Sweet As Syrup: Gotcha Force Review

When it comes to fun underrated games, there are few consoles out there that has as many forgotten gems as the Gamecube. After all, the Gamecube was a financial failure and so many games that came out for the console ended up being flops. However, just because a game doesn’t do financially or critically, doesn’t mean that it’s a bad game. Never has this been more true than with the obscure classic known as “Gotcha Force”.

Gotcha Force is a fun little action game with over 200 different toy-shaped aliens to fight it out with. Feeling a bit like Custom Robo, Gotcha Force is an action game that was unlike most games for the console. It was fun, fast, flashy, and was generally a good time! So, I’ve decided to take a look at this forgotten classic today. Just a warning, if you plan on getting this game, be warned that the game contains a lot of flashing lights. If you have a history of seizures, I reccomend not playing this game. Without further adieu, let’s get on with the show!

Gotcha_Force_Coverart
That awkward moment when you realize that G Red doesn’t get that cool laser-sword until halfway through the game.

Need To Know Information

Gotcha Force was originally released in Japan and North America in 2003 for the Gamecube. The game was an action game that merged elements of third-person-shooters and fighting games into arena-style game, similar to Virtual-On. The game was developed by Capcom, the maker of some of my favorite games like Megaman: Battle Network and Dragon’s Dogma. The game sold terribly in both American and Japan, but became something of a cult classic among people who played it. Despite the lukewarm critical reception and poor sales, the game received a limited re-release in Japan back in 2012.

Plot

The plot for Gotcha Force is very stereotypical and mirror popular “monster collecting” anime at the time. You play as a kid named Kou, who just moved to Safari Town. What may seem like a peaceful suburb is soon invaded by evil shadowy toy-sized aliens known as “Death Borgs”. These beings start attacking various parts of town, and it’s your job to stop them. You encounter G Red, who is a “Gotcha Borg”, a toy-alien who is similar to a Death Borg. G Red tasks you with being a “Gotcha Commander” and asks you to lead him into battle against the Death-Force.

You acquire many other borgs along the way of various types as you do battle against all kinds of anime stereotypes. These include the mean bully, the mean bully’s best friend, the army nut, the weird kid, the overweight kid, the evil kid, the stoic mysterious guy, etc. They are kind of forgettable stereotypes, but their borgs and designs are varied enough to stop them from feeling too bland.

Gameplay

The game is a third-person action game where you put together a team of your own borgs to battle other borgs. Fights unfold on a fully 3D arena, which is always a suburban setting that is immensely large due to your side. This makes the fights very interesting and unique as you dart between table-legs and fight inside desks. This gives the game a very unique feeling, like you’re in that old 90s movie Small Soldiers. A much more kid-friendly version of Small Soldiers, to be precise.

In battle, you control a Gotcha Borg and form a team from the various borgs you can acquire throughout the game. There’s over 200 of them and most of them boast unique abilities of their own that turn the tide of battle in various ways. The Gotcha Borgs you encounter come in all kinds of different types. There are transforming robots, combining robots, large robots, giant bugs, dragons, reapers, giant canons of death, helicopters, and many others. There are so many different borgs you can acquire and a lot of them bring special moves or abilities to the table.

Most borgs control the same, even when they have different powers. You’ll primarily be pressing the B and X buttons for attack, it’s a very simplistic system. Some attacks can be charged while other attacks have a limited amount of ammo. You gain more ammunition and health for your borg by leveling him up. However, the leveling up system is not very rewarding. Most borgs only gain a small increase in stats with each level up, and it’s not very noticeable.

However, there are colored variants of each Borg that will gain more stat bonuses than the regular version while leveling up. Acquiring most borgs is a pretty taxing affair. Most of the rare borgs come in several separate pieces that you have to acquire by completing certain missions. Unfortunately, you will most likely only run across these missions a few times during a singular playthrough. This can result in a fair bit of grinding to get these borgs. If you’re trying to legitimately fill out your collection, it may take 5-6 playthroughs of the story mode. Luckily, the story mode will only you about 8-10 hours, but that can stack up if you’re playing through the story mode consistently.

Generally, I liked the gameplay. It was fast, enjoyable, and entertaining. It’s easy to get a handle on how most borgs function and it’s always rewarding when you get a new borg with special abilities. The game is fairly repetitive in how it’s structured, but the fast and furious combat definitely makes up for it. I felt the gameplay was solid overall, despite some hiccups here and there.

Visual Stimuli

Graphics-wise, the game looks pretty good. The colors are bright and vibrant and the cartoon-ish deigns of the borgs and humans are fun to look at. Character designs are varied enough so that it never feels like characters are just copied and pasted. Well, the designs are nice, I can’t say the same about the rest of the game’s sound and visual quality.

For one thing, the voice-acting is god-awful. I get the feeling that mostly kids were cast to play these characters, which is why they feel so bland and boring. Very few voices actually fit, and even when they fit they aren’t actually done-well. The music is okay, reminds me of something I’d hear on old VHS tapes from the 80s. It’s not too bad, but it doesn’t leave a huge impression either. Framerate is also a bit of an issue with this game. While the game operates at a pretty decent framerate most of the time, it can chug when too many things are going on on screen. To me, the graphics and audio are a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to this game.

In Summation

This game that is very fun to play, is very enjoyable, and has a lot of replay value and heart to it. Despite that, the voice acting is really bad, it has some framerate issues here and there, and the game can be a bit of a grind if you want to collect all of the borgs. Despite this, I reccomend you all play this game as it is a ton of fun! This was a game I loved so much as a kid that I went out of my way to rent it, buy it, and emulate it. That’s right, the current copy I have is an emulation. That’s because this game is rare and super hard to find nowadays and I no longer have my copy. So, I can’t really give this a score as it’s near impossible to get legitimately. Despite that, I can say that this game is as sweet as syrup and I highly reccomend playing it. Just be warned, some of the later missions have a tendency to drag.

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