Hello, Colony Drop! What better way to kick off the blog than to talk about some Gundam merchandise of varying quality? Banpresto is the undisputed king in that department: from cheapo UFO catcher toys to cheapo gashapons to cheapo trading figures, to cheapo everything, Banpresto’s mission is to get that merchandise out there, and if quality interferes, it’s usually a coincidence.
Today, I’m going to take a look at a case where Banpresto made a lousy game typical of their brand, and then turned it into a good game, atypical of their brand.
Simply titled Mobile Suit Gundam, this first game is a flagrant, shoddy, and worst of all, two-button Street Fighter II knockoff with absolutely nothing to recommend it, save some comical English
What’s unusual about this story is that Banpresto hired another team to go back and fix that game so that it didn’t suck. The only other game I could find under Allumer’s name was the unfortunately but appropriately named Blandia, a one-on-one reworking of Taito’s Gladiator. Thankfully, they did much better work on Mobile Suit Gundam EX Revue (warning: this writer has an irrational affection for video games with EX in the title). The controls are expanded to three attacks and one superfluous throw button, the engine runs faster and smoother, the sprites all have a layer of polish added, and the characters feel like complete fighting game characters. They’re not ground-breaking or anything– the RX-78 Gundam is Ryu, the fan-favorite Acguy plays like Blanka, and Char can double-jump– but they’re fleshed out. The game is actually fun to play: quite the opposite of its predecessor.
The other cool thing about EX Revue is the final boss mobile suit, the MS-19 Dolmel. The robot is huge, its attacks are huge (it’s got an M. Bison sweep), and its design is wildly out of place with the late-70’s original Mobile Suit designs. What the design really suggests is an overdone prototype of Banpresto’s own Alteisen, which wouldn’t appear in the Super Robot Wars series for quite a few more years. A testament to the power of recycling.
There is a sad ending, though, once you beat the Dolmel: after the ending credits, the Zeta Gundam’s head appears on screen, over the text “WHAT’S NEXT?”; That game was, as far as I know, never made. Tragic.