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 Post subject: Choujiku Yousai Macross (Famicom)
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:52 am 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
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Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Three modes, one mission objective: Defeat the Zentradi.

As i've promised in my Formation Z/Aeroboto review, here's my Choujiku Yousai Macross review.

If you we're born in the 80's you'll surely remember Robotech, specially the season of the "Transforming F-14's", Yeah, i'm talking The Macross Saga, originally known as Choujiku Yousai Macross.
The objective of this game is very simple, take control of the VF-1S Super Valkyrie piloted by Hikaru Ichijyo and battle against the Zentradi as you reach the core of the Thuverl-Salan spaceship to destroy it in order to save the SDF-1 and its crew.

Anyone familiarized with Macross/Robotech will know about the VF-1 Valkyrie, but for those who are new, the VF-1 is more than just a combat air-and-space fighter. It is a very unique machine capable of transform into three modes.
FIGHTER: The "Default" mode, this ship moves slowly, but it makes the scroll move fast, which is extremely useful for those who want to clear a level in a fast time. Due to its size as a jet, it's small vertical profile makes it hard to hit to the enemies, it's only inconvenient is its Gunpod's slow fire-rate. To transform into a Fighter you have to press the A button in conjuction with pressing right in the D-Pad.
GERWALK: The "intermediate" mode between jet and robot, it has a middle speed in both ship and screen scroll speed and rapid fire capability. To transform into Gerwalk press A and Up.
BATTROID: The "Robot" mode. In this mode you can move with great speed, have rapid fire capabilities and you're capable to aim left to intercept any enemy behind you. It's only drawbacks are the slow scroll speed and high vertical profile, easying the targeting to the enemy. To transform into Battroid, press A and Left.

Transformation and a Gunpod is not the only weapon in the VF-1S equipment, There's a variety of items to help you in the mission.

MICRO-MISSILE: The "M" Item. The Micro-Missile dispenser acts as the special attack as your homing missile-like weapon made to intercept multiple enemies. You can rack up to 6 of them.
POWER GAUGE: The "P" Item. This item allows you to recover a reasonable amount of energy.
EXTRA LIFE: The "E" Item. It gives you one extra live, increasing your chances of destroying more Zentradi ships.
BONUS POINTS: The "B" Item. The Bonus Points gives you 5000 points to your score.

The main emphasys of the game is to reach the core of the Thuverl-Salan ship in time. The reason of going as fast as possible is because the Power Gauge, which works as your fuel and life bar, decreases with time just like in Carrier Air Wing. Getting hit by enemy fire decreases the gauge further.
After learning about the problem with the life bar, this is where transformability and using the appropiate modes of the VF-1S becomes crucial. My strategy is to stay most of the time in Fighter mode, and if the situation requires it, to transform into Gerwalk, and when i mean "the situation requires it" is to navigate a minefield prior to your encounter with the Zentradi battleship.

Once you're inside the Thuverl-Salan, the objective changes by adding to the "clear the level without losing your energy" another objective: Destroy the core within a time limit. Since you have a few seconds, its required to do the run to the core in Fighter mode and change to Gerwalk once you've reached it. Failing on destroying the Zentradi destroyer in time or dying in space results on starting the level from the beginning.
If you destroy the core in time, your remaining energy becomes bonus points, and you'll be on the next stage, which is actually an infinite loop of the same space battle with slight differences on enemy patterns that repeats forever until the player loses his/her last life.

Graphically, there's not too much to talk about. With a game totally based on space battles, you'll only face a black background, stars and the classic spherical explosions that we saw on the series. The VF-1, the Regults, Gnerls, Glaugs, Nousjadeul-Ger and Queadluun-Rau are easily recognizable in their 8-bit forms, so its show accuracy is very applaudable for NES/Famicom standards. I know most of Macross battles takes place in space, but knowing the series, it'd be interesting to see a level on Mars (based on the episode "Bye Bye Mars") or even Earth just for the pure favor of breaking the monotony of outer space.

The music is, simply repetitve. During your combat against the Zentraedi until you get Game Over, you'll hear a chiptune rendition of Lynn Minmay's song "Shao Pai Long" (Little White Dragon), while its good to hear music from the show, it turns boring after 20 minutes of gameplay. My best hint: mute the TV, put your Macross OST's playlist and it's all set for a more enjoyable Macross experience.

- This game was never released on the US, with the exception of bootlegs like the 12000-in-1 cartridges and consoles like the PolyStation and the Power Player Super Joy III.
- The game is considered as a hint for things to come for Namco, sicne this was its first partnership with Bandai, which became the company Bandai Namco Entertainment in 2005.
- The Superdimensional Fortress Macross (also known as Super Space Fortress Macross) is commonly know as the first part of the Robotech series called "The Macross Saga". Macross was combined with Superdimensional Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA to comply with a 65 episode-requirement of a syndication TV series during the 80's.
- Macross was the work that launched its author Shoji Kawamori to worldwide fame.
- "VF" stands for "Variable Fighter", this name is given due to its transformability.
- The developer of the VF-1 series is Northrom, this company is a reference to Northrop.
- The design of the VF-1 is based on the F-14 Tomcat, while the name Valkyrie comes from the XB-40.
- The latest entry in the VF-1 variants is the trainer VF-1EX in Macross Delta, which is based on the VF-1J.
- Gerwalk is actually an acronym of "Ground Effective Reinforcement of Winged Armament with Locomotive Knee-joint", this alternate mode appears in Robotech as "Guardian".
- The most known use of the VF-1 outside of Macross is Jetfire from Hasbro's The Transformers line. In 1984 Takatoku Toys went bankrupt and their designs were purchased by Bandai, who subsequently licensed some of the molds to Hasbro. Back then, Bandai didn't had prescence in the american market.
- The GERWALK transformation of Jetfire is called "Alternate Transformation".
- Hasbro didn't used the VF-1 design on the cartoon, but it used the intended animated design on the Jetfire and Shockwave commercial. Jetfire was renamed in the cartoon as Skyfire.
- The red VF-1EX colorscheme is similar to Jetfire.
- The VF-1 It also appeared on other robot lines like Convertors as the Maladroids Zark and Zardak, while the "Chibi" versions appeared also as Maladroid Meeshak, Mooriah, Turak and Volcan.
- The mexican Transformables line by EnsueƱo featured the VF-1S as the robot "Hurricane".
- The SDF-1 also appeared in the Convertors line as the first version of the Maladroid Nofka.
- The VF-1 was knocked off by the Korean animated movie Space Gundam V, where the robot was turned into a robot with Brave Raideen-like mystical powers.
- The majority of Robotech-released mecha toys were re-released on the Robotech Series subline of Exo-Squad. Yeah, Phaeton controlling a Glaug and Wolf Bronski piloting a Valkyrie sound quite-weird.
- Macross (as Robotech) was spoofed in the mexican magazine VideoRisa as "Bobotech", a wordplay on "Bobo" (Dork) and "Tech" from Robotech.
- The robot Rafaga from Capcom's fighting game Tech Romancer / Kikaioh is based on the VF series since Kawamori was the producer of the game.

- Valkyrie -> Veritech Fighter
- GERWALK -> Guardian
- Hikaru Ichijyo -> Rick Hunter
- Lynn Minmay -> Lynn Minmei
- Zentradi -> Zentraedi
- Nousjadeul-Ger -> Male Power Armor
- Queadluun-Rau -> Female Power Armor
- Regult -> Zentraedi Tactical Battle Pod
- Glaug -> Zentraedi Officer Battle Pod
- Gnerl -> Zentraedi Fighter Pod
- Thuverl-Salan -> Zentraedi Destroyer
- U.N. Spacy -> Robotech Defense Force (RDF for short)

While Choujiku Yousai Macross is a memorable classic of anime, the Famicom game is quite the opposite thing, despite its interesting features and the interesting and well executed use of transformability (waaaay better than the infamous Transformers: Convoy no Nazo).
In the end, Namco and Bandai gave us an interesting premise ruined by a constant execution of repetitivity than only makes you to play 3 or 5 minutes or so before plugging off the Famicom.
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