North American box art
|Release date(s)||JP June 30, 2005
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, action RPG Sandbox|
|Distribution||1 × DVD-ROM|
Steambot Chronicles, known in Japan as Ponkotsu Roman Daikatsugeki: Bumpy Trot (ポンコツ浪漫大活劇バンピートロット?) is a 2005 action-adventure role-playing game developed and published by Irem Software Engineering in Japan for the PlayStation 2. It was later published by Atlus in North America and 505 Games in PAL regions. The game features a sandbox-style of steam-powered, mech-based gameplay.
A sequel, Bumpy Trot 2, was announced and shown at the 2006 Tokyo Game Show, though it was officially cancelled in 2011. Two spin-off titles were also released: Steambot Chronicles: Battle Tournament for the PlayStation Portable and Blocks Club with Bumpy Trot, originally released for the PlayStation 2 and later ported to the PlayStation Portable.
Steambot Chronicles begins with a personality quiz, answers to these questions affecting the personality of the character and how others will react towards him. Afterwards, a young male named Vanilla awakes on the shore of Seagull Beach, a seemingly cheerful girl named Coriander (shortened Connie) beside him, and currently suffers from amnesia due to a shipwreck nearby that occurred before the events of the game. The player learns that Connie is picking herbs for her bed-ridden mother, Rosemary, who lives in Nefroburg, and after this, Vanilla spots a vehicle on a nearby cliff that shoots a bazooka, trapping the two in Seagull Beach. It is inferred that Coriander (Connie) is using the herbs as medicine for her mother.
Connie must get home to Nefroburg on the last bus, but cannot because of the fallen boulder blocking her path. They go to a nearby cottage that, the player finds out, holds bad memories for Connie, evidence of this being her in a picture with two unknown figures. The two stumble upon an old run-down mecha resembling a bipedal automobile, which they use to leave from Seagull Beach. Connie discovers that the bus already left minutes ago, and offers Vanilla a request to take her to Nefroburg (no matter what decision the player chooses, Connie will come with Vanilla).
On the trip, the two encounter a hoodlum from a gang known as the "Killer Elephants", who challenges Vanilla to a duel. Whatever option is chosen (standing up for Connie, offering Connie to the gangster or bribery), Vanilla will still battle the gangster. After defeating him, the two encounter Marjoram, one of the members of the Garland Globetrotters (a band in which Connie is the lead singer), who lives in a plateau; Vanilla will have to find Basil, another member of the band, and take him back to Marjoram and Connie.
The four later head back to Nefroburg. On the way, they encounter a humongous quadruped mechanical fortress (operated by the "Killer Elephants"), and Vanilla must destroy it before they officially head to Nefroburg, where they encounter yet another member (Fennel, who is suspected of firing the bazooka as Connie and Vanilla have a conversation). After attending a concert at night, the player may choose to change the plot and Vanilla himself.
- Vanilla R. Beans (Voiced by Spike Spencer in English) is the protagonist of the game. He awakes on a plank of wood in Seagull Beach, a shipwreck found nearby, and suffers from amnesia after the accident. After attending a concert in Nefroburg, the player may choose to make Vanilla a hero or villain, depending on the decisions chosen.
- Coriander (Voiced by Wendee Lee in English) is the lead vocalist of the Garland Globetrotters. She and Vanilla first meet on Seagull Beach while she was collecting herbs for her sick bed-ridden mother. She seems like a typical cheerful girl, but this belies a sadness from a past tragedy. Nadia Gifford provides her singing voice.
- Marjoram (Voiced by Unknown in English) is drummer and saxophonist for the Globetrotters. Marjoram is a dedicated hard-working man, also taking care of the band's paperwork and finances. His family owns a grocery store in Happy Garland.
- Savory (Voiced by Jessica Straus in English) is the backup vocalist and pianist for the Globetrotters. Savory is like a big sister to Coriander and is extremely popular with the band's male fans. She is revealed to be the leader of Blood Mantis along with Dandelion.
- Basil (Voiced by Spike Spencer in English) is the bass string for the Globetrotters. He is short and immature, but has a knack for cheering people up.
- Fennel (Voiced by Kirk Thornton in English) is an original member of Golbetrotters who played guitar before leaving the band to pursue his musical dreams. Even after he leaves the band, he remains concerned about the other Globetrotters.
- Dandelion: (Voiced by Yuri Lowenthal in English) The former leader of the Globetrotters, for which he played the violin. He is now a Master Craftsman that crafts instruments in a small shop in the woods. He lost his brother Chickory in an accident a few years back, but he seems to have moved on. His another identity is Elder which is a reigning champion of UTC Trotmobile Tournament and the owner of the strongest perfect trotmobile " The White Requiem " and the Chief and founder of Blood Mantis.
- Ciboulette (Voiced by Tara Platt in English) is the captain of the Juniper Berry, a ship. She instructs the player in how to pilot a Trotmobile in the game's tutorial.
- Rosemary (Voiced by Stephanie Sheh) is the Coriander's bed-ridden mother, a sweet and gentlewoman. She asks the player to be a good friend to Coriander as she is aware of her daughter's inner turmoil. Was the former leader of the Globetrotters a long time ago, and even taught Dandelion how to play.
- Mallow (Voiced by Dave Wittenberg in English) is a man who Vanilla gets confused with constantly during the story. Has some kind of connection to Coriander and the others, a very dark one. He is the son of a wealthy man that owns the hospital in Happy Garland. When he was young, he used to tease Dandelion and Chicory because they were poor. The player controls him during the tutorial mode which acts as a semi-prelude to the actual game.
Additional voice actors in the game include (only in English version as it is officially unknown who voiced in Japan), Liam O'Brien, Johnny Yong Bosch, Lisa Oritz, Greg Aryes, Hillary Haag, Trina Nishimura and Mona Marshall.
The mechs, or "Trotmobiles" as they are called in the game (Trot Vehicles in the original), encompass most of the gameplay. They are introduced before the player gets to the first town, and function for transportation, trading minigames, and battles. They can be modified with dozens of parts, which can be purchased, found, or crafted. They range from small and speedy but frail, to large, powerful, and sturdy, but slow. Categories by ( Heavy and Strong but Slow ) or ( Light and Frail but Fast ) but there are trotmobiles which is perfect in all term ( Light and Strong and Fast ) for example Schneider's and Elder's trotmobiles at which they are both the top 1st and 2nd Gladiator in the game ranked S, it's left for player to discover and customize their own trotmobiles.
Music also has a large part of the Steambot Chronicles storyline. Vanilla is at first a solo musician on the street, until he is invited to join the Garland Globetrotters. With each successful concert, Vanilla earns tips and posters of the other Globetrotters, as well as sheet music for new songs. The sheet music allows Vanilla to practice songs solo. If he plays well enough, he will be asked to manage the band.
There are several instruments in the game, each with different control schemes. Vanilla starts out with a harmonica, and can later acquire the trumpet, saxophone, violin, string bass, accordion, drums, and guitar as well as play church organs and pianos found in bars or colleges. The main reward for playing music is tips.
There are six vocal songs, four that Coriander performs during the main story, and two which can be unlocked through sidequests. Nadia Gifford wrote and performed 5 of the songs for Coriander:
- 1. In your voice
- 2. Impossible
- 3. I cry
- 4. Just shout it out
- 5. See you later
The last song in the game is sung by Ryan Kerwin as Fennel:
- 6. Music Revolution
In an optional side-quest, Vanilla can acquire an electric guitar and join Fennel's 'Fennel and the Blue Lightning' band.
Steambot Chronicles features a number of references to literary and popular culture, several of which include:
- The Garland GlobeTrotters, named after the basketball team, the Harlem Globetrotters.
- The Ultimate Trotmobile Tournament, which references the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
- Enemies in the optional dungeons called Totem Recall and Dig D.U.G.G, which reference the film Total Recall and the classic game Dig Dug respectively.
- A 'film' called "Welcome Back, Trotter", a play on words of Welcome Back, Kotter.
- Two gladiators; Chuckie "Bomber Boy" and Issabelle "Dancing Queen".
- The game even contains a translated version of the original Japanese title, which roughly comes out to "Romance Junk Adventure, Bumpty Trot" called "Romantic Scrap Metal Adventure, Steambot Chronicles" which is also used as a tagline in the main menu.
The game has received generally positive reviews, given a 7.1/10 from Gamespot, a 7.3/10 from IGN, and ranking with a 75% on Game Rankings. Main criticisms are the game's difficult controls and rampant slowdown, but was complimented on its battles, musical score, and the freedom given the player. Hyper's commends the game for its "huge amount of freedom [and] clever musical rhythm games" but criticises it for "slowdown, load times".
- Official website (Korean)
- "IREM Products". Irem. Retrieved May 27, 2012.
- Jeff Haynes (May 31, 2006). "Steambot Chronicles - PlayStation 2 Review". IGN. Retrieved May 27, 2012.
- Jerry 'XeroZohar' Swain. "Steambot Chronicles - Staff Review". RPGamer. Retrieved May 27, 2012.
- Wilks, Daniel (December 2006). "Steamboat Chronicles". Hyper (Next Media) (158): 71. ISSN 1320-7458.