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Thread: GOTD 5/28/2016: Biomotor Unitron (NGPC)

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    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Default GOTD 5/28/2016: Biomotor Unitron (NGPC)

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    When I bought my Neo Geo Pocket Color, it had just launched, but I hadn't seen them in stores. I went to a store in my hometown that was once a MicroPlay, but was then called Games4Less (and now is gone), and I saw the first one I'd ever seen... and it was at a better price than I'd expected... I believe it was $80. I was going camping that weekend, and figured, hey, a new portable might be fun for the down time. I bought my black anthracite NGPC and a shiny new copy of Biomotor Unitron, billed as a great fantasy RPG. Well, at the time I was super into RPGs, and who doesn't dig big-ass robots?

    Well, it is an RPG to be sure, but not a traditional one by then-console standards. There is one town in which you begin, wrapped up in your innocent dreams of building a giant robot to crush your enemies. partnered with an assistant of the opposite gender, you set out with your first little buddy-bot to gain experience an fortune. Your goal is to build a strong enough robot to enter into the arena and win fame and fortune. The town is a series of stills with a menu on the right like a graphic novel or adventure typically plays out. Select a location, and once there you can interact with any people present to gain tips, information, and the odd item. You also have a shop in which to work on your robot, and you can change parts and build new ones if you find the right parts and tools.

    To do so, you go to the world map, where there are four dungeons based around the forest, wind, earth, and underwater. These dungeons play out like typical JRPG dungeons, with an overhead perspective, random encounters, and chests to pop open. However, the dungeons are totally randomized, and much like your typical roguelike, they become progressively difficult with each floor down. At the bottom of each is a boss monster, and clearing these will gain you huge experience and cool items. In the chests, you'll find tools, parts, money, and restoratives. The tools and parts can be taken back to your shop, and with quality materials, you can build bigger, badder weaponry.

    Customizing your robot changes not only its appearance, but also its attacks. New weapons may grant multiple strikes or elemental affinities to use in combat, and knowing which dungeon you're entering may tailor how you outfit. Fights play out similarly to Pokémon, where you choose which of your basic abilities to use at a certain energy cost. Fights are always one on one, whether it's in a dungeon or at the arena, keeping things fair. Arena matches afford new ranks to the victor, which can gain you access to new information, items, and parts of town. Becoming the Master of the arena will get you ending credits, but you can continue on in the endgame, searching out increasingly potent weaponry and reset dungeon bosses to give you both more to do and to keep it going for multi-player, where you can link up to trade parts over link cable.

    Biomotor Unitron has a fun anime flavor and the simplistic, addictive Pokémon flavored combat without the need to collect 'em all. The adventure isn't as grand or epic in scope as many RPGs, but has a good appeal for fans of games like Azure Dreams or other roguelikes. It's a fun little portable game that can be as long or as brief as you'd like, and remains pretty playable to this day. I think it may be time for me to build a new one... or maybe I should grab its Japanese exclusive sequel.

    Played it?

  2. #2
    Kirby (Level 13) Tanooki's Avatar
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    One of the short list of games that would make me want to own a NGPC again as I really got into it and played it to completion back in college. Solid handheld and a solid unique game for it too. I put more hours on this one than quite a few others including some fighters and the Metal Slug games and Sonic too. Had Neo Turf Masters and Baseball Stars not been so easy to roll into so fast for fun it may have been the most played game I had. Not much I can add you didn't already spell out, it's unique but yet it isn't, good story to keep you going, played well, and balanced well too. Shame the handheld ate it as the sequel I hear is nice.

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