Review by: Major Bunny

Here’s one for any fighting fan to check out. Released in Japan over a year ago, it’s finally reached it’s core audience and is in the US also. The basis of this game is a head to head fight involving two (or 4 in training mode) robots. You create your own robots by selecting torso, eyes, arms (which are weapons), & legs (all of which can be colored separately). You then choose from whatever weapons are available to you from the five that you start with. From there it’s into the arena for some all out, 3D smashfun! You begin ranked 101st and must work your way to the #1 ranking (I won’t tell you what happens then). Every opponent beaten moves you up in rank, while losing decreases your points and drops your rank, awarding you points and increasing your skills with the particular weapon(s) used in that fight. Now five weapons may not sound like much…and it’s not. There are 30 in total! You gain the weapons from defeated opponents (and lose yours when you lose) giving you a constantly changing variety to choose from. You can accumulate up to 2 of (almost) every weapon in the game. Unfortunately you don’t get to steal the weapons from boss characters (believe me, I’ve tried!) but you do get to power up your own weapons through victories or in-fight special moves. There are also hidden characters & bosses (which may become playable at some stage).

The two player mode is handled via a left/right split screen. This is remarkably more effective than the standard top/bottom view more commonly used. True interactive scenery enables you to pick up trees, rocks, and obstacles to use as weapons by chucking them around the place. Fights can be handled through actual fighting or auto fight mode where the computer controls one or both robots depending on the skills with the weapons used. Ringouts or total KOs constitute victory while a draw occurs if time runs out, regardless of life remaining. It’s all or nothing here, people.

Technically, the graphics are very rich and more than suffice with very little breakup and no pop-up at all. The programming is done well and both challenge & control are very tight. The sounds are adequate as is the music (though the option to kill it should have been included). You can save up to 10 robots in system memory so have a memory cart handy.

Definitely one to rent, this one can best be described as a baby Virtual On. Whether you game alone or with friends this is one to add to your library. Replay value is high and there’s no end to the fun in 2 player mode. Available for the PSX & Saturn (Saturn version reviewed here) though some features may vary. Overall- 92

(note: This review is for the import version. The US version has been “altered” and is a tremendous disappointment.)