Hello all! Last week’s game had great music and a full-if-hacky plot. It was pretty good back in the day, though.
Today brings us to an older title for the PS1. It’s based on one of the most popular anime/manga series of all time. This is usually bad news for a video game, but this time, it worked.
It’s a bit light, but I love this game. Ghost in the Shell is, of course, based on the anime movie and manga (it’s not based on the Stand Alone Complex series, which wouldn’t arrive until years after this game). GitS was developed by a company named Exact, who would change their name to Sugar and Rockets, all the while existing as an internal team of SCA Japan. Released in 1997, GitS casts you as a nameless rookie working with Section 9 to combat a terrorist organization known as the Human Liberation Front.
For those of you not too familiar with the Ghost in the Shell lore, it takes place in the future and features cyborgs. The original movie, following the exploits of Major Motoko Kusanagi of Public Security Section 9, is an artistic masterpiece that deals with themes like identity.
This game deals largely with tank battles.
You spend the entire game piloting a Fuchikoma; it’s a tank with legs that talks, basically. Think the (numerous) tank battles from Batman: Arkham Knight...except the Fuchikoma can jump and climb walls just as easily as it can drive forward. You have the ability to slide left and right, allowing for circle-strafing, which you spend most of your time doing. You have a few weapons at your disposal, including machine guns, lock-on missiles, and grenades that are powerful but rare.
Anime cutscenes play between some of the missions; they are voiced by the cast of the movie but sadly don’t look nearly as good. I guess that’s to be expected; this is a Playstation 1 game, after all, and that’s a freaking CD-ROM in the drive. They look better than expected, as a matter of fact, but they’re tough to watch on an HD screen these days.
Even the still images look fuzzy, but still.
The game doesn’t follow the canon of the film, and I feel like the story suffers a bit as a result. There’s nothing really thematically interesting about the plot, unlike the film. It’s also not communicated to you all that well, so it’s hard to figure out exactly why you’re blowing up all the things in your walking, talking tank.
It doesn’t matter to me in this case, though, because the game is such great fun. It’s a very dated looking game, graphically, but it was considered one of the best looking games of its time. You can still tell what things are supposed to be, so there’s that. But, more to the point, it’s a creative title, particularly with regards to the wall-climbing. It shifts your perspective so the wall becomes the “floor.” It’s dizzying, but once you get used to it, it’s easy to look like a badass, jumping, dodging, circle-strafing, and wall-climbing, all in order to defeat the numerous other robot tanks you fight throughout the game.
It starts off a bit daunting, but once you get the hang of it, GitS becomes pretty easy to beat. Most attacks are telegraphed, particularly in boss battles; you can see their attacks coming from a mile away, so...well, the whole thing is pretty easy.
But it’s still a riot. They don’t make a lot of tank games these days (Arkham Knight only half-counts), and for Ghost in the Shell fans, this game is, at the very least, a curiosity you may have missed. Look for playthroughs on YouTube if you can, because this goes for like $50 on average.
Thanks always for reading my stuff! As always, leave comments, suggest future games to be featured as Game of the Week, read more of my stuff at Current Digital (like this article on Cibele) and find me on Twitter!
Next Week-Is there such a thing as too much first-person? Let’s find out by replaying this Xbox cult hit where you punch everything and eat candy bars.