Review by Jotaru
In the past, we have seen many video game companies adapt popular anime
and manga series into video games. Most of the time, the game versions
turn out to be disappointing though. Fortunately, this game is not the
case. Banpresto has made a decent game based on the famous Gunnm license.
This game is based on the original manga (Japanese comic) series by
Yukito Kishiro. Both manga and anime have released in the US under a
different title called Battle Angel Alita. The main character's name
has renamed from Gally to Alita as well. In this game, the creator,
Yukito Kishiro involved at this project deeply. Not only the game is
based on the entire manga series, he added some new and important storylines
that are not found in the manga, plus he oversees the art production
to maintain the overall feel of Gunnm universe.
The story follows the adventure of a cyborg named Gally (Alita). She
is raised by cyber doctor Ido, who found her broken cyborg body in a
junk yard beneath the Sky city of Zalem. On the planet of Mars, "The
Factory" controls the life of everyone who living on the ground,
and these people are considered as low-class citizens. People who living
in Zalem are considered as high-class citizens. As you progress through
her adventure, you will gradually find out the secret of....well, I
won't spoil you the rest of the story.
The game is set in fully 3D environments in a fixed camera positions.
The player control Gally in third person perspective, travels throughout
the scrap town, the city of Jeru...and beyond in a 20-25 hours quest.
In each level, there are story and boss rounds that have to be played
to advance the game. At first you will be limited to explore the scrap
town, and a few provinces where your skills as a bounty hunter can be
appraised. As a bounty hunter, you earn money by accomplishing each
task, then you can spend the money to upgrade different body parts and
weapons throughout the game. Gally goes through several changes throughout
the game. She starts off weak, but as you progress, she receives several
modifications to her body that make her more deadly.
Banpresto has packed a variety of combat options and developed an efficient
fighting game engine for this game. For the weapons, Gally can do regular
hand combats by using her bare punches & kicks, blades, and plasma
attack; also, she can use long range attacks like smart missiles and
guns...etc. During the combat, you have a block, jump and 2 attack buttons.
If you decide not to fight, you can avoid enemies by running past them.
Throughout the game, Gally has to face a variety of tough bosses, each
one needs a special strategy and strength in order to beat. Other than
the typical battles, you have to go through the game with a huge amount
of story; in other words, there's quite a lot of Japanese text to read
if you want to understand the story.
Graphically, the game uses low polygons to construct the characters
and objects, so they look somewhat blocky. Also, the textures appear
to be grainy and light sourcing is not used. It is apparent that a lot
of hard work went into making the environments realistic, due to the
art direction by the creator himself. The animation of the characters
are good with adequate amount of frames.
The main disappointment is definitely the minimal music and sound effects.
I wonder the game developers are either ran out of production time or
budget. Sound effects are minimal during the cut scenes, and there's
no voice acting. As a result, the silence lasts for long stretches throughout
different parts of the game, and it can get annoying sometimes. In a
way, the dead quiet gives you an isolate feel that may be appropriate
to certain scenes though. There's music in the game, but it doesn't
play often. When it does play, there is not much base or depth to enhance
your listening experience.
Besides my gripes with the music and sound effects. Gunnm: Martian
Memory shines in the interesting plot, fighting, challenge departments,
and solid gameplay. If you are a fan of this series, be sure to buy
this game. Even if the casual gamer doesn't know anything about this
series, I still recommend for a try.