in the game. It's ability to fire repeatedly extremely fast makes this weapon extremely versatile. Also with the astounding damage this weapon can inflict because of it's quick impact and it's splash explosions the Shredder can tear up some of the larger mecha pretty easily.
Then there's the infantry weaponary which isn't too impressive but fun to use because of it's feel and look. The Machine Gun looks like an Uzi with a silencer attached to the barrel, because for one thing it really does sound like a Machine Gun with a Silencer attached to the barrel of it; like in the movies. Other weapons are like Energy Grenade Launcher which simply lobs an energy orb a certain distance and explodes on impact. Other weapons are the Assault Rifle, Rocket Launcher, Pistols, etc. However, the most reliable weapon in the game I personally think is the Machine Gun because ammo is plentiful and it has a good overall usage throughout the game.
Anyway, the game is like other FPS games if you don't look at the details. But if you're looking for a game that has tiny little details that make you feel good about the game's prowess or any such like so, then feel free to buy the game. I think that this is a great game just for a heck of it. However, a lot of hard core gamers will find Shogo to be another repetative clone of the Quake series.