I need to start off by saying that I love the entertainment portions of Japan. I love Japanese video games, anime, manga, even their professional wrestling seems like it's at a higher standard than in the states. The culture is just amazing. I'd like to reassure you though, I'm not a weeaboo, dear God that would just be terrible.
So it all started when I was first told about the Super Robot Wars games (Or Super Robot Taisen I just stick with SRW). Now to describe these games I'd have to say it like this, imagine a bunch of mech animes. For example anything in the Gundam series, Evangelion, you know stuff with giant robots that beat the crap out of each other. Now you take multiple series and you throw them all into a game. My explanation doesn't really do it justice but I'd suggest you look up some of the gameplay footage on youtube. The only problem is that very few of them get released outside of Japan due to some of the copyright laws in other countries. That's fine though, because some people create translations for the games and release them to the public. Or they're jerks and keep the translation all to themselves. You know who you are.
I usually just stuck to roms and emulators for these games by just playing translated version of the snes or gameboy advanced games. However, I wanted to step into some big boy consoles like the original Playstation with Super Robot Wars Alpha. All I knew about the game was that it was on the original Playstation, that was it. I didn't know the series involved and I dared not take a look at the plotline. I wanted this experience to be sacred, like I was opening a beautiful present from the Santa of the Rising Sun.
So I went on Amazon and found a copy for about sixteen dollars including shipping, and the user had a ninety-eight percent approval rate so I was pretty damn pumped. For a couple of weeks I waited, waited in anticipation for my package and one day I come up to my front door and there it is. This lead to even more anticipation, see since it was all in Japanese I had to find a translation or something. Lucky enough for me a buddy of mine who also loves the SRW games (probably even more than myself) had developed a program that translates all in-game text to English. He's brilliant.
After waiting what seemed like years for everything to be completely translated I finally popped the disc into my modded Playstation 2 so I could play Japanese imports. I buy a lot of Japanese import games too, making the modding somewhat of a necessity. Everything is just as a normal PS2 opening and I was nearly bouncing in my chair from pure excitement. Yes, I was a nineteen year old man bouncing in my seat because of a video game. So then it got to the opening cutscene and it looked absolutely wonderful. So many of the mechs from all these different shows that I had and hadn't seen but for the most part everything looked recognizable.
Then at the end of the opening things got really intense with the silhouette of someone getting stabbed in all of the PS1's glorious opening graphics. This actually got me a little more excited, this game was going to be dark and for the most part I love dark. The title screen came up, translated perfectly with all of the various mechs I had seen before like Gundam and Mazinger. I pressed start and I was excited that in this game I had a created protagonist, much in the way of the Persona games or even Super Robot Wars J. So I chose my name, John, and picked some of the spirit abilities (which are like skills in other rpgs). I picked my favorite of the series that they had in the games, my three favorites were Banpresto originals, Mobile Suit Gundam, and Mobile Suit Gundam Zeta.
The game started off with a long dialogue about how "They couldn't let him loose," it was intriguing to say the least. They eventually decided to tell the protagonist to hop into a mech and go fight off some generic enemies with a tutorial of how to play the game and such. The map ended with a character saying "Good work John, come back to- no, Oh God No!" then for a second there was a text box with the character labeled as ??? and the text read "HAHAHAHA Silly fool." Things just got real.
I entered a cutscene where I saw a cloaked man with a knife in his hand that had blood on the blade. The bodies of what I presumed to be the people who I'd been speaking to earlier. Things just got really creepy and I was loving every moment of it. This was a damn cool dark turn in my opinion. The pre-rendered cutscene ended and we went back to the in-game cutscene with a conversation with the cloaked figure who identified themselves as Minos. I found out he was a murderer who used to be a mech pilot. He offered me the chance to join him or try to face him in a long standing battle. I figured this to be the main decision for the story mode, whether you were with or against this guy named Minos.
I'm a bit of a jerk and I like to play as the villain sometimes, so I decided to join Minos on his journey to spread chaos throughout the universe. He hops in a mech along side you while you both work to fight off Amuro Ray and a group of federation soldiers. Amuro was in the original Gundam so this was still when he was a kid, at the end of the fight Amuro was about to fly off when a text-box popped up with Minos saying "Don't let him escape!" After I stopped him from leaving, Minos' mech came closer and all I heard was the sound of a knife going through flesh and a scream from Amuro. Minos then told me to "Hop into this Gundam thing, the one you got is useless."
I was a little off-put by the fact that Minos just murdered one of the main characters of a series, especially that he was a kid. However, Japan can do some really creepy shit so I just accepted it and moved on with the story.
The story was pretty good, it involved being Minos' army and essentially guding him through his rise to power and various events like the one with Amuro would happen except there would be times when Minos wasn't even around, implying you were murdering people. Minos would constantly congratulate me saying that I was "becoming more and more like him every day."
After Minos felt that our army had surmassed enough units to finally destroy the Federation and Zeon alliance to conquer all. The final mission had the army of Minos and the Alliance face off in one final battle, it came down me and the leader of the Alliance Char Aznable in his Sazabi. We won the fight but Minos had been killed in the battle and even after murdering Char there was one last pre-rendered cutscene that had the main character holding Minos while crying, as Minos drew his last breath and finally died. The protagonist then dons a cloak and his silhouette is seen committing mass murder in honor of his fallen mentor.
The credits rolled, and all I had to say was "Holy shit, where is that new game plus?" There was a new game plus option and before I started everything again I decided to take a look at the Wikipedia article and a walkthrough to see if there were any hidden units I might have missed.
I was a bit freaked out though, the story didn't talk about the murders. It didn't even mention Minos.
Only an idiot would have gotten rid of that game, and before I got the capture card I was going to use to record a let's play of the game some bastards came in and stole all of my gaming consoles. My copy of Super Robot Wars Alpha was in one of those consoles. I'm still hoping that one day I'll be able to find the guys who stole it. I really want to play it again.