Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation
Game Boy Advance
Reviewed: 09/01/2006

The Super Robot Taisen series is one that has long evaded North American shores. Thankfully, Atlus took up the torch to localize Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation and finally introduce the series to the other side of the ocean.

The Super Robot Taisen series is known for featuring the giant robots of scores of anime series, however the Original Generation offshoots of the series feature original creations by Banpresto (though some look remarkably similar to notable mechs of anime series). This integration of original mechs makes the game much easier to localize as many licensing issues could be avoided. Fortunately, it also allows the creators to make a unique story.

Sadly, said story is lacking in many areas. There are more acronyms in this game than the average medical book has, and they are thrown around with little regard to coherence of the plot. The various factions that comprise the game’s main story split and change names so often it’s really very hard to keep track of what’s going on. It’s almost like the game’s creators had far too many ideas about plot twists and various conflicts, but decided to throw each and every single one of them anyway. The game lets players choose between two main characters to start the game, and proceeds to lead them through the standard SRPG format of battle, plot, battle, plot, repeat. While the story really does have some good moments, and many of the characters have incredibly interesting personalities, it is so hard to keep track of who’s with who that it’s hard not to give up after a while and just fight the battles.

Screen Shot
Ozzfest sometimes brings the most interesting robots together.

Thankfully battles are the strong part of the game. The battles take place in standard SRPG format, with players giving orders to their units, attacking the enemy, and then the enemy doing the same. The battles take place on square grids that are sometimes quite large. Players move their units into position on the grid, then, if any enemies are within range, they can choose what weapon to use and which enemy to attack. After that, a short animation of the fight can be seen, much like in games like Fire Emblem and Front Mission. These mini-battles can be skipped if players simply care about the results. Many games either force players to view every scene or skip every scene, but thankfully with Super Robot Taisen this is not the case, as before every battle players can choose whether to view or skip scenes. Another interesting element of the battles is the ability to choose what happens when an enemy the player’s units. If the enemy is in range, players can choose a weapon to counterattack with, but other options such as attempting to evade the attack or simply defend to reduce damage are also available. This adds a lot of depth to what otherwise would have been a fairly simple system. Oftentimes, after all or most enemies are destroyed, even more will appear, which really does help with the challenge level, but can get quite annoying. Some “boss” type enemies are also ridiculously strong, forcing players to attempt several different strategies in order to attempt to defeat them.

There is an awful lot of customization players can do to their mechs in Super Robot Taisen. At the beginning of every scenario, players can choose to customize the mechs by increasing HP, Armor, and various other stats. They can also choose to use their hard-earned cash to improve individual weapons that can be equipped on their mechs. Each weapon can get its amount of damage increased substantially, but only if players are willing to put enormous amounts of cash to that end.

Pilots can also be customized; they earn both EXP and “pilot points” in battle. Before each scenario, and at the beginning of some battles, players may choose to “train” their pilots by spending pilot points to increase the stats, capabilities, or skills of their pilots. All of this customization is a nice addition to the game, and gives it a much greater depth than it otherwise would have had.

Screen Shot
The animations are glorious.

Super Robot Taisen‘s visual beauty lies mostly in the eye of the beholder. The robots are highly stylized, and the entire game has an anime feel to it that some players may not like. Story scenes take place with character portraits talking against nearly blank backgrounds. Battles themselves only show tiny icons to display the robots. The graphics do shine, however, when the actual robot-vs-robot battles take place, as animations for each attack are very over the top, some involving truly long animations. Watching these animations is optional, and players can skip any and all if they choose, but it really is a joy to watch some of the awesome attacks in the game get carried out.

The game’s music is fantastic. While it is limited by the confines of the Game Boy Advance, it still manages to match the mood of what’s going on in each scene. Its sound effects are also quite good, and never annoying.

Overall, Super Robot Taisen is a very good game that is limited somewhat by its lack of coherence. What the game does, it does well; it combines the joy of using massive robots with the intricacies of a strategy role-playing game and a great customization system. For anyone that enjoys giant robots and SRPGs, this one is a must have.

-Joseph Wartick

Score Breakdown
Very Good
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Great
Story Bad
Graphics Very Good
Sound/Music Great
Replay Value Very Good
The Verdict: 7