Saturday, May 21, 2016
Speed Power Gunbike
One of PSX mecha game that i recently added to my Japanese Vita library and it was such an unpolished gem. Gunbike was the first game released by Inti Creates which developed games like Megaman Zero and the recent Azure Striker Gunvolt. It was a racing mixed with action game but what makes it special is that it features Transformable Motorbike Power Armor which resemble something from Shinji Arakawa's Megazone and Mospeada's design. As a mecha fan i find the concept that Gunbike offers are really interesting concept despite the gameplay mechanics are unpolished. To this day i still wonder why there are no developers interested to develop something out of this much unexplored subgenre of mecha game
In the Game, Gunbike offers three different playable characters each with differing abilities for their Gunbike. The storyline is pretty much your staple cliche Mecha series where bunch of people trying to save the world with their powerful mecha and you won't lose much if you don't understand the storyline. So far i have completed the first playthrough of the game with the red haired guy called Ippei and his storyline revolve around his bond with his Gunbike which happen to have sentient AI and rather special compared to his comrade's. By the way the red head guy is voiced by Wataru Takagi who's also the Seiyuu for Garrod Ran from Gundam X and from what i know this is one of the two PSX Games character that he voiced other than Vahn from Legend of Legaia.
Gunbike's gameplay is a mix of action and racing. In the game, your goal in each stage is to reach the finish line before the timer runs out which also doubles as Hit Point as the timer decrease significantly when you took damage. Also you will have a boss fight each time you cleared a stage. In order to reach the objective the Gunbike are equipped with multiple tools in its disposal. Similar to Macross Valkyrie's Gunbike had three different forms; Bike, Rally and Robot for different purposes, Bike mode is for speed, Rally mode provide better turning and stability and Robot mode is for offensive purposes. Gunbike Robot mode have Guns and Melee attack in its disposal but most of the time due to sluggish control you will rely on ramming your targets instead. In the bike or rally mode when you build enough momentum you will perform powerful ramming attack which also comes with temporary invincibility. Some of the boss fight might seem hard as they are capable of spamming cheap moves that easily cool you and awkward controls doesn't make things any better. But in the end it was not too bad once you get used to the clunky controls that the game had.
A solid tranforming mecha game with Original design could have been what Gunbike could be. For its amazing concept, Gunbike was limited by the sluggish gameplay mechanics and hardware limitation during its time. The main issue for me that prevent to fully enjoy the game was the sluggish control and the camera angle which are a serious issue for a 3D action game. It is a huge pain to turn around especially during boss fights which are crucial for gamechanging situation. Also the game could have incorporated more RPG elements instead of being Arcade style gameplay as the latter offers rather short time of gameplay. With the flaws that the game had i considered Gunbike game was a half finished product at the present as it had much of its potentials untapped yet. Seriously other than this game, i don't think i have seen any action games that features a motorbike power armor which could be a gold mine if a developer could tap its full potential.