Dreamcast Game #24: Tech Romancer
超鋼戦紀キカイオー, Chōkō Senki Kikaiō, “Chronicle of Super Steel Warrior Kikaioh” / テックロマンサー
Hi there! As you surely know by now, this will be the final Dreamcast game that will be reviewed on Medium, after nearly three years… yeah it’s sad, but we can at least retire knowing that retro gaming is alive and well. But I have a game for you to review… Tech Romancer!
The game was initially released for the arcades in 1998 and was later ported to the Dreamcast console in 2000. The player controls a giant robot which is used to fight another robot in one-on-one combat. Studio Nue (the animation studio responsible for the mechanical designs for the mecha anime series The Super Dimension Fortress Macross) designed the robots in this game. The game draws heavily from the various subgenres of mecha anime, such as the Gundam franchise. The game’s composer is Yuki Iwai, who later left Capcom after this game’s production.
Playable robots and pilots
- Armor Knight G (Grand) Kaiser piloted by Junpei Todoroki (v.b. Tochika Koichi)
- The Messenger of Beauty and Justice Diana-17 piloted by Reio Ninomiya (v.b. Neya Michiko)
- Magical Patched Robot Bolon piloted by Polliam “Pollin” de Pollinten (v.b. Togepi from Pokémon)
- Strategic Variable Fighter Rafaga piloted by Simon Harvard (v.b. Koyasu Takehito)
- Super Defense Armour Dixen either piloted by Nakato Farland (v.b. Nakahara Shigeru) or Halma Frockhart (v.b. Takamori Yoshino)
- Fighting Force Pulsion either piloted by Kai Kaines (v.b. Koyasu Takehito) or Kei Keirum (v.b. Nakagawa Miki)
- Phantasm Unit Twinzam V piloted by Daichi Yumeno and Sora Yumeno (v.b. Satoshi/Ash and Kasumi/Misty, respectively)
- Heavy Armour Tank Wise Duck piloted by a crew of five: Sergeant Gonzales (commander, v.b. Gōri Daisuke — deceased 2010), Arvin Clauford (combat, v.b. Nakahara Shigeru), Ricky (gunner, v.b. Tochika Koichi), Thomas (pilot, v.b. Koyasu Takehito), and Herman (sonar/communications, v.b. Ikeda Shuichi)
- Maryou Shogun Gourai piloted by the masked Shadow Red (v.b. Tochika Koichi)
- Variant Armor Blodia II Custom piloted by Jin Saotome (v.b. Ueda Yuji), who is a guest fighter originally from Cyberbots and later a playable character in Marvel vs. Capcom and its sequel
Enemy robots and pilots
- Quvearl piloted by Yale (v.b. Takamori Yoshino)
- Gamda piloted by Arekshim (v.b. Nakao Ryusei)
- Goldibus (v.b. Otsuka Chikao — deceased 2015)
Gameplay and story
Battles take place mostly on a flat 3D plane, with buildings and other terrain features scattered around. Destroying the terrain (by attacking or walking through them) releases power-ups, which include three weapons (vary between each character/mecha), armor or life powerups, and the Hero Mode powerup, which increases the power of your mecha’s attacks, and may also unlock additional abilities or moves.
Rather than rounds, the matches are decided by the life meters of the fighters. Each fighter has two life meters, and is destroyed when the second one is depleted. In addition, each mecha gets an armor gauge that, when broken by consistent brute attacks, lowers the mecha’s defense and makes it harder to recover from attacks received.
The setting of Tech Romancer takes place in a far future of Earth, where advanced technology have made things calm and decent for the citizens of Japan and the rest of the world. However, the peace doesn’t last long as an evil alien tyrant named Goldibus invades the planet with its loyal followers and seeks to conquer the world while enslaving the human race with an emotionless iron fist. An unlikely group of heroes band together to fight against the threat of Goldibus with their own unique mecha robots and all of them won’t rest until Goldibus is defeated and the world is safe from the imminent danger.
The game is primarily played in two modes: Story Mode, and Hero Challenge Mode. The Dreamcast version also had minigames that could be played on the VMU for points.
- The Story Mode plays out like an anime series, with each battle broken up by an episode title, eye-catch, and dialog scenes before and after each battle. Each mecha has its own story (where it is the star of its own show), and decisions made in the dialog scenes, as well as the conditions under which a battle is won, can cause some stories to branch out and have multiple paths and endings. The other mecha and characters naturally make appearances, but their role may vary from their actual origins to fit the “star” mecha’s story.
- The Hero Challenge Mode is an “arcade-style” mode where the player fights through each of the major mecha and bosses. Various hidden mecha and pilots found in the game can only be used in Hero Challenge Mode. In the Dreamcast version, points earned in Hero Challenge Mode and the VMU minigames could be used to purchase hidden characters including boss characters and movies.
To finish it up, I didn’t own the game physically, but it was downloaded from a ROM site and later burned on the now-discontinued DiscJuggler. Pollin’s story is surprisingly funny, as she would roughly age herself up to 17 years old. The Yumeno siblings are literally Satoshi/Ash and Kasumi/Misty from the Pokémon anime series. It’s been twelve years since Gōri Daisuke (the original Heihachi Mishima in Tekken and the original Mr. Satan/Hercule in Dragon Ball) has passed away.
And that’s all 24 Dreamcast games that have been reviewed on Medium! Just a quick note: Imprint was shut down on February 5 citing copyright fires. To add insult to injury, “Imprint has been taken down by the DMCA, revolving around copyrighted content. We have been put in a position where our team can no longer maintain the platform,” the site read. We need to know that when reviewing anime, manga, video games, television, or listing favorite fictional characters and/or fonts, the images and screenshots are always the property of their respective owners/artists and are always used under fair use while reviewing them.
Tapas creators also must take note of copyright fires, too, as they don’t want to end up like Imprint at all. TV Tropes might be the next victim of copyright fires, but the images (with the exception of the TV Tropes logo) in each trope’s entry are always used under fair use. You might want to go around trademarks in your webcomic on Tapas and/or other webcomic sites during production and prior to launching. Just don’t end up like Imprint at all.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey of reviewing Dreamcast games on Medium as much as I did. It was fun reviewing them, but after nearly three years, we’re done reviewing Dreamcast games. I will still be around, but after March 8th, this retrogaming blog will cease publication on Medium. In the end, all video games have been completed! Thanks for reading! Samurai Cory out.