Super Robot Wars (スーパーロボット大戦 Sūpā Robotto Taisen , or Super Robot Taisen, abbreviated as SRW/SRT) is a series of tactical role-playing video games produced by Banpresto, a Japanese division of Namco Bandai. Its main feature is having a plot involving multiple mecha titles, allowing characters from different titles to team up or battle each other. The first game in the franchise was released for the Nintendo Game Boy in 1991 and later games are released on various consoles and handhelds. Currently, only 3 games have been released outside of Japan.
All the games follow a basic structure: when a stage begins, the character receives introductory dialogue between playable characters, leading to the scenario on the battle field. To complete a scenario, the player must accomplish scenario objectives. Some scenarios are longer, with multi-part missions or have new objectives added as the story unfolds. On battle field, the player and enemy take turns to order their units with commands available, such as movement, attacking, forming squads and casting "Spirit Commands", a set of magic-like spells unique to each pilot. Once the scenario is cleared, more dialogue is exchanged between characters before the player is taken to an intermission menu. Here, units can be upgraded or optional parts installed, characters' stats and skills can be changed or upgraded, and other maintenance actions can be performed before the player continues on with the game.
Many games also have hidden features that can only be gained through a special sequence of events or completing optional challenging objectives. Some of these bonuses include extra stages, different endings, captured enemy machines and special upgrade for specific units, such as the IWSP Pack for the GAT-X105 Strike Gundam. In some games these are called "Skill Points" ("Battle Masteries" in the North American localizations) and the difficulty of the game increases accordingly.
In most games the player selects or is given a Banpresto original character and machine, who is connected to the overarching storyline which ties together the events of the constituent anime for the game. Some featured anime also has their plot intertwined: in Super Robot Wars Alpha, the White Fang from New Mobile Report Gundam Wing allies with Paptimus Scirocco's rebellion from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, resulting in the two enemy forces working together.
One noteworthy aspect of the Super Robot Wars games is that character death happens rarely. Players will often have the chance to prevent the death of an ally, as depicted in his or her animated series, while some games take this a step further and prevent heroic deaths freely, without extra effort on the player's part. Additionally, some enemies can be convinced (usually those who are not completely villainous, or who have good intentions) to abandon the antagonists and join the player, whether they do so in their respective series or not. When these concepts are combined, players can create a team that has no chance of existing within the original series.
When a unit attacks, the target reacts by countering, blocking or evading. Once chosen, the battle animation is played out. If the player unit is not destroyed and successfully damaged the enemy, then the unit gains experience points. And if the enemy is destroyed, the player will also receive money and optional parts. In later games, "Support Attacks/Defense" and simultaneous attacks by two or more units were introduced.
All battles are carried out either the terrain of land, air, sea or space, which affects the performance of machines, pilots and weapons in various ways. For example, most Gundam characters excel in space combat, but suffer major handicaps underwater, and techniques requiring an atmosphere, such as the Mazinger Z's "Rust Hurricane", are unusable in space. The battle field also contains objects which grant various effects. For example besides providing repair and energy refill, a military base also provides land units with defense bonus but will hinder them from moving freely.
Units in-game are generally separated into two categories: "super-type" and "real-type". Super robots are heavy units with exceptionally high hit points and armor, and powerful, close-range weapons with high energy cost. On the other hand, real robots are light units which are faster and more agile, but have less armor and hit points, relying instead on dodging attacks. Their weapons have longer range and better accuracy at the cost of doing less damage per hit. Some units are treated as "support units", regenerating hit points and/or energy to allies, while battleships and carriers serve as transports or to resupply all units.
Though every unit takes a single grid on the tactical map and has little visual difference in battle animations, a larger unit gains defensive and offensive bonus against smaller units, but carry a disadvantage to evasion and accuracy. In later titles, certain attacks can bypass the size attribute, nullifying the effect of size in combat.
Some units have other unique characteristics: for example, Getter Robo can transform into different forms with new weapons and different attributes. To give the player more freedom in customization, some pilots are able to switch into other machines from the same series, such as placing Zeta Gundam pilot Kamille Bidan into Judau Ashta's MSZ-010 Double Zeta Gundam.
Weapons carry various attributes other than range, accuracy modifier and attack power. All weapons can be divided into melee and shooting categories that determine its effectiveness by pilots' status. In some games weapons are divided into categories such as "missile" and "beam" which are less effective against opponents equipped with, for instance, jamming technology or reflective armour. Some weapons can be used after a unit has moved, while others can only be performed while remaining stationary. Other attributes can be effected by terrain or a target's defensive ability. In addition, some units make use of "MAP Weapons" which affect multiple squares at once, with some damaging everything in the area and others, such as Cybuster's Cyflash, ignoring allies. Some games feature weapons which inflict status effects on enemies that drain their energy, weaken their armor or damage the pilot's stats. Some pilots have special stats and skills that allow them to use specialized weapons, such as the "Newtype" ability being required to use the funnel weapons on the MSN-04 Sazabi or the RX-93 Nu Gundam.
As larger storage media became common from fifth generation consoles, fully-animated battle sequences complete with detailed graphics, whether larger 2-D sprites, or 3-D graphics, such as the Dreamcast port of Super Robot Wars Alpha, were implemented with voice acting. The voices were provided by the same seiyuu, if available, as the one in the broadcast of the anime. Some games contain CG mini-movies, depicting a certain mecha's dramatic appearance and/or transformation during the stage. Since many of the seiyuu featured have worked in various anime, the games include in-jokes concerning their other roles: Amuro Ray from Gundam and Misato Katsuragi from Evangelion flirt often, referring to their seiyuus' roles as Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon, respectively. Hikaru Midorikawa, the seiyuu of Heero Yuy and Mike Betts, is a huge fan of the Super Robot Wars; in fact, he volunteers to do extra lines for no charge, and has done beta testing for Banpresto's games, with a blog alongside Banpresto's website.
Since the 4th Super Robot Wars, many games feature a database of every character and unit appearing in the title. The database entries are written in the context of the character/unit's original story, regardless of how it is altered in the game. Players usually gain access to the profiles of units and characters already encountered during gameplay and must play through the game several times in order to complete it.
Super Robot Wars Titles
Most are standalone games, whose background stories may involve the plots of the included series, but no other Super Robot Wars titles. However, there are at least four main continuities with an overall storyline:
Consists of the 2nd, the 3rd, EX, F and F Final games (in that order). F and F Final replaced the 4th, while 2G is not considered canon, due to its non-inclusion in the Complete Box set. The side-story Masō Kishin - The Lord Of Elemental is divided into two parts: "Part One" occurs before the 2nd and "Part Two" after the 4th (4th was released before F and F Final).
Consists of Alpha, Alpha Gaiden, Alpha 2 and Alpha 3 games (in that order). "Part One" of Masō Kishin - The Lord Of Elemental also provides relevant information, taking place before Alpha.
- Compact 2
The Compact 2 trilogy for the Bandai Wonderswan were compiled with updated visuals and sound as Impact. Despite Compact, Compact 3 and MX sharing gameplay mechanics with Compact 2 and Impact, there are otherwise no connections between the games.
- Original Generation
The most recent series starring "Banpresto Originals", it draws from all previous continuities. Both Original Generation games were compiled with updated visuals and sound as Super Robot Wars Original Generations, followed by the sequel Super Robot Wars Original Generation Gaiden. This continuity is the only one to have had titles officially released in English.
The first mecha series featured are Mazinger Z, Getter Robo and the earliest incarnations of Mobile Suit Gundam. It is tradition for a Super Robot Wars game to include a Mazinger, a Getter and a Universal Century Gundam series, forming what fans call the "Holy Trinity"; however, newer handheld titles began omitting one or more of these series in favor of increased focus on newer properties.
To avoid spoilers, Banpresto waits three years after a series finishes broadcasting on Japanese television networks to include it in the game, but there are exceptions; video games and manga entries also did not follow such a rule.
Since the second game, the series has also included a number of original characters and mecha designed specifically for each game. These serve as viewpoint characters for the player, who follows the events of the game through their perspective. Most games also will end with an original threat that may ally itself with other villains from the series' involved, and usually serves as the final villain(s) in the game. These heroes and villains are collectively knows as Banpresto Originals.
Many mecha titles included are released only in Japan and the number of titles involved within a single game means complicated rights and licensing issues when releasing it elsewhere (a problem that also affects other games, such as Jump Superstars).
Thus far, only Original Generation games are officially released for the English market by Atlus USA. The titles of the games are given as Super Robot Taisen, possibly to avoid potential confusion with the British television series, Robot Wars. The games do not have the licensing problems other games may have since only original creations not from any anime or manga series are used in the lineup, thus making it the first game in the series to be released outside of the Asian market. Atlus also released Endless Frontier: Super Robot Taisen OG Saga for the Nintendo DS on April 28, 2009.
In addition, some games have been unofficially translated by Aeon Genesis Translation Proclamation (AGTP): the original Super Robot Wars, Super Robot Wars 3 and Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden. Super Robot Wars 4, Super Robot Wars Alpha, Super Robot Wars EX, and Lord of Elementals are also in the process of being translated by AGTP. Additionally, Super Robot Wars J is nearing the completion of an English patch by The Romhacking Aerie, which also has ongoing projects for Super Robot Wars F (PSX) and Super Robot Wars D.
JAM Project, consisting of veteran anime theme musicians, like Ichirou Mizuki, Hironobu Kageyama, Rica Matsumoto, Eizo Sakamoto, Masaaki Endoh, Hiroshi Kitadani, Masami Okui and Yoshiki Fukuyama have also contributed to many Super Robot Wars soundtracks, usually providing the opening theme song and the song played over the closing credits. The series also spawned a set of concerts and albums called Super Robot Spirits, where veteran vocalists—some of whom would go on to form JAM Project—sing covers of popular mecha anime openings, and in some cases, live versions of songs they themselves originally sang.
Masō Kishin Cybuster is a loose adaptation on the story of the first original Banpresto mecha in Super Robot Wars into a 26-episode series, featuring characters inspired by the allies of the Cybuster's pilot Masaki Andoh and original characters created for the anime. A manga series, Chokijin RyuKoOh Denki (超機人 龍虎王伝奇 Chōkijin Ryūkoō Denki ), also provides the background story for the original machine RyuKoOh.
In May 2005, Banpresto released the animated OVA Super Robot Wars Original Generation: The Animation, a 3-part non-canonical sequel to the second Original Generation game. The OVA was followed up by Super Robot Wars Original Generation: Divine Wars, a retelling of the plot in the first Original Generation game. A variety of drama CDs, manga and model kits accompany the Original Generation lineup.
Super Robot Wars eventually garners an influence on the Japanese animated industry, sparking fan interest in old anime mecha shows, some of which are first heard of or seen by fans playing the games. For example, Steel Jeeg, garnered the sequel Kotetsujin Jeeg after its appearances in the 2nd and 3rd Super Robot Wars Alpha.
A number of anime producers, who are fans of the games, have added allusions and homages to the series in their own works, from visual gags in Hayate The Combat Butler and Lucky Star, to similarities between Signum of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's to the female protagonist from Super Robot Wars Advance.
The games' main influence is the creation of animated shows influenced by original units and characters created for the games. The best examples are Getter Robo Armageddon, Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo and the Mazinkaiser OVA, released in the United States in 2002. Shin Getter Robo first appeared in Ken Ishikawa's manga for Getter Robo Go, then became by its apparition in various Super Robot Wars games until receiving its aforementioned OVAs. Mazinkaiser appeared for the first time in Super Robot Wars F Final, released for the Sega Saturn and the Sony PlayStation in 1998, as an upgrade to the original Mazinger Z. Mazinger Z writer and illustrator, Go Nagai, eventually implements it into his manga as the prototype of the other Mazinger machines.
|This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations where appropriate. (November 2009)|
- ↑ スーパーロボット大戦公式BLOG「熱血！必中！スパログ！」 | HIKARU`S VOICE. Blog.spalog.jp. Retrieved on 2010-03-28.
- ↑ Both Mobile Fighter G Gundam and New Mobile Report Gundam Wing made their debut in Super Robot Wars less than a year after finishing their run.
- ↑ [dead link]
- ↑ Atlus busts out with Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier for DS. Gonintendo.com (2009-02-04). Retrieved on 2010-03-28.
- Banpresto's official SRW site
- Atlus' announcement of SRW OG in America
- Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation from Nintendo.com
- Super Robot Wars Original Generations official webpage
- Super Robot Wars at Wikia