Here I am, back again. I thought it would be a nice treat for me to tell you about a game that I love that never got as much attention as it deserved. Steambot Chronicles is definitely an obscure PlayStation 2 game, so obscure that online I couldn't even find a complete walkthrough for it.
The game, developed by Irem (who also developed R-Type), focuses around a steampunk-style sandbox world, which is where technology has advanced considerably, yet the surroundings look like they are from the Victorian age and everything is powered by steam.
The story follows a young male stowaway named Vanilla, who meets a girl called Coriander (shortened Connie) who happens to be the lead singer of a popular band named the Garland Globe Trotters whose members subsequently also have the names of other plants, flowers and herbs.
The game itself is fairly easy to play, however I advise going through the tutorial, even if you only do it just for the special item that you receive. As for the combat, it revolves around using mecha (a word I hate to use, they should just call them Gundam, like they do in GTO.) called Trotmobiles. The battles do suffer from slowdown, but that surprisingly helps out a lot, as the controls can be a little stiff sometimes.
The cut scenes of the game use the same graphics as the game rather than anything anime. The characters mouths are very well synced to the voice actors, however when moving from one sentence to another quickly using the X button (a technique I appropriately named poke’centering), the audio dialogue sounds rather disjointed.
What about extra stuff to do? Well, because Steambot Chronicles is a sandbox style game there is technically no end to it... even I have never been able to complete it! There are a lot of rhythm sections where you have to play particular instruments with your band or on your own. Also, you can completely customize vanilla’s clothes and even the Trotmobile you ride in. You can even be a bad guy if you want to! For shits and giggles, I made my character think he was a pimp.
There was supposed to be a sequel for the PlayStation 3, but is was cancelled following the Japanese tsunami. All we have right now is a trailer for it, but let's hope that Irem will continue development soon, as a sequel would be really cool!
Overall Steambot Chronicles is a really good game, and a very under-looked one indeed. It will require a lot of spare time to play, but it is still worth a try, even if you can only play it now then.