I missed this the first few times I played it, so here's a hint for all new SHOGO players: When you start the game, you'll be interrupted by two movie clips. Skip the first one, but when the Lithtech Engine logo appears and the cheesy fanfare comes on don't press anything!
That cheesy fanfare isn't there to only accompany the Lithtech logo, it's the start of the SHOGO theme!
Man, I love it! It's good, yet it's bad! But the bad makes it good! If it were any better, it would be terrible! Watch! Watch! (YouTube link)
Hey, where's the music? I think the desperate escape of me and my squad across the icy wastes of Warville warrants some music!
"GOTTA GO!!!" *whoosh*
My guy's response was hilarious.
"Waaait! Come back here...!"
"... I hate you!"
And then his mecha self-destructed.
They must have started the game off with shooting so you don't start off bored (and to avoid starting the game with a 'your guy wakes up' scenario) and then forgot to link the two scenes together. Let's pretend the game starts here and dismiss that intro bit as a crazy dream.
I'm Commander Sanjuro Makabe of the United Corporate Authority Security Force. Ol' Sanjuro doesn't like 'The Fallen' (a completely different 'The Fallen' from the one in Requiem) because they killed his brother Toshiro, his childhood friend Baku and the love of his life, Kura.
The area behind this guy is a restricted area. I don't know where it leads or why I would want to go there.
"Sorry, Commander, this area is off limits."
"I have my orders, sir, please be nice to me!"
Red Faction's Parker. The friendly woman behind the counter refuses to serve Sanjuro a drink because he's on duty. That's as good an excuse as any to see what happens when I do THIS.
To the game's credit, the mini-mecha guards that come after me aren't infinite, invulnerable, omniscient or any other kind of magic. Killing all these guards, getting better guns, running around corners, hiding in rooms, sneaking around, killing other folks before they see me... all way more fun than piloting the mecha in the prologue! I went on to clear out the entire ship and found the entrance to the next part of the game, but then the cutscene kinda glitched up and it wouldn't let me proceed. Ah well.
Relax, it was all a dreeeeaaaam.
"Do you have something you wish to share with me, Commander?"
"Yes, sir, you are my personal hero, sir!"
My mission is to single-handedly eliminate the leader of The Fallen. A big task. I like that I've been directly ordered to defeat what sounds like the final boss of the game on my first mission. No fussing about defeating henchmen or, worse, doing completely irrelevant crap just to earn the right to challenge him. Commander Makabe must be pretty well-respected around here.
For this mission, I can choose from one of four mecha. My choices include...
If you're wondering why some of these shots are first person and some are third person, it's because you can change between the two at any time. As you might expect, the game was designed for one view, with the other being an afterthought. In this case it's the third person view that's useless. The camera is set up precisely so that your mecha obscures what you're trying to fire at.
Still no music. I'm sure there was music in the options but the game seems to have given up on it.
The weapon I'm holding here is a railgun the size of a house. I'm more of a danger to myself in here if I start shooting them but I can't get out the mecha. I think I'll just jump on 'em all instead.
"Aren't you forgetting your squadmates?"
"Actually, I'm ignoring them."
Metal Rage, which was basically me sitting like a rock being helplessly fired upon from all directions.
I'm picking up tons of awesome weapons from the mecha I'm exploding. This thing fires sticky time bombs that explode in huge helical fireballs.
I've fiddled with the options and config files all I can, with no luck. There's only one thing for it. Software rendering.
Everything isn't as orange as it was, the textures are all blocky and everything jumps about and vibrates due to the finite precision maths used. In short, it'll do!
This must be where they keep the Triforces.
Notice the symbol above one of the guys' heads? You can sneak up on the enemies if you're sneaky. I can understand how that would work on foot (and I did it plenty when I was raising hell on the spaceship), but giant robots with lasers aren't the stealthiest things.
Duh. It's anime isn't it. I just have to hide out of frame and I'm completely imperceptible!
Don't actually try this though, because you can't aim worth a damn in third person and the enemy will destroy you. If they don't, they'll walk up to you which is worse because you can't miss at that range and then their death explosion will destroy you.
We ended up sticking sticky bombs to each other and blowing each other up.
I like how the enemy mecha all have weird weapons that you have to work out how to defend against, and when you kill them you can actually USE them! I've around a dozen weapons at this point.
He tells me to get lost, runs away and blows up the underground tunnel behind him. I've got to quickly get out of the tunnel and find another way to the mission objective (which is...? No idea.).
Lucky for the citizens of this city the buildings are totally impervious to this kind of damage. This kind of thing must happen all the time.
Nope. There's nothing down there. No enemies, no ammo, no health, no way back up. The only thing to do down there is reload the game or jump off into the void, explode and then reload the game. Good job this game has quick saves as well as a seperate 'restart the current level' button.
It took a dozen tries for the game to give me the correct amount of push so that my mecha didn't splatter against the ceiling at the speed of sound instead of floating gently down onto the proper platform.
Where's the mecha?
The enemies on the stairs have spotted me. Bang bang bang!
The answer is no.
I thought the Critical Hit powerup was a mecha thing, but it seems that Sanjuro can magically heal himself through well-placed shots. I'm rewarded for my skill in shooting.
This precludes and obviates both recharging health and auto-aim. SHOGO is now definitively better than Halo (as if that wasn't the obvious conclusion, I'm having FUN here for chrissakes).
The difference between this and Contract J.A.C.K. is that if I mess up sneaking on these guys, every enemy in the entire level doesn't come running directly into my face. Sure, that's really stupid for an organised opposing force to do, but I like stupid opponents. They're fun. Inching round corners and shooting enemies that can't see you but really should be able to is fun. Hiding at the top of staircases and shooting enemies at angles that they can't copy is fun.
I recommend you get yourself a crap computer just for playing these Windows Me games. SHOGO, Requiem, Kingpin. They've got seams, flaws, inconsistencies, ridiculous weapons, crappy character models, impossible enemies, broken story triggers, bizarre collision detection, saves that don't work.
They've got heart.
Except Klingon Honor Guard. That was just crap.