Gungriffon is a series of Mecha Game developed by Game Arts, active from 1996 to 2004. Born out of a prototype for the 3D engine used for Grandia, Gungriffon was one of the first attempt to make a truly immersive Mech simulation on consoles.
In the far-flung future of 2015, the world is fragmented between four superpowers: The Asian Pacific Community (APC), the Pan European Union (PEU), the American Freedom Trade Association (AFTA) and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The alliances fight over the world's dwindling supplies of natural resources, bolstered by the creation of the Armored Walking Gun System (AWGS) paradigm. The development of the High-MACS, an heavily armed and hyper-mobile type of AWGS, threatens to upset the balance of power.
The series comprises the following games:
- Gungriffon: The Eurasian Conflict (Sega Saturn, 1996)
The tensions between the APC and the PEU has escalated into a global conflict. The player takes the role as a pilot of the APC's 504th Mobile Squadron as they fight in the closing months in the war.
- Gungriffon II (Saturn, 1998)
An Interquel to the first, depicting battles set before and during the events of the original game. Gameplay-wise, Gungriffon II added features like support for alternate controllers, customizable weapon loadouts, and alternate gameplay modes.
- Gungriffon Blaze (Playstation 2, 2000)
World War III has ended, but the world is still destabilized by regional conflicts and ecological disasters. As a pilot of the Japanese Foreign Troops, you are to participate in a variety of peace-keeping operations. Blaze had a greater focus on Scoring Points and featured an "Item Box" system which compelled the player to pick and choose blind bags collected during missions to unlock consumable weapons, power-ups, or entries in the in-game encyclopedia.
- Gungriffon: Allied Strike (Xbox, 2004)
A Continuity Reboot of the series. The Burmese government, backed by China, has invaded surrounding countries in order to secure East Asia's vast agricultural resources. In response, the U.N has assembled a peace-keeping force. Allied Strike attempted a more realistic style of gameplay with slower movement and the introduction of a Subsystem Damage mechanic, in addition to a greater focus on multiplayer.
The series provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: The instruction manual of Gungriffon Blaze includes a timeline for the whole series that goes into far greater detail behind the events leading up to the game.
- Anachronic Order: The missions in Blaze are not listed in chronological order. The Cape Carnaveral mission, which is the second mission, is the last to happen in the timeline.
- Artificial Stupidity: The friendly AI in Allied Strike is rather flawed. In very rare instances, they even may shoot and destroy the player's ressuply helicopter for no clear reason.
- Co-Op Multiplayer: Gungriffon II includes a "Double seater" control configuration where two players control different functions of the same mech.
- Cut-and-Paste Translation: Sega's English localization of Gungriffon completely rewrote the plot of the game. The English script moved the game to 2075 and instead had the player be a pilot of the U.S's 45th Foreign Legion assisting Russian forces in beating back an invasion by the APC. The opening FMV was edited to remove German voice clips (as their role as enemies were reversed by the plot changes), although the briefing illustrations and radio chatter in the missions were left unaltered. Likely, these changes were done as the final legs of the game had the player fight US troops.
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole: These changes introduced a bunch of incongruencies, such as why the armies are still using 90's-era jets and armored vehicles as battlefield mainstays in 2075.
- Dub Name Change: The AFTA faction was renamed "United American Countries" (UAC) in the English script of the first game, most likely to avoid association with NAFTA, which was still a major political controversy at the time. The timeline in the English manual of Blaze uses the AFTA name.
- Emergency Weapon: The machine gun serves this role in all the games beside Gungriffon II (where the player is always free to replace it during the loadout phase they so choose), being fairly weak but the only weapon to have unlimited ammo. In Allied Strike, it is also the only weapon that can be used when the mech's arms are broken.
- Hard Mode Perks: The harder difficulties in Gungriffon Blaze give the player a score multiplier and allow to select one more Item Box after the end of each missions.
- Hufflepuff House: The OAU are mentioned as one of the major superpower in the introduction of the original game, but they have no involvement in the events of the Saturn installments (to the point they're the only faction not given a logo in the second game's manual) and are barely mentioned in the timeline in Blaze's manual. They are the opponents in the final mission of Blaze, however.
- Lethal Joke Character: Tanks, typically the most common and weakest enemies in the series, are playable in Gungriffon II's Survival mode. While they are slow, they're also well armored and their low profile make things easier to hit.
- Market-Based Title: Sega planned to rename the original game Iron Rain for its western release until (according to the notes in the US manual of Gungriffon Blaze) Working Designs president Vic Ireland phoned Game Arts and convinced them to keep what he saw as the cooler more distinctive title (and less magnaminously, to prevent confusion with Working Design's concurently-released Iron Storm). This decision was made late enough that some gaming magazines reviewed the game under the Iron Rain title.
- Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Averted in the original game, where the final mission is to stop a nuclear missile launch.
- Next Sunday Ad: The original game was released in 1996 and set in 2015 (Sega's localisation notwhistanding).
- Noob Cave: The Guam training mission in Blaze, which is mostly populated by stactic, easily destroy enemies on a small map (beside a single Jadgpanther the player is advised to save for last). When completing it, the player can only grab one option box instead of the standard three.
- No Ending: Allied Strike has no ending to speak of. After completing the final mission, the player is whisked straight to the credits.
- Nitro Boost: In Allied Strike, the "roller dash" ability was changed from something the AWGS could do at any time to a temporary burts of speed (drawn from the same pool of energy as the jump).
- Obvious Beta: Between its abundance of bugs, very rough presentation and complete absence of any ending, Allied Strike is not the most polished of games.
- Shout-Out: The HIGH-Macs BIOS in the first two games is named "Silpheed", the name of an earlier Game Art title. The use of "Topaz" and "Garnet" as squadron names is also a nod to ''Silpheed'.
- Subsystem Damage: A mechanic introduced in Allied Strike. The player has traditional hitpoints along with varying levels of resistance for each of its components: having the head destroyed would remove the radar, the legs would remove the roller dash, and the arms would disable all weapons except the machine gun.