Gundam: Battle Assault (series)

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Gundam: The Battle Master, later known as Battle Assault, is a series of fighting games released for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and Game Boy Advance. The series features mobile suits from several eras of the Gundam metaverse and some non-traditional fighting game elements. Every entry was developed by Bandai in co-operation with Japanese developer Natsume,[1] who also made the 1996 Shin Kidō Senki Gundam Wing: Endless Duel.

Gundam: The Battle Master[edit]

Gundam: The Battle Master
Gundam - The Battle Master Coverart.png
Developer(s) Bandai, Natsume
Publisher(s) Bandai
Platform(s) PlayStation
Release date(s)
  • JP 1997-06-20
Genre(s) Versus Fighting
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Distribution 1 CD-ROM

Overview[edit]

Gundam: The Battle Master is the first game in the series, released for the PlayStation in 1997. Even this first game features the large multi-jointed sprites and 2-screen-high stages that the rest of the series would follow on. It includes the following mobile suits from the Universal Century era:

Playable

Bosses (Non-Playable)

Gameplay[edit]

Gundam: The Battle Master features gameplay unlike most fighting games, let alone the other games within its series:

  • Mobile suit movement is realistically slow.
  • Repeated damage to a specific body part on an enemy will result in that part's armor breaking.
  • There's no standard "health bar". Instead, a mobile suit has a "temperature bar" that would fill up as it gets hit. When the bar is full, the mobile suit overheats and is knocked down. When a mobile suit overheats three times, it is knocked out and loses the fight.
  • The standard punch and kick buttons are complemented by a shoot button (for firing beam rifles or machine guns), a weapon button (beam sabers, heat hawks, etc.), and a thrust button that allows the mobile suit to fly indefinitely. This is similar to Endless Duel, as well as games such as Capcom's Cyberbots.
  • Projectiles are unblockable.
  • Special moves are limited. A mobile suit will have a rapid fire version of the shoot button and one or two unique moves. All special moves drain a bar below the temperature bar that can only be filled by connecting with melee attacks.
  • Some mobile suits can dodge into the background to avoid attacks, while others can erect a beam barrier that can block projectiles (which can be held indefinitely unless hit by a melee attack).
  • Bosses are massive and fill up nearly half the screen. They can not be knocked back by any attack unless they overheat.

Gundam: The Battle Master 2 and Gundam: Battle Assault[edit]

Gundam: The Battle Master 2
Gundam: Battle Assault
Gundamba cover.jpg
Developer(s) Bandai, Natsume
Publisher(s) Bandai
Platform(s) PlayStation
Release date(s)
  • JP 1998-03-12,2001-04-26
  • NA 2000-11-06
  • PAL 2001-12-07
Genre(s) Versus Fighting
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Distribution 1 CD-ROM

Overview[edit]

In 1998, Bandai followed up with Gundam: The Battle Master 2, which in 2000 became the first Gundam: Battle Assault release. Though it changed the gameplay system to resemble a more traditional fighting game, seven new mobile suits were added:

Gameplay changes[edit]

The game now resembles Endless Duel and the like. All future Battle Assault games were based on this formula:

  • Gone were the temperature and special gauges, in their place a standard health bar (of which each mobile suit has three), a boost gauge and an ammo counter. The health bar works similarly to the temperature bar, however; when a health bar is drained, the mobile suit will overheat and be knocked down as usual, and overheats leads to a loss.
  • The shoot and weapon functions are replaced with second strength punch and kick buttons. Shoot and weapon functions are now special moves.
  • Projectiles are no longer unblockable, but melee weapons now are.
  • The main projectile special move costs ammo, an amount proportional to the projectile's power. If a mobile suit runs out, it cannot use that special move for the rest of the fight. Alternate projectile specials, however, do not need ammunition.
  • A mobile suit can no longer fly indefinitely. Instead, each press of the thrust button costs one boost bar. When the gauge is empty, the mobile suit must wait for it to recharge before boosting again. The mobile suit can also activate a free flight mode that allows it to fly in any direction and not get fazed by any attack as long as it doesn't overheat or the boost gauge runs out. The only exception is the mobile armor Neue Ziel, which is always in flight mode.
  • Dodging or using beam barriers now drains health. Beam barriers, however, can now block melee weapons (since those are now unblockable).
  • Super moves are (re)introduced. Every mobile suit (except some secret characters) now has a super move that can be used up to three times.
  • The new boss is the Hydra Gundam. It is fast, having two shoulder-mounted beam cannon that can track the opponent and fire twice without using ammo despite the suit being still during this attack. It can also guard against projectiles without suffering block damage.

Changes to Gundam: Battle Assault[edit]

The game came out in the US two years later under the title Gundam: Battle Assault. At the time, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing had started on Cartoon Network and was gaining popularity, so Bandai changed the storyline and mobile suit pilots to a Gundam Wing base, among other things. Particularly, the Hamma Hamma mobile suit was removed from the lineup and replaced with the Wing Gundam, though this new character is simply Zeta Gundam (which is still in the game) with a different visual design. Not only that, but this version removed the original intro and credits without replacing them.

In 2001, this version was released in Japan, under the Gundam: Battle Assault title.

Gundam: Battle Assault 2 and The Battle[edit]

Gundam: Battle Assault 2
Gundamba2 cover.jpg
Developer(s) Bandai, Natsume
Publisher(s) Bandai
Platform(s) PlayStation
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Versus Fighting
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Distribution 1 CD-ROM

In 2002, Bandai released a sequel to Battle Assault in North America and Europe titled Gundam: Battle Assault 2. The four Z Gundam mobile suits (Zeta Gundam, The O, Hamma Hamma and Qubeley) and the Wing Gundam were taken out and replaced with fourteen new characters: The main cast of Mobile Fighter G Gundam (including the Devil Gundam as a new end boss), Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz as well as the Gundam Epyon from the Gundam Wing TV show.

Dodging and using beam barriers no longer drains health, it used up the boost gauge instead. The story mode is replaced with a 'Street Mode', in which the player can select from a total of eight mobile suits and very loosely follow the events of the One Year War, the 13th Gundam Fight, and the Endless Waltz OVA.

The original Gundam, a sub-par character in the first Battle Assault, received a major revamp in Battle Assault 2. It now has several new moves and combo options, as well as a devastating super (the Gundam Hammer) which can take an entire life bar off the opponent.

Although the Zeta Gundam, The O, Hamma Hamma and Qubeley were removed from Battle Assault 2, their game code data remains hidden and can be accessed using a cheating device like GameShark.[2]

The game was eventually released in Japan as part of Bandai's Simple Characters 2000 Series (as The Battle) of budget-priced PlayStation games (the series was published by D3 Publisher instead of Bandai themselves), split into two separate games: one focusing on G Gundam and the other on Gundam Wing.[3][4] One of the differences with the two split versions of the game (other than that Burning Gundam and Dark Gundam's names were restored to their original names, God Gundam and Devil Gundam respectively) was that the Psycho Gundam Mk. III retained its original pilot from the Gundam: The Battle Master games.

Early versions of this game incorrectly spell "Gundam" as "Gundum" on the spine of the case.

Mobile Suit Gundam Seed: Battle Assault and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny[edit]

Mobile Suit Gundam Seed: Battle Assault
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny
Gundam Seed - Battle Assault Coverart.png
Developer(s) Natsume
Publisher(s) Bandai
Platform(s) Game Boy Advance
Release date(s)
  • NA 2004-08-10
Genre(s) Versus Fighting
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Distribution Cartridge

In 2004, Mobile Suit Gundam Seed: Battle Assault was released for the Game Boy Advance and featured units exclusively form the then-recent localization of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. The units included all the Gundams from the show sans the Providence, as well as Rau Le Creuset's CGUE and the Gundam Astray Red Frame. It was released exclusively in the US.

The gameplay for this portable installment is similar to its three PlayStation predecessors, with the difference of being faster and more user friendly. The player had the option of choosing a manual method for executing special moves or an automatic one (similar to the easy mode of Capcom's Vs. series). The player could also adjust one of three parameters (HP, Phase Shift Armor or Thrust) at the cost of the other.

There was also an updated version of the game focusing on the SEED Destiny sequel series, named simply Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. Unlike the original game however, it was released only in Japan and included the original game as an unlockable. This version features all the units from the previous plus the initial suits of the SEED Destiny anime (it lacks Strike Freedom, Infinite Justice, Destiny, and Legend).

Battle Assault 3 Featuring Gundam SEED[edit]

Battle Assault 3 Featuring Gundam SEED
Battle Assault 3 featuring Gundam Seed Coverart.png
Developer(s) Natsume
Publisher(s) Bandai
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Release date(s)
  • NA 2004-12-07
Genre(s) Versus Fighting
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Distribution 1 CD-ROM

Battle Assault 3 Featuring Gundam SEED is the fifth game in the series. It was released on the PlayStation 2, four months after the GBA installment. It was the first to feature full 3D graphics and it also focused on units from the Gundam Seed anime, including grunt mobile suits like GINNs. However, the Wing Gundam Zero Custom, Tallgeese III, Burning (God) Gundam and Master Gundam appear as unlockable secret characters. It was only released in the US.

It was built off of the original Gundam SEED game for the PlayStation 2, but modified from an action game into a 3D fighting game.[citation needed] So far, this is the only game in the series to not receive some sort of Japanese release.

References[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • In Battle Assault, Valder Farkill (from the Gundam Wing: G-Unit manga) pilots the Psyco Gundam Mark III while Treize Khushrenada pilots Valder's Hydra Gundam. In Battle Assault 2, Valder pilots the Hydra, Treize the Epyon and Ulube Ishikawa pilots the Psyco.
  • The Psyco Gundam Mark III is an original unit designed for the first three games. It has similar characteristics to the previous two Psyco Gundams, including their large size and Scattering Mega Particle Cannon. It does not, however, seem able to transform into a mobile armor form.
  • Battle Assault 2 features voice acting for several characters, most notably Amuro, Char, Dozle, and the primary casts of G Gundam and Gundam Wing. This also marks the first time that a side story manga character (Valder Farkill) has been voiced by an American actor before Encounters in Space did the same for characters from the Blue Destiny manga.
  • In the first two Gundam: The Battle Master games, the mobile suits were not operated by their respective pilots from the shows, but rather by a bunch of stock stereotypes that fit with the theme of the suits' design (e.g. A soldier for the Gundam, a warrior for Nu Gundam, etc.). In Gundam: Battle Assault, as previously mentioned before, the mobile suits are piloted by their correct pilots with some exceptions.
  • In Battle Assault 2 under the options menu in the sound test, voice acting menu, Treize's sound files are incorrectly labeled as "Trowa" and Trowa's incorrectly labeled under "Treize".

External links[edit]

See also[edit]