Game Review: Powered Gear

Geek Specs:
Title: Powered Gear
Platform: Arcade (CPS-2)
Genre: Fighter/Shooter
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Release: N/A

Introduction: Have you ever wanted to take the role of a heavily armed mech warrior in a struggle to save the Human race from extinction? In Powered Gear, that's what its all about. There were only a few good side-scrolling fighters on Arcade and this is definitely one of them: so read on.

Review: After tossing a few coins in the machine you will be asked to select one of four Gears to battle with. To be honest, even though each has its own specifications and special manuevers, it does not matter which is chosen. Although I played it in Japanese, the plot was easy to decipher: save the world! You must head in to battle across not only Earth, but another nearby planet inhabited by enemy bases filled with hundreds of soldiers. The terrain is fairly interactive. Walls and crates can by fired upon to reveal pick-ups for example. There are several missions with each laying in a different location on the two planets. The locales range from deserts and plains to warehouses and space stations. All are drawn and colored well. Even tiny soldiers (much smaller than the gears) are animated individually and each can be squashed under the foot of a Gear.

At this point you might be wondering, "Just what the hell is a Gear!?". Basically, it is a large mechanical robot that looks much like a Gundam (from Mobile Suit Gundam) or a "Mech Warrior". A Gear can be armed with all kinds of weapons like lasers, grappling arms, drills, grenade launchers, tank wheels, mechanical spider legs (which your Gear sits on; it takes the place of the legs). All of these weapons provide more than enough protection for you and your Gear and allows you to weather every mission with minimal difficulty (if you have enough coins). The beauty of this game is that if you die, continuing will place you in the exact spot you were before death and leaves your enemies at the same health level. Also, after continuing you can select one of the three other Gears to finish the battle with.

Conclusion: The futuristic style of gameplay, the many power-ups and weapons, and the well written story gives the game a sort of depth that few arcade games can pull off. I was very impressed at how it managed to captivate my attention until the last Gear was destroyed and the last quarter had been emptied from my pocket. I definitely recommend this game to a die hard CPS-2 fan or a fan of the Metal Slug series. Truly a classic in my mind. Key ingredients: simple gameplay, deep story, a lot of pick-ups/power-ups, and a fairly large replay value makes this a memorable experience.

Ratings: (scale of 0.0 - 5.0)

Gameplay: 4.0 Graphics: 4.0
The replay value is excellent and the game itself takes a good thirty five minutes (not counting the time it takes to slam more quarters in to the machine) of trial and error. I only wish there were a few more pick-ups, even though there are many to begin with. Graphically, Powered Gear ranks among the best of Capcom's series of games. The animations are drawn well and smooth (no slow-down or discoloration). Nothing to complain about really.

Sound: 4.0 Overall: 4.5
Every environment is lush with explosions, power-ups, and other sounds and the music is soothing in the midst of heavy artillery gunfire and metal on metal crunching sounds. Overall, the tone was good but I wish the game had a higher pitch to emphasize the mass destruction. A very fun shooter/fighter with dazzling effects and tons of pick-ups. The story is deeper than you might expect from such a short game and it leaves you with a sense of pride at knowing you and your team of Gears have just saved the Earth from total annihilation.

Written by Magus


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