I’ll form the hand that glows with an awesome power

If you’re a GameSpite Person, you’re probably at least cognizant of the Super Robot Taisen series. (Taisen means “war,” but you get more indie cred if you leave it unstranslated — even if it’s your job to translate it.) Put simply, it’s a gathering of several decades’ worth of giant Japanese robots with the express purpose of exhibiting all their show-stopping super-moves. Put even more simply, it’s fan service incarnate. But most importantly, it’s darn attractive.

Fundamentally, the presentation hasn’t changed much since it debuted on the humble Game Boy, first with overhead grid-based maps, then a side view for hot-blooded duels between robots. But with the move to predominantly 3D consoles, the series has become a sort of champion for the lasting appeal of 2D, sprite-based graphics. While they could have easily cast everything in polygons, Banpresto has instead used hardware like the PS2 to turn out a vast array of detailed and well-animated characters, flashy effects, and simple backgrounds that parallax all over the place.

Now, the latest installment has arrived in the form of Super Robot Taisen Z. It’s a milestone in a number of ways, not the least of which is setting a new standard for aesthetics in a franchise already known for them. It functions the same as ever, with robot combatants occupying a flat, side-scrolling battlefield; but now they show depth when transitioning between background and foreground, spin and juke relative to a swerving camera, and seamlessly zoom into screen-filling close-ups. It surely adds a visceral edge to the gameplay, but it’s also just a joy to behold — especially since it’s all done with sprites. This is why, even though I lack the time and money to play the games myself, I can say I’ve become a fan just by seeing them in action.

15 thoughts on “I’ll form the hand that glows with an awesome power

  1. Yay — SRW love. And it’s not coming from me. I’m totally on Mission 10 o-o SpoonyGundam is further.

  2. It stole my heart at Great Mazinger and Getter Robo. Has there been a Space Runaway Ideon siting yet?

  3. Sighting, I mean. ‘Cause my sight is bad. The way Godsigma twitches his sword a little was awesome too.

  4. Ideon had a starring roll in SRW Alpha 3. One of the best parts of that game was letting the Ideon gauge fill up to maximum and letting the galaxy explode, lol.

  5. I thought you got more indie cred if you translated it, since all the fans call it Super Robot Wars. The only people who call it SRT are Atlus and people who got into it through them and haven’t been assimilated into the main community yet.

    Ideon was also in F/Final, I believe. There’s a decent list of which series have been in which games on GameFAQs, though it’s a tad hard to read.

  6. I couldn’t find the maximum on Youtube, but the sword and gun were spectacular. I totally forgot about the dude with the red afro who pilots Ideon!

  7. Props for the simultaneious G-Gundam and Voltron references.

    Now I’m wondering if G-Gundam has been in these. Okay, I’ll not be lazy and look it up on gamefaqs… yes, of course it has. Man, there are a lot of SRT games. Now I’m wishing I had a good way to play the one with Macross DYRL, Plus, and Seven(!) in it.

    And speaking of (uh, I guess that would be a spoiler), I wonder how long until Gurren-Lagann ends up in one of these.

  8. I’d assume the only barrier to the inclusion of Gurren Lagann would be development cycle time, what with already having Evangelion and Gunbuster represented. The only holdout last I checked was Escaflowne, because for a while at least, Bandai was trying to do their own, all internal copycat series.

    Also, I have never understood the appeal of saying “Taisen.” Same thing happens with the Sakura Wars series. I once got into a bit of an argument with my boss on the subject, who insisted on saying “Sakura Taisen” despite it being firmly established that the anime had come over, with proper translation, and the spine of the original Saturn game clearly says “Sakura Wars.” It’s a bizarre phenomenon.

  9. I want to try this series someday but besides the two translated GBA games I wouldn’t know where to begin. It’s a huge franchise and I hear the games are big timesinks too. But a lot of the appeal is in the crazy finishing moves and I can watch those on YouTube for now.

    Also I’m 99% sure Atlus had to leave ‘Taisen’ untranslated because something already owns the name ‘Robot Wars’.

  10. I thought Banpresto always waited a few years after the end of a show before incorporating into an SRT game, for spoiler purposes. So we’ll probably be seeing GL in the next game, whenever that is.

  11. Nemo is correct. Leaving it as “Taisen” had nothing to do with us being lazy or bad at our jobs, and everything to do with respecting existing copyrights.

  12. The most impressive part of the animations for Z is that you actually get different animations based on where the enemy is relative to you.

    In previous ones, your guys would have the exact same animation against flying enemies as they do for grounded ones. And it looks pretty goofy most of the time. But here, though? Looking at all the variations for the different attacks is half the fun.

    Example: On the ground against a grounded enemy, Big O’s Sudden Impact (Its signature piston punch thing) has you sink into the ground, bursting out in front of the enemy, then punching. Against an air enemy, Big O shoots one of its anchors out at him, then pulls the guy into the punch. It’s pretty neat!

  13. Leaving it as “Taisen” had nothing to do with us being lazy or bad at our jobs, and everything to do with respecting existing copyrights.

    Oh, Nich. I was just having fun.

  14. [i]Leaving it as “Taisen” had nothing to do with us being lazy or bad at our jobs, and everything to do with respecting existing copyrights[/i]

    No, the lazy part was researching the official names and attack ‘translations’. Oh wait but the creators gave us those names!!!111 .. and yet they made fun of them on their website

  15. Too bad there’s no chance in hell for a US release; I’d buy it in a heartbeat and don’t have a modded PS2. v_v

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