- Turn type: Unclear (see below)
- Maps: Each stage has a few separate maps chained together.
- Character Customization: Prime Point system (see below)
- Character Development: Standard XP level system.
- Party Size: 3, from what I saw.
- Equipment: None
- Game Flow: 20 stages, no alternate paths, no repeating.
- Saving: You can save between battles.
- Death: If Gundam dies, you get a game over although you keep your XP. If other units die they leave for that battle.
After an initial cutscene, you control Amuro in an easy fight against the two hapless Zaku units.
The 120 there is the Gundam’s power; this goes down from moving and also from getting hit. “Member” lets you see the maps and choose other units, and “Lost” sends you back to the beginning of the map with your XP gains preserved. However, that’s also what happens when you get a game over so there’s not much purpose to that since you might as well fight and gain some XP.
You can either attack with ranged weapons, or close in and fight. Once you close in, the fight continues (with the two trading blows) until you either kill the enemy, or disengage from the fight with the B button. This gives the enemy a free attack, though.
Between stages, or when you level up, you can assign “prime points”. You can freely assign them on this screen, even ones you’ve already assigned before. This is also where you give the units items that restore energy or special weapon power. The ability to refill your items when you level up is an essential part of the game. Part of the issue I had with the game is that after the first few levels, the stages are impossible to finish without a lot of energy refills.
You also have these fighting-game style special attacks. As you use them, the percentage increases and when it hits 100% you can use them as your initial attack to start a fight.
Because of the Minovsky Craft particles, you can only see a little bit of the area around you, and have to rely on this “heat detection” to find out where the enemies are.
After a few stages you get the Guntank and the Guncannon, which have ranged attacks that can hit multiple enemies. They’re not well balanced, though. The turn system is strange — you move one of your units, then the enemy moves, and then you can move any unit you want again. This means that most of the time you just want to use the Gundam, and trying to move the other units up levels is a tedious process that requires using your Gundam as a damage tank while the other units pick at the enemies. If the enemies close in on the tank or cannon they’re helpless. This is another problem I had with the game.
The last stage I played was vs. Char and Lalah. First, you have to chase Char all over the maps — this happens in a number of stages, but it’s especially annoying in this one. Once you attack Char once, he flees to a different map. If you miss too many times, or have too much trouble finding him, you run out of energy and can’t deal with the second part of the map where you have to fight Lalah and her Elmeth with the bits. Some of the bits require ranged weapons to beat, so you have to keep some weapon refills. I kept losing on this stage either because I missed Char too much or couldn’t find him, and I just got tired of it.
Maybe there are aspects of this game I didn’t appreciate, but I think it only technically qualifies as an SRPG under my definition; it doesn’t really feel like one. There is a translation patch, though, so try it out if you want to see for yourself.
Next up is Majin Tensei II.