Compared: November 22, 2002
After seeing Robotech: Battlecry unveiled at the 2002 E3 show I couldn't wait to get my hands on this title that showed such amazing potential. Taking all the excitement and action from the popular animated series and combining it with amazing cell-shaded graphics, Vicious Cycle has created one of the most effective and true-to-the-original anime-style games in video game history.
Released on all major next-gen platforms, GCM had the privilege of having three different reviewers evaluate each of the versions for some very diverse opinions. As you can see from the scores, Robotech was a hit and still a favorite with everyone here at GCM. I had the luxury of playing all three versions side-by-side in preparation for this comparison review.
Round 1: Control
Robotech is an incredibly difficult game to play, but this is in no way due to the control system, which is nearly flawless across all three systems. If I had to find any fault with the controls it would be a simple lack of configuration options. Other than that, I found the controls to be fairly intuitive across all the systems and their controllers. The PS2 offered a greater comfort for the long haul due to it's smaller size, but in the end this round is a draw.
Round 2: Visuals
By using cell-shaded graphics the designers have set a visual style that can be handled adequately and equally across all the systems. Most of the special effects you expect from a modern game have been traded in for stylized visual effects that resemble an animated comic book more than a computer game.
Prepare for hundreds of detailed ships, rockets and missiles with smoke trails, and plenty of fire, smoke, and explosions set against simple, yet astonishingly convincing cities, canyons and the vastness of space. No matter where you are fighting the framerate is fluid and smooth. None of the systems are forced to rely on fogging or other tricks to hide the details on the horizon.
In a direct side-by-side comparison I did see a few variances in quality that I can only attribute to the hardware. The PS2 offered a much higher contrast with rich and more vibrant colors. The GameCube version seemed a bit washed out with textures that can only be described as "blurry" in places. The Xbox falls comfortably in the middle.
None of these differences are all that noticeable unless you are switching between the same scenes in the game using a switchbox like I was doing. You will certainly be happy with whichever version you end up playing.
Round 3: Music & Sound
The sound and music share the same level of quality across all the systems. While this makes your decision easier it is a shame that this also means no Pro Logic II for the GameCube or Dolby Digital 5.1 for the Xbox. With all of the intense action taking place during almost every second of gameplay, this is definitely one of those games that would benefit from a killer surround mix. As it is, this round is a draw.
Round 4: Other Deciding Factors
This is one of those rare games that offers no real differences between any of the available formats. Even load times on the Xbox aren't any faster than the PS2 or the GameCube. This is truly an equal port across multiple systems.
Despite the variance of .9 between the GameCube and the PS2 versions of Robotech, which I attribute to reviewer preference, this game is a perfect port on whichever system you play it. The only one who loses in this battle is the person who fails to play this amazing game. Deciding on which system is right for you is probably as simple as which controller won't give you blisters after your tenth consecutive hour of intense gameplay.