Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram

One of my favourite pastimes is pretending to be a gigantic robot fighting other gigantic robots. But since I can’t be a gigantic robot in real life, I’ve decided to make do with Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram (or Virtual-On for short). Story-wise, there is a story here but I’m not sure if anyone even actually knows about it. In the end all you really need to know is that gigantic robots are about to smash each other up, and it’s gonna get messy.

A new entry onto the Xbox Live Arcade marketplace, this game is anything but new. We’ve seen (and by we, I mean America and Japan) Virtual-On before in the shape of an arcade machine and a updated ported version for the Dreamcast. So now with a fancy update in terms of the HD variety, we can now enjoy this robot fest in a new, fancier and quite robotic, robot light.

One of the first things you’ll notice about this game when you first boot it up is just how colourful it is. Every sort of electric including pinks, greens, blues and reds are thrown at you with viciousness and vigour. Level designs are simplistic and yet are very distinctive and varied. The robots themselves are beautifully decorated with colour coded schemes that match up well. If you’re not a fan of any of the given colours of a robot, you can always go to the “Customize” (that’s right, with a Z) menu and create your own colour scheme for one of your robots. This can then be used in all game modes and will kill a few minutes of your well earned robot destruction time.

The control system has you rely on your reflexes and your counter skills. Every time your enemy makes a move you have to boost and attack. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not as easy as it sounds and it will take you some time to master the control system. Saying that, once I had the basics of manoeuvring I found the game itself quite easy to complete, despite taking heavy damage. Boss battles, as in all games, will give you the most trouble. They are powerful and if you’re not quick enough, they will deplete your energy in a matter of seconds. Luckily you’ll have many robots to choose from and Sega has given you a large selection. Depending on your playing style, you’ll find something for everyone, from the heavy hitters to the quick and the deadly.

My one disappointment with the game is the lack of a distinctive plot. Some sort of  political plot as seen in most Robot Sagas would have been something to play for. However, not knowing why you’re fighting a violent sphere of death takes away some of the meaning behind the game. I also think that paying a full whack of 1200 Microsoft Points was quite expensive. I realise this is a DC port but you have to question whether the content really represents the price it displays.







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