|Crossing Over: Shogo Mobile Armor Division|
October 8, 2012 | Justin Ancheta
And then there was the plot and game world itself. A gonzo, wholly unapologetic homage to classic anime series like Macross, the plot unabashedly rolled out and gleefully exploited all of the anime tropes and stereotypes it could muster, short of gratuitous fan service: the cocky, brash young hero, the love triangle he lands himself in, and the older superior officer/father figure who looks on it all with the obligatory frown and furrowed eyebrow. From the signs with names like Aramaki and Batou, to the posters in your room for "CURV", to the Macross/EVA/Gundam/Patalabor-inspired designs for your MCA, to the Macross-style vehicle transformations of your MCA, the game gleefully tossed you into what looked more like an interactive OVA than a real FPS game. The combination of critical hits and gunplay in an enormous, heavily armored mecha that looked like it'd been stolen from the Tokyo's 2nd Special Vehicles Section, represented a complete infusion of the ridiculous anime aesthetic and theme into the game's plot and gameplay. That infusion really set this game apart from the pack of other FPS games of its day.
Unfortunately, the game's quirkness did little to make a huge impact in the market. The momentum behind other competing FPS games was significant, and while Shogo wasn't a failure (garnering a significant fan base) it didn't take long before it was lost among the bombast and mania surrounding Unreal, Quake, and Half-Life. Lacklustre marketing and support hampered the native Linux and Mac OS 9 ports of the game, leading to disappointing sales, especially among Linux gamers. Two expansion packs, which would have potentially expanded the game's lore and longevity, where cancelled, despite announcements made shortly after the release of the game. Promises of a "Shogo 2" have been periodically teased, through tech demos and promos of later versions of the Lithtech Engine and refences hidden in later Monolith games like F.E.A.R. and F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin. While several within Monolith have hinted that the pieces are in place for a return to the Shogo universe, Monolith's status as a subsidiary of WB Games, and their recent successes with licensed IP titles means that for now, we've yet to see a true resolution to the love triangle between Kura, Kathryn, and Sanjuro. Hmm, come to think of it, that reminds me of another (in)famous anime ending...
Installation and Performance
In earlier versions of CrossOver (and WINE), graphical and stability issues on the GMA 950 prevented this game from running with hardware acceleration enabled; on Macs with more advanced graphics (like the GeForce 320M) the game did run with hardware acceleration. Thanks to the bugfixes contributed by CodeWeavers to the WINE codebase for CrossOver 12, the game now runs with hardware acceleration. It's not completely a straight out-of-the-box experience, though.
As with earlier games we've covered, use the CrossOver Bottle Manager, launch winecfg, and in the Graphics tab disable both "Allow the Window Manager to Decorate the Windows" and "Allow the Window Manager to Control the Windows".
We also need to make a registry tweak to clear up potential problems with the mouse cursor being trapped in a specific area of the screen. To do this, we need to run the WINE tool that allows us to modify the Windows registry. Go to the "good tutorial on how to set, and edit registry keys on the CrossOver support library - use these steps to set a new key within "HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Wine", "DirectInput", and within that key set the string value "MousrWarpOverride" to "false". In the launcher that appears when you startup the game, some additional options are available under the "Advanced" button. In general it's a good idea to leave them alone, though if you are experiencing bugs it's a good idea to disable some of the more advanced graphics settings like Trilinear Filtering. Don't enable Pixel Doubling though, as it may result in the game looking unnecessarily blocky. The last step is an optional one, but essential for me since I often like to bind weapon changing to the mouse wheel. Using a nice tip found on the GOG forums, adding some values to the autoexec.cfg file found in Shogo's installation directory allows you to do just that.
The game itself runs very well with all of the graphical options set to max (as expected for a game from 1998), and even supports widescreen resolutions; setting the game to 800 x 500 or 1024 x 640 are good choices for the GMA 950, and when run in CrossOver 11 on a MacBook Air with a GeForce 320M, the game ran very well at full 1366 x 768 resolution.
Disclaimer: Justin Ancheta is a beta tester and volunteer advocate for Codeweavers, and maintains both a tutorial for getting GOG games to run on Mac OS X, and a list of games he has personally tested to work on Mac OS X through CrossOver, Wineskin, and open source ports.