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Want more info on Macross?

Links:
http://www.anime.net/macross/
definitive Macross page in english

http://www.macross.co.jp/
Japanese page

by James Alsup III

Super Dimensional Fortress Macross has a long history of video games. Most have been side scrolling shoot 'em ups. In 1998, Bandai took a stab at taking Macross into 3-D with Macross VF-X. The game was widely panned by fans. Yeah, it was cool to see the variable fighters switch back and forth, but the game had a severe case of graphics popping in and out, strange controls, and, well, bad game mechanics. Needless to say, many were skeptical when a sequel was announced. I was one of them. Fortunately for fans, Bandai has delivered the goods with VFX-2.

Normally, when I review a game based on a series/movie, I ask two questions:

1) How well does the game convey the feeling of the series?
2) Do the game mechanics interfere with said feeling?

I was very surprised with VFX-2. Not only was it a good licensed game, it was a good game period.

In VFX-2, you are a member of the Ravens, an elite fighter wing of the U.N. Spacy. Some remnants of the Zentradi and the Protodeveln are around kicking up problems, and its up to you, with your wide array of variable fighters, to turn them back. Unfortunately, the game dialogue and text boxes were, for the most part, Japanese, so I didn't catch the name of the main character. To be honest, I was too eager to jump into the game action to care.

You get to fly almost all of the Variable Fighters from the entire Macross series (except Macross II). The only exception being the VF-4 Lightning. The controllable fighters are:


VF-1X Plus Valkyrie

VA-3m Invader

VF-11b Thunderbolt

VF-17d Nightmare

VF-19 Excalibur

VF-22 Sturmvogel II

And a new variable fighter, the VA-6 Konig Monster. Remember the MAC II and MAC III mobile gun platforms from the original Macross? Well, it's back, and it transforms! Each variable fighter comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses, as well as its own set of weapons. In order to succeed, you have to exploit the advantages of each mode: fighter/bomber mode has the most agility, GERWALK mode combines the agility of the fighter with the versatility of battroid, and Battroid mode allows the most versatility. The VFs can be controlled with the analogue controller, which adds to the experience. Unlike VF-X 1, the special weapons are easily accessible. By pushing the triangle button, you cycle through secondary weapons (micro missiles, high maneuverability missiles, chaff, grenades, etc.) No more fumbling with buttons to use secondary weapons.

Sound

In the FMV opening, we're treated to another Fire Bomber song. The song has a new score, which, while being MIDI-ish at times, was pretty good. My only complaint is that they still didn't get that distinctive "BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR" of the VF-1X's gun.

Graphics

Playing this after playing Gundam Gaiden REALLY shows the Playstation's age. Still, though, the 3-D models of the VFs looked really good. And those missile trails are beautiful. The battles look and feel like ones from the series. However, a big negative in the game is that you appear to be "on rails" on certain stages, especially "Operation Lullabye" I'm using 100% thrust and I can't get close to the SDF-1. Other levels, like the outer space levels, you can smack into the side of a battleship.

Gameplay

The controls are easy to learn, which is good, because this game is chaotic. There are two camera angles, target, where the camera stays on the target at all times, and missile, which will switch to show you any missiles that are following you. I usually kept the camera locked on target, because the switching would disorient me. And again, unlike VFX 1, you can avoid missiles, just like they do in the series. Or, you can transform to battroid and blast them out of the sky.

This game is a must for Macross fans, and a good pick-up for anyone who is a fan of shooters.

@a! Rating
out of 4.


 

 

  Infobox

Title
Macross VFX-2

Copyright
Bandai Visual, Big West

Platform
Sony PlayStation

Players
1

Release Info
Catalog #: 45427
Release Date: 15 Aug. 2000
MSRP: 6300¥

 
     
 
 

 

 
   
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