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Vanguard Bandits
Designed By: Human
Published By: Working Designs
System: PSX
Released: April, 2000
Genre: Strategy/RPG


Vanguard Bandits is your general giant mech game, but this time is made into an RPG. Published for the US by Working Designs, the game has been given a more US-centric feel. Along with this is Working Designs' usual attempts at very funny dialogue.

Much like the famous Final Fantasy Tactics, battles take place on 3D battle maps with individual mechs (characters) displayed. The story is rather normal. The two strongest kingdoms of the continent are fighting for supremacy. The Empire has pushed the Kingdom back and become hated and feared by most of the rest of the continent.

The hero travels around with his father and two friends, fighting the empire with his father in various locales. At the beginning of the game, you fight a battle with two Kingdom mechs against Empire forces. The player is now drawn fully into the war.

There are four possible endings and three "main" story lines :

  1. Kingdom Branch
    1. Good Ending
    2. Bad Ending
  2. Empire Branch
  3. Ruin Branch

Graphics

The game's graphics are pretty good overall. The characters and mechs are rather well drawn, though the basic battle graphics are not spectacular. Each allied mech in battle is generally easily distinguishable from others (with a few exceptions). Minor enemies tend to have the same generic model throughout large areas of the game depending on their country of origin.

The cut scenes when two mechs engage in combat are very nice though. These scenes will change depending on what attack was chosen and what type of defense the enemy chose. Sometimes even these may change. For example, if the attacked character manages to pull off a parry and then counterattack instead of being hit then counter attacking, the cut scene will show the way it actually happens. (Cut scenes can be turned off.)

Along the bottom of each cut scene is written dialogue by the characters involved in the combat. The dialogue will change depending on the way the combat plays out and can be rather amusing.

Sound

The game has rather good intro and closing music. Unfortunately many of the sound effects in the game can very quickly become annoying.

Game play

Game play is rather good. Moving characters is easy and attacks and defense consist of choosing from a menu. There is a lot of strategy to playing though, so while the game is easy to get going in, some of the tougher stages may take a LONG time to complete unless you can develop a coherent strategy.

Almost every mech has their own attack types. Some move faster than others and some have stronger attacks. It takes getting them to work together to be successful. Unlike most RPG games, attribute points are not just awarded after each level, but must be assigned. (Three points per level.) The attempt in assigning the points is to design the mechs the way you would like them to be and to unlock the advanced attacks.

Characters

Alden : Duke
Alugard/Kamorge : Father of Bastion. (Hidden Past?)
Andrew : Womanizer and mercenary.
Barlow : Rather overweight pilot and friend of Devlon.
Bastion : The Hero
Cecilia : Assassin/Maid (sigh... typical) of Sadira
Claire : Daughter of Logan of Nordilia
Devlin : Ally to Bastion.
Dionne : Mercenary leader.
Faulkner : Military leader of the Empire
Franco : Advisor/Confidant of Sadira.
Galvas : Defender/Regent of the Kingdom
Ganlon : Warrior of the Kingdom under Galvas.
Halak : Advisor/Confidant of Sadira.
Ione : Warrior from Avalon, SO of Duke Zeria
Kyu-kyu : Pet of Nana. Like a pink paltupus.
Logan : Duke of Nordilia. Awesome fighter.
Madoc : Empire's ATAC designer
Melior : Sister of Devlin
Milea : Friend of Bastion
Nana : Daughter of Radcot
Radcot : Evil/Insane Duke of Muspat
Reyna : Warrior from Avalon (Kingdom)
Sadira : Princess of the Empire
Shion : Advisor and "stalker" of Claire
Thomson : Kingdom general stuck behin enemy lines when the Empire took the east.
Zakov : Rather unstable general of the Empire
Zeira : Ruler of Avalon

ATAC List

Alba
Altagrave
Amphisia
Andoras
Bahamut
Barazaph
Barbatos
Crimson
Dantarius
Eigol
Einlager
Flaros
Glaive
Haizuron
Haurol
Korbelan
No. 86
Rahabor
Ratatosk
Roaring Lion
Sarbelas
Serata
Sharking
Solarus
Sylpheed
TIC-TAC
Toreadore
Ultragunner
Vedocorban
Waiban
Yurangol
Zulwarn

Extra Notes

Vanguard Bandits was released by Working Designs with a Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete demo disc.

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