We all thought to ourselves one day or another that it would be cool to pilot one of those giant robots that we watch in cartoons and anime. But we never really considered how difficult it can be to actually control one of those things. There’s sure to be a lot of buttons and levers and joysticks needed to control something so massive, right? Well, it turns out you can do it with a simple Playstation 2 controller.
Robot Alchemic Drive, or RAD for short, is a robot fighting game released in 2002. It never became a big thing even though the concept was really a good one. Instead of using the joysticks to move your giant robot (called Meganites) around and pushing the buttons to perform the attacks, you use the analog sticks to move the robot’s arms to block and punch while using the shoulder buttons to make it walk.
Honestly, it’s seems like one of the most stupid control systems when you initially play the game. But, with practice, it actually becomes very comfortable. There is an Easy Mode… but it’s definitely not the way to enjoy the game.
Another thing that takes getting used to is that you’re not piloting your giant robot inside it. Rather, you’re running around outside, so part of the challenge of the game is actually having your character find a proper vantage point so that you can see the fight. You’re also given specific objectives in each mission, like you must save a specific building or extinguish a fire during the battle.
One of the best things about the game is the designs of the characters. The people were illustrated by the same guy that did the art for Cowboy Bebob. The atmosphere of the game is also exactly like the old Super Robot cartoons. Fans of giant robot anime such as Mazinger Z will definitely get a kick of watching the good robots since a lot of the attacks are stolen directly from them.
RAD may have some things going for it but it gets so many things wrong. For one, the game is actually very easy. While there are over 50 “episodes” to go through, you mostly face the same robots in every one except for a few “boss” robots. The sad thing is, you can beat all of them with the same basic strategy. You just have to do the downward chop which will knock down your opponent. Rinse and repeat. You don’t even have to use your big finisher to beat them!
However, the worse thing in the game is the voice acting. This is possibly the worst voice acting in any game ever! There’s a long standing rumor that the voice acting was intentionally made awful to simulate the voice acting before. But I don’t buy it. Even intentionally bad can’t be this bad!
Here’s a clip and just wait for the female character’s (Nanao) death scream.
Tell me that wasn’t bad!
It’s kind of humorous the first time you hear it. But imagine having to go through that for more than 50 levels. There is some dialogue that you can skip and just read the text, but you’ll still be forced to listen to the news reporter’s awful accent, describing the fight.
Overall, RAD is a fun game marred by incredibly atrocious voice acting. The unique control scheme takes some getting used to but makes sense in the long run. If you can manage to stomach the “campy” voice acting (and you still have a working PS2), then give RAD a try.
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