Phantom Crash pits the player as a pilot of a small mech known as an SV. SVs are used to compete in the sport of “Rumbling” a kind of robotic death match held in Old Tokyo, which has become the most popular sport on TV.
Phantom Crash stands out when compared to other mech games due to its fast paced game play and stealth tactics. Most mech based games on the Xbox; such as Steel Battalion and MechAssault had the player operating huge lumbering walking tanks that could take massive amounts of punishment.
There is also a very heavy emphasis on customization in the game, allowing for literally billions of different setups. As the player is allowed to not only pick from an assortment of weapons and parts to build their mech, but then adjust the weight of each (changing damage and ammo properties) to allow their mech to run faster, jump higher and remain stealthed for longer.
The story or “Quest Mode” as the game refers to it sees the player start out as a newbie Rumbler set on reaching the top. Set during the year 2031 in an inhospitable Old Tokyo that has long since been abandoned due to massive amounts of air pollution and a severe economic downturn. The player must conquer each “Arena Ranker” of the arenas of Old Tokyo in order to be crowned number one ranker.
Each character you meet along the way will have their own subplot and will interact with the player through copious amounts of text over a 2d sprite of them changing expression accordingly. Arena Ranker matches are often accompanied by major plot points and revelations/resolutions about the more major characters plot lines. All leading up to the players confrontation with the First Ranker.
What Goes Into Building A Mech?
A lot goes into making your mech, a few of the more important parts are:
CHIPs are a requirement for every SV, an onboard A.I.
that deals with targeting and defense. When starting out your first CHIP will be a standard electronic CHIP with no real personality. Later on when the player gains access to the “Wild Machines” used parts shop; a large variety of animal type chips become available, all with their own unique targeting reticule statistics and personality to match. For example, the wolf CHIP is noted as being “loyal” meaning it’s more likely to protect the player from damage than the rabbit CHIP, however the rabbit CHIP will allow players to quickly lock onto their foes with missiles. So picking a CHIP that matches your play style is a must.
CHIP types include:
There are 3 main producers of SV in Phantom Crash; Kojima Industries, Ventuno Gruppo and American Stars. Each produces a different type of mech specializing in one particular area, be it speed, armor or a mixture of the two. For a better understanding of all 3 companies and their associated mechs visit the SV page
There are a large amount of customizable weapons in Phantom Crash too, ranging from your standard machine guns
and rocket launchers
to less conventional lasers
and ramming spikes
. Each SV can be equipped with as many as 4 weapons and as few as none! The set up consists of 2 shoulder weapons and 2 hand weapons each assigned their own button for firing.
Making weapons lighter at the “Plus Tech” shop will allow you to carry more ammo for them as well as being able to equip a heavy weapon that would’ve previously lead to the playing being over cumbered. Making weapons heavier however will allow the player to deal massive amounts of damage, but may lead to the sacrifice of another weapon to stay within weight limits and will reduce the amount of ammo a player can carry.
A large number of paint jobs and decals also exist within the game to allow the player to add a more personal touch to their mech. There are also items that can be placed inside of the SV, some of which are pointless but have fun flavor text, like an air filter. While some of the more expensive ones give bonuses to your stealth system, allowing it to recharge quicker.
Phantom Crash also houses a large selection of music to buy from the shop “Sonic Amp”. Consisting of a mix of music from both real artists like Electric Eel Shock and music composed specifically for the game.
Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!
Once you’ve built your mech it’s time to go get it dirty!
Rumbling is as simple as it sounds, it’s a free for all fight to the death between an assortment of SVs in any one of Old Tokyo’s 3 arenas. The aim being to stay alive and at the same time wipe out as many of the competitors as possible until the class captain (depending on what class you picked, A, B, C, or D) appears and is beaten. At this point players must return to their starting point to exit the arena and claim their reward and finish the match. It is possible to stay in the arena to earn more money but this tactic is very risky, as being wrecked will result in failure, meaning you'll have to beat the class captain again.
If the player is unfortunate enough to find themselves wrecked, the match will end and a small penalty will be deducted from the money earned that match to pay for repairs.
Ammo, health and money are dropped into the arena via a small flying vehicle which can be tactically shot down to prevent enemy SVs from collecting helpful items.
SVs have a verity of tools at their disposal to aid in dispatching their foes, the most useful of which is a cloak; ambushing unsuspecting opponents or escaping from a more powerful one is made easy by slipping into your surroundings instantly, be warned though, damage can still take you out of cloak and some of the less advanced cloaking systems have long recharge times. All SVs also have the use of a small rocket assisted jump, allowing them to get better vantage points from atop buildings or to simply dodge incoming missiles.
The game even boasts a 4 player split screen mode, allowing players to import their custom monsters to do battle against up to 3 of their friends locally. Unfortunately Genki were unable to integrate any Xbox Live features, such as an online battle or customization mode. Konami later rectified this with a sequel PlayStation 2’s PSN.
Unfortunately Phantom Crash sold rather poorly, this was partly due to the fact it was released in the same week as MechAssault which had a much bigger budget when it came to marketing. The game did however peak Konami’s interest who ended up buying the rights and helping to develop the PlayStation 2 sequel; S.L.A.I.
Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility
Phantom Crash is one of the many games that is backwards compatible
with the Xbox 360
. However a whole host of technical issues plague it. From graphical errors to full on phantom crashes (if you’ll excuse the pun). The game is best enjoyed on the original Xbox.
Phantagram Co. Website. Genki Co. Website.
The Phantom Crash Official Website.