Tag Archives: giant robots

Xenogears 07: The Good News

Today we shall consider the story of…

Going Mad

Er… Um… Hm. You know what?

They are!

No sermon for today. We will keep the message short.

She's a mol!  Wait...

Xenogears is good. Xeno-games are always good.

Even Worse Streams presents Xenogears
Night 7

Original Stream Night: February 23, 2021
Night of the Korcha

Random Notes on the Stream

  • “Welcome to the Goliath Factory, we mostly make action figures from the Disney series from 1992.”
  • “I love that the girl robot has long hair and boobs.”
    “That is a long tradition.”
  • A detailed discussion of NieR and daddy Nier versus brother Nier. Gee, this may have inspired an article.
  • My deep confession for the stream is that I don’t care for the Metal Gear Solid franchise. Sorry!
  • Nobody likes this giant robotNinja Golf! Aqua Teen Hunger Force! A boring dungeon!
  • I may have deliberately stalled so Caliscrub could see his favorite part…
  • Mad Skillz happen! See above! Then our brand new airship explodes. At least we got a Grahf fight out of the deal.
  • We demand Justice League Task Force with rollback netcode.
  • So now we’re on a garbage barge while talking about Superman games.
  • “Goofy has been two different kinds of turtles.” We all love Kingdom Hearts mythology.
  • They were your guides, and now they are your enablers. The true family of Sora.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean in Kingdom Hearts 3 is likened to Bowser’s Fury and other “mini” games.
  • We talk about the intricacies of language, communication, and Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game while Fei is hanging out on the Thames.
  • “The harshest cusses available by law.”
  • Look at 'em goSpend your Fridays getting drunk with a walrus, and you too will be cool.
  • Kishi arrives just in time to be accidentally threatened by BEAT. Also: Elly gets slapped.
  • Let’s explore the Yggdrasil and talk about Ghosts ‘n Goblins games of various styles.
  • Kishi also arrived for their favorite line. This is a night of miracles.
  • BEAT officially watches paint dry while avoiding this illustrious stream.
  • BEAT also imagines fish with giant arms. Like this robot we’re fighting.
  • Jessiah Black appears! He’s cool, right?
  • And Billy is here, too, as we discuss cool scars and who may literally just be Trigun’s Wolfwood.
  • Kishi explains how “Armor Ground” is just supposed to be “Deck” as we close out for the night.

Next time on Xenogears: There are going to be more than a few more Trigun references.

I maintain this is true

Xenogears 02: Fei in the Desert

VroomAnd so we again look to the story of Fei Fong Wong.

Fei had tasted -the power- of the enormous Weltall, but forsaken it, as that same power that could have saved his village destroyed it and the people he loved. Without a home or the support of his tribe, Fei visited the nearby Dazil. There, he tried to secure transportation with his last remaining friend, Citan. But when Citan entered the desert alone, Fei chased after him. Fei thought his friend was in danger! And he was! The poor, human Citan was being menaced by enormous Gears not unlike those that had ruined Fei’s life. Fei had but one choice: again pilot the Weltall, and rescue his most loyal companion.

But then the devil came down to Dazil.

The devil came to Fei and said, “If you are the Slayer of God, then why did you slay your friends?”

Fei answered, “It is written: ‘ashes to ashes and dust to dust. Here lies a fiancée no one should trust.’”

Then the devil took step atop his Gear and said, “Slayer of God,” he said, “I brought those Gears to your village. How did you fail so thoroughly?”

Fei answered him, “If you hadn’t come, the village would not have suffered the way it did. You cannot be the person who judges me for an act you instigated.”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the deserts of the world and their sandiness. ”Imagine -the power- I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Fei said to him, “Away from me, Grahf! For it is written: ‘Honor thy Dad, I mean thy Father.’”

Look out!And then the devil got huffy, and left Fei a giant sandworm to fight. And then Fei got captured, regained his giant robot, and had to fight through a stupid dungeon for like three hours. But Balthasar confirmed evolution was a real thing during that little adventure, so we’re not going to talk about that…

Even Worse Streams presents Xenogears
Night 2

Original Stream Night: January 12, 2021
Night of The Monster Rancher

Random Notes on the Stream

  • Welcome to our second town! There’s a lot of sand. We’re going to start with a discussion of some dumb anime, like Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies moved to a starter town? … That is the whole title of a show…
  • We would like to publicly state that Even Worse Streams does not in any way condone slavery.
  • Caliscrub enters as Citan talks to Fei about stuff he absolutely shouldn’t know.
  • Hey, did you know The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a great game? It totally is, and better at triggering flags than Xenogears.
  • LET ME READ YOUR FINGERSFei wanders the desert as we try to figure out if Dude, Where’s My Car is a real movie that happened.
  • We are all impressed by Fei getting a free motorcycle like KOS-MOS. A franchise staple!
  • Is it weird that I am nostalgic for references to BEAT’s old, banned Twitter account?
  • Xenogears once again is compared to Chrono Cross and the infamous “you are the Chrono Trigger speech”.
  • And the first video ends as we are kidnapped by soldiers/discuss eyeballs.

  • Hey, if you didn’t catch it yet, Xenogears is Star Wars. We got captured by Tusken Raiders.
  • BEAT appreciates zooming in on people-pixels. The rest of us are not impressed.
  • Bart the Sand Pirate is assumed horny until proven otherwise. This will never be proven otherwise.
  • I cannot believe Caliscrub keeps watching Tusk instead of Xenogears as Fei… dies. Sorry! Didn’t walk fast enough! Quick restart!
  • Bart arrives! And his mech only has one eye!
  • This is getting annoyingBEAT read ahead! He knows about Chu Chu already!
  • Our first Gear dungeon! Oh boy jumping around a cave! Because you can (not) fly.
  • Confirmed: BEAT has beaten Chrono Trigger, but has not collected any cats.
  • We like talking about Geno and Bowser the Furry.
  • As Segment 2 ends, Fanboymaster goads me into explaining how the Gears’ tech points work. I would like to do that… if I knew what the hell they did.

  • “Just let me commit a war crime” – BEAT
  • Balthasar appears! He is one of those guys that makes robots good.
  • The Japanese names of the three sages of Chrono Trigger are Hash, Basch, and Gasch. Their American names start popping up around here in Xenogears…
  • And then there’s a discussion on the Biblical Elijah. We can talk about something other than Aqua Teen Hunger Force!
  • Oh, hey, this dungeon goes on forever while we are reminded this whole streaming thing was once called Dog Street Streams.
  • Penguin Drum and Revolutionary Girl Utena are discussed as Old Man Bal talks about the inevitable Omnigear.
  • Another vrooomWe’re leaving the cave! By going down! It makes perfect sense!
  • Opposite the boss battle with a foreshadowing Gear the Queen biopic is discussed. That movie also had a lot of cats.
  • Pretty much everyone disappears as we explore the Yggdrasil and discuss the future of Xenogears… Wait! BEAT comes back! Then it’s over!

Next time on Xenogears: Let’s Fight!

Xenogears 01: The Story of Fei

Let's Xeno some GearsLet us consider the parable of Fei Fong Wong

Fei had a good life. He was the talk of the town, a prodigious painter, and a friend to children and animals alike. Fei was not a violent man, but he taught others martial arts with enough skill that it was clear he had studied it prodigiously in the past. And what was Fei’s past? Nobody knew! Fei was a complete tabula rasa when he arrived at the village of Lahan. But even without memories of a former life, Fei was a good man, and well loved by all those around him.

Though being well loved sometimes causes its own problems. Fei had two best friends, Alice and Timothy, and they were pledged to be married. They both adored Fei, but this may have been a problem for Alice. She often commented that she wondered what would have happened if Fei had lived in the village all his life, and if Timothy had never been in the picture.

But did Fei take this opportunity to covet his best friend’s wife-to-be? No! Fei was a good, decent man, and still did everything he could to support his friends. He visited another mutual friend, Dr. Citan Uzuki, to secure a wedding photographer. Fei’s trip up the mountain to Citan’s home is perilous and wrought with danger, but he does it not to “win” Alice, but to be the good man that helps his friends. Who else was going to fight all those wolves? Dan of the extended forehead? Pashaw!

But things take a turn for the worse when Fei returns from his altruistic errand. “Giants” attack the town of Lahan, and these creatures are revealed to be gargantuan robots piloted by enemy combatants. Fei and Citan both work together to save the town, but Fei makes a terrible mistake when he attempts to pilot one of these robots. While in the cockpit, Fei witnesses the death of Timothy, and then things escalate as Fei enters a fugue state that ultimately leads to more fatalities, including the death of Alice. In the end, the whole town of Lahan can no longer bear to look at Fei, as his robot recklessness is responsible for a steep decline in the local population.

But what Fei does next is what makes him a good man.

It's tense for all of usFei felt -the power- when he gained his enormous Gear. And, when the townsfolk banished him, he could have easily shown them the wrong side of a mechanical machine gun. But, no, Fei immediately forsakes -the power-, and listens to the pleas of the townsfolk. He exiles himself to a nearby forest, and lives the rest of his days without returning to Lahan. He tasted -the power-, but he did not desire it, so Lahan is a better place/flaming crater.

And is Fei rewarded for this act of sacrifice? Well, he immediately thereafter meets his soulmate and fights a real, live dinosaur. So you tell me.

So always remember the parable of Fei Fong Wong. He was a man that had -the power-, found it to be too much, and then forsook it for a better life with a cute redhead.

… Wait. There’s more to this story?

…. Hm. Guess there might be a few more updates…

Even Worse Streams presents Xenogears
Night 1

Original Stream Night: January 5, 2021
Night of Blazing Dragons

This “night” was separated into three separate videos, as I was trying to follow the success of the smaller Let’s Play chapters of World of Final Fantasy. Unfortunately, due to the length of Xenogears, this does not last past Night 3…

Random Notes on the Stream

  • “This will only take three months.” Welcome to our irreverent Let’s Play of Xenogears! And the joke is on you, Prophetic fanboymaster, it winds up taking six months!
  • Please enjoy giant karate robot fights. If you do not appreciate such a thing, this is going to be a long Let’s Play.
  • Dan’s enormous forehead impresses us all.
  • Hey girlChrono Trigger’s Lucca is discovered after wandering around the village. The Zohar save points are not memory cubes. Shapes do not work like that.
  • We explain Chrono Cross as Fei crosses the mountains. Funny that this winds up being posted only after the complete Chrono Cross Let’s Play… fanboymaster is consistently a Korcha and Funguy hater.
  • As we get to Citan’s House, we note that the Final Fantasy 7 Remake is named oddly.
  • Watch as a music box explodes. Is this an omen? No, of course not. Shut-up, Citan.

  • And thus is the pastoral village attacked by… something. Did the directors think people would not recognize giant robots from 40 minutes back?
  • Do not be a JRPG protagonist. Absolutely do not be a JRPG protagonist’s best friend.
  • *Record Scratch* “You’re probably wondering how I got into this giant robot.”
  • Seriously, girl?This is chronologically the first time on the stream that BEAT compliments the opening of Spec Ops: The Line. Please see every other stream for more information.
  • Foreshadowing for how experience points do not work with Gears right there at the start…
  • Xenosaga and Star Ocean Part 2 have boring intros. Xenogears murders an entire town damn quickly.
  • While making it through the forest, fanboymaster attempts to read a FAQ on activating deathblows. Let us never consider it again, and get some cheating going next stream.
  • “Skies of Arcadia was definitely a polycule by the end,” is uttered as Caliscrub swings in.

  • Hey, this was back when BEAT was displaced from his usual home. This has nothing to do with Fei and Elly exploring a forest, but is relevant to remembering how long ago we streamed Xenogears…
  • Remember when Angry Birds was huge? Fei can fight some birds.
  • Fei also fights a dinosaur as Caliscrub recounts how he beat Xenogears over the course of two years and two copies.
  • This is concerning“The giant robot is my friend.”
  • Citan and Elly have a heart to heart while married men discuss dating apps that scrape twitter.
  • Elly runs off into the night as the Xenosaga – Xenogears connection is discussed.
  • Which fighting game includes Jesus? It has nothing to do with chaos and Xenosaga.
  • And we close with a discussion on the ancient archives of that one forum.

Next time on Xenogears: Meet the parents.

OMEGA

FGC #635 Rocket Knight

Let's rocket alongThe Rocket Knight franchise is a great collection of games starring a possum with a jetpack. Did you see the way he dangles on his little tail? Totally adorbs. Unfortunately, these four games contain one of the most confusing naming schemes in the history of gaming. So let us take a quick break to review the games starring Sparkster, and delineate which games appeared when and where. This will simultaneously be informative and note how many games contain giant robots (it’s all of them).

Rocket Knight Adventures
1993
Sega Genesis
The Original

This is so coolIf there is a reason there is a “Rocket Knight” franchise in any tangible way, it is because of this game. And not just because this is the one that started it all! Rocket Knight Adventures is clearly a labor of love by a team that not only was interested in what was next for gaming in 1993, but also Konami’s illuminous past.

As an obvious example of Sparkster showcasing what was contemporary in gaming, we have how this awesome possum moves. This little dude is all about speed, and, complete with a jetpack perpetually tied to his back, Sparky is ready to literally fly through levels. But, while much of the level design is built around seeing how far you can get this rocket knight to ricochet around the world, it is not all simply spin-dashing to a brighter future. This knight and his projectile-blade recalls the combat of Mega Man X, and giant, mechanical bosses would be right at home in any Maverick lineup.

Oh, and there’s a minecart stage. You do not get anymore 16-bit than a minecart stage.

But there are also homages to the past of gaming littered across this (then) modern title. For one thing, one of the shoot ‘em up stages straight up includes a pig piloting a Gradius big core. It isn’t remotely subtle! And there are some some more understated “old school” bits tossed around Sparkster’s world, too. It is clear that this game was created by people that were beholden to the glorious arcade past of Konami (or they, ya know, worked there. Could go either way).

Regardless of the reason, Rocket Knight Adventures perfectly balances the contemporary (animal mascot platformers that gotta go fast) with the (oftentimes difficult) past of Rocket Knight’s ancestors. And, couple this with a few amazing gimmick levels (did I mention the giant robot rocking and socking boss?), and Rocket Knight Adventures is a sight to behold.

Sparkster
1994
Super Nintendo
The Port

Play the hitsIn America, the only Rocket Knight title to ever launch on a Nintendo console is simply “Sparkster”. In Japan, it goes by the longer title, “Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2”. So which is it? A parallel game on an entirely difference videogame system, or a sequel that hopped between platforms? The answer is… confusing.

In a lot of ways, this game feels like an example of the 16-bit mainstay of a game appearing in two totally different versions across two systems. Much like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, this initially looks like two Konami games both playing to their system’s respective strengths. Sparkster seems to showcase a more expressive rodent that moves at a faster clip (yes, Virginia, the SNES was capable of its own kind of blast processing), but entirely drops “hardware tricks” like the Genesis reflection lava cave. The graphics are entirely different, and seem to be deliberately adapted for the different color palette and more integrated HUD. And the plot is much the same (for a 16-bit game), with wolves in place of pigs, and Axel Gear still on the side of the devils.

But then there are bits that seem to paint this as a deliberate sequel. The shoot ‘em up sections have now changed from Gradius-style 2-D horizontal shupping to a top-down, 1942-esque vertical affair. We have lost our giant robot boss fight, but replaced it with a stage full of ridable giant robot ostriches. This satisfies our robot quotient and supplicates the need for a minecart. And, if you really need some giant robots, plenty are offered as all-new, all-different bosses. Sparkster does feel like an improvement over its predecessor in a lot of ways, but not all of those upgrades cannot simply be attributed to moving between systems.

Regardless of how it was created, Sparkster is still an amazing experience. It does not feel quite as artisanal as its prequel/portmate, but it is still one of the best platforming games on the Super Nintendo. And that’s pretty amazing, considering this is the same system that hosted Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit!

Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2
1994
Sega Genesis
The Real Sequel

I do not care for sandOkay, maybe the Super Nintendo game is supposed to be a port of this Sparkster title. Whatever! Sparky is back on the Sega Genesis here, and we have another game that is immediately evidently unique and different from the previous two. Much of the same gameplay is carried forward (rocketing around, spinning when allowed, firing endless sword beams), but there are a number of innovations across the title. Not all of them are strictly upgrades, though…

Look, your mileage may vary on whether or not you see an improvement here, but Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2 gets pretty close to going full collectathon. Whereas previous Rocket Knight titles locked their best endings behind difficulty levels (old school!), now you are going to have to find a hidden sword in each stage (and never skip the intro level) if you want to see “Golden Sparkster” conquer this latest threat. And, while the powered up yellow possum is highly reminiscent of Super Sonic, this is a much less useful hyper mode, as it is impossible to obtain before the absolute final battle. Couple this with some sprawling stages that require a lot more exploration than previous titles (and, by “exploration”, we mean “it is entirely possible you will get lost going up and down the same stupid pipes in that same stupid airship stage”), and it seems like the directors of Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2 wanted more than another straightforward action game. Unfortunately, when “straightforward action game” is the reason you’re playing the game in the first place…

But this is still a great game! The final boss fight includes one of the greatest gimmicks that has ever existed in an action game (you and the main villain “swap brains”), and, while it may not immediately lend itself to other climaxes, it is surprising and a curious way to play the game. Similarly, the giant robot boss fight of the first Sparkster has now been expanded to a giant robot level, and I cannot be the only person that was begging for such a thing after getting a taste of it in the first title. And, again, this is still a Sparkster game, so even when you are stuck trying to find the right way out of a pyramid, it is fun to play. Sparkster still sparks around… just he might be better suited to his earlier adventures.

Rocket Knight
2010
Xbox 360 / Playstation 3
The Modern Remake

Do not touchAfter a little over fifteen years, Sparkster returned to us via a downloadable title created by Konami fans that were now firmly established on Konami’s payroll. Rocket Knight is a very different animal from its forebears (well, still a possum), as the “charging” system for causing this knight to rocket around has been dramatically altered. The ABC rule of “always be charging” has now been forsaken for something slightly less active, and it does create a slightly more leisurely feel. However, once you get past that change, this is definitely Rocket Knight like you remember it, with enough ricocheting to make a Hanna-Barbera rabbit blush. And new innovations like projectile reflection or drilling add just enough new gameplay variety to make your average wolf/pig encounter more remarkable than in the 16-bit days.

Unfortunately, some of those innovations just make you long for what may have been. Rocket Knight feels like the definition of a 2010 videogame download title (“Xbox Live Arcade Title”). It is amazing! But it is quick! There are basically four worlds here, and a whole quarter of that count is given over to a few stages that are very much glorified tutorials. By the time we are hitting the interesting stuff (like an icy world that freezes your jetpack or a thrilling escape from an exploding factory), we are already practically done. While Rocket Knight seems to be about the same length as its predecessors, it still feels like it ends just when it was getting exciting.

Oh, and there are plenty of giant robots to fight, but not a single one that you get to ride. I could take that giant pig-bot out for a spin, but noooooo…

But one way or another, this is the end of the Rocket Knight franchise. Will we ever see that possum ever again? Maybe! But at least he flew away on a high note that left us wanting more.

Even if we still need a guide to determine which game was which..

FGC #635 Rocket Knight

  • A bit chilly hereSystem: Xbox 360 to start, with Playstation 3 and PC following shortly thereafter. Full disclosure: this whole article was inspired by purchasing an Xbox Series X, and discovering to my delight that Rocket Knight was fully backwards compatible and waiting for me on the new system.
  • Number of players: One of these days that princess is going to have to suit up and be player two. Until then, we are sticking with one rocket knight.
  • Favorite Level: I cannot emphasize enough how the gimmick of the ice level freezing Sparkster’s rocket pack makes for simultaneously new/exciting gameplay and makes perfect, in-plot sense. A miraculous combination of gameplay and setting. Really makes me beg for a universe where this title had a little room to stretch its legs.
  • Favorite Boss: I generally do not like the final boss, as it spends way too much of its existence in something of an invincible/unhittable state. That said, he is a giant, golden pig robot… so I kind of have a hard time getting mad at the guy.
  • Shoot ‘em Up: Rocket Knight returns to the 2-D, horizontal scrolling shoot ‘em up levels of the original adventure. However, it would not be incorrect to state that these levels are much more robust than anything that appeared back in the 90’s, and flying around with this possum leads to some of the best experiences in the game. So what I’m saying is can we finally get a modern Gradius from the same team? Please?
  • Pow powGotta Collect ‘Em All: Rocket Knight now has collectathon elements, as a ranking on each level is based on finding every last gem and doodad throughout the level. A number of these items are “normal”, and would be found easily through traditional level traversal. Unfortunately, there seem to be a couple in every stage that require some dedicated searching or jump-blast coordination, and… Can we not? Can we just have fun zooming around, and not worrying if a 1-Up is hidden in that little alcove over there? This was the worst part of Rocket Knight Adventures 2…
  • Goggle Bob Fact: Like Mega Man 9, this is one of the first titles I bought as “digital only”, and did not simply wait for a physical release like I had for every other title. It seems appropriate that it used to require “modern update on retro franchise” to get me to go outside my comfort zone.
  • Did you know? Rocket Knight was a free “games with gold” title for Xbox in November of 2021, eleven years after its release. So if you were waiting for a “sale” for over a decade, have I got a deal for you! That expired!
  • Would I play again: Probably… albeit in another few years. Even with all the baubles to collect, there isn’t much to this game. It is there, it is fun, and then it ends. I have no great drive to immediately return… but I know it will happen eventually. Thus is the magnetic pull of such an excellent possum.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Conker’s Bad Fur Day for the Nintendo 64! We’re going from the squeaky clean knight to the belligerent squirrel. Please look forward to it!

Zzzzzap