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Front Mission

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs




Copyright 1995, Squaresoft

Front Mission is a superb turn-based strategy game for SNES platform by Squaresoft (now Square Enix) that unfortunately was never released outside Japan. Thanks to efforts of a fangroup, you can now play this underrated classic in English. Although die-hard strategy gamers who cut their teeth on classics like X-COM will probably turn their noses up at the relative simplicity of this title, the excellent story, cool robots, and fun gameplay more than make up for this ‘shortcoming’ (that isn’t really a shortcoming at all when compared to other console titles – Front Mission is more challenging than most SNES games). The story goes as follows: you are Lloyd, a mysterious man with a burdensome past who now makes a living battling huge robots in arenas for money. One day, a man named Olson asks you to join the army to fight the ongoing war in the Huffman Isle. You accept, and off you go with your trusty “mecha” to stop the war. Fortunately, this cliche start soon develops into a much better and more captivating story, full of all the ingredients that make memorable sci-fi: betrayal, conspiracy, politics, and even love. Before you finish the game, you will come across a variety of exciting and completely unexpected plot twists – including one of the best that I have seen in games.

The gameplay is fun, although it does get a bit tedious toward the end. You move your units square by square in turn-based mode. When your ‘mecha’ is close enough to attack, you can. Each mecha’s body parts can be attacked separately. If you want to cripple their movement, target their legs. To incapacitate them, attack their right or left arm (which holds the weapons). Missiles make long-range attacks possible, and makes careful planning crucial to success. You can also upgrade and recruit various mechas and pilots throughout the game, although you can never fully trust anyone.

Cool-looking mecha, intuitive controls, and a superb plot make Front Mission one of the best and most underrated (at least outside Japan) games on the SNES. Relatively simple gameplay mechanics by PC standards are more than made up for by the superbly written plot. The fangroup who made the English translation patch did a great job at bringing the well-written dialogues to life. For a fun, unassuming, “beginner’s level” strategy game with a fun story, look no further than this console underdog. Highly recommended!

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