Review - Shogo: Mobile Armor Division

SHOGO : Mobile Armor Division
Developer: Monolith Productions
Reviewed by: Mike Simmons
Reviewed on: Saturday, October 31, 1998

What would a week be without the release of another first person shooter? You can't click a link on your browser these days without seeing some mention of one! Let's face it, in the immortal words of Homer J. Simpson, "These people saw an overcrowded market and shouted, ME TOO!". While many have come and gone without notice, a few have shone like diamonds in the rough.

Some, like Wolf3d, Doom and Quake were the first of the their breed. New engines that others would license to create new games with. Some of those succeeded, like Hexen2, while others like The Island of Dr. Radiaki cause people to awaken in a cold sweat with the knowledge they wasted $50 on it. In all cases, those that catch the public's eye have something. A hook. A certain quality that garnered enough interest to make them a profitable, if not fun game. Doom offered network play, Hexen2 had classes, Duke3d offered a decidedly bent sense of humor and Quake offered new levels of detail and better hardware support.

Nowadays the quest to find that elusive something to make a product stand out from the crowd is harder than ever to find. What is it that SHOGO offers us? The engine is on par with others and the level design doesn't cause the audience to gasp. Monolith has not only offered us one hook, but TWO! For lo and behold, they've meshed the styling of Japanese animation with something that makes most players of first person shooters scratch their heads. A plot! Yes, that's right! Those strange things that RPG players seem to love so much! Sure, all first person shooters have claimed to have a plot. Doom had a trip through hell, and Duke3d had well, aliens and semi naked women and all your favorite Bruce Campbell one liners. Well, there's a plot there somewhere. But SHOGO offers actual characters! People to interact with! All in a style straight out of Robotech or Akira. A good back story leads to the player becoming part of the world as the main character who, after the loss of two friends and a girlfriend, has found consolation in the arms of his dead girlfriend's sister. Add to that a commanding officer who was the father of the deceased girlfriend and new squeeze, and you have a real nightmare potential father-in-law!

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