Robotech: Battlecry - a review

For nearly five years now, I've maintained a webpage devoted to a Robotech video game that never was. I spent two and a half years of my life and my career as a computer entertainment programmer trying to give Robotech fans a game based on one of my favorite licenses, but the company I once worked for failed in that endeavor... Gametek went bankrupt just as we were starting to get close to completing Robotech: Crystal Dreams for the Nintendo 64.

For quite a while afterward, I worried that we had killed the future of Robotech. My hope was that R:CD would revitalize the Robotech license, presenting it to a new audience. It wasn't meant to be. When I learned that a new Robotech game was in production, I was thrilled... perhaps our failure could be redeemed. I eagerly snatched up any news about Vicious Cycle's Robotech game, and put myself on the top of the pre-order list for one of the X-Box Collector's Edition versions of the game.

I now have the game in hand, and I've found myself frequently smiling as I played through the opening levels.

Is the game perfect? No. Like any game, it has its problems. Is the game fun? Absolutely! Does the game fit Robotech? Perfectly! If I could only make one comment about this game, it is that I am jealous... Vicious Cycle captured the feel of Robotech combat better than R:CD in just about every way.

I admit that my perspective on this game is a bit unique... I can't help but filter my impressions of the game through my own experiences working on Crystal Dreams. Playing through the training missions, I found myself noticing the sound of the Veritech engines... it was the same rumbling tone I had spent a large chunk of my life hearing as I tested my changes in R:CD! I shouldn't have been surprised... both games are based on the same license after all, but that familiar sound connected me to Battlecry immediately.

Only moments later, I found myself fighting tri-thrusters in the clouds above Macross Island... in Fighter mode, I pumped several shots into one of my enemies, and it began producing a trail of smoke. A few shots later, it came apart into a cloud of debris. I couldn't help but recall the time I spent programming this exact capability into the combat reactions in Crystal Dreams... I found myself wanting to cheer! A few missions later, I was heading at full throttle next to the surface of a Zentraedi cruiser, and I felt exactly the same as I had exploring the length of one of the giant Zen ships in R:CD. Vicious Cycle captured the feel of the Robotech universe in exactly the way I always hoped R:CD would have.

Perhaps the best part of the game is something of an afterthought... after playing through the first half-dozen single-player missions of the game on the X-Box version, I picked up the PS2 port of the game for a friend. We then spent the majority of two days battling each other in multiplayer mode, and this is where the game really began to click for me. It was during these multiplayer dogfights that I began to feel the power of being able to transform. I learned to switch to Fighter when I needed to gain some distance from my enemy... to then switch to Guardian and fire off a bunch of missiles, and finally to flip to Battloid for close-in combat.

The game has its problems. Often, the levels feel small... I often find myself hitting the boundaries of the game world when I want to boost out to get some distance on my enemies. At other times, I find myself wishing I could flip around quickly, especially in Battloid mode, to attack something behind me. But these are minor problems. For the most part, the game controls are tight and accurate, and the overall feel of the game fits the universe of Robotech perfectly. The added graphical touch of the cel-shading just enhances the sense of the game, making it feel like you are involved in the cartoon series. Furthermore, Vicious Cycle managed to get many of the original Robotech voice actors to do the dialog for Battlecry, which just adds to the Robotech feel of the game (darn them... on R:CD we had to fake all the vocals!)

If you are even remotely a fan of Robotech and enjoy playing video games, you need to pick up Battlecry!

Side note: I noticed that Battlecry not only created its own main character just as Crystal Dreams did (Battlecry's Jack Archer and CD's Kyle Bartley), but the game stories both mention that their characters have been mercenary pilots. Is there a connection? Probably not!

You can send me mail at

Robotech is copyright and trademark © 1985 by Harmony Gold, USA, Inc.

Robotech: Crystal Dreams and all game related pictures are copyright © 1998 by Gametek, Inc.

Nintendo, N64, and the Nintendo 64 logo are copyright and trademark © Nintendo,.