Rediscovering: Front Mission: Gun Hazard

| #rediscovering | #snes | #videogames |

Back in the day, c.1996, Square released Front Mission: Gun Hazard, a sort of spinoff of their RPG/SIM Front Mission. This new game was a side-scrolling action platform game that was not at all unlike Metal Warriors (released a year earlier), or Assault Suits Leynos (a Megadrive game). The core game is side-scrolling robot action, but this time with heavy RPG elements: plenty of story-telling and levelling up, money for kills, that sort of thing.

First impressions are very, very favourable. The game plays exactly like Metal Warriors, with the same buttons for jump, primary and secondary weapons. The game differs in almost every aspect surrounding the core though. Metal Warriors had no on-screen display, no stats, no experience, no world-map. It was completely linear, where Gun Hazard has many choices to make between levels.

It remains to be seen if I’ll stick with this one, I don’t tolerate a lot of dialogue in my games. If anything’s going to keep me going though, it’s the graphics. Good holy fucking WOW this game looks good. It’s hard to believe it’s only a year newer than Metal Warriors. It seems like a generation apart. It’s mind blowingly great, right up at the top of the SNES library along with Demon’s Crest and Yoshi’s Island. You just wouldn’t believe a 3MHz machine could rock these gorgeous pixels.

And that’s what’s keeping me going, two days later. I am not an RPG person, I have a low tolerance for stats and endless weapon upgrading and tweaking. This game asks the player to go three or four or five levels between shops, or fly back through the cumbersome map to the last one, to upgrade the mech and buy new weapons. It’s an unnecessary hassle, and since I was granted access to the shotgun I just haven’t bothered. The enemy mechs rarely shoot back, and take two hits to destroy most of the time, so all this levelling up and stat improvement means very little to me. I dread the later stages in the game where I’ll be forced, no doubt, to pay attention to the details and carefully arrange my mech between each mission.

But the graphics, man. Wow, seriously. Metal Warriors was a fantastic action game, but visually it was rubbish compared to this. The Japanese know their robots, this is for sure.

More to come…

[ May 16 2013 ]



May 16 2013

The game itself is tight. The mech has a real heft to it, the weapons are exactly the right mix of arcade and realism.

The problem is Japan. Or rather, it’s Japan’s idea of gaming. Specifically, Square. There’s too much non-game keeping me from the fun bits. Why is the map so cumbersome? Why are all the weapons and ammo and items all described with codes like EPI4-R1 and REP-1, with stats similarly disguised?

I suppose it has a lot to do with the era, but really, there’s a fun game in here (along with a story as deep as a superhero comic) and they didn’t really need to burden it with all this RPG crap. But NFG! you cry, it’s based on a simulation game! To which I can only say that this is not a sim. Were they trying to appeal to a new audience or not? It’s all the action sim lovers can do without, and all the RPG trappings action fans don’t care for.

I think I burned out on it, I’ll give it another go tomorrow.

I should probably mention the graphics though. They’re great.

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