Looks can be deceiving. When I first saw this game on the shelf at GameStop, I didn't even bother with it. First of all, its called Gotcha Force - not exactly a cool, enticing title. I thought it was some lame kid's game. The packaging is pretty crappy too. If you go on popular review sites like IGN or GameSpot, you'll even see the game received mediocre reviews. I wrote the game off as trash until I stumbled over some gameplay videos of it on YouTube and noticed the comments were loaded with tons of fans who didn't have anything negative to say about the game. It actually looked interesting so I bought it and I have to admit, this is definitely one of the most underrated gems on GameCube that few players seem to be aware of.
The plot itself is extremely basic - evil toy sized "Gotcha Borgs" arrive on Earth and you're the human who encounters G-Red, a good Gotcha Borg and team up to fight the Death Force. Outside of a few minor interactions before battles, the plot really doesn't get any deeper than that. You're just going from place to place to battle.
There are RPG elements involved because as you battle you earn experience that helps increase your borg's level and parameters like hit points. Battles can be extremely chaotic. You're constantly on the move against multiple opponents and trying to dodge, block and attack. Its very fast paced but fun because you have numerous options for attacks. When you win you may unlock new borgs which you can add to your team to use to help in various stages based on their combat type. Some borgs can be used as healers, long range shooters, close range attackers with swords and so on. There is a degree of strategy involved because you have to select a partner to assist you in battle and of course you have to select the appropriate borgs to add to your own party so you can survive. There is a tier system, so some borgs lose their effectiveness quickly. In addition to winning, you earn more points which allow you to expand your team and also permits you to user higher tier borgs - so the game maintains a challenge since you're not just immediately allowed to form the most perfect team. You're also graded and ranked based on your time and dodge/hit ratio which determines how much experience you earn.
There are over 200 borgs to unlock so there's a lot of diversity in what your team will be. Each borg has a certain theme, like ninja, cowboy, angel, dragon, samurai, etc. Stages are pretty large and detailed but tend to have a juvenile theme - like a sandbox in a park for instance.
The game supports 4 player versus or tag team modes as well. Since its a GameCube game it also works on Wii. I guess if you combined Pokémon with Custom Robo you'd probably end up with Gotcha Force. It can get repetitive at times mainly due to the lack of storyline but if you've got siblings or friends over you'll probably enjoy it more. The camera can be a fatal flaw but mastering a borg's skills and executing strategies in real time combat can be very satisfying and motivating to continue playing.
Most of you might be looking at this and thinking "This looks a little too kiddy for me", well I disagree, Gotcha Force is a great game well worth getting. You play as a boy called Kou, who befriends a miniature, toy-like robot named G Red. You are then flung head on into a war against these "Gotcha Borgs". The gameplay is good, the size of the arena's give you a good sense of freedom, you have a standard attack button that either uses melee combat or projectiles depending on your distance from the enemy and a special button, that needs to charge, but does a lot more damage. You have partners to help you usually in story mode but you can choose to go it alone. The best part of Gotcha Force is that every character you fight (Minus the final boss) is playable, that's literally 100's of playable characters to use in your team.
In short this is an amazing fighting game that has a roster that rivals any Pokémon game. Definitely in my top ten.
We all know that giant stompy robot games can be fun, but how about games with small palm sized robots, but still with the power of giant stompy robots? Well Gotcha Force is one of those games. No longer do we need Gundam, transformer, or even metabots sized robots, because the Gotcha Borgs have arrived! _____ |Story | You play as Kou, an energetic young school kid from Safari City who was on a field trip when a meteorite crashed nearby. Rushing to explore the crater, he found a small palm sized robot called G-Red. G-Red had tracked the Death Force to Earth after they destroyed his home planet called Mega-Borg. The Death Force is an evil army lead by the war-loving mastermind Galactic Emperor. Galactic Emperor used the Death Force to build a secret base in Safari City to launch an assault mission to conquer Earth! Kou and G-Red team up and form Gotcha Force to stop the Death Force and the game begins. _________ |Gameplay | The game is quite easy to pick up and start playing although it will take a very short while to get used to. However a few battles in and you will be destroying enemies with ease, or at least trying to. In later levels enemies can become quite tough and take a while before they can be destroyed. There are over 200 different Borgs to collect ranging from Humanoid, Monster, Robot, and Mechanoid Gotcha Borgs. The game is like Pokémon in a way as well, in that you fight with teams Borgs with up to 30 Borgs in your team! However it isn?t as simple as collecting them and putting them in. You have to earn GF Energy from battles. Borgs can have up to a 2000 GF Energy point requirement. At the beginning of the game you have about 1000GF Energy P
oints. As the game continues you will gain allies who will also fight along side you. There are about 10 allies to find, each with their own style of Borgs so picking which to use may determine the outcome of the battle. ________ |Controls | The controls are easy to use. A is used to jump, B is to do a normal melee or long range attack and X executes your special attack. Holding B or X, depending on the Borg, will also make you do a charged shot. During battles a special bar raises and once its full you can press Y to get infinite ammo and increased speed for a short time. Shoulder Buttons can be used to change, which enemy you are locked onto and Z can be used to lock on t your Partner (for healing moves). Moving your character is also simple to do. Control stick moves them run around as normal. However you can press it in any direction fast to make them dodge in that direction, or in the case of Robots like G-Red you can use a jet boost for a short time. ______ |Music | The sound itself is very good. Most of the music fits the game really well and I find no problems with it. On the Map screen it is nice and slow, though not relaxing and still makes your remember that the threat of the Death Force is out there and there rarely is a time they are not. Battle music is great, however limited. After a few hours you may be bored with battle the music. But you can always take a break. Don?t make this put you off. What is there is good and puts you in battle mood perfectly for the game?s style. ____________ |Voice Acting | This is terrible, pure and simple. It is the worst voice acting I have ever heard and thankfully there isn?t much of it. Every voice sounds like a tone-deaf robot. Sure this is good for when the Borgs talks, but when Kou or one of hi
s friends talks, you just cannot listen to it. Also they seem to take large breaks after every sentence, which gets quite annoying! Kou?s Friends mostly only say victory or loss taunts though which is lucky on our ears. ________ |Graphics | The graphics of this game are also good. The characters are all fully 3d and battles are fought in large arenas. (Well, compared to most Gotcha Borgs they are quite big) All the 3d models have cel-shaded, but detailed look. All the animations for each move and animation are made flawlessly. During the opening when you first start story mode, you are treated to a great FMV sequence with all the characters in a animated manga intro. ______ |Battles| The Battles are the main part of the game considering that?s all you will be basically doing. In between battles you are preparing for the next battle. As you play through story mode you will most likely fight over 100 fights. What happens during battle is you and your team mate (if you have one) start with the first borg in your teams. And fight against up to 6 computer controlled opponents at any one time. As each Borg is defeated the next Borg appears on the battleground. This continues until every Borg is defeated. Battles can become tiresome after a while though and some story instead would be welcome. However this never happens. ________ |Difficulty| At this start of the game you will find no problems with the game. Levels can be easily won, since you are only fighting the lowest of the low in the Death Force. However as you progress the difficulty rapidly gets harder and near the end you?ll be struggling to complete battles. Once you do however you feel like it?s a great accomplishment and move on to the next battle. ______ |Arenas| Most of the levels are different and fun to play in
. Arenas go from Kou?s bedroom, where you can fight on his desk around his Manga collection or in the park and a few other areas. All of them are quite big, and just the right size for a battle. Any larger and it would take to long to get to enemies, and any smaller and you would feel cramped in the area. There are lots of objects to hide behind to protect yourself from attack, but you should be careful of special attacks and large laser blasts, because the objects wont protect you. _________________ |End of Battle Bonus| At the end of each battle, you may be rewarded with a new Borg or an item. However a lot of the time you wont. Items are basically half the data of a more powerful and rare Borg that you will need to find the other half of if you want to unlock it. I?ve unlocked up to 5 different bonuses at once, so you can look forward to sometimes being given a good reward. I do seem to get a lot of the same Borg sometimes though. _________ |Replaying| Once you complete a battle you cannot re-play it, unless you have lost. Once you complete story mode, you get a replay option to play again on a harder difficulty setting. There are up to 9 replay difficulties to get to and on each you get newer and more rare Borgs for successfully completing battles. __________ |Multiplayer| The multiplayer in this game is also good and there are several different play modes. You can choose to play a 2 player versus match where you can choose each player?s GF points for their force and then fight it out to see who is better. There is also a cooperative mode where 2 players can fight through a series of battles. You can choose up to 3 difficulties by choosing how many GF points you want opponents to have. At the end of the battles the game gives you a list of every Borg that was destroyed and gives you the number
. While it is a cooperative game you will still try and destroy more than your friend. _______ |Overall | The game is really good and was the first game of this kind that I have played on the Gamecube. It is very simple to play and provides hours of entertainment. If you can look past minor flaws such as the voice acting then you will find few things wrong with this. It may be aimed mainly towards a younger age group, but it is definitely something that anyone can pick up and play. If you want a robot fighting game for the Gamecube now, then get this. Or if you want, wait until Custom Robo is released. It will also, surely be a good game and will feature the ability to customise your robots as well.