Raise your hand if you know who Tetsujin 28 is? Anyone? How about his US name, Gigantor, does that ring any bells? If you’re reading this you probably don’t know who or what the heck Gigantor is. Long story short its a giant robot, who starred in his own show back in the sixties. Like Ultraman, Tetsujin 28 is another vintage character getting a second chance at life by starring in a video game. Unlike Ultraman Tetsujin is much less known around the world.
The story of Tetsujin 28 is simple, he’s a giant robot created during World War 1 by a genus scientist. Later on his son finds the robot and takes it for his own use. Instead of using it to stomp on cities or take over the world the boy uses Tetsujin 28 for the power of good. Within the mission based gameplay you are given different goals. Most of these goals end up being stop another giant robot or defeat all the enemies on the screen. To do this you actually control Tetsujin with a remote control that is displayed on screen. The remote control has a couple of different dials on it. The first two dials controls the level of strength in Tetsujin’s punches. You can punch with either fist with the square and circle buttons. The longer you hold the buttons the longer the boy turns the dial and the more damage you can do. Tetsujin main attack are the punches, which gives the game the feel of the old school rock ’em sock ’em robots. Tetsujin does have other powers like a shoulder attack and the ability to fly, but nothing is more entertaining than watching Tetsujin twist his torso (just like a rock ’em sock ’em robot) to charge up a hook punch.
Besides the basic punching attacks the only other neat power that Tetsujin has is the ability to pick up almost anything on the screen. You can throw trees, houses and even the occasional civilian. Bandai’s interactive environments go beyond throwing stuff around. If Tetsujin lands on a building it gets damaged or gets destroyed. This really gives the feeling of controlling a behemoth metal monster. If you wanted to you could focus on smashing buildings and throwing offices instead of concentrating on the mission.
The story mode missions in the game are simple to do. Most of them take a couple of minutes to complete, which means you can get through the game’s thirty plus missions in one sitting. The bulk of the game isn’t really the story mode. It’s the playing the versus mode, which has a number of different characters to battle against. The battle mode really plays like two of those expensive rock ’em sock ’em robots placed in a 3D arena. It’s a nice diversion and adds some replay value to what would otherwise be a woefully short game.
One problem that Bandai should have tweaked is the camera. You see everything through the eye’s of Tetsujin’s owner, which is a cool idea. Yet, your view of Tetsujin and what is going on can be easily occluded by a building. To regain sight you need to switch to moving the boy around and leave Tetsujin on his own. This control configuration is atrocious because there are two analog sticks one could be used to control Tetsujin and the other to control the boy. This would be ideal instead of having to move Tetsujin, then the boy, then Tetsujin again.
Bandai has done a good job of keeping true to the series with the in game graphics. Even though the graphics have a quirky cartoon feel to them, the setting is clearly back in the 30’s. The buildings have an industrial revolution feel to them. Even Tetsujin himself looks simplistic and has rigid movement, which you would imagine a robot built in the 1930’s to have. The game plays like Tetsujin looks, simple. It’s not going to be something for gamers to pour hours in. Tetsujin 28 Go doesn’t even stand up to other mech games on the PS2 and maybe not even giant mech games on the PSX. For this reason, Tetsujin 28 GO probably won’t appeal to most gamers.
Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 4
Many of the mission goals are in Japanese, which could impede gamers from progressing through the game. Another thing, the story and all of the nifty characters are part of the series and will mean nothing to a gamer playing this without knowledge of the series.
It is extremely unlikely that Bandai would release such a mediocre game with a character that few people know in the US.
+ Pros: Feels like you’re controlling a giant robot, throwing large objects at large robots
– Cons: Shallow single player mode, unresponsive controls, more simplistic than a Nintendo game
Overall: The lack of depth and the overall simplicity of the game will make Tetsujin 28 Go appeal to few fans and probably fewer gamers.
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