6-14-98 2:00 AM
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Shogo: Mobile Armor Division Part 1
The engine formerly known as DirectEngine
It all started when Microsoft stated that they were going to publish a new first-person shooter. It was going to be hot stuff, and it was going to be made by a company called Monolith, the people who brought us Blood and Claw. There was talk for some time that the engine would be part of an upcoming DirectX version, and freely usable like every other part of DirectX. It was later determined that it was too good, and took too much work to make, just to give away. Thus, DirectEngine became a licensable property. Following this decision was the natural name change to separate it from DirectX, and the DirectEngine became the LithTech engine.
Then Monolith bought the rights to the engine and the premiere game, Riot: Mobile Armor, back from Microsoft. Recently, the name of the game was changed to Shogo: Mobile Armor Division. Confused yet? Don't worry--none of this really matters. What matters is the quality of the product you'll buy in the software store, and the quality of the engine it's built on. There are several big-name titles in the ever-popular first person shooter category (and some in other categories as well) coming your way this year using this LithTech engine -- so let's take a closer look at the flagship title, Shogo: MAD.
Sanjuro and Sanjuro and Toshiro Makabe were orphaned at an early age and ended up at a military academy on the colony world upon which they were born. There they became friends with Kura and Kathryn, the daughters of Commodore Nathaniel Akkaraju, and Baku Ogata. Over the years these friends see some action, and one day Sanjuro, who by this time had earned the rank of Commander, led his squad-consisting of Toshiro, Baku, and Kura-on a mission in search of an enemy leader. The mission ended with Toshiro, Kura, and Baku missing and presumed dead. After this tragedy, Sanjuro was placed on probation and diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Meanwhile, the Fallen, the enemies of the United Corporate Authority Security Force for which Sanjuro is a soldier, elected a new leader. This leader, Gabriel, rallied the Fallen together into quite a threat.
Sounds like the plot to a Japanese Animation movie to me. And well it should - Shogo is very heavily Anime-themed, with lots of large battling robots and power suits with amazing beam weapons and multiple-fire rocket launchers. It's definitely a far cry from the typical "Rambo-style" action represented in most first-person shooters. It's also far more story-driven, with the game featuring several fully fleshed-out characters, all represented by real voice actors. Players will take the role of Sanjuro, and battle against Gabriel and his forces.
You'll climb into one of four different MCA (Mobile Combat Armor) units, each with it's own strengths and weaknesses, and wield the usual variety of weapons and powerups. What makes this title different is the style and scale…these MCAs are 30-foot tall Mecha, and they can transform between bipedal and vehicle modes! Beyond this, you'll sometimes dock your MCA and set out on foot for certain missions, adding more variety and depth to the title.