SHOGO: MOBILE ARMOR DIVISION
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on October 23, 2015
I haven't slept a wink last night, ladies and gentlemen, so I must apologize upfront if I seem a little bit crabby or out of form. , You would think that living beneath a giant temple in Mexico would be relaxing and restful. Well, usually it is! Alas, starting yesterday, I'm afraid these next four days will be everything but. It seems it is time for the National "Idiots Who Worship Random Light Phenomena In The Sky, Thinking They Are Caused By Aliens" Festival. Never heard of it? Well, I hadn't either, until last night, when I heard about it ALL NIGHT LONG. There was a bunch of people, stomping around my temple, dressed in weird outfits an tin-foil hats!
And do you know what the worst part is? The worst part, the absolute worst part of this entire charade, is that... it was really fun. Hey, I said I heard about it all night long, I didn't say I kept myself indoors. I only forgot that I was still wearing my new Time-travelling suit that I was in the middle of testing. So when I descended the stairs of Chichen Itza, the festival crowd saw me, gathered I was an alien and all kneeled before me. So yes, at first I went out there to give them a piece of my mind, but I somehow ended up partying with some nice girls at the bar. I don't quite know what happened after that, I only know it's good to be revered as some kind of god. And to think, I was going to unleash my Battle-Mech on them at first...
And with this really flimsy Battle-mech reference, it's time to introduce the latest rediscovery in our Big Red Timemachine Quest for Cool Games. Buckle up, we're blasting off towards 1998, in search of a really cool First Person Shooter game by Monolith Productions and Hyperion Entertainment, that I have personally played through for quite a couple of times. So let me climb into my Mech and introduce you to: SHOGO: Mobile Armor Division.
A war is raging on the planet Cronus as you take control of the game's protagonist: Sanjuro. Having already lost his brother, his best friend and his girlfriend to this horrible war, Sanjuro only wants one thing, and that is to take revenge on the one responsible for his loss: the rebel leader Gabriel. But first, he does what every well-thinking man would do, he starts a romantic affair with his dead girlfriend's sister, Kathryn. Hey, come on, cut the guy some slack, Kathryn is really hot... in a 1998 3D graphics way.
Shogo: Mobile Armor Division combined the traditional human protagonist FPS gameplay as well as awesome Mech combat. If you look at the design of the Mechs and the game on the whole, it's not hard to guess where the designers at Monolith Entertainment got their inspiration from; It's got anime written all over it! One extremely awesome anime series in particular comes to mind: Appleseed. Now, I'm not saying everything about Shogo is a direct copy of this series, but it seems to be heavily influenced by it, which, let me assure you, is a very good thing!
Contrary to other Mech games at the time, Shogo took a slightly different approach to controlling these mechanical monsters; they used the same controls you used when on foot, making controlling a giant Mech a walk in the park. A battered, war-torn and occasionally exploding park, but a park nevertheless. It is mainly due to these simplified controls and the games intricate story and cool characters that Shogo set itself apart from other Mech games of the era. Usually, these games were all about action, void of a decent story, and featured extremely elaborate control schemes that could confuse even the most seasoned gamer.
But not Shogo, no sir! It featured a gripping story with a few pivotal scenes that presented the player with a choice that influenced the outcome of the game. It took all the awesomeness of Mech warfare and combined that with the streamlined gameplay, cool graphics and frantic soundtrack of a good anime-influenced FPS. And that's exactly why Shogo is one of my all-time favorite Mech games out there, together with Shattered Steel, but let's save that game for another time...
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen; my take on this classic anime-style FPS. I don't know if a lot of you have played this game, but I sure as hell enjoyed every second of it. There's just something about playing as a Mech that makes you feel all-powerful! Seeing these tiny humans scurry like ants from a raging fire is a feeling quite unlike anything else. It kind of feels like when I'm up in the control booth of my Time travelling HQ, looking down on my workforce.
Now, if you'd excuse me, I have to get ready for the party tonight. I believe they're going to crown me their leader as well. There might even be some kneeling involved, later on... I know I've said this before, but it's still true: It's good to be the King!
SHOGO: MOBILE ARMOR DIVISION
Monolith Productions & Hyperion Entertainment