RPG Review #101: RobotrekNuMetalManiak And yet, the saga of reviewing RPGs continues! Obviously as I said before, #100 is NOT a stopping point, and I will keep exploring many games in this genre. So let's start out with a game by Quintet and Enix, hey! These companies are familiar! Yes, these are the guys who made the Soul Blazer trilogy of action RPGs, the same guys who made Soul Blazer, Illusion of Gaia, and Terranigma. So they made a futuristic, Pokemon-ish game in Robotrek that was, actually intended for the younger audiences with humor and such. Let's see how it held up.
Gameplay: Hold on, did I just say this game is like Pokemon? I did, didn't I? Well, in this game, your "Pokemon" are actually robots that your main character creates, up to three, and they cost money to do so. The main character is an aspiring inventor who tries to be like his daddy, and uses a giant SNES controller for R&D (research and development). There's so much to do with the R&D in addition to creating up to three robots. Spare items can be recycled, or better yet, combined to make stronger items and weapons for robots, and after reading books at certain character levels, it's possible to make new items for a fee. Some of the items actually have levels that can level up too. There's quite a bit of customization in this invention stuff. Note that gaining levels allows for program points to be put in robot stats as well.
Is the battle system like Pokemon? I'd say so. Upon entering a battle (which is not done via random encounter but rather colliding with enemies on the field) one of the robot capsules is thrown out, and the robot has specific commands to use, based off of the L, R, and X keys, with the L and R keys pertaining to what's in the left and right hands of the robot as well as the X pertaining to bombs on the robots back (though if you equipped a bot with a backpack instead, this button is not used for battle). There's also the RUN option, which is found when using A when on a robot's turn, and this pertains to whatever macros you set for combination attacks. The thing to note is that this battle system is a bit of an active-time system, time essentially freezes when it's time to make a command, but upon using one the robot has to charge all the way to full and is a sitting duck for enemies who'll usually wail on it, a big problem for this game's battle system. There's also capsules that may show up on the field with random effects. Leveling up in battle allows the use of a portable R&D which doesn't allow robot making but allows everything else. The last thing about Robotrek's battles is that they are "timed" in other words, beat the enemies without the timer running out to gain bonus experience.
The final caveat I have for Robotrek is its dungeons and puzzles are pretty one-note, nothing really exciting, and quite a lot of backtracking and confusion regarding the general plot. It's rather rough, even though it tries. Grade: B
Characters: The main character is not someone with a default or canon name, but he is the son of Dr. Akihabara, a famed inventor, and is taken care of by Nagisa, an android resembling the late mother of the protagonist. There are a number of villains here, but a good chunk of the plot gets rather confusing, and despite some memorable characters like the ditzy reporter Mint and the ancestor known as Rask, well, Robotrek doesn't have a whole lot to offer character-wise. Grade: C-
Plot: And to tell the truth, the plot is honestly kinda ugly. The premise is that the planet named Quintenix (har har) is pretty peaceful until a group known as the "hackers" decides to have an uprising. The town of Rococo has a new resident in the main character and his family, and the hackers want Dr. Akihabara for their deeds. We learn more about something known as a "Tetron" in-game as we roll around several quests to find the father, and that this Tetron is basically used for time travel. The protagonist stops Blackmore (a.k.a. Pumpkin head) but the female antagonist Rose activates the Tetron or something.
The halfway point of this game has the protagonist sent to the past, finding out more about his ancestry as well as the deeds of a certain person named Gateau, who's actually the real villain of Robotrek. He's also connected to Cookie and Rask, with the latter being the protagonist's ancestor, as well as a friendly robot named Napoleon who frequently helps out. After the journey to the past, returning to the present reveals a few new characters from a different planet named Choco. Mint, the crazy reporter, and Kotetsu, a helpful dealer, help the protagonist along the way despite any bumblings, and then Gateau is defeated in his fortress before they can attack the planet Quintenix. Really hate to say it, but it's hard for me to find anything memorable in the plot, and if it was memorable, it sure wasn't anything surprising or good. Grade: C-
Music: The light-heartedness of the soundtrack is a good thing for Robotrek, which help distinguish its light-hearted moments and inventing stuff often. The main battle theme is a bit silly to hear, and that goes for quite a few tracks as well. Wouldn't say it's the worst, just average. Grade: C
Overall Grade: C
Painfully average for what it holds, Robotrek may have tried the Pokemon game, but it's just not Pokemon. Nothing amazing in the plot, average characters and music, and the battle system can actually get annoying depending on who's being fought. The best thing about this game obviously is its invention system. Not really something I'd recommend all the way though.