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Video Game / Panzer Bandit

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Panzer Bandit is a 1997 Japan-only Beat 'em Up developed by Fill-in Café and published by Banpresto for the PlayStation. The game is a mix of 2D sprites with 3D backgrounds, with sprite-based characters running in a 2.5D environment. The game plays similarly to Treasure's Guardian Heroes, except with only two planes of movement to jump back and forth from. Each character has three basic attack options: two melee attacks and one energy draining special. There are special moves done with button combinations, as well as powerful Hyper Attacks, both of which cost energy as well (which is recovered by racking up big combos).

Set on the land of "Canadyne", a world where Steam technology and magic coexists, there are legends of a huge Floating Continent somewhere in the skies known as the Skyship "Arc", said to hold inmense treasures and the wisdom of an ancient civilization. The key to this place lies in another piece of ancient technology: "Syncs", special machines capable of creating a psychic bond with humans. Professor Crone has been a leading researcher in Sync technology, but support for his investigation is pulled by Sir Golden, the head of the Golden Foundation, after being sweet-talked by Crone's bitter rival Dr. Farado into searching for the secrets inside Arc instead. Crone calls them out on this betrayal, but Golden's determined to gain even more power and fortune, whereas Farado is intent on solving the mysteries of Arc and rub them on his rival's face.


The Golden Foundation then makes their move to steal 4 mysterious tablets recently unhearted that appear to be connected to Arc, assaulting each area with an army of Mecha-Mooks. Crone gathers a 4-man team consisting of Kid Hero Kou, his granddaughter Kasumi, young frontier priestess Miu and Sync-turned-combat android Ein in order to stop the Foundation and Farado's ambitions.

The game was re-released in 2011 via Play Station Network in Japan, this time published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. Not to be mistaken for Panzer Dragoon.


This game provides examples of:

  • 2½D: In similar veins to Guardian Heroes though with only two changeable planes.
  • Action Girl: Kasumi is a well-versed fighter with all the trappings of a classic kunoichi.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Arc has an entire advanced Lost City on its surface, which can be seen in the background of Stage 7 and Stage 8.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Golden Foundation's flying battleship Enigma is a massive floating fortress shaped like a whale.
  • Airborne Mooks: The very annoying flying Elite Mooks from later stages that drops bombs on you.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Right after the first four main missions, Farado ends up raiding the Home Base and taking Crone hostage in order to claim the 4 tablets the heroes have gathered.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Jin.
  • Anime Theme Song: Accompanied by a nice anime intro. The song is "Wings of Dream".
  • Assist Character: Three out of the four playable characters are assisted by their personal "Sync" robot: Kou has a floating Transforming Mecha called "Raiden", Kasumi is assisted by a fox-shaped Sync called "Hayabusa" and Miu rides a powerful god-type Sync known as "Shouki". Ein, on the other hand, has none because he is a Sync himself. Jin is the only enemy with a Sync of his own, a black Palette Swap of Kou's Sync called "Shinden".
  • Ax-Crazy: Fourth boss Mudou, which seems unable to stop cackling. Farado doesnt' take very good the constant pestering of the good guys, and goes south after being defeated.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Kasumi is showing off some midriff with her outfit. Senka's showing off more than just her midriff.
  • Badass Adorable: Miu, a Cute Witch that fights with a Mini-Mecha.
  • Badass Biker: Ein is seen riding a bike during the credits roll.
  • Battleship Raid: Stage 6 has the heroes infiltrate the enemy's whale-shaped giant flying ship Enigma.
  • Beard of Evil: Farado sports one.
  • BFS: The second boss Jingoro carries a sword as big as himself.
  • Big Bad: Dr. Farado.
    • The Dragon: Senka leads the armies of the Foundation.
    • Drag On Their Feet: Jin, who joined the Foundation but in truth is using them to get the secrets of Arc first.
  • Boss Rush: The final stage has you re-fighting past bosses before the final showdown.
  • Blush Sticker: Miu has them on.
  • Blow You Away: Several of Senka's special attacks, including one of her Hypers.
  • Cat Girl: Senka is a blue-furred cat girl.
  • Charged Attack: By holding the attack button, one can charge-up Kou/Jin's energy ball, which increases in size and deals more damage/hits.
  • Childhood Friends: Kou and Kasumi are this.
  • Classic Cheat Code: All the boss characters can be unlocked in Story Mode and VS. Mode through a cheat code in the Options menu. There is another to enable vibration setting if you're using a DualShock controller.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Sir Golden, who only appears in the Attract Mode intro as an ally of Farado, is nowhere to be seen in the game proper.
  • Collapsing Lair: The Final Boss fight starts while the air fortress is exploding.
  • Controllable Helplessness: Whenever Miu loses her Sync Shouki, she becomes pretty much useless: outside of bopping enemies with her staff, the player can only move her around and avoid enemies until the energy refills and they can summon Shouki back.
  • Cool Airship: The Battleship Enigma, the whale-shaped airship.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: The Story Mode can be played with two players for more button-mashing goodness.
    • Competitive Multiplayer: The VS. Mode allows you and another player (add another two more if you have the multitap) can duke it out in Free Battle, Team VS., and Battle Royale.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Kou's hair matches with his blue eyes.
  • Cyborg: Ein is a Sync that was forcibly remodeled into a combat android, something he's resentful and seeks revenge for. Zwei, his apparent successor, is his emotionless finished model.
  • Dash Attack: A possible maneuver for some of the characters.
  • Dark Action Girl: Senka. At first seemingly uncaring of the heroes (letting them keep Gustav's tablet and mostly talking as if fighting them was a chore), but reveals a more angered side after her defeat.
  • Double Unlock: To unlock the boss characters in VS. Mode, you first have go through the Story Mode as the good guys to unlock their respective boss characters, then play the Story Mode as each of the bosses to unlock them in VS. Mode.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Farado gets one after his first form's defeat.
  • Dumb Muscle: Gustav, the first boss of the game, has a very childish personality but packs quite a lot of heat in his Powered Armor.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: The eighth and final stage is comprised entirely of a descending elevator as one faces each one of the bosses in quick succession.
  • Energy Weapon: Ein uses them in both Special (which can be aimed low and high as an anti-air) and Hyper variant. Zwei, being his Expy, has also extensive use of them. Dr. Farado's two mechas also have long, powerful laser beam Hypers.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Miu's mecha has a spin attack and it can spin its hands like a drill.
  • Evil Counterpart: Jin is one to Kou, and actually plays identical to him save one different Hyper.
  • Fake Difficulty: You only have a limited amount of continues in Story Mode (3 by default, up to a max of 5) and there's no way to gain any more during gameplay.
  • Floating Continent: The objective of the bad guys is to reach the Skyship Arc, a large floating island said to hide inmense treasures and knowledge from ancient times. The last two stages are set inside Arc as both heroes and villains arrive on its surface.
  • Gatling Good: Zwei has them build into his arms.
  • Gentle Giant: Ein, as seen in the animated intro when he covers a flower from being crushed by debris with his own body.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Kou's and Jin's method of fighting.
  • The Gunslinger: Ein's gameplay style as he carries a set of machineguns and a laser gun with him.
    • Guns Akimbo: One of his Hypers has him unload both machineguns at once for an explosive result.
  • Hellish Pupils: Jin has cat-like pupils and purple eyes.
  • Humongous Mecha: Farado's 2nd form, the "Big Mecha", as well as Shiden.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: Kou has a special move where he can shoot fireballs from his hands, and it can be changed up into a more powerful shot.
  • Kid Hero: All main characters are kids except for Ein, who's a chain-smoking robot.
  • Lean and Mean: Farado is quite the skinny one, specially compared to pretty much any other character.
  • Life Meter: A basic gauge-type life meter.
  • Life Drain: One of the attacks of fourth boss Mudou consists of a small black orb that steals life and turns it into a collectable (for him only) pick-up.
  • Limit Break: When the special meter starts flashing, your character can perform a powerful Hyper Attack that deals high damage to your enemies.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: As Jin explains before his Boss Fight, Shiden was a vital component of the Arc and its destruction meant the whole place wouldn't hold up for long.
  • Lost Superweapon: Shiden is described as a "Majin-type" Sync discovered by the Golden Foundation, and he serves as the key to open the doors to the Arc and its hidden treasures.
  • MacGuffin: The 4 mysterious tablets are the objective of the first four stages. These are apparently shown as small, coin-like objects the bosses throw at the player once defeated.
    • MacGuffin Delivery Service: After getting all four tablets from the first 4 stages, Dr. Farado attacks the heroes' base and forces them to hand them over in exchange of Crone's safety.
  • Mad Bomber: Ein and Zwei have moves in which they throw grenades. Farado's Spider Tank vomits them as attacks.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Farado.
  • Magic Staff: Miu carries one sporting a happy face on its tip.
  • Mecha-Mooks: All mooks and a few bosses are mechanical in nature.
  • Miko: Although she doesn't fit the general appearance, Miu is described as the miko of a frontier village in her character bio.
  • Mini-Boss: There are atleast 4 per stage.
  • Mini-Mecha: Miu rides one which can get easily trashed (forcing the player to walk around with the weak Miu until the energy bar fills up again and she can summon a new one). Several mini-bosses are pretty much this, ridden by mooks.
  • Mirror Boss: Jin and Zwei are pretty much copies of Kou and Ein (Jin is 100% a Moveset Clone of Kou).
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Farado, who will do anything to fulfill his ambitions and one-up his rival Crone.
  • More Dakka: Ein, to the extreme. One of Zwei's Hyper has him opening several parts of his armor to reveal a dozen guns.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Senka is showing off copious amounts of skin above the waist.
  • Name's the Same: Almost, but Jin's Sync "Shinden" has nothing to do with the massive enemy Sync Shiden.
  • Numerical Theme Naming: Combined with Bilingual Bonus, as Ein and Zwei are named after the German words for one and two.
  • No-Sell: Shiden, which makes him a very annoying boss.
  • Only in It for the Money. Jingorou is on the Foundation's side because he was paid a lot of money.
  • Palette Swap: Possible in the VS. Mode by holding down the shoulder buttons while selecting your character. A palette swap is also invoked when you play as one of the bosses by swapping the player's palette rather than the bosses.
  • Paper Fan of Doom: Senka uses one, though entirely as her deadly Weapon of Choice.
  • Powered Armor: Gustav is clad in a massive armor.
  • Playing with Fire: Several characters' Hypers consist of chucking large fireballs at the opponent.
  • Revenge: Ein is in this to get back at the Golden Foundation for having turned him into a combat machine.
  • The Rival: Jin has a rivalry with Kou, Dr. Farado and Crone are bitter rivals as well.
  • Robot Buddy: The setting's Syncs are basically this, robots capable of synching with their human companions. Kou, Kasumi and Jin have their own Syncs each: Kou and Jin have the attack-type Syncs Raiden and Shinden, while Kasumi has the animal-shaped fox Sync Hayabusa.
  • Rocket Punch: Shiden can extend his punch in a similar manner.
  • Rolling Attack: Mudou's specialty.
  • Samurai: Jingorou is a wandering samurai, and even has the outdated speech patterns to prove it.
  • Scoring Points: You gain points for every successful blow you land like in other brawlers, and beating the tar out of your enemies can cause coins to drop for extra points. A successful Hyper Attack can not only lead to turning tide in battle, but also causes enemies to cough up more coins, especially the large ones worth lots of points.
  • Secret Character: All the bosses can be unlocked for both Story and VS. Mode. And then there's Farado's Mini-Mecha which is only accessible by holding Start before selecting him.
  • Ship Level: Stage 3 includes a harbor and ship areas.
  • Shock and Awe: Kou, Jingorou, Senka and Shiden all have some form of electric attack.
  • Shoryuken: Kasumi's ↓↓+Attack move has her performing a rising uppercut with her knife.
    • Miu has a spinning uppercut attack.
  • Simple Staff: Used by one type of mini-boss.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Ein's cigar, always on his mouth.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Jingorou's name is once written "Jingoroh" in the manual. Fan translations sometimes tend to differ as well, most notably when rendering Zwei's name as "Tsubai", the literal transliteration of his kana. Farado is sometimes rendered Farad and Crone can be spelt Krone or Kron as well.
  • Spider Tank: Farado's first mecha is a four-legged robot with the face of the Foundation's Mecha-Mooks.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: The game uses the same engine used in the PlayStation version of Mad Stalker: Full Metal Force (another beat 'em up title by Fill-in Café) and features the use of 2D sprites with 3D effects.
  • Storming The Whale-Shaped Air Fortress: The sixth stage has the heroes raid the Foundation's flying airship Enigma.
  • Super Prototype: Ein is the prototype and Zwei is the final model. Guess who is the playable one?
  • To Be Continued: The game ends on a "To Be Continued...", which is unlikely to ever happen...
  • Title Scream: The game's title is shout by one of characters randomly at the start of the game.
  • Transforming Mecha: Kou's Robot Buddy transforms into a sword for one of his Hypers. Jin's robot turns into a Sinister Scythe, though the hyper is the same.
  • The Unintelligible: Mudou's lines are only gibberish chuckles ("Gikikiki").
  • The Voiceless: The fifth and sixth bosses, Zwei and Shiden, respectively. While the latter doesn't speak at all, the former has text boxes consisting of only elipses.
  • Walking the Earth: Jingorou is a wandering warrior said to travel across countries.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Jin and Jingorou.
  • Worthy Opponent: Jin sees Kou as the only one worth fighting. Jingorou is more than happy to have a good ole' duel with the heroes as well.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Miu's repertoire includes a multi-directional piledriver.