In a way, I think the cover art of a game can pretty much help sell the game itself. Of course, if you see Mario on the cover, you know it’s going to be a good game. The same goes with God of War, Ratchet and Clank, Halo, and a lot of other big name franchises. Even some overlooked games don’t sell well due to the box art looking like the first Megaman cover art. Let’s take a Playstation game for this example. The game in question is called Mobile Light Force. Sheesh, it has a horrible cover, but it happens to be a pretty fun 2D shooter. Mobile Light Force or Gunbird was developed by Psikyo, which is known for working on arcade games, like Gunbird, Cannon Spike (Capcom licensed), Samurai Ace, Zero Gunner, and Dragon Blaze. They are also known for making on erotic title for the Playstation 2.
The main story in Mobile Light Force basically has nothing to do with the people on the front of the cover! In fact, this game’s original title is actually called Gunbird in Japan. The story revolves around 5 characters that are each trying to find a magical mirror that can grant them a wish. Of course, with anything that strong, there is always an evil force trying to prevent you from taking it and such. The story is as basic and as unclear as any story you would normally see in a shooter, but you don’t play the game for a story, so let’s move on.
The game play featured in Mobile Light Force is a top-down 2D shooter, like Raiden. You get to choose from 5 different characters that are all unique in their own way. In a game like this, I would say that this is a “beginner’s shooter”. I say that because you get three different attacks, instead of the main weapon and the bomb, like in most levels. You have your basic laser or rapid-fire attack, then you have a focus attack that is different for each character, and finally, you get the screen-clearing bomb. I think it’s interesting that each character has a focus attack. You basically hold down the square button on the Playstation controller, and then the character will change its pose. When you let go, it will mainly do a strong attack that will only hit enemies in front of you. Some of them can be from cool to funny. For example, one of the characters is a witch-like girl, who has a blue bunny. When you use her focus attack, she sends her blue bunny flying into the enemy. If you use the robot soldier character, then he does a somewhat rocket punch attack that looks like something from one of the giant Japanese robot animes, like Getter Robo. From what I can tell, all the characters’ screen-clearing attack are different, like some kill everything in front of you, and some kill all around you.
The graphics are pretty cool. First of all, this game was made in 1994 for the arcades, and then 3 years later, ported over to the Playstation and Sega Saturn. Overall though, the graphics still look nice. Everyone is well-detailed and unique. The animation and detail on the enemies are also well-detailed and random. The music is pretty standard for a shooter, but there is a section in the options menu where you can listen to all o the music in the game, so it isn’t bad. It’s something you would hear in games like Raiden or Gradius. I also like how every character is different, and it gives the game variety and some replay value.
Mobile Light Force does have some faults though, that keep it from being better known. First off, I HATE the cover art. Yeah, the cover art for Gunbird looked anime-esque and it probably wouldn’t have sold well with the original cover, but they should have stayed with the original name and cover art. I mean the American cover art looks like something from a Charlie’s Angels movie or something. No wonder why no one knows about this game, because of the stupid cover art. By looking at the cover art, you can tell that the game would be horrible, but not Mobile Light Force. It’s that kind of cover art that sucks, but the game is actually fun. The game is also pretty short. Well, I think it’s short, since I maybe have gotten really good at these kinds of games. The difficulty is really easy in the beginning, but you can adjust it to make it harder, but all in all, I still think it’s a little on the easy side. I also don’t like how they took out the story and the ending to the game. I don’t know if it would have made sense or anything, but at least keep it in the story, so we can see something silly or something. It would be more enjoyable than what we get here in America. The final complaint comes from the game’s name. What was wrong with Gunbird? The weird thing is that this isn’t the only time they will name a different game with a different name. There is actually a sequel called Mobile Light Force 2, but the real name of the game is actually called Shikigami No Shiro, and it’s not even made by the same company. What was the big deal with these two games? I swear, if I find Mobile Light Force 2, I will review it, but I do want to own it and play it also.
Overall though, the game is pretty fun, and it is also very fun with two players. I would say, pick this game up for a few bucks. This is one of those games that you can play in short spurts and have fun with it. I just wonder what happened to Gunbird 2.
This game gets a 7.9 out of 10.