A good chunk of my early play time with Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser was spent with a grin on my face. As someone whoís watched his fair share of old Japanese cartoons, it really is a well observed little thing. From the slightly cheap looking splash screens, the pompy music, even the loading screens and level title cards, itís chock full of character. Then thereís the game itself, youíre a giant red robot who can fire his fists like missiles and combine with his co-pilots like Power Rangers.
Itís not all just for colour either, which pilot you combine with affects your type of attack. Take Rocket Kaiser for example, combine with him and your shots will be accompanied by powerful missiles, with the charged weapon essentially being a huge bomb, great for taking down powerful enemies, but a spread of enemies could easily swarm you. In that case youíd be better off with Needle Kaiser, a wide shot type, but sheís weak both in terms of armour and damage dealt. Drill Kaiser is hugely powerful, but her range is tiny, meaning youíre putting yourself in danger every time you attack. Thunder Kaiser is something of a mix, his standard attack has decent range, his charge shot is powerful, but his bomb is feeble
Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser has a peculiar kind of difficulty, the most notable thing is that it must be beaten on a single credit, thereís no continues to be had. Playing on the easy difficulty Iíve raced to the end of the game, once not even really trying whilst capturing our First Play video.
The step up to the next difficulty level though made me hit a wall Iíve struggled to get past. Iím not sure what it is thatís stopping me from getting better at the game, it could just be that Iím not the gamer I used to be. I do sometimes feel a bit blind to the incoming bullets, but no more than any other shooter, but I think itís actually more to do with the shame of Vulkaiser. Your hitpoint is fairly small, still easy to hit, but only a tiny part of your giant mech, but because youíre essentially controlling a giant line whilst looking at the enemy, itís very easy to drag it in to incoming fire.
Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser is a little sparse in terms of modes. Thereís the story mode and Ďtrainingí, which is just the main missions there for you to retry. Iím not sure Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser is the game to spend hours practising, learning patterns. The training mode does allow you to complete stages though, opening up the next one you couldnít reach in a single run. Itís not a bad way to see the later levels on the harder difficulties, which at least helps keep things interesting. If you are chasing score then it does separate them by difficulty, and I think the scoring system works by rewarding you for destroying enemies as quickly as possible as they appear on screen, so maybe there is something to be said for spending the time learning patterns.
In terms of presentation, the game has no resolution options. As soon as you hit play though youíre presented with the option to go full screen, which may seem like a small thing, and does cause some problems on a 2 screen set up, as it merely changes your resolution to match the gameís. Itís welcome though, weíve reviewed a couple of games in the past year or so that havenít had that option. One of the drawbacks though, and this is kind of funny if youíre not playing seriously, is it means that when you unlock an achievement, or a friend signs in to Steam, you canít see a third of the screen. So if you are planning a serious run at the game, maybe turn off notifications.
Thereís no doubting Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser is fun, but a lot of that comes from its charm. It does a great job of harking back to old-school anime, both in tone and theme. Iím less sure the game itself rates as highly or holds up to repeated playthroughs. Which is a shame, I really like the mecha gimmick of combining with the other pilots, and their strengths and weaknesses do add a level of strategy to the game, itís just a shame the level design doesnít build on it, instead feeling more like a shooting gallery. Still, for the price itís a fun bit of nostalgia, hard to dislike, and not something youíll have seen too often