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Tech Romancer (DC)

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    7 Reviews
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      23.01.2007 16:38
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      Tech Romancer isn't at all what you would expect from a Capcom fighter, other than how fun it is

      Tech Romancer is a game that probably lost quite a few potential buyers in PAL regions based solely on it's shoddy front cover over here, which was very yellow and an emphasis was put on the most childish looking robot in the game, giving the impression that this was anything but a Giant Robot fighting game. Something a title like Tech Romancer, which sounds more like a love story about scientists, didn't help.

      Apparently the game started life in the Arcades, but there are no arcades around me, so I can't say I've ever seen the machine myself. However, as with almost every game Capcom brought out around the life of the Dreamcast, Sega's little white box saw a port of the game.A game that, quite unfairly, got overlooked in the waves of fighting games for the console.

      Tech Romancer is a 3D fighting game, but fairly unlike anything Capcom, or any other developers at the time, had put out at this point, in that, unlike Capcom's previous Big-Robots fighter,Cyberbots, the game wasn't just Streetfighter with robots, but the game is in fact more of a cross between SF's gameplay and the engine of Capcom's excellent Powerstone series. It is 3D, but not to the degree of PS, and it does feature Special and Super Moves, most of which are activated by performing the 'Sonic Boom' motion with the analogue stick, but not requiring it to be charged for a few seconds.
      Most of the combat takes place in a very 2D feeling plane, but it is possible to side-step, and you can even run around and about the large arenas, picking up power ups as well. Power ups can range from weapons for your robot to a health boost, and are found in buildings that get smashed. You see, like Giant Robots tend to do, Tech Romancer's Mech's seem to have deemed various cities the best place to duel, so lots of buildings get smashed in these Godzilla-sized battles.
      One notable difference from the average fighter is your Health bar. Instead of starting full and depleting with each hit, your robot has a 'Damage Gauge' that starts empty and fills up the more damage you take. While it may sound like a little thing, it's a pretty nifty touch, and makes the screen look and feel more like a robot's HUD than a screen showing a game.
      You also have armour that depletes the more you block, or the more physical damage you take. Having your armour destroyed allows enemies to dish out more damage with each hit, as well as spoiling your paintwork.
      Also different from the norm is the way the game works in terms of 'Rounds'. There are no rounds as such, and you can simply take your Damage Gauge being filled twice. Basically the game works along the same lines as Rare's Killer Instinct.

      Controlling the game can quite easily be done on the standard Dreamcast pad, although seeing as I own one, I figured I should play it with my awesome arcade stick that I usually use for fighters. A breakdown of the controls in the game would look like the following:

      A: Jump
      B: Attack 2
      X: Guard
      Y: Attack 1
      L: Scroll through items
      R: Dodge-Attack

      To use items, as well as perform special moves, the game requires you to press 2 face buttons at once. This is possible on the pad, but this is really where the stick comes in handy, as it makes it much simpler.
      While the controls are certainly different from Capcom's usual, it doesn't take long to pick them up, and within a fight or so I was very confident using them, and I think it's a unique and cool system. There certainly weren't any response issues either, not that they would be expected from a company like Capcom.

      Summing up the gameplay of Tech Romancer is simple. Fun. It's nowhere near as deep in terms of special moves or combos as the Streetfighter series, but at the same time, sometimes it can be fun to just chill out and have a cool battle with some big robots. Aside from an overly cheap boss character, I actually cannot say I have any serious complaints about Tech Romancer's gameplay. It isn't as free roaming or adventurous as Powerstone, or as masterful as Streetfighter 3:Third Strike, but it comes together to form a simple to pick up, solidly made game engine that I don't think I'll ever tire of.

      Another aspect in which the game scores points is in the amount of options. The main option is 'Arrange Mode', which then divides itself into two categories. First is Story mode, where you fight through each of the other characters to progress the story.
      The game actually has a variety of plots, depending on which robot you choose to play the Story mode as. The story is told by various still anime scenes and text that appears onscreen, and this is easily one of Capcom's best attempts at adding a flowing and clear plot to one of it's fighters, even if most of the plots do contradict each other. What helped the game garner it's now cult following was the excellent character design. Does anyone here remeber SNK's King of the Monsters? It was a fighting game where players took control of various giant monsters to duke it out to the death. What made it so memorable was that SNK clearly couldn't attain, or didn't even try to get, the Godzilla license, so instead just created characters 'inspired' by Godzilla and his buddies. Capcom takes a similar approach here, but doesn't focus on one series, or even particular genre. Basically it takes all of Japan's famous Giant Robots, be they heroic, militaristic, alien, brought to life by Anime or Suitmation, and creates characters inspired by them, with a neat little story to boot.
      G.Kaiser owes more than a little to Great Mazinger, Pulsion is a neat fusion of Neon Genesis Evangelion and Ultraman, Rafaga actually is a Robotech/Maccross design, you get the picture, if you've ever enjoyed a program or comic from Japan about Giant Robots, chances are you will find a character that strikes a chord with you here.

      The second option is Hero Challenge mode, where the idea is simply to fight through 12 of the robots, all in the name of gaining points.

      You see, the game also has a pretty cool section for unlocking stuff. This ranges from cool FMV videos of each robot, games for the VMU(Capcom were one of the few companies to explore it's possibilities) and even extra characters, including Cyberbots Jin Saotome and his Blodia II Custom, later made famous in Capcom's now famous VS Series.

      The VMU games themselves can even be used to gain points to unlock stuff, thus making the 3 of them contenders for early purchases. They aren't anything spectacular, the best being a vertical shooter, but I still feel the VMU was one of the DC's most under-used appliances, and it was cool to see Capcom utilize it.

      Also in there is your standard Versus mode, which basically does what it says on the tin.

      Graphically the game is very nice. It captures a real '3D Manga' feel to it, and all of the robots are well designed and modelled. The animation is also top notch, with not a frame going missing. The beam weapons all look really good, and the sparks that fly off the robots is a real nice touch. If I have one graphical complaint, it's the smoke that comes out of the robots when they are defeated. It just looks really primitive and out of place, like it should be in a PS1 game or something.

      Sound in the game is another positive factor. The music is all very upbeat, and sounds like it came straight out of an anime or Superhero show, which naturally fits the bill of this game like a glove. Voices are in Japanese, so I can't say how goofy they sound, but I will say that they don't get annoying. You announcer is really quite excitable, shouting everything in a far too enthusiastic manner. Although after Capcom Vs. SNK 2, his announcing enthusiasm pales in comparison to Capcom's current announcers.

      What it all comes down to is that I'm glad I didn't overlook Tech Romancer. It's a very enjoyable game, and one of Capcom's most unique fighters. It may not have had the 'WOW' impact to ensure it got full marks, but I still enjoyed it a hell of a lot, and it makes for a fun 2-Player, so combining that with my fandom for big robots sees to it that the game succeeds in attaining a solid 4/5.
      While it isn't as good as Streetfighter 3:Third Strike or Powerstone, I feel the game provides a happy medium between the two, and is a really fun and rather unique fighter that I think all Capcom fans, as well as those with a liking for giant robots, should check out as soon as possible.

      Review also posted on Epinions.com

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        28.07.2001 17:31
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        Like Virtual Girlfriends and Bus Simulators, Mech fighting games are popular in Japan. One such game is Capcom's Tech Romancer (originally called Kikaioh). It's the unofficial sequel to an earlier 2D work called Cyberbots. Also it's available at a bargain price despite being an amazing game. First of all, it's not Virtual-On. It plays more like a highly modified Tekken. The mechs can move 8 ways and jump (except Wiseduck, which is too bulky). The fighting is in a league of its' own, based more upon pressing the right button at the right time instead of learning combo's, making it accessible to anyone wanting a 5 minute brawl. The graphics are crisp, the mechs very detailed and the explosions huge. The sound is impressive too, decent music combined with lots of explosions and a commentator screaming "CRITICAL IMPACT!" when one robot has been finished off. The story mode links battles together with animé sequences and multiple endings. Wiseduck is a memorable dramatic story. Pollin's however is an amusing comedy reminiscent of Tenchi Muyo! The game includes downloadable games for your VMU, such as Love and Punches, a button pressing game and Twinzam V, a great little vertical flying game. Playing these games earn you points which allow you to unlock special items from the shop, such as music and new mechs. My opinion is if you like fighting games; you'll like Tech Romancer. If you like animé, you'll like Tech Romancer even more. Now... got to unlock that thing... ooh... hit Junpei again, doh.

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          21.12.2000 17:43
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          This game I got with my Dreamcast. At first I would not play it as I thought I would be wasting my time and that’s what I did then I played a few other games and I was bored. So I thought in the end let’s give it try and I was tooken in bye the game it looks bad until I played it and it was interesting when i started off playing it thinking this is OK. But as I got more into the game it was more interesting and funny u are like a robot u can pick who u what to be and the u choose story mode or hero challenge mode. If u choose story then u go though a story mode and u have to take a robots though or story of saving the world and u meet robots in the game. But if u choose battle then u have to face robot by robot to get to NO.1. u have to beat 12 robots in a row then if u do u get points and then it ranks u .Also u can have special moves and u use the when there life is really low! And there are buildings around u if u knock them down u get power ups or life energy. I think they should improve the game by adding more options because there is not enough to do ... i mean the story mode is good but to short they could make the 2 games longer and have more things to do>>>>>>> But over all I thought it was really worth the time for playing it and I very highly recommend it. It's an ok price and go get it now!

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          16.11.2000 02:54
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          Well, I have to give it Capcom this time; they really pulled a rabit out of their hats with Tech Romancer. I am used to Capcom rehashing titles and the new ones that they do come up with sporting the Street Fighter engine. They must of went back to the drawing board with Tech Romancer. The two are nothing alike with the exception of the power meter used for finishing moves in the game, but well get to that later. The gameplay is fun and easy to get into. Not too fast -(like Virtual On)- not too slow. Just right for huge Godzilla sized mechs. There are no complex directional pad movements to perform before pressing a button. Now it is mostly composed of one and two at a time button mashes to pull off moves. There are a couple of moves, like using an aquired item, that requires you to press three buttons simataniously. An finally, the finishing moves on most robots use all four facial buttons of the Dreamcast's controller. Other than this you have the occational "back, forward, back" or "forward, back, forward" d-pad movements, but that's about it. Back by popular demand is USER DEFINED CONTROLS! Yes folks, this is not a misprint. You don't like the defaults? Fine. No pre-set controller configurations to choose from here. Just point and click to fit your fancy. Add this to the already easy controls and you have a game that is great for company and/or novices. Where Tech Romancer really shines is the robot selection department. Here you'll find just about any robot hero from your past that Capcom shamelessly ripped-off so you can manipulate and enjoy in battle. The names have been changed, of course, to avoid lawsuits - I guss(?) The roster includes (but not limited to) Tranzor Z, Timberwolf from Mech Warrior, Varatech tri-formation fighters from Robotech fame and even Gundam series mechs. All of the robots signiture moves are intact along with a couple more added for good measure. The stages a
          re 3-D and unlimited in movement. In other words, there are no borders and you can move in all eight directions. Not to mention that all stages are fully interactive. If you can see it, it can be destroyed. Weather it's in the background or right in front of you. You can smash it for fun or smash it for power-ups. Either way there will always be more because the stages are unlimited in movement. Already thrashed everything in sight? Just scroll over to another part of the stage and more will be rendered. The stages are nicely detailed and shaded. No off-the-wall colors like in Virtual On: Oratorio Tengram. In the city buildings topple, explode and crumble under your feet. On the canyon stage, waves or dirt blow past you and around your mech. Very nice. You fire a missle or bomb, it leaves scorch marks and crators in the stage itself. If you have been inflicted by an attack that forced you back while on the ground, trecnhes will be dug in you wake. Were talking about FULLY interactive stages here. Game modes consist of verses, story mode and Hero Mode a.k.a. arcade. There is alot of hidden stuff to find along with a few characters. The replay value is here too. During the story mode there are several places for you to branch off [ala Choose Your Own Adventure style] and certain conditions that have to be met in a match to do so - i.e. no special items used during match X or armor remaining undamaged during match X which determines how the game branches with each character. The only flaw I can find with this game is a small programming glitch which will cause one robot to sound lower in volume than oiginally initialized, thus causing one robot to sound louder than the other. Now this dosen't happen often, but the glitch is present. This problem is so minute, I wouldn't even feel right taking off for it. Trust me this dosen't take away from the gameplay what-so-ever and is hardly noticible. All in all, I have to t
          ake my hat off to Capcom with this title. They have earned back this gamers respect and hard earned dollars. Thought not too much originally with the robots themselves, it is great be be able to pit my childhood and current favorites up against each other in a fight to the finish. Pick this one up today!

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          09.11.2000 23:43
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          If you take any two Giant Robots, put them in a large outdoor area, and invariably they'll fight. That's the premise behind Capcom's Tech Romancer. There are twelve robots to choose from, each representing a particular style of giant robot from Japanese animation. Each robot has a variety of special attacks, which range from your garden variety rocket fists to the absurdly comical giant squeaky hammer. Gameplay is very straightforward. (Two robots enter! One robot leaves!) You fight until your damage bar reaches the top of the meter, then you get knocked down. Get knocked down twice, and the match is over. There are two main modes of play, Story Mode and Hero Challenge Mode. Story Mode puts your robot against different opponents through several Episodes, during which your robot's pilot has dialogues with various characters. Thankfully, Capcom decided not to overly localize Tech Romancer. The most they've done is translate menus and add english subtitles. That means all of the Japanese voice acting remains intact. Hero Mode pits your robot against the other twelve robots to see how well you do. The computer then rates your performance and gives you points that you can use to unlock hidden characters and special bonuses, such as pilot profiles and a music selection screen. I would have to say that overall, this is a very enoyable beat 'em up

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          08.08.2000 02:52
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          Hey, it's a Capcom game. And it's a fighting game!!!! I'm soooooo shocked. But, suprisingly, it plays absolutely nothing like Street Fighter at all!! Thw world is under attack by a mysterious demon force from space. A number of warriors from earth laucnh their sperate attacks, using highly armed Giant Robot weapons they've created. Will their might be enough to stop the invaders? Yes, this Capcom game has big robots. Big ANIME robots at that, all designed bny Macross guru Shoji Kawamori, and it shows. The design work in the mecha is great, with the cast proving to be highly reminisent of the various robot genres. The cast varies from G.Kaiser, a reject from a camp 60's show, to the Evangelion-esque Pulsion, making a detour by magic-girl-dom for Bollon. Each robot proves varied and interesting. The big draw with this game is the presentation. The game boots up to an anime style opening animation, complete with cheesy 80's J-Pop theme tune. The single player game has a wonderful story mode, which features a different story for each character and even branches depending on choices made or performance. Particular note has to go to Pollins storyline, which is an hilarious parody of popular japanese TV show Tenchi Muyo! Adding to the anime feel is that the entire game is presented in Japanese with subtitles. Go Capcom!!! The game itself pits two giant robots into an area, basically resulting in carnage. The basic control gives you two attack buttons, a defend button and a jump button. Using the d-pad will move you around in any direction, meaning you can side-step long range attacks. Unlike other Capcom games, the combat is largely long-distance, with your characters using such anime staples as rocket-punches and missle launchers. The close-combat itslef is fair primitive. The gameplay largely centers around timing, with you having to dodge your opponents attacks and time your retaliation to do the most
          damage and ensire collisions. The game also features a bunch of hidden stuff, including a short, two minute high quality anime sequence and a whole bunch of production art. Unlocking everything will take you a good while. The negative point is that the game can often degenerate into frantic button bashing,but frankly I find the game way too much fun for that to bother me. After all, who can resist the chance to battle it out infront of Tokyo Tower!!

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            05.08.2000 22:14

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            Tech Romancer works, from the start, like basically any other fighting game, with your selecting from nine different warriors and heading out for any number of rounds of one on one fighting. The warriors aren't humans or aliens, though. Nope, you're taking control of giant mechs, which according to the game's background story are being piloted by between one and five pilots. The fighting is completely dissimilar from Virtual On, resembling more closely a standard Capcom fighter in that it takes place from a side-view perspective. Each robot has various moves, ranging from projectiles to close-up blows, along with special moves achieved via button combinations - you know the drill. There are all sorts of unique elements to the game that differentiate it from the standard Capcom fighter, though. The fights, first off, take place in 3D space, somewhat like Power Stone, although movement feels more limited and the backgrounds have the bare minimum of interaction. It's certainly a nice touch, though, and by running around the backgrounds in your mech, you can in some stages squash buildings in order to pick up offensive and defensive power-up items, which can be stored and used later. Character energy meters are also different from the norm. The meters are, to begin, on the sides of the screen as opposed to on top. Any fighting fan will, of course, tell you that this is without question the biggest change in human history! The game actually refers to the energy meters as damage meters, and as you take a beating, the meters go up instead of depleting (this represents how Capcom views the cup as half full instead of half empty). You can sneak away from the action for a while to heal up some of your damage, but if the damage gets the better of you, it's round over for you and your pilots. In Tech Romancer, damage isn't refilled between rounds, and the fight continues in another part of the stage, without pause. Capcom clear
            ly did research on how to keep the energy high during a fight. Characters have final attack moves which, while difficult to connect, can terminate a weak opponent and give the attacker an amazing rush. You'll also find paper-rock-scissors weapons clashes ala Soul Edge. These aren't as dramatic, and I'm still not sure how to get them consistently (something that I commented on in my review of the import from a loooooooong time back), but the rush is just as huge as it was with the Namco classic. Expect your multiplayer matches, where all your goofball friends are around watching (uhh, you internet denizens do occasionally play games in large groups, don't you?) to erupt in periodic shouts of excitement. To be honest (I'd actually prefer to lie and tell everyone to buy this game, as it's ultra cool), the fighting system isn't necessarily the greatest thing out there - it's certainly no Soul Calibur in terms of fluidity, or Virtua Fighter in terms of complexity (Mentor: Remember, Anoop-san, make attempt to please everyone, lest you receive hate mail). The 3D movement, as mentioned above, is somewhat awkward, and you never get as solid a sense of control as you'd like. And although all fighters can be thought of as button mashers for the inexperienced, this is even more the case for Tech Romancer, and the lack of a training mode doesn't help one bit. Finally, the game has a bit of half-ass to it - an armor system that's totally under-used. But for what it is, the fighting system works out just dandy, and the game's intended audience - people like me, David Smith and former Saturn World editor in chief Jeff Chen - have something else to hold their attention: the mechs. Folks, anime mechs kick much ass and take names to follow, whether they be from Evangelian, Gundam, Gunbuster, Macross, or any of the more obscure series that David Smith has stored up in his zany brain. The mechs in Tech Romancer can be tak
            en as parodies of mechs from these and other series, and going through the game's one player story mode will surround you in a pseudo animation episode, complete with a title, an eye catch, and voiced story sequences between fights (these are in Japanese with English subtitles for the US version, purists). The game suffers a bit from its old arcade hardware roots, with pixelated graphics that take a bit away from the presentation (boy what I wouldn't give for a cell-shaded version of this using the DC's full power), but it's hard to think of another fighter with such a huge focus on story. And whether or not you love the anime influences, you'll find yourself going through this and the other one player mode numerous times, thanks to the awesome Power Stone-style rewards system in the game. By playing the game's story mode, or a challenge mode in which you fight twelve opponents one after the other, you can unlock VMU mini games, secret characters, and art galleries. Even better, replaying the story mode is an absolute joy thanks to the inclusion of branching paths. Every now and then, you're given the option of making the story progress in different ways, with your choice determining the next fight. Your actions in a fight can also contribute to the path, and if you have trouble keeping up with what you have and haven't seen, you can open up an option to view all branching path points for each character. It's easily the best single player mode ever in a fighting game, and when combined with the animation references, make this a must have for anyone who can sing the theme songs to Robotech and Star Blazers (or their Japanese equivalents). For gamers in general too, the game should offer up hours of fun as a Capcom fighter that stands out from the pack.

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