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Gundam 0079: The War for Earth

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Gundam 0079: The War for Earth is a video game developed for PC, Macintosh and the Bandai Pippin in 1996 and on Sony PlayStation in 1997. The game has the unique distinction of being the only official and commercially released Gundam video game developed by a United States game developer.The War for Earth was developed by the 1990s game developer Presto Studios, a company whose most famous work was the Journeyman Project series of adventure games as well as co-developing Myst III: Exile.

Developement

During the period in which this game was released the interactive movie genre which had begun in 1982 was beginning to subside as PC and console games with realtime rendered 3D were overtaking the genre. While it was the only game produced by Presto Studios in this format, the use of live action footage featuring real actors combined with computer generated backgrounds and effects, as well as the use of entirely pre-rendered computer graphics was common among the majority of Presto Studio's games. Despite being filmed in live action with western actors, the games voiceovers are a recorded Japanese dub featuring the original cast reprising the voices of their characters. Attempts at lip syncing were minimal.

The War for Earth was released in Japan on May 2, 1997. The game never received an English release, despite being developed by an American company and using western actors. Curiously, though it was released after the 1990 publication of the original Mobile Suit Gundam novel trilogy, the development and release of this game were in fact interestingly before that of even the first film compilation release of the Mobile Suit Gundam trilogy in the US, and many years before it or any other Gundam series were licensed in the US. The earliness of the release is emphasized by the fact that the official website used many of the old naming conventions that were used in the original novel release such as Zak instead of Zaku, and Shar Aznabull rather than Char Aznable.

For the production of this game, the Gundam's cockpit was redesigned slightly, most notably the inactive monitors use the purple transparency equivalent of green screen. The mobile suits in the game were based on master grade models and demonstrate an extremely high level of detail in modeling and texture. Many of the games special effects were of extremely high quality as well, but despite this some environments, such as the desert surrounding the "Thor Cannon" are ver bland and low resolution. Much of the animations, created with the earliest motion capture technology, appear somewhat cumbersome and the reaction times of mobile suits in some scenes is questionable.

Gameplay

The War For Earth's "gameplay" is that of a multi-option interactive movie which requires the correct inputs at the correct time in quicktime events in order to trigger the solutions to each event in the story. Within these events four general options are available:

  • Movement: Used Gundam move in one of four directions. Used to avoid attacks.
  • Attack: Use a weapon to attack. An unarmed attack, the vulcans, beam saber, beam rifle or hyper bazooka.
  • Defense: Use the Gundam Shield to defend.
  • Action: Applies to the above three actions. Mainly used when interacting with characters, rather than in the Gundam.

For each quicktime event these options appear and must be queued rapidly. Sometimes the cues for such actions are not clear, and on some occasions an entire sequence must be entered with little prompting and only once all actions have been entered is there a verification of whether or not this was the correct course of action. There are myriad chances for failure and the quicktime events can be quite long before there is a checkpoint.

In order to resume between sessions (rather than simply use a continue function) it is necessary to input a password. Passwords use the controller's face buttons rather than numeric or alphabetic input. As with most password save systems, the passwords could be rather long.

Story

The player assumes the first-person view of the games protagonist for most of the dialogue while the other viewpoints are that of a cinematic camera. This protagonist remains unnamed, but fulfills the same major role as Amuro Ray and like Amuro, is postulated to be a Newtype. The protagonist finds the Gundam during a Zeon attack on Side 7, the intended pilot was killed by falling debris prior to boarding it. He enters the Gundam and destroys a Zaku before being forced out the colony and into space.

After being recruited by Commander Bright the protagonist is given a rank insignia and asked to continue in the role of Gundam pilot. He is then introduced to Ryu (Duke Jose) and Kai Shiden. The player must defend the White Base in its descent. Char Aznable fails to destroy the Gundam, but uses a ground-based cannon weapon known as the "Thor Cannon" to damage the White Base, causing it to crash. Char contacts Garma Zabi and informs him of the situation. The White Base lands in a gutted pyramid structure inside a desert city, somewhere in North America, near the cannon that shot it down. The protagonist sorties in the Gundam's torso fitted onto the Guntank's treads, as the Gundam's legs were too damaged. The protagonist patrols the city. After the patrol the Gundam receives a new pair of legs, delivered to the White Base by a Gunperry. It then breaches the Zeon compound's defenses, wrestles with, and destroys a Gouf, and along with it, the Thor Cannon.

Garma's forces attack and the Gundam rides a Gaw back to the White Base. The White Base's missiles damage Garma's Gaw when they attack his rear. Char declares his betrayal to Garma who attempts to ram his Gaw into the White Base, but is thwarted by the Gundam. The protagonist returns to the White Base and is congratulated by Hayato and Bright, but then Ryu's Guntank is critically damaged by Char. The Guncannon is destroyed by a shot from Char, but the Gundam rams him out of the ship using the launch catapult. The two battle for some time, but finally Char is defeated. Gihren Zabi gives a speech at Garma's funeral. The White Base proceeds towards Jaburo, but Char laughs as he is in pursuit and believes victory is soon at hand.

The game then ends. Overall it runs approximately 30 minutes for a perfect run.

Characters

Earth Federation

Principality of Zeon

List of Mechanics

Earth Federation

Mobile Weapons

Vehicles and Support Units

Principality of Zeon

Mobile Weapons

Vehicles and Support Units

Gallery

Notes

  • The Guncannon is shown in a couple of scenes but is never seen active anywhere.
  • The only weapons that are actually used to good effect in this game are the head vulcans and beam sabers. The Beam Rifle and Hyper Bazooka are equipped in certain parts, but utilizing them is often a wrong choice.
  • The Gouf that appears in this game is silver instead of dark blue. Moreover, it's pilot only has a voice over part and is never identified as Ramba Ral.
  • Many Japanese fans consider this game as both a kusoge and a "Newtype-only" game (due to the befuddling guesswork required to stay alive and advance the story) and scoff at this Gundam being easily destroyed by things that it would otherwise be able to overcome in the original, like autocannons, Magella Attacks, and even landmines.
  • On the same note, the actor playing Char Aznable is criticized not only for making the character seem old, his chin is also the subject of ridicule with Japanese fans giving him pejorative nicknames like Char "Ago"nable (シャア・アゴナブル,Ago is Japanese for chin) and Agoi Suisei (顎い彗星, Chin Comet).

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