Robot Alchemic Drive / R.A.D – PlayStation 2
Platform: PlayStation 2
Release Date (NA): November 5, 2002
Reviewed by Juuchi Yosamu
I found this diamond in the rough in the bargain bin at work and I couldn’t resist picking it up. Being a mech enthusiast wasn’t enough to spare it from my coaster collection, it was it’s unique style that ultimately won me over. When I purchased the game I assumed I would be in control of the robot from inside the cockpit…. boy was I in for a surprise. You play the game in perspective of the pilot controlling the robot via remote which brought the game to life adding various elements that make this game stand out. There is this sense of urgency whenever you need to move in order to get a good vantage point of the fight. Sometimes the building you were nesting on gets obliterated by the enemy or even yourself with a stray missile or just an all out attack so you must remain vigilant on your surroundings. Also you need to plan ahead before unleashing an attack in case you’re in the line of fire or it’s game over; man and machine are vital to success. From the get go you can choose from 2 different protagonist and 3 robots known as Meganites. Each Meganite has different modes and specialize in different forms of combat.
Vavel is the most well balanced in terms of stats and specializes in close quarters combat. Initiating Volcanic Mode sends Vavel intooverdrive and makes him a force not to be taken lightly.
Laguiole is the fastest of the 3 Meganites and can transform into an aircraft. It has lower attack and defense than the other 2 Meganites but it’s superior speed and beam weaponry make up for it’s shortcomings.
In terms of power and defense, Gllang reigns supreme although his mobility is horrid. His arsenal of weapons is impressive and cause serious splash damage. Gllang can transform into, essentially, a tank and at that point you may not want to stand in it’s line of fire unless you have a death wish.
All space exploration has been halted due to a toxin called “Space Nectar” which will kill any organism and mans dreams of colonizing into the stars have been dashed. Suddenly machines known as “Volgara” begin to attack earth and it us to you, the sole inheritor of the Tsukioka’s weapons company, to pilot mans only hope for survival.
I had a blast playing through the story mode once I picked the right Meganite to do it with. The main point of the story mode is to protect the city from the invading alien Meganites by smashing their face in while causing minimal damage to the city itself. After each battle you get paid depending on how well you did in protecting the city. Some structures offer big cash bonuses as long as they remain standing. You can in turn use the money to upgrade your Meganite, buying new moves and armor. Don’t go overboard buying equipping your Meganite to go into all out war, remember that your character is also vital and hook him up with some upgrades as well. With that being said…. This is America! I had to pick the Meganite with the most fire power….. Long story short, Gllang’s special attacks can leave you protecting nothing more than a pile of scorched earth which means…. no money. Once I understood more about the game, I choose Laguiole…, I was having the time of my life.
Sooo much fun, I absolutely love the controls to this game, you really feel like your there controlling this thing. R1 takes a step with the right leg and L1 the left then the Right analog controls the right arm and the Left analog the left. You move the analog to perform the kind of attack you want to do i.e if I want to jab with my left I would tap the left analog up and if I want to throw a right hook, I would make a half circle moving from down to up. First off… you need to be able to see what you’re fighting so you find a good vantage point then march off to battle! At first it might be a bit confusing, mashing R1 then L1, but once you get the hang of it, I feel you will like it as much as I do. One this I will mention is the battle pace is fairly slow, don’t expect to be dashing across the stage or pulling off 10 hit combos. Also be prepared to get knocked down, over and over and over again.
Graphics & Audio
The Meganite models are excellent and the scenery is very nicely done, all in all I thought it was a great job on Enix part. Audio…. The voices are…. pretty bad and the music is practically nonexistent and when it does come on… just hope it doesn’t.
I had a good time beating my friend to a pulp until he got tired of trying to get accustomed to the controls and just used his character to shoot mine in the face….. cheap son of a….
Like most games Robot Alchemic Drive has it’s shortcomings, namely the audio and the slow pace fighting, but I think the pros outweigh the cons. If you do decide to pick this game up, and I really hope you do, just remember this one thing…. if you’re playing story mode… I would advise against using the Murica mobile.
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