MechaTracks (www.mechatrax.com), the Japanese company that brought the world the RoboCatcher, has unveiled yet another novel combination of relatively simple hobby robot technology with the arcade amusement scene. Rather than creating another capsule toy game, this time they’ve developed a video game that requires players to control a small bipedal robot to battle a computer opponent destroying the city.
You control your robot with two joysticks, which provide tank-like controls for turning. In order to score a hit, the player’s robot must be commanded to pick up “ammunition” and drop it into one of three openings corresponding to three cannons on the video screen. With proper timing, you can hit the enemy robot when it lines up with the loaded cannon. The game consists of three missions, each with four levels of difficulty ranging from easy (for kids) to hard (for maniacs). My only complaint is that the on-screen graphics appear to be flash-based, which could be quite a bit better with a proper 3D engine.
MechaTracks is currently accepting pre-orders for the unit, which I imagine won’t have any trouble standing out at most venues. Given the economic downturn, MechaTracks will offer new content from time to time to renew public interest without operators having to replace the hardware.