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Supercharged Robot VULKAISER (PC) artwork

Supercharged Robot VULKAISER (PC) review

"Lunch Break Blasting"

Supercharged Robot VULKAISER is half an hour of cheesy 70ís-style giant robot nostalgia. It has all the trapping of the animes of yore; heroic defenders of the planet dressed in colour coded uniforms that pilot giant cumbersome robots against dorky looking invaders of another world. Expecting a rocket punch attack? Itís in there. Expecting the robotís inventor to be a mad scientists with a fluffy grey moustache? Thatís in there too. Want a theme song that talks about the science of courage? And justice! And love?! Itís just one rousing chorus of BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! away.

In its commitment to lampooning its subject material, it would be easy to believe that VULKAISER is based off an anime of its own. Itís not, and the adventure of Takuya Akatsuki simply exists to poke fun. Takuya mans the main robot while his four friends pilot separate craft. Combine the two, and Takuya suddenly has access to special powers: docking with wiley fighter jet veteran, Yukimasa Murata, grants access to billowing missile strikes. Picking vengeance-filled socialite pilot, Suzuna Jujo, grafts a bloody great drill to the robotís hands.

It leads for two very different styles of play. Your missiles branch out from your standard attack waves, covering more of the screen, while the drill asks you to ram it right in the faces of the enemy. The needle add-on is significantly weaker than those two, but has the best spread-shot, filling more of the screen with your own bullets. The remaining electric attack shares a lot of basic similarities with the missiles, but both have different charge attacks. One fires a massive area damage missile, the offer a few seconds of a constant electric blast.

Charge attacks are rapidly acquired and easily activated; a few seconds of constant attacking will fill the bar - then just stop firing. And thereís a massive missile for you. Or a stream of electricity. Or youíve just launched a mini-drill or fired bright yellow needles everywhere. Thereís also Omega Weapons -- VULKAISERís version of the genre-obligatory screen-clearing bomb. Each add-on boasts a unique Omega weapon, but the catch is you only get to fire it once before itís gone. The only way to restock is to dock with a different pilot.

The catch to all this is that you only have one life in Supercharged Robot VULKAISER. And no continues.

Thereís six levels to power through, each boasting mid-stage boss battles with the effeminate invading generalís collection of animal-based mechs. A bee-like fighter craft will transform into a bi-pedal version when it soaks up enough damage, or a plodding snail-inspired weapons platform will suddenly sprout legs and transform its torso into a buzzsaw, then surge after you. Thereís some reprieve to be had; the Vulkaiser can soak up a decent amount of punishment before it goes down, but you do have to nurse it as best you can. Finishing a level will only offer limited repairs and and if your friendís add-ons are destroyed they remain unavailable for the rest of the game.

Thereís a real risk/reward element as sticking with your favourite add-on will also unlock differing end-mission dialogues with the appropriate co-pilot. Take significant damage and repairs will not be able to dial the pods back to full health -- is it worth risking them just to see how their reflex training is getting on, or by taking a peek behind their undying hatred?

VULKAISER is lunch break shooting. Seeing off all six levels should only take you a few trial runs before youíre comfortable enough to smash through the stages without a game-over, and thereís something refreshing about the bite-sized scrolling as opposed to the eye-watering slogs other shoot-em-ups feel obliged to become. Add to that the gloriously over-the-top veneer of 1970ís anime -- did I mention you have access to a rocket punch? -- and those of you clamoring for Voltron Abridged -- The Video Game finally have your wish.


EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (June 12, 2015)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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Masters posted January 04, 2016:

This one seems to be worth a look. The one-life/energy bar setup reminds me of UN Squadron from back in the day. I'm a mark for anything old school anime-inspired, and I bet Vulkaiser is more fun than Galak-Z was.
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EmP posted January 04, 2016:

I've played a few cool shooters with the die once/game over mechanic recently like QP Shooting Dangerous and (review upcoming!) Sora. I offered you this game back when it was released - which explains why I ended up covering it!

Thanks. It is a good little game that's perfect for something to pick up when you don't have the time to delve into something.

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