Robotech: Crystal Dreams
Robotech is shaping up to be one of the most fascinating shooters ever. Based on the Robotech cartoon, the 64-meg Crystal Dreams presents familiar Robotech characters, a detailed story, and more than 30 missions of intense shooting in a huge universe against big, fast enemies. In an exclusive hands-on preview, we were impressed by the responsive controls: Without pausing, you can alter your view all around your ship, and your quick-moving cursor accurately aims your lasers, guided missiles, and multi-targeting missiles that take out several enemies simultaneously. So far, Robotech looks like a shooter's dream.
Download Robotech: Crystal Dreams
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
The familiar cartoon comes to life as a stunning first-person shooter with a new story that fits right into the existing Robo-tech chronology. Big enemies, 30-40 missions, a ship that morphs three ways, and a true 3D universe that enables you to fly under, over, behind, and around objects all add up to an impressive space shootout.
What you nearly played:
How would you like to do battle in a first-generation Valkyrie Class Veritech Transformable that could freely shift from Fighter to Battloid to Guardian mode, in a time period set just before SDF-3's famed expedition to Tirol? If you aren't into Japanese animation, you're probably wishing you had a Geek-to-English dictionary; if you are a true anime fan, you are probably salivating uncontrollably. Robotech: Crystal Dreams was to be a Mecha battle/shooter that would've pleased the casual observer as well as satisfying the obsessively exacting love of the otaku.
Based on the popular series "Chojiku yosai Macross," aka Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, a.k.a. Robotech, the game promised a faithful extension of that show's distinctive mix of high-tech ass-kicking, intense melodrama, and abstract notions of duty and loyalty and honor. Interpersonal relationships would play a key role, and the game was to feature several famous characters from the series--Rick Hunter, Lisa Hayes and even the love-her-or-hate-her whiny-but-sexy Minmei. In addition to fighting the familiar Zentraedi battle pods, you'd battle an evil race of big crystals called the Ebolians (sounds like a flesh-eating bacteria). Doug Lanford, a programmer and designer on this game, explains that the simple crystals were chosen since the game was planned before the final stats on the N64 were available. "We needed to make sure we could fill the screen with enemies, and the only way to ensure that without knowing how powerful the final N64 hardware would be was to add something simple to draw in the game." Lanford says that he and the rest of the team labored to make the game true to the spirit of the series, even striving to squeeze in some [ugh] J-pop song stylings. "The voice actress who recorded the female dialog for the game sung a single 30-second snippet of one Minmei song for a key moment in a mission." Time and space permitting, the game might've also included a clever Easter Egg: "The original idea was to put Minmei's bedroom as one of the locations that the player could visit. If you walked in, you would see a suggestive shadow behind the shower door, but once you opened the door, you would see the game's credits."
Why you'll never play it:
GameTek was a small company, more given to simple fare like jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune than projects with complex gameplay and the Macrossian superdimensionality of something like Robotech. The development team was chronically short-staffed and experienced time-consuming compatibility issues between their hardware and Nintendo's constantly changing development package. "For the first two-thirds of the project, it took days and the full-time attention of one of the two programmers to get a single game model into the game," says Lanford. The game had one official postponement and experienced additional delays until GameTek folded. Although Capcom showed some interest in 1998, no one has picked up the rights to complete and publish Crystal Dreams since.