Steambot Chronicles, or Ponkotsu Roman Daikatsugeki: Bumpy Trot as it was originally named in Japan, is a Playstation 2 game developed and published by Irem in Japan, Atlus in North America, and 505 Gamestreet in a few countries in Europe. There is also a spin off on PSP named Steambot Chronicles: Battle Tournament, and an odd tie-in puzzle game on PS2 and PSP named Blokus Portable: Steambot Championship (one of only four games published by Majesco on the PSP in the USA).
A quick look at the back of the case of Steambot Chronicles shows the game being marketed as an open world RPG, and that is correct in a way. The game starts off as linear as any other RPG that's been made and then opens up. It's similar to the opening dungeon in Elder Scrolls, but drags on much longer. In this long opening sequence, you'll visit all three of the main towns, many of the back areas, and explore most of the world by the time it's completely opened up. Once an area is open, it may be visited at any time afterwards, and as a result, money can be hoarded this way.
Continue reading Psychotic Reviews: Steambot Chronicles
Let me blog for once.
During the 32-bit era some of Irem's best shmups were ported onto the PSX and Saturn in two different collections. Depending where you go it's either a hit or a partly miss.
Pack One: R-Types (PSX):
Released in the US thanks to ASCII Entertainment (later became known as Agetec), R-Types is perfect port of R-Type and R-Type II on one disc. R-Types comes with a nice intro video, a Museum mode, and of course both games. Shmup fans and arcade fans in general will love the collection because the gameplay is still hard and fun after all these years.
For $10-$20, it is worth it.
Pack Two: Arcade Gears: Image Fight & X-Multiply (PSX + Saturn):
Note: Playstation version looks just like the Saturn cover except it has the Playstation logo on it.
Released only in Japan and in Asian counties (Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.), Arcade Gears was Xing's line of retro arcade games that was published in the late 90s. Xing didn't develop any games, they just ported other company's games to mostly the Saturn and some on the Playstation (like Tatio's Gun Frontier, Capcom's Three Wonders, etc.). Image Fight and X-Multiply were two great Irem shmups that were released after R-Type. While these games didn't get the same fanfare as R-Type, they're still fun and hard like R-Type. Image Fight is a vertical shmup where the first five stages are a simulation. Do well in those stages you can go to the final three stages. X-Multiply is more similar to R-Type but it tends to focus a lot more on organic backgrounds and enemy designs (like Konami's Salamander/LifeForce).
Anyway, about the ports. Both the Playstaion and Saturn ports were mostly good except for some few faws. In both versions when playing X-Multiply you have to move the status menu (which tells the score, lives, etc.) by using the L/R buttons in order to see the whole screen. The original arcade game didn't have this problem at all. You can't change button configurations in the Saturn version (only in PSX version). In both versions, when playing Image Fight it appears that the bullets move a little too fast (compared to the arcade version). On the PSX port, when playing Image Fight in TATE mode (true Vertical mode by flipping your TV on its side, aka true Arcade screen mode) you'll sometimes get graphical glitches.
Funny thing because unlike R-Type where the menus look nice, Image Fight & X-Multiply's menus look really rushed. Of course when does having pretty menus mean anything (never)? If you want to get Image Fight & X-Multiply it's going to cost you a good bit of money. The Saturn version goes for $70-$100 and it's more common than the PSX version (but the weird thing is that the PSX version is cheaper, around $60-$80).
The Saturn version was only released in Japan while the PSX version was released in both Japan and in Asian countries.