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Publisher: Titan Computer    Genre: Action
Min OS X: Not Supported    CPU: G3 @ 233 MHz    RAM: 96 MB    Hard Disk: 80 MB

Shogo: Mobile Armor Division
June 19, 2001 | Kit Pierce

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Have you ever wanted to pilot a Mecha? Run around a city in a 10 meter tall robot armed to the teeth, stomping on cars and people while locked in mortal combat with 10 meter mechs? Me too.

I dig anime. Something about all that blue hair and those cluster missiles looks really neat. When I saw Shogo: MAD on the PC shelf of my local computer store, I drooled. Looked like a really cool game on the box, and I was thinking that itíd be fun to play without having to touch a Wintel box. Not long after I saw this box, news that Shogo was being ported came down the pike. Made me happy.

Shogo places you into an interstellar plot of intrigue and warfare, battling to control the most powerful source of energy in the universe. You play Sanjuro, a sarcastic, insubordinate MCA (Mobile Combat Armor) commander, who happens to be dating his ops officer (who is his commanderís daughter). You are a member of the elite Shogo Mobile Armor Division -- crack pilots who operate huge mecha armed to the teeth. But who cares about that? You want to hear about the guns.

You have a wide variety of arms at your disposal: pulse rifle, laser cannon, sniper rifle (with zoom), cluster missle launcher, a "juggernaut", and others. I should add that those are some of your MCAís weapons. Shogo takes you into combat in your mecha through the streets, and on foot through the indoors. On foot, you have a combat knife, dual pistols, a machine gun, an assault rifle (with zoom), a shotgun, and a variety of grenade/energy weapon launchers. While it's obvious that a lot of detail was paid to the weapon details and effects, I found the balance of the weaponry somewhat lacking, being able to finish the game using only two or three weapons for each mode - foot or armored. Still, they are cool to look at when fired.

Shogo tries to involve you with a plot of sorts, attaching you to the story with a running narrative and helper characters who appear on the way and your girlfriend clicking in to provide you with status updates as the plot demands it. The story, however, felt forced, with characters who obviously have pasts (unknown to you, the real-life person) appearing here and there and arbitrary battles and locales. The level where you have to rescue a cat before you can advance is a prime example of what Iím talking about. With the exception of living or dying, the outcome of these "plot point" scenarios have little impact on the game action. Regardless, Shogo rides out its little plot difficulties with a good sense of humor in any case.

If you don't want to play the plot out, Shogo has a fun multiplayer aspect. Find your friends on the excellent GameRanger and give it a whirl. The straight play can get frustrating enough to keep the replay value down from that one standpoint. The multiplayer buoys the replay value up.


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