Thursday, July 30, 2009

Madou King Granzort

Hudson Soft
HuCard (SuperGrafx)

Madou King Granzort is an action game somewhat reminiscent of Blood Gear's sidescrolling segments, which isn't all that surprising considering that Red had a hand in both efforts. That doesn't mean you should expect MKG to match the excellent BG as far as depth and excitement go, but it does boast a cool gameplay feature absent from its aRPG cousin: the availability of three playable characters, each of whom possesses distinct abilities and weaponry and is selectable on the fly.

There's the fearless RED robot, who busts shit up with his earth-shaker technique and awesome energy blade.

There's the slick GREEN robot, who utilizes his handy hover-skills to reach faraway platforms while slaying adversaries with a neat beam bow.

And there's the wimpy BLUE robot, who wields a weak baton-like thing and cowers behind a defense barrier.

Switching at the right times is necessary not only to destroy all of your enemies but also to make it through the vast, occasionally mazelike levels. Granzort isn't merely about plodding along and smashing stuff. There's plenty of room for exploration, and if you take the time to deviate from straight-ahead villain-crushing, you can find LOTS of extra lives.

Sadly, this brings us to a couple of gripes I imagine some people will have about the game. Aside from the occasional shield icon, there isn't really much to stumble upon while exploring except for the copious 1-ups. And once you collect dozens (literally) of those, the adventure might not seem very exciting or challenging. Boring background graphics won't help sustain interest.

Granzort gets off to a good start graphically with nice colors and parallax (though the bushes and ruins look paper thin as they scroll by)...

...but later backdrops are drab. At least the action remains satisfying.

Regardless of how they look, the levels are pretty fun to explore, though you can search high and low without finding anything aside from unnecessary 1-ups.

A few good whacks to the head will take care of this guy in Stage 1...

...but he wisens up for the return bout.

The blue robot is a throwaway character for the most part, but his defense barrier is essential during certain boss fights.

Head shots are in order here.

The last beast isn't very mobile, but it creates other creatures who can cause lots of trouble. Deal with them quickly if they're of the troublesome sort; but when a foe who doesn't do much (like the red goober in the above shot) materializes on the right side of the screen, leave it alone and bust up the boss with ease.

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