|Genre(s)||Action, Mech Simulator|
Phantom Crash (ファントムクラッシュ?) is a high-speed Mech combat simulator released by Genki in 2002 for the Microsoft Xbox console. It allowed for large amounts of customization for the weapons, from the AI controlling the mech all the way down to the paintjob. The game rights were sold to Konami and a sequel, S.L.A.I.: Steel Lancer Arena International, was released exclusively for the PlayStation 2 console.
The Phantom Crash series stands out from other Mech combat games in that it focuses very heavily on stealth tactics. Gameplay is not strictly about maneuverability and aim, but about ambush, hiding, and escape. This is largely caused by the inclusion of the ability to become invisible for a short period, which is usable by both the player and enemies.
The game takes place in a cyberpunk setting in the year 2031. Old Tokyo is a deserted ruin, but a haven for Rumbling, a new form of televised combat sport involving mecha known in the game as SVs. The SVs are capable of wielding different weapons and abilities such as temporary invisibility thanks to AI installed in each SV. Players assume the role of a recent, nameless arrival intent on climbing the ranks of this sport who meets many characters involved in the sport along the way; each character has different sub-plots and problems that contribute to the setting providing an interesting distraction. Although unknown to the rest of the cast, the First Ranker of the sport along with her AI companion seem to notice something about the main character.
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The primary focus of the game is to rumble with a mech called an SV. Rumbles are large scale deathmatches which involve several SVs fighting in the same arena. Rumbles can take place in three arenas, all of which have multiple entry points for various strategies. Every in-game day, the three standard arenas will have various types of rumbles to compete in, especially rumbled which are specified for certain ranks. Much of the game requires advancement through the ranking system of rank D (lowest) through to rank A (highest), though the player has the option of jumping straight into rank A. However, with a new profile, immediately entering an A rank rumble would most likely result in immediate destruction.
In a rumble, generally after every enemy has been defeated at least once, an area ranker (equivalent to a boss) appears on the battlefield. Defeating the ranker results in defeating the rank itself. Opponents will respawn through the entry points of the battlefield after being killed, but the players will not; Once the player is destroyed by an opponent their part of the rumble is over and they will be forced to repair everything destroyed, which is generally the entire SV. To avoid repairs, players can exit the arena at any time by leaving via the entry points. NPC opponents will not leave after entering the battlefield, save for respawning after being destroyed.
There are three primary forms of SVs which can be used in rumbles. Each class has its own SVs and parts which can be purchased either from the original dealer or from a secondhand shop nearby. SVs all have a certain capacity for weight, and will become overweight and unusable if equipped with too much or too little. However, weight of various items can be changed for a very high price. There are many items to choose from, though because some of the payment system is semi-randomized, several SVs will be far more or less expensive than the actual worth of the model on any given day.
There exist 8 different places in the Neglected Area which can be entered. Firstly, the Hangar is used for storage of SVs, changing which music is to play during Rumbling, checking the schedule and records, and an options menu which contains the ability to save, load, keep SVs for VS Mode, and change game setting, like volume and screen adjustment.
The "Club Wired" is where the player is to go to enter Rumbling matches. There are also the options to access the ingame FAQ via the "Training" option, the same schedule+record checking, and changing the Alias of the player, for example from "Player 1" to "Player 2".
"Wild Machines" is where the player is to go for SV parts and Chips. These change every day, for example, the "Heavy Sniper Rifle" may be present one day, and the next day the "No.30 SV Gun" will take its place. The player can buy SV bodies, arm weapons, backpack weapons, SV movement features such as wheels or legs, and the purely cosmetic features which are SV colour and a sticker. There are exist 'options', such as the OCGIIIA, which it or its counterparts can be used to provide OC (Optic Camouflage). SV parts and Chips can also be sold if no longer needed, for exactly half of their buying price.
The player can also buy readily made SVs, with a body, movement system, Chip and at least one weapon. The names of the SVs in the store also somehow describe them. "HLPARTS" stands for 'Holy Parts' and denotation of the SV will show it has the very basic requirements. Some SVs are fully built, but their names tell details about them. 'NOSUREPH' stands for 'Not Sure Photon' and the name reads the SV, it is not that useful, with usually no powerful weapons such as tank cannons. 'OKAYAR' stands for 'Okay Aeron' and these are a cut above their 'NOSURE' counterparts. Then, there are 'TODAYHL' and others. These are another cut above, this time superior to the 'OKAY' SVs, those they can cost a large amount, in the case of the pink 'TODAYPH' costing far over a million New Yen. The 'OKAY' and 'TODAY' SVs are much rarer than the other 2. All of these can be of all SV types, so 'TODAYHL', 'TODAYPH' and 'TODAYAR' all exist. There are also 3 varieties of the rarer ready-made SVs. The "Wild Machines" store is run by Atsorou, who also is the A Ranker for Shinjuku Day and Night games and also the Area Ranker up to a certain point in the game.
"PlusTech" is run by Greek, and his Wolf type Chip Mikonos. There, you are able to Uplift Chips, essentially leveling them up to improve performance. Also, modules can be given a 'Light' or 'Heavy' upgrade. For example, the "Auto Grenader" is usually lightened to increase blast radius, and movement modules given a 'heavy' upgrade in order to increase weight capacity.
The game has a large soundtrack of both real-world music and songs composed for the game by Kyo Ichinose. Most songs are available from the in-game music store, Sonic Amp, and song settings can be changed from the Garage.
Although sales were fairly poor, the game has a small cult following. The game is translated from the original Japanese. Most in-game conversations have relatively good spelling; however many item names suffer from Engrish. The primary example is the case of "apple" being spelled "aple" and "ample" in various cases of stickers. Also, "Odessey" in the Tokyo Bay night-time regulation, "2031 Odessey".