Monday, April 22, 2013
Micronet opted not to enlist any sullen fireball hurlers, flip-kicking soldiers, or one-eyed Thai boxers for this SCD fighter. Combat-happy robo-warriors make up Black Hole Assault's convention-defying lineup.
Unfortunately, these rumbling robots aren't very handy with their steel extremities. They're capable of dealing weak jabs and kicks and performing "specials" that in most cases are common uppercuts and knee strikes and never require much in the way of skill to pull off. Firing a projectile calls for you to do nothing more than put distance between yourself and your opponent and execute a single button press.
It's robot-vs.-robot combat that's simple to a fault. Micronet knew they had an all-too-basic product on their hands, so they implemented environmental effects and hazards to give players additional elements to think about. Tussling while under the influence of an abnormal level of gravity isn't as wacky or as challenging as you might believe it would be, and the fighter-decking bursts of flame are anything but massive conflagrations.
Neither your foes nor your surroundings are ever likely to place you in great peril. In fact, simply scoring a single knockdown often opens the door for you to beat your opponent senseless. Just pound repeatedly on the poor mechanical sap as it dazedly attempts to rise to its feet.
Though I knew about all of this prior to acquiring the disc, I was still somewhat eager to give BHA a try. As much an expert on groundbreaking cartoons as on robot-starring fighters, my polymathic cousin Zigfriedevsky had informed me that the game's cinemas feature a temperamental fellow reminiscent of Robotech legend Anatole Leonard, who is undoubtedly the smartest, toughest, most fascinating character in all of anime. Indeed, BHA's bald, gruff Captain Graine greatly reminds me of his Masters saga progenitor as he calls for immediate attacks on an unknown foe; demands that his superiors shut their yaps at once; and refers to his toiling, try-hard subordinates as idiots. Thank goodness for this brash Leonard-inspired officer; aside from his fury-filled episodes, BHA's interludes present little but poorly drawn characters, inane dialogue, and uninteresting plot points.
Unfortunately, Graine is able to make only so many demands and dish out only so much abuse before being forced to yield screen time to the dull fight scenes. The robots themselves aren't dull design-wise, but little was done to individualize them. Hardly any differences are to be found in their respective move sets, and none of them are imbued with much personality. Not even an awesomely grouchy Leonard wannabe can make up for such deficiencies.