Video Game: Robot Alchemic Drive
A niche game for the Playstation 2.
In Robot Alchemic Drive
Japan is suddenly attacked by a giant robot from outer space called a Volgara. Only the scion of the Tsukioka clan (Naoto, Ryo, or Yui) has a chance at fending them off, thanks to the Humongous Mecha
("Meganite") built by their family's company.
The game had a unique control scheme, using the shoulder buttons to move the Meganites' legs, and analog sticks to throw punches. In addition, your characters weren't inside the robots, but had to find a good vantage point on the battlefield while also avoiding being stepped on.
It also cheerfully played up every giant robot trope it could get its hands on
Character designs were supplied by Cowboy Bebop
's Toshihiro Kawamoto.
Robot Alchemic Drive provides examples of:
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Yui's romance subplot is with Souya, the hot-headed, leather-clad controller of his own Meganite.
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: The American boxart, pictured above, is of a menacing Vavel stomping on a Volgara corpse. The Japanese boxart, which was used as the manual's cover art in the US, is of Vavel against a blue sky with the playable characters featured on the bottom.
- Arm Cannon: The Meganites can be upgraded to have weapons imbedded in their arms, including a flamethrower for Vavel, a lightning gun for Lagioule, and missles for Glangg.
- Big Damn Heroes: During the below-mentioned Final Battle, the American forces—thus far unmentioned in the game—show up out of nowhere to pitch in right when the battle seems to be turning against the Earth forces.
- Camera Screw: Part of the difficulty of the game. The camera is fixed on your character at all times, so controlling the mech can be very easy or very difficult depending on where you are from it. Positioning your character on the mech's shoulders or head is the best perspective you can get for controlling it, but also the best way to get yourself killed.
- The camera also tends to follow any projectiles fired by your Meganite, which usually isn't too bad, but if Vavel's Rocket Punch misses or doesn't kill the enemy, you're SOL because the camera's going to follow that while the Volgara's pounding on your robot, and you can't see to stop it.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: One of these is trying to drive Nanao's place of work out of business. You can save her job by "accidentally" knocking over the executive's building.
- Crazy-Prepared/Properly Paranoid: Everyone thought the elder Tsukioka was insane for wasting the family fortune on giant robots. Then it turns out that's exactly what they need when aliens invade.
- Tsukioka's planning extended beyond the Meganites themselves. Senkin Corridor, a large freeway that went through Senjo, the mountains beyond, and on to Tokyo was constructed to specifications that would allow Meganites to be transported along it.
- Crush. Kill. Destroy!: DESTROY. DESTROY IT ALL.
- David Versus Goliath/Death of a Thousand Cuts: There's one mission where you're forced to use Gllang, and it's stuck in Tank mode. Once you've fired off what armaments it has, you have to take down the Volgara using nothing but your character's grenades.
- Destructive Saviour: Playing as a giant robot stomping and fighting through the city streets can get messy. However, you get rewards for keeping select buildings standing and penalties for the level of damage a city suffers (or a bonus if it happens to be very little). You could "accidentally" knock down a few buildings for story reasons however...
- Exact Time to Failure: Vavel's Super Mode doesn't last long (three minutes from activation, to be precise); if you're not sure you can win the battle within that time limit, it will explode and you instantly fail the mission.
- Final Battle: Happens offscreen while you're storming the Volgara City. You hear radio updates of the combined world forces taking on the bulk of the Volgara.
- Keep in mind, though, that the actual final battle doesn't take place off-screen, it's still between you and the most powerful Volgara.
- Fragile Speedster: Laguiole moves the fastest of the bots, hit faster, and jumps highest, but is the weakest physically.
- Going for the Big Scoop: Mika Banhara goes to near suicidal lengths to get the story on the Volgara. One can appreciate her zeal, but is it really that important to the story to have the news van running around underfoot?
- Heroic RROD: Vavel's Super Mode has a three-minute time limit: exceeding it causes it to self-destruct.
- Humongous Mecha: Vavel, Gllang, and Laguiole. The latter are also Transforming Mecha, able to turn into a tank and a plane.
- Infinite Supplies: Subverted. The organization is nearly bankrupt from building and maintaining the Meganites, so early in the game they arrange a deal with the government to be paid bounties on dead Volgara.
- Interface Screw: Some levels (including the one mentioned in the David Versus Goliath entry) involve the controls of your Meganite being jammed, preventing you from operating it. As the game progresses, you're forced to seek out the jamming devices and destroy them, then later stay within dangerously close proximity of your Meganite to counteract the jamming, before a permanent solution to the jamming can be devised.
- Jack of All Stats: Vavel is the most 'average' of the Meganites, with fairly balanced speed, strength, and defenses. In exchange, he gets a Super Mode that turns him into a powerful Lightning Bruiser, but will self destruct in two minutes.
- Kaiju: Most of the enemies are robotic creatures called Volgara, but one is a dinosaur-ish monster named Dantarion (they evidently wanted to work that in so much that they ignored the fact that space travel is lethal to organic beings in this game).
- Kill It with Fire: Vavel can be upgraded to use a flamethrower.
- The Kid with the Remote Control: Meganites are operated remotely, which means you need to find a good vantage point without getting blown up or stepped on.
- Lazy Backup: Sort of. You can only use one Meganite in any given battle, despite having three at your disposal. Whichever one you choose to use is presumed to be the only one 'ready' at the time. Other missions force you to use a given one, usually with the Hand Wave that the others are undergoing maintenance.
- Mighty Glacier: Gllang is big and slow, but hits the hardest of all the Meganites.
- More Dakka: Gllang's "Fire All Ordnance," which unloads every weapon the 'bot has.
- Real Robot: The three Meganites mostly use conventional weaponry, are quite tedious to move and undergo several problems throughout the story.
- Super Robot: On the other hand, the Meganites have a limited degree of sentience and sapience. Vavel is the most super of the three, as it has a Super Mode transformation and its most powerful attacks are fire-based.
- Red Shirt Army: At best, the tank commanders do scratch damage on the Volgara.
- Rocket Punch: Vavel, the most Super Robot of the Meganites, of course has this in Assault Knuckle. And yes, you can combine it with a drill punch by pulling out the drill on your right arm. Later on, other Volgara start to gain their own Assault Knuckle though.
- Senjo Is the Center of the Universe: Every threat in Senjo is treated as if it would put the entire world in danger, when in reality, Japan would be the only country affected.
- Could be they're concentrating their efforts there because that's where the heaviest resistance is. The opening shows the Volgara are a global problem, and according to the ending we lost a hefty percentage of the human race before they were finally defeated. Japan probably weathered the storm better than everywhere else specifically because as far as we're told, it's the only country protected by anything beyond its conventional (and largely ineffective) military.
- So Bad, It's Good: In-universe, the voice acting in this game is intentionally bad as an homage to poor quality dubbing of late 70's-early 80's anime.
- Shock and Awe: Most of Laguiole's special weapons that aren't lasers or missiles involve zapping the living hell out of the enemy with electricity.
- Shout-Out: The entire game is one to all the retro Humongous Mecha anime out there. Yui bases her wadrobe on the heroines of those shows. And Vavel has a Rocket Punch and a finishing attack awfully similar to Mazinger Z's Breast Fire. Also, fighting Dantarion in Tokyo is a clear Shout-Out to Godzilla.
- Schrödinger's Player Character: The profiles in the manual makes it sound like Naoto, Ryo and Yui are siblings, but only your chosen avatar is ever mentioned in the game itself.
- Stealth Pun: The city where most of the battles take place is named Senjou ("battlefield").
- Spiritual Successor: To Human's Romote Control Dandy on PS1. Additionally, an actual sequel also was made to that game, by the same company that made this game.
- Tanks for Nothing: Given the giant robots are really big, but the tanks have literally no effect on the battle and occasionally even require protecting.
- Teleporters and Transporters: The Volgara's teleportation allows them to avoid most long-range attacks, which is the handwave given for why you need to fight them with giant robots; oddly, when they use it in gameplay, they always teleport straight up, and come plummeting back to the ground. Eventually, though, humanity develops missiles that can target them anyway.
- Theme Music Power-Up: The battle music shifts depending on who has the upper hand. It gets more downbeat and desperate if you're losing, but goes into a triumphant battle theme when you start to win, or if you gain a new weapon.
- This Is a Drill: Vavel can turn one of his hands into a drill, and some of the Volgara have drill-hands as well.
- Those Two Guys: The two tank pilots.
- Transforming Mecha: Gllang turns into a tank, while Laguiole turns into a jet. Vavel doesn't transform, but instead gets a Super Mode.