Title Gunnm: Martian Memory
Developer/Publisher Banpresto
Type Action/Role Playing
English Version None
Reviews #1

Review by Jotaru

In the past, we have seen many video game companies adapt popular anime and manga series into video games. Most of the time, the game versions turn out to be disappointing though. Fortunately, this game is not the case. Banpresto has made a decent game based on the famous Gunnm license. This game is based on the original manga (Japanese comic) series by Yukito Kishiro. Both manga and anime have released in the US under a different title called Battle Angel Alita. The main character's name has renamed from Gally to Alita as well. In this game, the creator, Yukito Kishiro involved at this project deeply. Not only the game is based on the entire manga series, he added some new and important storylines that are not found in the manga, plus he oversees the art production to maintain the overall feel of Gunnm universe.

The story follows the adventure of a cyborg named Gally (Alita). She is raised by cyber doctor Ido, who found her broken cyborg body in a junk yard beneath the Sky city of Zalem. On the planet of Mars, "The Factory" controls the life of everyone who living on the ground, and these people are considered as low-class citizens. People who living in Zalem are considered as high-class citizens. As you progress through her adventure, you will gradually find out the secret of....well, I won't spoil you the rest of the story.

The game is set in fully 3D environments in a fixed camera positions. The player control Gally in third person perspective, travels throughout the scrap town, the city of Jeru...and beyond in a 20-25 hours quest. In each level, there are story and boss rounds that have to be played to advance the game. At first you will be limited to explore the scrap town, and a few provinces where your skills as a bounty hunter can be appraised. As a bounty hunter, you earn money by accomplishing each task, then you can spend the money to upgrade different body parts and weapons throughout the game. Gally goes through several changes throughout the game. She starts off weak, but as you progress, she receives several modifications to her body that make her more deadly.

Banpresto has packed a variety of combat options and developed an efficient fighting game engine for this game. For the weapons, Gally can do regular hand combats by using her bare punches & kicks, blades, and plasma attack; also, she can use long range attacks like smart missiles and guns...etc. During the combat, you have a block, jump and 2 attack buttons. If you decide not to fight, you can avoid enemies by running past them. Throughout the game, Gally has to face a variety of tough bosses, each one needs a special strategy and strength in order to beat. Other than the typical battles, you have to go through the game with a huge amount of story; in other words, there's quite a lot of Japanese text to read if you want to understand the story.

Graphically, the game uses low polygons to construct the characters and objects, so they look somewhat blocky. Also, the textures appear to be grainy and light sourcing is not used. It is apparent that a lot of hard work went into making the environments realistic, due to the art direction by the creator himself. The animation of the characters are good with adequate amount of frames.

The main disappointment is definitely the minimal music and sound effects. I wonder the game developers are either ran out of production time or budget. Sound effects are minimal during the cut scenes, and there's no voice acting. As a result, the silence lasts for long stretches throughout different parts of the game, and it can get annoying sometimes. In a way, the dead quiet gives you an isolate feel that may be appropriate to certain scenes though. There's music in the game, but it doesn't play often. When it does play, there is not much base or depth to enhance your listening experience.

Besides my gripes with the music and sound effects. Gunnm: Martian Memory shines in the interesting plot, fighting, challenge departments, and solid gameplay. If you are a fan of this series, be sure to buy this game. Even if the casual gamer doesn't know anything about this series, I still recommend for a try.