I’ve often been described as a “hipster”, due to how I gravitate towards obscure properties. I love a popular game/show/movie as much as the next nerd, but give me a fantastic hidden gem any day. Being a guy who plays a lot of games, I’ve come across a ton of forgotten video-games in my day. One such game I’ve talked about before is “Gotcha Force”, which happens to be one of my favorite games of all time.
Gotcha Force was one of those games that defied simple explanation. It was a third-person action game, one that combined elements of “Pokemon” with the arena-based combat of “Virtua-On”. Battles take place in a large arena, where you control a toy-sized alien warrior called a “Gotcha Borg”. You create a team of Borgs that you can use in battle, while collecting many new ones along the way.
As the game went on, you’d be given a ton of Borgs and points that you can spend on making a larger team. On top of this, you’d have to fight against the soldiers of the “Death Force”, which served as the main villainous threat of the game. You’d eventually end up doing battle against an evil chick with seaweed-like hair, a fat kid who has an unhealthy obsession with giant space fortresses, and a weird kid who likes scuba-divers. Yes, this is a pretty dang crazy game.
The characters in this game were certainly fun, even if the voice-acting was absolute garbage. Most of the kids sounded like they were voiced by real-life children, which resulted in most of them sounding pretty awful. If you can get past the awful voice-acting, then there’s a truly entertaining game for you to play.
The game has over 200 different Gotcha Borgs to collect, most of which have their own unique abilities and attacks. This gives you a near infinite number of options to build your team with, to the point where it becomes ridiculous. Want a team of 30 Normal Ninjas? Completely doable! Want to go old-school and have a team of transforming robots? Go for it, man!
The game oozes creativity in how it lets you craft your team, which gives you a ton of ways to approach any battle. The game also boasted some rather nice cartoonish visuals, which have aged rather well. You also have the game’s soundtrack on top of this, which featured a ton of songs that sound like they were ripped straight from an 80s exercise VHS tape. The music definitely has a cheesy quality to it, but I feel it adds to the overall package. It’s just a shame that the default volume for the soundtrack is blindingly loud.
Now, I’ve talked about Gotcha Force before on this blog in the past. Of course, there was one major thing that I didn’t really touch in said review: The failure of the game. You see, this game had zero advertising behind it. For whatever reason, Nintendo decided not to make any commercials for this game in both Japan and America. This is especially odd when you consider the fact that they made commercials for other obscure titles, such as “Custom Robo”.
The game also reviewed poorly, which is actually rather surprising. Despite the game being considered fun and one of the Gamecube’s best titles by fans, most major review outlets despised the game. The reviews painted the game as a generic kiddy game, giving it ratings lower than most crummy licensed games. This happened to another great game as well, “God Hand”, which was also completely destroyed by reviewers.
As a result of these factors, the game sold a measly 30,000 copies WORLDWIDE. It’s a crying shame that this game sold so poorly, especially with how good it is. The game itself is a rare collector’s item now, and it’s hard to even play it without emulation. After all, who would want to risk scratching a collector’s item such as this? To be fair, I ended up scratching and losing my copy when I was a kid, so I’m not one to talk! I still regret that, even after all these years…
Anyway, Gotcha Force was one of those special games that I wish would make a comeback. It was so unique for the time, while combining a lot of gameplay quirks that just work well together. It had problems and issues, but I still felt it shined in spite of them. It just sucks that Nintendo won’t remake/re-release this game, apart from a small Japan-only reissue they did in 2012. Here’s hoping the game gets another re-release, or an enhanced version. I imagine a version on Switch selling like hotcakes!