GAMECUBE REVIEW: ZOIDS: BATTLE LEGENDS

I think that giant battling mechs are interesting enough without having to turn them into giant animals and dinosaurs. This just reeks of kid pandering. Just tell the little bastards that mechs function better when they resemble robots. Explain that it's because they are built by mature, adult engineers and not 12-year-old anime punks.

Zoids: Battle Legends is based on the anime cartoon show Zoids which features mechs that are inspired by dinosaurs and mammals. It stars the requisite 12-year-old anime punks that know better than the adults. There are some older characters in the show but of course the kids are on par with them physically and mentally.

A series of mechs require pilots to defend the planet and/or conquer the planet Zi. With more than 17 different characters from the show, each with different attributes, and a good assortment of mechs there are a lot of combinations to choose from. Mechs are also upgradable. There are more than 100 different parts including weapons and armor that can seriously affect a mech's performance. The larger mechs are able to handle more serious upgrades.

Missions are simple. Most of them require you destroy all the enemies onscreen. There are cutscenes which give us insight into the objective of each mission but we don't get too in depth with the characters. Here's where it pays to be a fan of the show.

You can choose between the Empire or Republic campaign. In the Empire mode you will play as Shomo as he searches for a missing group of pilots. In Republic mode you play as Kouki who is searching for Republic supporters. Other modes include Battle, Verses, and Fist.

Zoids has the potential to be fun but it's hampered by technical issues with the gameplay mechanics. The mechs possess limited abilities such as the ability to move backwards. They can run and they do run fast but you can't seem to move slowly. There are times when you may just want to turn a little to either side to counter an attack only to find that you have moved too far and quite possibly into a more vulnerable position.

The lock-on system doesn't always target the mech closest to you which is what it's supposed to do. In multiple mech battles this can be insanely frustrating since you may be getting blasted in the face by one mech but you can't defend yourself from him since your missiles are being directed at another mech in the background that isn't an immediate threat.

The mechs aren't great looking nor do they feel particularly heavy. Their movement is stiff and they lack detail. The environments suffer from blandness and ugly textures. Too often the battle arenas feel small and confining. The sounds are decent but aside from the odd cutscene the game looks, feels and sounds empty.

Fans of the show might find something to like about Zoids but gamers that know their mechs will be stunned at how restrictive and faulty this game is.

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System: GameCube
Dev: Tomy Entertainment
Pub: Atari
Release: Sept 2004
Players: 1 - 2
Review by Dan
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.5
GRAPHICS
3.0
CONTROL
2.0
MUSIC/FX
2.5
VALUE
2.0