Robotech: The Macross Saga
Developer: Lucky Chicken Games
Publisher: TDK mediactive
Genre: 2-D Shooter
Release Date: 11/15/2002

Robotech: The Macross Saga is not only the first game I ever reviewed for 411Games/Inside Pulse, but it was the first article I ever wrote for the site’s) as well. Most people assume it’s my “Top Ten RPG Franchises that make Final fantasy Look Like Fecal Matter,” but nope, this game was it. Guess it got overshadowed, which is too bad, as R:TMS remains not only the best shooter on the GBA, but the arguably the best shooter I’ve played in the past 6 years.

Like the games namesake, you will be playing through the entire Macross saga of the Robotech Trilogy. You have a choice of five pilots to start, and can unlock five later on; one for each character you beat the game with. There’s Roy Fokker, Max Sterling, Rick Hunter, Ben Dixon, and Miriya. Oddly enough, two of the characters die in the series, and one doesn’t join with the good guys until halfway through. Crazier yet, Ben Dixon is the easiest character to beat the game with and well – if you’re a Robotech fan you realize the awkwardness of that fact.

The music and graphics are ripped straight from the anime itself. Every track is something you will instantly remember from the cartoon. Every character looks perfect, from Admiral Gloval to even the Zentradi rank and file. The colours, the level design, and even the massive of alien troops trying to blow up your fighter and SDF-1 are all plucked from the original source material. This is one of the best licensed titles I’ve ever played and is far superior to the Robotech titles that appears on Cube, PS2 and Xbox.

Even better, your Veritech fighter can transform into all three modes, each having their own special benefit. The Fighter is the best all around and the best for maneuvering. The Guardian mode gives you added protection against enemies and slows down the scrolling. You can also touch the ground without fear of taking damage. This is my personal favorite mode and really, there’s little reason to choose the other two forms once you’ve mastered the Guardian configuration. . Especially against bosses. Finally there’s the battaloid aka “Jetfire” mode. This offers two underutilized benefits. The first is that you can aim in a full 360 degree motion in this form. The other is that it STOPS the side scrolling altogether, allowing you to move at your own pace and catch your breath. This is great for newcomers to the shooter genre. These are valuable skills if you master them and this is the next best mode after Guardian. Even the playable characters have their own specific bonuses that reflects the actual characters personalities.

The game lasts ten levels and acts like an RPG where you can exchange points for upgrades of your health bar, the amount of missiles you can carry, your speed, and more.

You’ll also only be in the Veritech for 6 of the ten levels. In two of the levels you’ll have a super Battaloid. In two others, you have a choice of four Destroids, all of which have their positives and negatives. I prefer the Spartan personally.

Robotech: The Macross Saga is not a hard game to find on Ebay, and will generally set you back between four and ten bucks. Not bad for a pretty challenging and enjoyable shooter. If you’re a fan of Robotech at all, this game will cover you with nostalgia and make you feel like you’re playing the cartoon itself. What more can you ask for?