Battle Cruiser Yamato


Review by Joe Santulli



Graphics: 8

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 6

I don't know a word of Japanese, but the same language is used to open the title of this CD-based PC Engine game and yet I can translate every word.  Know why?  It's because I spent a pretty good portion of my sophomore year in high school following the cartoon serial epic Star Blazers, a sci-fi anime in the spirit of Speed Racer but with much more storyline.  It wasn't until years later that I found out Star Blazers is merely the Americanization of a cult-status eastern legend:  Yamato.

After the Star Blazers I came to know and ultimately acquire the videotape collection of came two more series, several movies, and even this little game for the PC Engine.  Not available here in the states, Battle Cruiser Yamato faithfully captures key moments in the first series.  As commander of the Yamato, a navy battleship-turned deep space cruiser, you must lead your team to Iscandar to meet Queen Starsha, who will grant you with the "Cosmo DNA" which will in turn prevent the Earth from dying a slow radioactive death at the hands of the Gamelons.  Sound like a tall order?  They did it on the TV show.  It took the Star Blazers 26 episodes to complete this quest.  Unfortunately, the game is over in seven episodes which ultimately leads to its downfall.

This game is very basic in its concept: you control eight "posts", which control various ship functions: navigation, weapons, repairs, fighters, data, etc.  Each mission begins with a pretty lengthy but not very animated cut sequence which sets the tone.  Knowledge of Japanese would greatly improve this section, but it was fun watching the blue-skinned Gamelons speak another language.  For the first time they finally seemed like they were from another planet!  By selecting the proper course of action for the mission you will thwart the Gamelon's efforts. It may mean destroying enemy ships, protecting the Yamato for a set time limit, or reaching a particular destination on the map.  I found the best strategy was to shoot first and ask questions later.  By continually rotating the Yamato it seemed I had a constant source of firepower.

The games' seven missions will probably take you five or six hours to complete, assuming you make the same mistakes I made along the way.  Not having an instruction book or knowing the premise before each mission made some of the goals rather difficult (I outlined the missions below) to understand.  Once I had the objective clear, they were easy to complete.

If you look at the game as interactive animation it's a decent buy.  I didn't feel ripped off despite the short playtime, but that's probably because I was a Star Blazers fan and it was fun controlling the Yamato.  Others would be advised to go elsewhere for their spacefaring thrills.

Mission 1a: Destroy the incoming missile.
Mission 2: Guide the Yamato to the waypoint within the time limit to warp away from the Gamelons.
Mission 3a: Destroy all of the enemy ships.
Mission 3b: Destroy the space island with the wave motion gun.
Mission 4a: Destroy all of the enemy ships.
Mission 4b: Survive the enemy attack during the repair sequence.
Mission 5: Destroy all enemy ships, use the asteroid belt to shield the Yamato from attack.
Mission 6a: Destroy all of the enemy ships.
Mission 6b: Use the wave motion gun to destroy the meteor.
Mission 7a: Destroy all four squadrons.
Mission 7b: Kiss the Gamelons goodbye.


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:37 PM