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Custom Robo (GameCube) artwork

Custom Robo (GameCube) review

"Custom Robo certainly isn't your typical fighting game. Customization plays a major role, and creating characters that have balance certainly isn't the games objective. The main objective is to create the strongest fighter you can, typically something seen in RPGs or Action/Adventure titles. It would appear that mixing in amazing customization seemed to work for Noise Inc, as they created one of the more memorable titles for the GameCube. "

Custom Robo certainly isn't your typical fighting game. Customization plays a major role, and creating characters that have balance certainly isn't the games objective. The main objective is to create the strongest fighter you can, typically something seen in RPGs or Action/Adventure titles. It would appear that mixing in amazing customization seemed to work for Noise Inc, as they created one of the more memorable titles for the GameCube.


Way back in 2004, these graphics would have been at the top of the ladder. Currently, they are still very passable, which is something I really liked about Custom Robo. The graphics still hold up years later, something that mildly surprised me. In the world where you control you human character, the graphics reminded me a lot of Pokemon Colosseum. The graphics definitely had a unique art style to them that was really only seen on the GameCube. You can tell everything isn't realistic, but it doesn't matter, because it's got quite a charm to it. The environments in the game world, while not terribly varied all look nice, and had quite a bit of detail put into them.

During your Robo battles, everything becomes even nicer. Every Robo is heavily detailed, shaded properly and comes together in a nice way. Each part that your Robo acquires is quite detailed, and each part comes with its own animation. The Holloseums that the Robos battle in are also nicely detailed, and are quite varied, ranging from a toy box to a garden. Many battles will be fought in a generic stadium that is mostly purple, but even that stadium has differing styles. For example, one battle may take place where there are a few walls scattered to hide behind, and the next could have a treadmill on the entire battle, constantly pulling you and your opponent towards lava.


Custom Robo is essentially a 3D fighter. There can be anywhere from 2-4 players on the screen at once. You are in full control of your Robo at all times during the battle. While using your Robo, you can perform different actions; such as jump, shoot, deploy pods, drop bombs and tackle your opponent. Each Robo begins a match with 1000 hit points, which will decrease when hit with an attack. There is also a meter under the hit points that begins at three, and goes down when hit, and will recharge after not getting hit for a few seconds. If this meter reaches zero, your Robo will be unable to move for a couple seconds, allowing you opponent a few hits on you while you lay motionless. When you get up, you become invulnerable for a second, and can attack your opponent without fear of damage or knockback, and find a safe spot to hide. This system works in theory, as that invulnerability time allows one to flee and get to a safe hiding spot, but in reality it begins a back and forth cycle of “get knocked down-get up-knock opponent down-try and run away-get knocked down”. The system is rarely used for what it is for, and turns the battles into a contest of who has the bigger gun.

The customization aspect of Custom Robo was done quite well. You get many pages of bodies, pods, guns, bombs and legs. This really allows you to create the Robo you want, and play the way you want to. There are many basic body builds that Custom Robo gives you. Each body build also has different bodies that fit the play style but have different stats. This sets the main play style the Robo, and can help choose the other parts you should use. First off is the balanced style, which is average in everything. Next is the air model, which is allowed to air dash (double jump) multiple times. The tank style model is powerful and durable, but really slow. Next is the speed model, which is fast on the ground, but has very low defaces. Another model allows you to vanish when doing an air dash. There is also a model that lets you fly around for a short time. What I'm trying to get at, is there are many different play styles that you can choose, and there is almost certainly one for anyone who wishes to play.

There are around 50 different types of guns in Custom Robo, allowing you to have your Robo mold to you play style even more. Most of the guns are completely unique when comparing them, really showing off how creative the designers were. Guns will be the main form of attacking, and will probably be around 80% of what you do during battles. You start off with only a basic gun, and move your way up throughout story mode, the only problem being you continue getting better guns, and won't be sticking with one gun until late in the story or after you beat it.

Pods and Bombs are the other main way to attack your opponent. To be honest, they aren't of much use, and hardly get used, but are also very creative in their design. Pods are usually homing, and mostly there to cut off the paths of your opponents, while you need to aim where you would like your bombs to go. Pods tend to vanish before they make it to the opponent, and bombs are so easy to dodge they are rarely worth using. You can also customize the legs of your Robo, giving it a slight boost, such as running faster or turning sharper. Legs don't make as much different as the guns, and aren't nearly as creative in their design choices.


For a game that focuses on the Robo battles as heavily as Custom Robo does, you'd be surprised to know that it features a pretty unique and interesting story. The game begins with you attempting to become a commander, someone who battles with Robos, by joining up with a group called the Steel Hearts. For most of the game, you end up going from place to place, battling as you go until the conclusion, which in itself may not seem great, but works pretty well, and makes certain you know what is going on. The dialogue is well written, and got the occasional chuckle, and it better be because it doesn't let up. There is no voice acting, so be prepared to read quite a bit if you wish to get through it. There are also quite a few plot twists that should keep you interested right up until the conclusion.


Without any voice acting, there had better be some really catchy music to make up for it. Honestly, there isn't. The only track I can vaguely remember right after playing it was the music played while in the Steel Hearts headquarters, and that is only because you are in there for a fairly lengthy portion of the game. The tracks do add to the intensity of the battles, but are quickly forgotten afterwards.

Play Time:

Custom Robo is not a long game, nor should it be. The length quite suits it, and the real value of it is playing with friends and improving your skills. The main story mode will take about 5-7 hours, while the endgame mode will take another few hours. The main story mode actually has a story, while the endgame mode is just tournament after tournament, sometimes with different stipulations. You can only unlock certain parts after beating story mode, so playing through the second mode is almost a must if you want the best ones. There is quite a bit of repetitiveness in the battles, so I would recommend taking breaks in between play times.

Replay Value:

I'm not quite sure why you'd want to replay Custom Robo, unless you were like me and deleted your save file, assuming you'd never play it again. The most fun you can have with it is playing after beating the main story mode, as that is when you get the best parts. The multiplayer is also quite fun if you can get friends who will play with you, but they almost need to play through the story mode themselves in order to get as good as you will be at that point.

Pros and Cons:

+ Amazing customization featured
+ Story, for being pretty good for a fighting game
+ Gameplay, while being slightly repetitive, still very fun

- Very little replay value
- No voice acting
- A few useless weapons

Recommendation (Buy):

I would definitely recommend Custom Robo to fans of both fighting games and action games, because it does a very good job of combining both. It may not have the depth of a Street Fighter, but some of the more advanced techniques will make the experience that much more rewarding. Custom Robo is really one of the titles on the GameCube that you should not skip, and should pick up while you still can.


marter's avatar
Community review by marter (March 21, 2010)

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