Shogo: Mobile Armor Division
I recently played Shogo for the first time. I often made the experience with games of this era, that either you’ve already played them back then (and you still love them because of “the good times”/all the fond memories), or they kinda suck now/don’t generate any kind of enthusiasm, if there is no such nostalgic connection to them.
I’m happy to say this isn’t the case with Shogo. It almost feels a little bit like something that was ahead of its time. The controls hardly differ from shooters that were created much later and there are even some choices in there, which can lead to different outcomes. Levels aren’t just filled with enemies to shoot at, but also with all kinds of other NPCs/non-combatants that might show up/be present in the places the player visits. They have their own remarks and sometimes even short conversations. Let’s be honest: There are games today which don’t really shine in this area. :)
One of the draws of this game supposedly was, that it’s possible to also control huge combat robots, but that part didn’t matter much to me, since the controls are pretty much identical to running around on foot.
Especially noteworthy is the intro song which totally holds up today. GOG thankfully even included it as an MP3. It helps a great deal in making Shogo a game I’m never going to forget.
There are some funny shenanigans here and there, the most infamous would be the epic ending credits, which – at the very end explain how to speed up the ending credts with a remark like “oh, maybe we should have told you that at the beginning”. :)
Some jokes I also never would have gotten, if I had played it back then, there’s a building in which some crazy people literally plan on eating a cat and the woman you are in radio contact with calls you a pervert when you tell her about it. :D
The experience is rounded up with some nice references, like a certain “M. Kusanagi” having her quarters right next to yours.
I don’t think it’s very often the case, that especially pop culture references still work 18 years after a game/piece of art was released, so their choices turned out to be really good ones and play a big part in making this game feel like it’s somehow still holding up.
It also nicely lines up with my experience of never having played a bad Monolith game. Speaking of being like other Monolith games, this too apparently didn’t sell very well (what is wrong with people?!?), because it never got any sequels. Too bad!
There are even some mods for this game, but I didn’t use any, since I don’t like that, when playing something for the first time.