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Have You Played... Shogo: Mobile Armor Division

Robot wars

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Monolith released Blood in 1997. It instantly became one of my favourite games, the hammy mixture of gore, horror-comedy and Build engine destructibility the perfect cocktail for my teenage mindset. A year later, the studio released another FPS game that I didn’t look forward to nearly as much due to its anime mech theme, which appealed a whole less than Evil Dead fan fiction had. It turned to be a fine game though, going by the name Shogo: Mobile Armor Division.

Along with Looking Glass classic Terra Nova, Shogo is my favourite non-MechWarrior armoured combat game of the nineties. There are on-foot sections as well as in-mech blasting, and even though the whole thing doesn’t hold up particularly well, it’s precisely the kind of game I’d love to see revisited. With tech that showed off the scale of destruction and brought in some weighty physics to emphasise the struggle involved in piloting a beastly biped, Shogo could be magnificent.

That said, Monolith revisited Shogo in spirit with F.E.A.R. 2’s stompy machines. I hated those sections.

I haven’t revisited Shogo for a long time and of all the first-person games I remember from 1998 – the year of Thief and Half Life, among others – Shogo may well have aged the worst. The fond memories evaporate almost immediately when I look at the screenshots and I fear that actually trying to play would be disappointing in the extreme.

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Adam Smith

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