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Videogame: Shogo: Mobile Armor Division

"I've lost too much to this war.
My brother Toshiro.
Kura, the woman I loved.
Baku, my childhood friend.
I can't bring them back — but I can avenge them.
Every rebel CMC soldier and fanatical Fallen terrorist I wipe off the face of Cronus brings me one step closer to peace.
That, and Kathryn, Kura's sister, whom I've been dating for the past several months....
It's kind of complicated."
Sanjuro Makabe, the game's Opening Monologue

Shogo: Mobile Armor Division is a First-Person Shooter developed and published by Monolith Productions in 1998. It was notable for being the first game to use the Lithtech Game Engine, which would later be used (in updated versions of course) in many other Monolith games. While the game was American-made, its main influence was the Humongous Mecha genre of anime and manga, especially Real Robot series such as Gundam, Patlabor, and Appleseed.

The story follows Sanjuro Makabe, a commander in the United Corporate Authority army, in the war for planet Cronus and its Applied Phlebotinum, called Kato, which makes Faster-Than-Light Travel possible and can be used as a weapon. By the time the game begins, Sanjuro has already lost his brother Toshiro, girlfriend Kura, and friend Baku to an attack by a terrorist group called the Fallen. Sanjuro's commanding officer, Admiral Nathaniel Akkaraju (who also happens to be Kura's father) gives him the assignment of infiltrating the Fallen-controlled city of Avernus and assassinating their leader, Gabriel. However, as events unfold around Sanjuro and he becomes entangled in the agendas of multiple factions and individuals, he suspects that there is more to the war than meets the eye. It goes From Bad to Worse from there...

Gameplay-wise, Shogo features levels where Sanjuro is on foot as well as missions where he pilots one of four Humongous Mecha, which run the gamut from Fragile Speedster to Mighty Glacier. However, the mecha levels play just like a standard on-foot First-Person Shooter, just on a larger scale and different weapons (and a "vehicle mode" which lets the mecha travel faster at the expense of being unable to fire). The game is notable for allowing both the player and enemies to inflict critical hits on each other, which both inflict extra damage and restore the attacker's health.

Shogo was promoted by Monolith as one of the first First-Person Shooter games to focus heavily on story instead of just mindless blasting, and indeed there is quite a lot of dialogue in the game as well as a point near the end where the story progression and final set of levels are determined by a choice the player makes. Unfortunately for Monolith, a certain other game, also featuring an immersive story, came out a month and a half later and most people promptly lost interest in Shogo, effectively killing off both planned expansion packs and any chance for a sequel (although the main story was wrapped up pretty well, so follow-up games may not have been strictly necessary). The game was later rereleased by GOG.com.

This game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: One sewer tunnel that the player can walk around in, and an air ventilation facility that accommodates MCAs.
  • Ace Custom: Uziel drives a unique version of the heavy MCA armed with a ridiculously large BFG. Also, in one ending, Ryo fights you in a custom version of the Shogo advanced MCA with significantly more health than normal.
  • Air Vent Escape: IN an MCA.
  • Aloof Big Brother: It is implied that Toshiro was one for Sanjuro in the past, in the ending, further proof of how hard it will be to reconnect as he recovers from his brainwashing.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: Mobile Combat Armours, MCA for short.
  • Anime Theme Song: "Negai" ("Wish"), by Miho Nemoto.
  • Animesque
  • Arbitrary Gun Power: When you're on foot, all non-explosive weapons do more or less the same amount of damage, and are also roughly equal for accuracy; the only variable is the firing rate.
  • Armor Is Useless: The enemies come in many varieties; some sporting basic uniforms, others use power armor, and still others pilot ten foot tall mini-mecha. While the better armored opponents have more health the weapons are deadly enough to were a shotgun blast or a short burst of automatic fire kills them equally fast.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Don't expect allies to follow you or fight very well. They'll shoot you if you get in the way, and this is especially prone by shotgun from Kura.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: You must shoot Cothineal in the eye to remove the shield around Gabriel
  • Ax-Crazy/Blood Knight: Uziel aka Baku. As Sanjuro says, "You are an angry, angry man."
  • BFG: An anime-themed, mecha-based, first person shooter. Shogo has this trope in spades, with numerous guns being enormous even for the MCA carrying them. Best examples being:
    • The Bullgut, a quad-rocket launcher.
    • The Juggernaut, an artillery piece converted into a conventional gun.
    • The Shredder, the Gatling Good version of the Juggernaut.
    • The Red Riot. A weapon so destructive it has a song named after it, with the firepower of a small nuke.
    • An unnamed cannon wielded by The Dragon, the size of the mecha carrying it and used to wreck an underground tunnel with one shot.
      • This one actually uses an upscaled Juggernaut third-person skin.
  • Bigger Is Better: Literally the game's Tagline. At face value, concerning guns and mecha. The ad subtext was sex.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Seen in the Italian translation. For example they translated "intelligence", as in "military intelligence", as "intelligenza", which means "intelligence" as in "intelligence quotient".
  • Bond One-Liner: Sanjuro after blasting Samantha Sternberg the second time.
    Sanjuro: I think you need to get over this obsession; it's not healthy.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: On at least two occasions, Sanjuro is forced to face off against an MCA while on foot. In both instances, the MCA deploys in a room with doors too small for it to move or shoot through, but are more than big enough for Sanjuro to shoot back, allowing a player to simply stand back and pelt the boss with impunity.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Toshiro is the Fallen leader Gabriel, possessed by the Cothineal, and Baku is his second in command. Although it's hinted that Baku isn't so much brainwashed as just plain crazy.
  • Broken Bridge: Can be subverted. A woman demands that you find her missing cat before she opens a gate for you. You can find the cat for her and she opens the gate (and as an extra reward, you get a bonus superhealth). Or you can kill her and her husband and open the gate yourself. The game pays no further attention to the consequences of gunning down a random woman.
  • The Chessmaster: Ryo, who is using the UCA to get rid of both the Fallen and the CMC so that Shogo can monopolize the Kato industry.
  • Clipped Wing Angel: In one path where you don't defect to the Fallen, you beat down the Big Bad's mecha and face...him on foot. Meanwhile, you're still in your mecha.
  • Cool Starship: The Leviathan. It’s so large that the last four levels of one route take place in it, and there’s a tram that the crew uses to get around.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Ryo Ishikawa comes off as one. He's every bit as sleazy as he looks. He's also the Big Bad of the story and s shameless backstabber.
  • Critical Hit: Inflicting one restores your health and kills the enemy almost instantly. If you receive one, you’re most likely dead.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Averted. You will face mecha on foot and you should win. And in one path, you get to face Big Bad in his mecha while YOU'RE on foot.
    • Played straight in one ending where the Big Bad is no longer in his MCA... but you are.
  • Dance Party Ending: The cast gets down at the end, including the bartender who refuses to give Sanjuro a drink during the game. The bartender eats a rocket for that crime.
  • David Versus Goliath:
    • Two missions have you face off against an MCA while on foot. In one, you can hide in a tunnel to shoot it down, in the other, you're in a wide-open hallway as it chases you.
    • If you fight the Fallen, the final boss is Gabriel driving a unique super MCA that's more than 2 to 3 times as tall as a regular one.
  • Death Seeker: Supposedly Sanjuro, being the lone and disgraced survivor of the disasterous mission in the backstory. He's a bit too cheerful and sarcastic then would be expected.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sanjuro, to friends, enemies, superior officers and random strangers.
  • Double In-Law Marriage: Sanjuro Makabe was dating Kura Akkaraju. Toshiro Makabe was dating Kathryn Akkaraju. All was well until a terrorist attack kills Toshiro, Kura, and Baku. Leading to...
    • Comforting the Widow: Sanjuro lost his girlfriend in the attack that killed his brother. Kathryn lost her boyfriend in the attack that killed her sister. Sanjuro and Kathryn "comfort" each other.
  • Escort Mission: A few, including Hank in the pumping station and Kura when freeing her from captivity.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: They fill in as Crate Expectations for the mecha levels. You do not want to melee one, however.
  • Evil Former Friend: Baku.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The major conflict between the CMC, the Fallen, and Shogo Industries for control of Cronus. The UCA is mostly good but can become the antagonist in one route when Admiral Akkaraju becomes Unwitting Pawn to Ryo and plans on using the Kato Cannon to destroy Avernus to eliminate the Fallen.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Akuuma.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Averted completely. The few levels were you have allies you can kill them in one shot. If you position yourself correctly it's quite possible to have the enemy kill themselves with explosive weapons.
  • Game Engine: Powered by Lithtech.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: The Fallen, possibly your Big Bad, depending on a choice you make.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Goggles appear as a powerup in one level, they turn your vision green and highlight enemies, but that's it.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Samantha Sternberg. a hot-headed female who constantly appears out of nowhere, screaming that she'll kick Sanjuro's ass, only to be quickly dealt with with no trouble at all, yet somehow manages to survive every encounter. Near the end of the game, however, you have to face her on foot while she's in a mecha.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: The Japanese theme song.
    • Gratuitous English: The English verse "I know we can make it together" in the Japanese song.
  • Guns Akimbo: The pistols.
  • Gun Twirling: Sanjuro does this whenever drawing or reloading his pistols.
  • Heh Heh, You Said X: At one point Sanjuro has to take a side trip to rescue a cat so a lady will turn off her electric fence and let him through. Some squatters were going to eat the cat. When he explains this to Kura over the radio this trope occurs. (May take you a couple of tries to figure it out.)
    Sanjuro: Just ran into some stragglers who were trying to eat a cat.
    Kura: (sultrily) Can you say that again slowly?
    Sanjuro: Pervert.
    Kura: I'm having trouble picturing it. Maybe you could demonstrate.
    Sanjuro: "Maybe"? You must have amnesia.
    • Sanjuro gets back at her later on, though.
    Kura: Watch my ass.
    Sanjuro: My pleasure!
    Kura: Oh, you say the sweetest things.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: By the end of the game Sanjuro is carrying a slew of guns with no apparent weight or bulk. That goes for both when he's in an MCA and when he's on foot.
  • The Infiltration: Kura, faking her death as part of her cover.
  • Jack of All Stats: The Ordog. The Enforcer is also presented in its description as a basic, uncomplicated generalist.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The Akuma gets a katana as its melee weapon. It's also the most damaging melee weapon (able to deal a One-Hit Kill to even undamaged MCAs in multiplayer).
  • Knight Templar Parent: When Kura’s abducted while waiting to meet with Sanjuro, Admiral Akkaraju threatens to kill Sanjuro with his own hands if she comes to harm.
  • Laser Blade: Wielded by Gabriel's MCA. Also available in double bladed form on the Enforcer MCA.
  • Love Triangle: Between Kathryn and Kura over Sanjuro. Kathryn seems somewhat jealous, while Kura takes it more in stride.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Explosions, giant mechs stepping on people, shooting a person a few times after they die - even firing an automatic for an extra second after they die typically gibs them. And this is pretty much the only way foot soldiers are going to die when you're in an MCA.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Bullgut fires its ammo four missiles at a time into the general area you targeted.
    • Those missile trucks you face as an MCA.
  • Mega Corp.: Shogo Industries as well Armacham Technology Corporation. Strongly implied to be the same Armacham that appears in F.E.A.R.. There is also Andra Biomechanics (the third founding corporation for the UCA, and apparently a backer for the Cronian Mining Consortium), though they don't play as large a part in the storyline as Shogo (and unlike Armacham doesn't show up in another franchise).
  • Mêlée à Trois: The different enemy factions will fight each other as well as the player; however, they normally aren't encountered in the same area. The only way to see this happening is on certain maps controlled by one faction, which are attacked by another faction once the player triggers an objective. On those maps, you have to run to the objective without killing most of the enemies, so they'll still be around when the new enemies from a rival faction get spawned in.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Predator.
  • Military Brat: Kathryn and Kura Akkaraju, Nathaniel Akkaraju's daughters.
  • Military Maverick: Sanjuro.
  • Mission Control: Kura and Nathaniel Akkaraju.
  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Invoked on another
    Sanjuro: Sir, I presume Kathryn's my main contact on this mission?
    Admiral Akkaraju: You mean Lieutenant Commander Akkaraju. Yes, she is.
  • Motion Capture Mecha: Sanjuro on foot and in the mecha are both identical in terms of gameplay. All of the mecha, even the supposedly heavy ones, are incredibly gentle and glib and can hop around with ease.
    • Mechs tend to have a little more survivability than on foot, especially if you have the heavy armored MCA. However, a direct hit from explosive weapons such as the Spider Mine or the Red Riot WILL end you, no matter what MCA you are using.
  • Multiple Endings: Two. In one, you help the Fallen take control of Cronus. In the other, you defeat the Fallen.
  • Non Standard Game Over: If someone you're escorting dies or if the Kato Cannon fires
  • Nintendo Hard: Most on-foot enemies go down real fast, as do the majority of MCA types (but not all). Unfortunately, you do too; a single ambush by rounding a corner can deal insane amounts of damage if you're not careful. And then Shogo Troops start showing up.
    • The enemies are really nasty. They can Critical Hit you as well, making it a nightmare if you're unlucky; a shotgun at point-blank will kill you instantly as well direct explosions on-foot, so you can be sure that the later enemies just happen to have lots of shotguns and grenade/rocket launchers - and waiting around corners to one-shot you. And if you encounter an MCA on-foot? They can turn you into pulp by stepping on you and pretty much always carry explosives.
  • Overprotective Dad: Again, Admiral Akkaraju.
  • Parental Substitute: Admiral Akkaraju was this to Sanjuro and Toshiro.
  • Post Final Boss: If you choose to oppose the Fallen, then the final boss is Gabriel piloting a massive super MCA shielded by Cothineal's power. After you beat him, Ryo shows up to try and kill you. His Ace Custom has quite a lot of health, but otherwise it's a standard enemy MCA and dies quite easily. After you destroy his MCA, he tries to fight you on foot. While you're still in a MCA.
  • Real Robot: In many ways, closest thing to a Gundam FPS for years. Radically different from MechWarrior in gameplay, firmly rooted in the style of mecha anime, with a healthy amount of Stuff Blowing Up.
  • The Resenter: This is hinted to be the reason Baku turned against Sanjuro and became Uziel. A deleted scene involving the cast during their childhood would apparently have expanded on this.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: You'll get plenty of guns, ammo, health/energy, and armor by destroying boxes on foot or shooting up civilian cars in your MCA. There's also plenty of things to just plain break for their own sake.
  • Save Scumming: Abusing Quicksave and Quickload is one way to combat the difficulty of the game.
  • Sex Sells: The print advertising campaign consisted of a vaguely-Asian woman in a bikini wanting you to know she thinks size matters.
  • Script Breaking: Upon entering an underground tunnel, a cutscene is triggered where an enemy appears, runs off, and causes the tunnel to cave in by exploding it. However, careful examination of said tunnel reveals the Monolith logo, which when shot causes the same explosion, making the following cutscene look totally wrong as a result.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: They're powerful enough to one-shot Sanjuro at close range, regardless of armor and health levels. Naturally, many enemies in cramped maps will carry them. This works both ways, though; two shots can kill armored troops at medium range and just one at close range, making it a valuable weapon next to the automatics aside from its sluggish pump-action.
  • Shout-Out: A few to its anime roots.
    • A poster at the start of the game featuring an obvious Expy of Rei Ayanami with a logo reading "CURV".
    • The doll you have to find to attract the gate lady's cat is a Captain Claw doll. You can even squeeze it to make it say "Magic Claw!".
    • Officers with quarters near Sanjuro's include: R. Hunter, M. Kusanagi, I. Dyson, N. Izumi and A. Shinohara.
    • Silky Doll Lingerie billboard ads.
    • Another billboard for a "Kawasuki" motorbike that looks like the ones in AKIRA.
    • There are also a couple of references to Monolith's earlier Blood: comic books with Caleb on them and the caption "Who is Caleb?" can be found in some levels, and sometimes the enemy soldiers will speak a few lines in the weird Cultist language.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The intro, a bubbly, happy anime theme song played over footage of giant robots shooting each other and the main character killing some soldiers.
  • Spider Tank: They appear as enemies in some mecha levels.
  • Starfish Aliens: Cothineal, the source of Kato. It's taken over Toshiro's mind and created the Fallen in order to keep people away.
  • Title Sequence: The game actually has one. Watch it here..
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: Working directly with Kato for long enough can mess you up in the head, as Sanjuro discovers when he has to fight through a bunch of "stragglers" to rescue a cat.
  • Transforming Mecha: The player's mecha can convert into vehicle mode for high speed land travel, but cannot fire its weapons in such mode.
  • Unknown Rival: Samantha. Sanjuro considers her as a weird annoyance.
  • Vent Physics: You have to manipulate the air flow in ventilation shafts to slow falls from one vent and ride air up to another. In a Humongous Mecha. He has some doubts about this method when Hank proposes it to him. You do it again to re-enter a facility later.
  • Vertical Mecha Fins: Mounted on the Ordog.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The Kato Cannon, which can destroy an entire city when fired.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: If you side with Gabriel, then Uziel is never seen or mentioned again.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Done to Sanjuro after upholding his end of a bargain with Ryo. "Thanks for the assistance, Commander. You're no longer useful to me. Sorry to leave you hanging," at which point he disables the bridge, stranding Sanjuro to another air-duct crawl, and then sets off the alarms.
  • Your Size May Vary: In on-foot levels, MCAs are about three to six times as tall as a human; yet in MCA missions, humans are at most one-tenth as tall as an MCA (i.e. small enough to make a fun squish when you walk on them - including Ryo in one story path!).

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alternative title(s): Shogo; Shogo Mobile Armor Division
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