Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles I did a stupid thing recently. In preparing for this review, I decided to count all the various Gundam video games Bandai have been pounding out since about 1857. A hundred and seventy-two games later, I throw my laptop out the airlock. And then I played this game, Mobile Suit Victory Gundam, and jumped out the airlock myself, just so I could retrieve my laptop, and throw it out the airlock AGAIN. All in the name of STRANGE ANIME LICENSE FRIDAY, brought to you by... well, by me this time. This is my own copy of the game, and I might have to airlock it too, just on principle. If you want a faithful retelling of a 51-episode anime series compressed down into about two hours of gameplay, you need to adjust your expectations. Still, Mobile Suit Victory Gundam attempts to do just that, with long story sequences and all the political intrigue of the source work; in this case the touching story of an illegal immigrant 13-year-old who stumbles onto the front lines and into the good graces of a resistance faction trying to protect the Earth from a sect of religious fanatics. I’m down with protecting the Earth and the story sounds fine. What I’m not down with, though, is monotonous gameplay with laughably bad controls. Between outpourings of exposition, you have side-on battle simulations of various durations, in which Uso and his Victory Gundam tear a swath through other mobile suits. Unfortunately, while there’s a lot of effort in providing a diversity of attack options - from a beam sword to a head vulcan to a rifle - the controls are so laughably clunky that you’ll just end up mashing buttons and, hopefully, pinning the boss in a ridiculous position where you can attack unscathed. It’s all the frustration of Ultraman, with none of the challenge. Yeah. that was the entire fight scene. And I can understand it as being just a tip of the hat to the concept of a “Game” while going ahead and telling its story. It almost feels like a vestigial remnant, as though Bandai were just searching for a way to subvert the Laserdisc hegemony and get their new story into the hands of gamers, by pulling an end-around through the Super Famicom. A cunning little trick, to be sure, but... I don’t know if I could stand having a string of battles against the same foes, over and over again, standing between me and the next episode. The addition of space battles as well as terrestrial skirmishes is a nice touch, though, and the sluggishness of the controls feels alleviated somewhat by adding on the Overhang Pack, making your time off-world a bit more enjoyable... if you’re willing to play through half the game to get there. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve just had an awesome idea for a travelling-merchant simulation to play between episodes of Spice and Wolf.