Basically, the beta translation patch for Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden (hereby shortened to @G) has been released, with the story fully translated among other things. It’s been a long wait for fans, which even preceded my induction to the franchise two years ago.
This is a large boon for people who want to get into the games and experience mecha crossover fun. @G has been widely toted as the best game in SRW history, in terms of story, cast, graphics (incomparable to newer games nowadays but still perfectly serviceable for its time) and gameplay from its initial release. It’s also the first SRW game to feature JAM Project, and Hagane no MESSIAH is one of their more epic songs, featuring Ichiro Mizuki no less.
I’m not entirely knowledgeable about @G’s story, because I’m still at the initial stages, but the gist of it is that our heroes are thrown into an alternate, post-apocalyptic future in which they struggle to correct and return to their own time. Can you say epic? It also marks the debut of Banpresto original character Zengar Zombolt, The Sword That Cleaves Evil. Zengar is pretty much a one-trick pony, but he’s absolutely cool and none of his imitators could be half as awesome like him. (Vid below is him in one of the newer games.)
So why am I writing about this? It’s because it’s really hard for people to get into SRW in general. The main reason is the language barrier. One could play the game with MNeidengard’s story translations, but those files are humongous and aren’t exhaustive (i.e. they only cover one character path), sadly. Before Atlus’s translation of Original Generation (OG for short, a SRW game featuring all-original characters and mechs), there was absolutely no way to understand the games without godly mecha-fu or an intimate understanding of Japanese. When OG was translated and released in the western world, it brought in a legion of SRW converts, but the game itself was wanting in half of the fun one could get from playing SRW–seeing the characters from different mecha series make friends, establish mentor-student relationships, and form rivalries with each other.
Some of the notable crossover character interactions throughout the franchise are (lol spoilers?):
- Bright administering his trademark slap to Shinji Ikari. (The Dragonar Trio get their share too, in their appearances.)
- Akira Hibiki yelling at Ayato Kamina, which helps the latter man up more than the entire anime did.
- Rom Stoll interrupts the MP Evas’ feast on Asuka by blowing up one of them. In his human form. Also gives out custom-made speeches to practically every major baddie he meets.
- Shinji calling Kira Yamato a crybaby.
- Amuro and Misato flirting at almost every game they’re in.
- Basara writing a song for Minmay, which survives 12,000 years in the future and is able to paralyze the evilest final boss in SRW history.
- Sousuke Sagara looking up to Heero Yuy as his sempai.
- Orgun beating up Blade when he went berserk.
- Practically every character with a martial artist background sparring with each other.
- SHOCKWAVE ALBERTO FIGHTING AN ANGEL. ON FOOT.
- Ayato tuning the world, and giving back to Akito Tenkawa his mirth and tastebuds. He returns to Yurika sans the emo PoD getup. Perfect end ❤
- Akira, Ryoma, Guy Shishio and some other guy (from Goshogun IIRC) stay with Noriko and Kazumi inside Buster Machine 3 to lend their power.
- Haman’s ghost going tsundere on Judau (“It’s not that I like you or something… I just don’t want that guy to win!”).
Alpha Gaiden is hard, though. It requires careful planning and the game mechanics don’t rely on cheap tricks like Armor Breakers and Twin System exploits. But at least it lets you continue after getting blown up! Old SRW games returned you to the title screen if you lost, and SRW3’s Gato had caused many a player to bitch after getting his entire team blown up by one well-placed Atomic Bazooka MAP attack. Thank God that hasn’t happened to me yet.
Now to wait for Alpha’s story translation too…