previews\ Oct 15, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Robot Alchemic Drive (RAD) - PS2 - Preview

It has all the trappings of a ‘B’ movie ­ giant city-destroying monsters, a hokey script … you know, all the things that can make for light entertainment.

R.A.D. (also known as Robot Alchemic Drive) is an upcoming PlayStation2 release from Enix, and Sandlot. The game has solid animation and special effects, an interactive environment and a lot of action.

GameZone had a chance to preview a limited game play edition of the game, which is set for release on November 5.

There is, of course, a tutorial that will guide you through the functions of the giant robot you control, and the game does have a nice twist on the standard transformer-type game. You are one of three heroes, who have a device that controls a giant robot. Two of the robots in the preview can transform into other objects (a jet or a missile-launching array) while the third, Vavel, merely gears up his arms for mega-punching attacks.

The twist here is that you are controlling a hero, who is controlling the machine. Line of site is important, and you have to switch between hero and bot in order to properly control the machine.

The game begins with the hero meeting a young woman at a train station, presumably to set off on a shopping trip. Suddenly, purple lightning dashes across the sky. It’s the dreaded Phantom Effect! From this effect emerges a giant machine that bears some resemblance to a praying mantis. Could it be …? It is! A honest-to-goodness Volgara Giant! And this incredible mountain of destruction, replete with thunderous footstep, and flame shooting out in multiple directions is headed toward town, weaving a path of destruction.

Nanao (the young lady you met at the station) is worried about grandma, who was left home alone. Your hero immediately dashes in that direction, only to arrive too late as a blast emanates from the mouth of the beast and destroys the buildings. Nanao’s poor nana.

This looks like a job for the Trillenium Committee! A scientist dashes in and hands your hero a control device. Let’s power up and launch the 20-story tall response and hope it works.

Oh, by the way, watch where your metal ally steps, you can be crushed by him, the enemy, falling debris, et cetera.

With its storyline and dual-play characteristics, R.A.D. manages to keep game players on their toes … er, controllers. Other game features include 50 different scenarios, the interplay of anime-style artwork with solid animation, 360-degree rotatable camera, and the ability to customize robots.

The sound elements are a little forces, but the graphics are solid. Perspective of the robots can be disorienting simply because the preview offered line-of-site. When you are a tiny human, controlling a giant robot, that means looking up a lot. It can also make for working controls backwards and a challenge in aiming missile weapons.

The controls have also been well designed. Game players will have a minor learning curve, but within 15 minutes should be able to undertake the game’s challenges.

R.A.D. is certainly not going to set the gaming world on fire with its gameplay or graphics. What it will do, though, is provide a light, enjoyable action game. If nothing else, knocking down a few buildings is great fun.

This game should have broad appeal.

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