One of the stranger games on display at Nintendo's MCM Expo was Solatorobo: Red the Hunter, a third-person action role-playing game for the Nintendo DS developed by CyberConnect2 and published by Namco Bandai. It's the spiritual successor to Tail Concert--also developed by CyberConnect2--that was released for the PlayStation back in 1999. While it has already seen a Japanese release, an English-language version of Red the Hunter isn't hitting European shelves until July. We grabbed a DS for a brief hands-on, discovering that all you need to fend off a vicious attack are giant robot arms.
Red the Hunter takes place on the Shepherd Republic, a set of floating islands inhabited by a race of cats and dogs that use specialised robot suits to help them with their everyday jobs. You play as Red Savarin, a dog who is sent on a mission to retrieve a stolen file from an airship. It's there that our hands-on kicked off and where we got our first glimpse of Red's robot suit. The suit was equipped with rockets, enabling us to jump great distances, as well as powerful arms, which we could use to pick up and break objects.
While the game is 3D, most of the action onboard the airship took place on a 2D plane, moving from left to right. As we moved across we encountered small enemies that we dispatched by throwing nearby crates at them. Eventually we entered a small room, where some dialogue appeared to inform us the ship was under attack. As we made our way back to the deck, another ship appeared in the distance and began firing huge rockets at us. Fortunately, we were able to grab the rockets using our massive mechanical arms and hurl them back at our attacker. Eventually, our attacker's ship was destroyed, and we were told to make our way to another room onboard.
Unfortunately, that's where our time with the story mode ended, but we were able to check out some of Red the Hunter's minigames. The first was called Fishing mode, which--as the name suggests--involved trying to catch fish. These were no ordinary fish, though; their huge size often dwarfed the small boat from which we were launching our harpoon. Once our harpoon had attached itself to a fish, we had to reel it in by hammering the A button and pushing the D pad in a direction that appeared onscreen. We had to be careful not to push the A button too many times though; otherwise, our engines would overheat and we'd lose the fish.
The second minigame required us to leap around various platforms collecting boxes by using our suit's rockets to fly through the air. The handling of the suit was very similar to handling the jetpack in Pilot Wings, requiring careful nudging of the D pad to guide us to platforms before our boost ran out. In each mode, the dialogue had been well translated from Japanese, and the few brief moments of voice acting we heard sounded good, if a little overacted.
Solatorobo: Red the Hunter is due out on the Nintendo DS this July. For more from the MCM Expo, be sure to visit mcm.gamespot.com.