Robot Alchemic Drive

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Robot Alchemic Drive
RADcover.jpg
Developer(s) Sandlot
Publisher(s) Enix
Designer(s) Toshihiro Kawamoto (character design)
Composer(s) Masafumi Takada
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Release date(s)
  • JP August 29, 2002
  • NA November 5, 2002
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Single-player, two-player versus
Distribution CD-ROM

Robot Alchemic Drive, known in Japan as Gigantic Drive (ギガンティック ドライブ?), is a PlayStation 2 video game developed by Sandlot and published by Enix. It was released in Japan and North America.

In the game the player controls a giant robot called a Meganite, humanity's last line of defense against an extraterrestrial race called the Volgara. The player is not in the cockpit of the robot; rather, he or she is on foot, carrying a remote control (the player must switch between the protagonist and the robot to play). As such, Robot Alchemic Drive features many of the same gameplay elements as other Sandlot games.[1]

Story[edit]

As seventeen-year-old heir to the Tsukioka family and a bankrupt weapons company, the game introduces a world where all manned space exploration projects have been put on hold indefinitely due to a material called "Space Nectar" that poisons and kills any organic life in space. Earth is safe because of its atmosphere, but it seems that humanity is doomed to an isolated existence.

When machines known as Volgara begin destroying the earth, the player, as the sole inheritor of the Tsukioka's weapons company, must pilot the only weapon on Earth capable of standing against a Volgara. Along the way, lives will be changed, history will be made, and the origins of the Volgara will be revealed.

Gameplay[edit]

The protagonists that the player may choose between are two males and one female (Naoto Tsukioka, Ryo Tsukioka, or Yui Tsukioka); however, the NPCs usually only refer to the character as "Chairman" and choice of player character does not affect gameplay. There are 3 different robots to choose from: Vertical Fortress Vavel, Airborne Dominator Laguiole and Gllang the Castlekeep.

Vavel has 2 modes, Volcanic and Genesis mode. Laguiole can turn into a plane, and his mode similar to Vavel's is the Demon Sword Desecrator mode, which releases two short, laser like, daggers from the robot's wrists. Gllang can turn into a vehicle/tank being. His special mode is the Warhammer Sanctifier. On his arms, two big blocks of metal alloy are released and become mallets. these special modes only become available after Level 40: Valhalla Dawning. These modes will only last 180 seconds, or 3 minutes.

It is possible throughout the game to affect the life of a particular character. For example: Nanao's storyline may be affected by the destruction of certain buildings while on missions.

Enemies, for a short number of episodes, are the same. The only difference is the change in color and weapons. They become smarter and more aware of what the main character is doing as the player progresses through the story. You also unlock all of the Volgara in two player versus mode when you beat the game with 2 out of the 3 main protagonists.

The game is a homage to the Super Robot anime series of the 70's and 80's. Although much older than most of the game's homages, a remote-controlled robot was first seen in the program Tetsujin 28. Yui's pink and yellow outfit is expressly said in the manual to be a tribute to the heroines of those shows, and Vavel's Lava Stream attack is based on Mazinger Z's Breast Fire attack, even including the biceps-flexing pose usually performed when the weapon was used.

Characters[edit]

  • The Hero/Heroine: The player-controlled character, a seventeen-year-old junior at the public Senjo High School and the sole heir of the prestigious Tsukioka clan that has gone bankrupt. Tsukioka Industries, a weapons manufacturer, collapsed while funding the construction of the Meganites, which the hero must control to save his/her hometown. There are three characters selectable: Naoto, Yui, and Ryo. Their stories, however, are all very similar.
    A cheerful young man with a strong sense of justice. He is athletically gifted, so is sought out by many of his school's sport teams; however, he prefers to spend his free time alone rather than associating with a particular group. His feelings toward the Trillenium Committee and the Meganite are close to hatred, since he blames them for his father's death and the fall of the Tsukioka clan. As a result, he is torn between protecting his loved ones and controlling the Meganites.
    • Ryo Tsukioka (月岡 涼 Tsukioka Ryo?) Voiced by: Susumu Chiba
    A cool and reserved young man who excels academically and rides a motorcycle as a hobby. Despite his appearance, he is shockingly agile and the toughest fighter at Senjo School. He tends to be aloof and emotionally distant; while he is popular with girls at school, he shows little interest in them. Though he recognizes that the Tsukioka family's out-of-control business spending is to blame for their collapse, he remains conflicted towards the Meganites and feels stifled as the interim Chairman of the Trillenium Committee.
    • Yui Tsukioka (月岡 結衣 Tsukioka Yui?) Voiced by: Yukana
    A compassionate and attractive young woman adored by the male students at her school. Her outlandish attire comes from her love of robots, particularly the popular super robot anime and live action shows in the 1970s. Unwilling to accept the development costs of the Meganites drove the Tsukioka family to bankruptcy, Yui dismisses them as antiquated junk metal.
  • Nanao Misaki (三咲 奈々穂 Misaki Nanao?) Voiced by: Moyu Arashima
A childhood friend of the hero. Her grandmother is killed by a Volgara, which leads to her early animosity towards robots. After her grandmother died, she finds herself living on her own and working to support herself. She means well, but had a tendency to overlook her own boundaries and work herself into a severe fatigue. In a secret path of the story (where Masaru donates enormous funds to CPF), it is revealed that Nanao is Masaru's sister who escaped along with her grandmother. Depending on the player's actions, she can end up being main character's love interest (if Yui is chosen, Nanao remains the player's best friend; however, Nanao will say the same thing to all three of the main characters in the same way, warranting the same reaction from all three due to lack of story changes on part of the creators), live a poor life, or commit suicide at the end of the story.
A brilliant but insane scientist who foresaw the advent of the Volgara and discovered the Nectar Radiance that prevents space travel. He gives the hero the remote control used to operate the Meganites. It was revealed later in the story that he knew everything about the Volgara and the true nature of the Meganites and their Alchemic Drive.
  • Dr. Herman Wiltz (ヘルマン・ウィルツ Heruman Wirutsu?) Voiced by: Jūrōta Kosugi
A German scientist who created the Alchemic Drive that generates energy for the Meganites. He offers assistance to the hero during their fights with the Volgara. He is also in charge of upgrading the Meganites.
A radio operator who also assists the player in combat with advice, alongside Dr. Wiltz. She is quite popular among the CPF crew. She lives in a condo near the Foundation headquarters. If her condo is destroyed in the war, she moves to the HQ.
  • Saki Kyono (京野 沙希 Kyono Saki?) Voiced by: Yū Asakawa
The financial manager for the foundation. She introduces the player to the concept of earning monetary rewards for completing missions. She is also in charge of providing upgradable equipment for the player. She seems to have a heart disease (though the circumstances suggest that she's simply grossly overreacting to any loss of awards during the first mission where they are available).
  • Ellen Bulnose (エレン・ブルノーズ Eren Burunōzu?) Voiced by: Yuka Imai
The heiress to the Bulnose weapons company in France. She was engaged to the hero (or close friends if the player selects Yui), but dropped out of contact with the hero after Tsukioka went bankrupt. She reappears as a member of the Evacuation Guidance Group after having a falling out with her parents. She is also one of the characters that Naoto or Ryo end up dating at the end of the game. Otherwise, she will simply take over the Bulnose Industries.
The heir to Misaki Heavy Industries, a company that thrived in the ruin of Tsukioka, and Ellen's new fiance. He berates the player for failure to protect his company from harm during battle. If his buildings are continually destroyed, his engagement with Ellen will end. Despite his unpleasant attitude, he is actually devoted to the elimination of Volgara threat. If a certain story path is followed, Misaki will donate 100 billion yens to the CPF, which can be used for upgrades etc.
An anchorwoman for BNN News. Her main purpose is providing the player with an evaluation of the aftermath on the battlefield after the completion of a mission.
A field reporter for BNN, she makes her big break in the media by covering the events of the war against the Volgara. Her work can be seen during the game with breaking news reports given during the middle of battle. In the later part of the game she is injured which left her heartbroken. But she regains her self-confidence after she is saved by the main character. Although she survives the war in the canon ending, she can die in the final mission if her news chopper is hit by Asmodeus or by player's Meganite.
A mysterious young man who appears before the player. He is revealed to be Dr. Hourai's son and controls a black Vavel called Valdor. Although he helps the main character in many missions, he is actually ordered by his father to observe Vavel and help it to activate its "Genocide Mode" (a secret command which will order Vavel to annihilate half of the human race, so the Earth can restore itself) when the time is right. He initially sees the error of his father's ideas and begins to fully support the main character. If the main character is Yui, she and Souya might end up dating at the end of the game.
  • Captain Shin'ichiro Kurosugi (黒杉 信一郎 Kurosugi Shin'ichiro?) Voiced by: Jōji Nakata and Private Takeshi Yamano (山野 武 Yamano Takeshi?) Voiced by: Makoto Higo
Two JSDF tank drivers that appear in many of the missions to support the main character with their Type 90 tank. While Kurosugi is eager to go into battle to defend the civilians, Yamano is afraid that they will be killed by the Volgara and tries to convince the Captain to run away. They survive in the canon ending, but they can be killed in the battle against the Volgara if the player doesn't protect them.
The CEO of the corrupt Otawara Enterprises. He endangers Nanao's employment on a few occasions during the game.

Development[edit]

Robot Alchemic Drive was developed by Sandlot, a company created by former employees of Human Entertainment. The characters of the game were designed by Toshihiro Kawamoto, the character designer of the Cowboy Bebop anime series. Development of Robot Alchemic Drive took approximately 16 to 18 months to complete. Much of the game's use of incredibly large robots was inspired by anime.[2] The game was aimed at both casual and hardcore gamers, as well as fans of action games and robot games. The hardest part of development was to handle the sense of scale involved with the robots.[3]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 80% (24 reviews)[6]
Metacritic 79 of 100 (21 reviews)[7]
Review scores
Publication Score
Electronic Gaming Monthly 8 of 10
Famitsu 30 of 40[4][5]
GamePro 4.5 of 5
GameSpy 8.6 of 10
IGN 7.3 of 10
Play Magazine 7 of 10
X-Play 4 of 5

By its second week of sale in Japan, Robot Alchemic Drive had sold 17,888 copies.[8] The game has received generally positive reviews.

References[edit]

  1. ^ ferricide (December 5, 2006). "COLUMN: 'Roboto-chan!': An ode to Sandlot". GameSetWatch. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  2. ^ Reno (July 10, 2002). "Enix: Life After Dragon Warrior". The-NextLevel.com. Retrieved 2008-09-09. 
  3. ^ Lafferty, Michael (2002-05-30). "R.A.D. pits giant robots in a clash for supremacy in a crowded urban setting". GameZone. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  4. ^ プレイステーション2 - ギガンティックドライブ. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.93. 30 June 2006.
  5. ^ IGN staff. "IGN: Gaming Life in Japan". IGN.com. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  6. ^ "Robot Alchemic Drive Reviews". GameRankings.com. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  7. ^ "RAD: Robot Alchemic Drive (ps2: 2002): Reviews". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  8. ^ "GID 1033 - Robot Alchemic Drive - PS2 - Garaph". Garaph.info. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 

External links[edit]