Virgin Interactive (EU)
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players, simultaneous play|
|Display||Raster, standard resolution, horizontal|
Tech Romancer (Japanese: 超鋼戦紀キカイオー, Hepburn: Chōkō Senki Kikaiō, "Chronicle of Super Steel Warrior Kikaioh") is a 1998 3D fighting arcade game by Capcom that draws heavily from the various subgenres of mecha anime. It was later ported to the Dreamcast console. The player controls a giant robot which is used to fight another robot in one-on-one combat. Studio Nue (the animation studio responsible for the mechanical designs for the mecha anime series The Super Dimension Fortress Macross) designed the robots in this game.
The setting of Tech Romancer takes place in a far future of Earth, where advanced technology have made things calm and decent for the citizens of Japan and the rest of the world. However, the peace doesn't last long as an evil alien tyrant named Goldibus invades the planet with its loyal followers and seeks to conquer the world while enslaving the human race with an emotionless iron fist. An unlikely group of heroes band together to fight against the threat of Goldibus with their own unique mecha robots and all of them won't rest until Goldibus is defeated and the world is safe from the imminent danger.
The game is primarily played in two modes: Story Mode, and Hero Challenge Mode. The Dreamcast version also had minigames that could be played on the VMU for points.
Each mecha has its own story mode, which plays out like an anime series, with each battle broken up by an episode title, eyecatch, and dialog scenes before and after each battle. Each mecha has its own story (where it is the star of its own show), and decisions made in the dialog scenes, as well as the conditions under which a battle is won, can cause some stories to branch out and have multiple paths and endings. The other mecha and characters naturally make appearances, but their role may vary from their actual origins to fit the "star" mecha's story.
Hero Challenge Mode
An "Arcade-style" mode where the player fights through each of the major mecha and bosses. Various hidden mecha and pilots found in the game can only be used in Hero Challenge Mode. In the Dreamcast version, points earned in Hero Challenge Mode and the VMU minigames could be used to purchase hidden characters including boss characters and movies.
In Japan the game is called "Choukou Senki Kikaioh For Matching Service" because of its online functionality.
Battles take place mostly on a flat 3D plane, with buildings and other terrain features scattered around. Destroying the terrain (by attacking or walking through them) releases power-ups, which include three weapons (vary between each character/mecha), armor or life powerups, and the Hero Mode powerup, which increases the power of your mecha's attacks, and may also unlock additional abilities or moves.
Rather than rounds, the matches are decided by the life meters of the fighters. Each fighter has two life meters, and is destroyed when the second one is depleted. In addition, each mecha gets an armor gauge that, when broken by consistent brute attacks, lowers the mecha's defense and makes it harder to recover from attacks received.
Each mecha has at least two super attacks, as well as a Final Attack, which is usable when the opponent is down to the last 50% of their second lifebar. This attack, when activated and successfully connected, automatically destroys the opponent, winning the battle.
Greg Orlando reviewed the Dreamcast version of the game for Next Generation, rating it three stars out of five, and stated that "It's not often when we get to step into our favorite anime and beat some metal ass. Now if only the fighting were as inspired as the off-the-wall anime plot..."
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- Orlando, Greg (June 2000). "Finals". Next Generation. Vol. 3 no. 6. Imagine Media. p. 96.