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Gungriffon Blaze

Review By: Jared Black

Developer: Game Arts
Publisher: Working Designs
# of Players: 1
Genre: Action
ESRB: Teen
Date Posted: 12-6-00

Iím sure all of you are familiar enough with the concept of a "mech" that Iíll save you a long boring description of them. Basically, a mech is a big robot designed for a person to ride in and blow lots and lots of things up. They come equipped with lots of extra weapons and armor, and also provide the rider with a HUD (Heads Up Display) to view the action from, much like any other war vehicle. Many different games have tried to capture the spirit and essence of controlling a mech, but perhaps no game has done it as well as Gungriffon Blaze.

The gameplay is undoubtedly the star in this game, so Iíll start with that first. Whereas most other mech series (notably Mechwarrior) have tried to combine a lot of mech customization with somewhat slower action, the Gungriffon Blaze series has always focused on fast-paced action and lots of stuff to blow up. Luckily, Game Arts has completely nailed the fast-paced action this time around. The dual analog sticks provide a near-perfect experience, as the right stick is used for looking around while the left is used for moving. With minimal effort (especially if youíve played any PS2 first-person shooter that uses this setup) youíll be gliding across the countryside, dodging and strafing and blasting your way in no time.

I was particularly impressed with how Game Arts handled the way your mech jumps. For perhaps the first time ever (and perhaps this is due to the very friendly controller setup) jumping finally feels "right". With the simple press of a button your mech will soar high into the air and then slowly glide down to the ground. Finally a game actually makes it simple to aim your weapons while jumping! The result is some very tactical gameplay (do I jump over that battery of guns and hit Ďem from behind or do I perform a frontal assault?).

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