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Title Frame Gride
System Sega Dreamcast
Players 1-2
Catalog # --
Price 6800¥
Street Date 7/15/99


by James Alsup III

I'm a big Armored Core freak. Take a look at my rating systems. Those are little Cores. So, needless to say, I was pretty psyched to find out that From Software would be developing a mech combat game for the Dreamcast. So, what exactly is Frame Gride? Think Escaflowne-meets-Armored Core.

Frame Gride is set in a mythic world, where large robots do battle. The game starts off in a long corridor, where the player must answer several questions. This determines what kind of frame to start out with. It is armored and includes a gun, sword, power system, and mega damage weapon. As players through the levels and defeat other warriors, they will earn crystals which can be combined to buy armor, guns, joints, and squires. Squires are helper robots that attack opponents, but in order to launch squires, it requires dedicating some life force points to them. Players can carry up to five squires. If a player destroys his opponent's squires, he will receive crystals, and destroying squires are the only way to get some of the rare crystals.

Unlike Armored Core, Frame Gride encourages short-range combat. As mentioned earlier, players start out with a choice of sword, ax, or other kind of sharp object and can buy different melee weapons with crystals. Some are faster. Some cause more damage. Just like Armored Core, players can decide which ones work best for them. This is what makes From Software's mecha games so popular: the ability to customize a Core or Frame to one's liking.

The button layout is similar to Armored Core. The left and right shoulder buttons control side dashes, X guards, B slashes with the sword, Y fires the weapon, and A uses the jump jet. If an opponent is nearby, the Y button punches. Players can activate the special weapon by pushing Y and B simultaneously.

One word: Beautiful. The Frames look just like they do in the FMV opening sequence. The levels, especially the underwater castle, are beautifully detailed.

There is a nice classical score that plays in the game. But the sound does not bowl me over. It blends into the background far too easily. In all fairness, this reviewer probably was not paying enough attention. Too busy fighting off squires.

The levels are well designed, too. They are not as big as the levels in Armored Core, or Project Phantasma, but they do not have to be. If they were, players would just stick with long-range attacks. This game encourages sword fighting. Speaking of the sword, the game enables both sword combos and punching combos, which are cool. It adds another dimension to the game. And to play effectively, players must learn how to use the shield. Dashing in guns blazing will get players killed more often than not. Finally, Frame Gride supports modem play!

There are a couple of problems with the game. I hate the squires. They cheapen the game. Instead of being "mano a mano," the person who has the most squires wins. This is almost enough to seriously affect the game's score, but I learned to cope. It is cheesy, though. The other major problem I had is that it is not possible to dash with the shield. It seems as if From could have easily added this function, but for some reason they did not.

I could go on and on about the game, but I will stop here. Players who love Armored Core should buy it. It is a deep game that will provide hours of fun.

@a! Rating
out of 4.




Frame Gride

From Software



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