Japanese animation has always been an interest of mine, especially those giant robot combat series such as Macross. I was also a big Transformers fan, which I consider the closest the Americans can come to decent anime. I’ve always wanted to be able to play a game that allowed me to control a giant transforming robot just like in the greatest anime. Monolith’s anime shooter Shogo gave me the chance to do so.
Shogo centers around Sanjuro Makabe, a Mobile Command Armor (MCA) pilot in the UCA Security Force, involved in a war against a terrorist organization led by a man known only as Gabriel. Both Sanjuro and his commanding officer, Admial Akkaraju, have personal vendettas against Gabriel because he killed Kura, the Admiral’s daughter and the woman who Sanjuro loved.
From the command ship Leviathan, Sanjuro is sent down to the capital city of Avernus in an attempt to assassinate Gabriel, but as the game goes on, there is more to the story than expected, such as the truth behind Gabriel, the truth about the mysterious Mako energy, and who is really behind the whole story.
Shogo plays similarly to Quake 2, but combines not only corridor based combat, but mech-based combat as well. Sanjuro can pilot any of four different MCAs, which can transform into a mobile state similar to the Transformers. Weapons are the standard Quake fare, pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, in addition to high powered salvo missile launchers and sniper rifles.
Shogo features the anime trademarks, big-eyed characters, giant robots and more blood than the human body would normally have.
For a game using the Quake 2 engine, Shogo fares pretty well, but at times, I noticed I had a problem with system lock ups, and sometimes the game wouldn’t run at all unless I fiddled around with the options. In addition, I noticed the computer AI isn’t the brightest, but recent patches have taken care of that somewhat. Still, the AI is nowhere near the sentient level that Sierra’s Half Life has to offer.
Shogo is pretty good in terms of first person shooters, if you can get it to run. But still, the poor enemy AI and system crashes cause me to give a lower rating. It achieves a less than stellar, yet still respectable 3 1/2 Gems.