‘Mech games fall into three very distinct categories – there’s the MechWarrior-styled simulation titles, the Armored Cored anime-styled games and then there’s just the classic blow-everything up old-school titles. While the first two types tend to focus on realism, the third type is nothing more than an excuse to blow things up while lumbering around in the equivalent of a bipedal tank. With Gungriffon: Allied Strike for Xbox, that’s exactly the type of game you get. Nothing more, nothing less.
Gungriffon was a very popular title in the SEGA days, and unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Tecmo bothered to upgrade much of the game since then. Its presentation is nowhere near as polished as say, MechAssault 2 (or even the original MechAssault) on Xbox, or the Armored Core games on PlayStation 2. From the minute you fire it up, it screams “dated!” The audio is equally crusty, with sounds that could easily have been ripped right out of M1 Abrams battletank for the SEGA Genesis. Voices are silly sounding, and the ‘Mech in motion (and firing) sounds like tin cans filled with pebbles being rolled down a hillside.
Now, if you like shoot-em-up gameplay, GunGriffon: Allied Strike might just be what you’re looking for. I actually found myself enjoying the ability to customize my lumbering behemoth of a robot/battlemech to make it deal out more punishment on the battlefield. You don’t just customize the ‘Mech either, you get to choose from about a half dozen or so that come unlocked in the beginning of the game, so if you like big lumbering monsters with lots of armor, or fast and nimble nuisance ‘Mechs with little armor (but can’t be hit due to their speed), there’s something in the game for you.
Once you’ve set up your ‘Mech, you jump into a long series of “go this way, blow that up” missions that aren’t very captivating, at least from a story standpoint. But, if you’re like me, and feel like blowing the snot out of something without having to think much, it’s actually pretty enjoyable gameplay. The ability to switch between first and third-person is a welcome addition to any game in my opinion, especially an action title such as this. While the cockpit view can get a little claustrophobic, it’s still fun to use. I found myself using the third-person view to move around the levels, then jumping into first person to open fire. Unfortunately, no viewpoint can save the overwhelming fogging issues, which make seeing anything not directly in front of you a significant challenge.
Even with the visual flaws and somewhat antiquated (some might say “quaint”) gameplay, I’d still recommend GG: Allied Strike as a rental or a discount purchase to anyone looking to spend a few hours blowing things up. Just be forewarned – although this game offers Xbox Live support, nobody is playing it online. After two weeks of trying, I never found a single game online. Guess everyone’s still playing Halo 2.
- Gameplay: 6.5
- Simplistic shooting fun.
- Graphics: 5
- Ugly with a capital “U”
- Sound: 5
- Ported directly from 8-bit consoles
- Replay: 5
- Single player is quick to finish, and nobody seems to be playing online
- Overall: 6
- A good rental or discount purchase if you like old-school shooting action
— Craig Falstaff