If there's one thing Nintendo is known for (aside from its characters), it's making really fun multiplayer games, such as Smash Bros. and Mario Kart. One game that is rarely mentioned along these, and that I feel should be, is Custom Robo for the Gamecube. Custom Robo is actually the 4th game in the series, titled Custom Robo: Battle Revolution in Japan.
Custom Robo takes place in a sort of Pokemon-like world. People here are "commanders" who take control of toy-sized robots called custom robos. There are custom robo tournaments, in which commanders compete as well as a police force and mercenary group that both utilize custom robos. Of course, criminal organizations have also taken to them. Games like this always make me luagh. well damn, you bested me at custom robos, guess I'll just go turn myself in. I mean, I could just hold you down and strangle you since you're a scrawny 17 year old, but nah. Good game!
The story follows a nameless hero (you get to name him), whom's father was a great commander. This hero one day decides that he too wants to become a great commander, and joins Steel Hearts - a mercenary group that uses custom robos. Eventually, the plot thickens as an apparently evil custom robo with no commander, and the ability to leave the hologram arenas and wreak havoc on the real world shows up. The plot twists a couple more time beyond there, and it's a very engaging, almost RPG like storyline. Most of the characters are unique and likable, and the game's art style is definitely influences by Japanese anime.
It's time to duel!....I mean battle custom robos, sorry!
As you most likely guessed by this point, your little arigato mister roboto warrior is highly customizable. From his actual body base to a multiple of guns, rockets, chaser missiles and rocket boosters. There are several different body types that all handle a bit differently, from bulky robos tat can take a lot of heat, to super agile small bodies robos that tend to go down more easily, not to mention everything between those two. Guns range from the standard gatling guns and flamethrowers to guns that shoot sword blade, and much more. As you play through the story will unlock and find more parts. The more parts you have, the more you can change your robo to fit your needs. All of these unlocks carry over to the multiplayer, in which you and 3 friends can customize a robo and blow each other to smithereens
In battle, each robo starts with 1000 HP, and this is worn down as it takes damage. Obviously, if it reaches 0, that robo will be out of commission. During the battles, you have multiple weapons at your disposal, like your gun, as well as your "pods", which are somewhat like mobile mines, and your bombs or rockets. Each arena is set up so that you can strategically place yourself, hiding from fire behind walls, and jumping out for an ambush. When you take too much damage at once, you will be "down". To put it simply, your robo shuts down for a second, and reboots, giving your opponent a moment to rest and think. Four controllers and a copy of Custom Robo can be extremely entertaining if playing with people who know the game well.
The game's biggest shortcoming has got to be sound design, followed closely by graphics. While I love the character art and designs, and the models are fairly detailed, they leave something to be desired. They don't really look bland, per se, but they leave something to be desired. The in battle graphics also don't seem to quite take advantage of the Gamecube's technology. The music in the game is a sort of rock-ish techno, that at its best is tolerable, and at its worst will make you turn the volume way down. Worse than anything though are the "voices". As characters talk, they are accompanied by a voice track that sounds like setting Animal Crossing to *bebebese and then making the villagers snort a few lines of coke.
Custom Robo is an extemely fun game, with a surprisingly interesting story and a loveable cast. So loveable in fact,that I didn't should needles in my ears after hearing their horrid voice tracks. It's worth playing for the single player, but multiplayer will last you for as long as you want it to.