The Let's Play Archive

Shogo: Mobile Armor Division

by Tin Tim

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Original Thread: "Anime, robots, bullshit and synthie beats?" - Shogo - M.A.D (Vlp)



Shogo: Mobile Armour Division is a Fps game released by Monolith Productions on September 30, 1998. While the initial release was Pc only, it later was ported to Amiga PowerPC, Mac and GNU/Linux. It was the first game to utilize the LithTech engine, an engine made completely by Monolith. It has heavy influences from Japanese anime, particularly Patlabor, Appleseed, Macross and the various Gundam series. However, it also follows many standard first person shooter conventions, allowing it to appeal to more than just fans of anime. Though the anime aspect has to be taken with a grain of salt. It would be better to say "This is was Monolith thought anime was like".

The game allows you to pilot a large mecha, as well as perform missions on-foot. It also features a fluid story with some character development, good narration and a branching ending. These features allowed it to get very positive reviews, but it ultimately failed in the market. Why? Because it was released exactly one month before Half Life came out. I think we all know how that game dominated the market, but another aspect was a very weak advertisement campaign. To be fair, while some aspects of Shogo are more interesting than Half Life, it lacks in other areas, especially how the human models look(bad). And has some technical faults that may be traced to insufficient testing and time pressure. As with a lot of other games, a good chunk of content had to be cut before the release. Still, it managed to build a good community for ten years and is still highly regarded today.
By those who know it, at least.

We play as Sanjuro, a commander in the United Corporate Authority army, during a brutal war for the planet Cronus and its precious ore, called Kato. Kato is important because it's a rare fuel source that allows interstellar travel. No specific time period is explicitly stated, although it is hinted to take place sometime in the presumably far future, and calendars inside the game hint that the events in the game take place in the month of July. Prior to the game's first level, Sanjuro had lost his brother Toshiro, his best friend Baku, and his girlfriend Kura, during a covert mission to assassinate Ivan Isarevich. He was the leader of a fanatic cult, called "The Fallen". Their goal is to stop the mining of Kato and force all other factions from the planet. They suddenly surfaced during the events of the Cronian Revolution, which was caused by the Cronian Mining Consortium's strife for independence.

While the mission was successful the rest of Sanjuro's squad fell victim to a surprise attack and a following earthquake. Very weird things happened during these events. He was held accountable for those deaths, which damaged his career, and the loss of his friends and love left him bitter. The war over Cronus has reached a critical point, and the U.C.A needs to deal a decisive blow, or take more drastic actions against The Fallen. Sanjuro is at the tip of their offensive, driven by revenge. Also he started to date the sister of his dead girlfriend.

In Sanjuro's words, "It's kinda complicated."

While the standard Fps mechanics apply, it's worth pointing out that the game has a very fast and action orientated vibe. The transition between the mech and on-foot sections is fluid, and gameplay is slightly different in each mode. While in a mech, you get a good illusion of size and generally have an easier time wreaking havoc. The on-foot sections are notoriously hard though. The player can't take much damage and enemies use rapid-fire hitscan weapons with good aim, while being placed to surprise and fuck the player. Health items are somewhat scarce, and armor is extremely rare. The game has a mechanic to help with your health situation, but a lot of things are pure bullshit that will just kill you.

This may sound atrocious at first, but when you get used to the game it becomes pretty fun and intense. Mostly because it's fast and keeps you on your toes. You know, like in the good old days? Before we had regen health and cover hugging...

The OST is very bland and does lag between levels. Also it will crash the game at a specific point. So I decided to turn it off and add music of my own choice. I'm going with synthie music to stay with the feel of the game.

"Great, Dubstep and annoying thumping!"

Now hold on for a minute. I think I'm pretty knowledgeable when it comes to music and have a good taste. I'm putting in some work to find music that fits and isn't Neo Garbage. Just have faith in me, okay? Maybe you'll even discover an artist that you end up enjoying! I'll always include artists and titles at the end of the videos, in order of appearance. I encourage music-chat but bear in mind that this is not a PYF thread.

Info dumps
I'll include new characters, places and factions in the posts for the respective videos. You may want to read those to fully understand what's going on. The overall story is pretty neat, but it isn't fully told via the game and there is a lot of outside material. For instance, there is a huge write-up of the events before the game starts. I'll post things like that between updates though. Same goes for trivia and background information on the development and such.

This is my first go at a Vlp and voice commentary. I took some time to prepare it and iron out kinks, but you'll never know. So speak up, if there's something wrong! But know that I can't change how the on-screen text looks. It's a bit hard to read but looks that way in the game. Also the audio levels of the game are shit, so I'm going out of my way to raise the dialog parts. I'll add some subs if things get drowned too much.

I'll try to keep vids between 15-25 minutes. Depends a bit on the respective sections. Also I'm putting in some editing work to spice up some parts and will keep a death counter. I'll leave single deaths but will edit parts that repeatedly kill me.

Don't sperg or be dumb about it, okay?

Thread conduct
Don't be a busta!

Don't spoil the story!

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