Old School Review: Robot Alchemic Drive.
(AfroGamers.com) Now this is a game that used to be in the “so bad it’s good” bin. The actual game mechanics and battles all rocked and if it were up to me, I’d do a sequel for it. However, the voice acting is bad. Just bad. This R.A.D: Robot Alchemic Drive for the Playstation 2.
In the early years of Playstation 2 there weren’t many giant robot titles. As a matter of fact, you had this and Robotech: Battlecry and of the two I’ll give it to R.A.D. That’s not a knock on Battlecry, Robotech is one of my favorite series of all time. However, the execution did nothing for me. Honestly, this game is what Robotech: Battlecry should’ve been when it got down to gameplay.
That Giant Robot Game
On the box that’s basically what Robot Alchemic Drive was: that giant robot game. The storyline focused around the 17-year old heir to a heavy arms-giant robot manufacturer that eventually went out of business. Guess what sent them into the red and eventually shut them down? Correct! The robots themselves or Meganites.
Earth can’t explore the cosmos because of a toxic substance called “Space Nectar.” I swear this has to be a liberty taken in the English translation. Anyway, Space Nectar doesn’t stop these hostile aliens called Volgara from showing up and wrecking the place. So, now these giant robots end up being the only thing on Earth that can totally destroy the Volgara. Fighter jets? Nah. Tanks? Get out of here with that.
No, you need Gigantor or Giant Robo but definitely not Mazinger Z, that’s being too flashy and Japanium is too expensive. Why operate your several story high robot from the safety of a cockpit when you can stand on a building a block away and control it? Don’t be so lazy and don’t be wasteful.
Also, don’t forget that for some reason these space aliens are drawn to your hometown. That means your gigantic fighting robot is stomping through city streets, on businesses, on houses while fighting a hostile alien with all the horns and fire breath–in this large town. Not a city but a town. Wild.
Where It Shines
Gameplay. This is where Robot Alchemic Drive stands out. Yes, you will laugh once an space alien blows up your friend’s house and you hear that forced “Grandma!” No, you’re not being heartless, the voice overs are that atrocious. But move that to the side. The actual play in the game is really good. While playing, you have to worry about where you’re standing on the streets or on a rooftop while controlling your Meganite from a distance. Being safely from the actual battle but being able to both see the action and be in range are all important.
The fights are epic and resemble the big monster fights from Power Rangers or Ultraman in that they take place with the town as a backdrop and everything can be destroyed. That’s why you don’t want to be too close to the building that you fire a missile at only for the monster to move!
R.A.D: Robot Alchemic Drive was several years ahead. It could’ve easily kicked off a generation of mecha series. Actually, the gameplay and mechanics would’ve worked for anything tokusatsu related. It’s a shame R.A.D wasn’t continued because outside of the English voice overs, the game was a ton of fun.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to find, it is a Playstation 2 title after all. The lowest you can find it for on Amazon is $80 and just shy of $60 on eBay.
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Recommended)
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.