The game is set in an alternate history , circa 1960’s. In this alternate timeline, Hitler's advanced weapons program developed Armoured Fighting Walkers, where they proved relatively ineffective in the plains of Europe. During WWII, the Americans did not drop atomic weapons to end the war in the Pacific. Instead, Japan was invaded by Allied forces with heavy casualties on all sides. In the rugged terrain of Japan, AFWs proved to be invaluable, dominating the battlefield. Eventually, Japan was defeated, with the North occupied by Soviet forces and the South occupied by American forces. The two sides partitioned Japan into communist North Japan and democratic South Japan (analogous to real-life events in Korea), with tensions rising post-WWII between the two superpowers. As tensions rose and the knowledge of nuclear weapons spread to both superpowers, the island of Japan was declared a no-fly zone by treaty to prevent the outbreak of nuclear war, increasing the importance of AFWs in the conflict.
A vicious war broke out between north and south in 1950 (again, analogous to the real-world events in the Korean War) wherein the communist North Japan invaded the democratic South Japan. South Japan was aided by America and other Western democracies, while This sparks tension between the two sides, eventually leading to a north spy stealing a top secret prototype AFW from the south, and the entire game you are essentially chasing after this stolen AFW before it can get all the way back to enemy HQ.
This game is truly unique in how it blends its two game types together. Half of the game is a Turn Based Strategy style layout. You have your units that have a certain movement range, and they can go only as far as a certain amount of squares, you can capture buildings to aid you in your fights, recruit units to aid you in battle, so on and so forth. But when your units engage in battle, it goes into a real time action type scenario where you can see your unit and the enemy unit on a battlefield and you directly control them. You can tell them to either move forward or backward, control your 3 different support infantry troops, and most importantly of all, the main cannon of your Armored Fighting Walker. When your time bar fills up your weapon is fully loaded and ready to fire. When you chose to do so the camera switches to a behind the scope view and it suddenly becomes a first person shooter. Truly interesting game design, and a shame a sequel was never made.
As described earlier, the game has a weird combo of genres. You start out each map with a few AFWs each with their own set of infantry to go with them. You move them around the map in a turn based style. Each AFW only has a certain amount of movement spaces before it has to end its turn. If you are able to come into contact with an enemy (some AFWs can attack from farther away than others) then the game mode switches to the active combat system
The active combat system shows you a battlefield view of the two AFWs going at it. Each AFW gets two support infantry units on the ground that you can either move up to attack the other AFW, its infantry, or perform is special ability, or move them back to keep them from dying before you can make it to an allied controlled building for them to heal back up. You also get one infantry unit in the AFW itself to control the reload of the main cannon, as well as perform their own special moves.
Each AFW has its own reload time bar, when this bar fills up, your main cannon is ready to fire. When you chose to fire you are put into a view of the scope from what it would look like from the cockpit. The longer you wait in this screen the more accurate the shot becomes, the farther away you are from the target when you activate it, the less accurate the shot is going to start out at. There are 4 different lengths the game measures in, long, medium, short, and close quarters. Each AFW has its sweet spot for how far away (or how close) you want to be from the target. if you can manage to get close enough by either disabling the other AFWs legs or engine or just being faster in general, you can manage a close quarters attack. Some of the AFWs are exceptional at this, due to having arms, while others, have no way to even perform a CQ attack, such as the 4 legged AFW.
Through the course of the game you will acquire different types of infantry units with varying levels of skills in each respective type. You can acquire them by taking over neutral buildings with your AFWs. There are 6 different types of infantry units, these are as follows:
These are the basic units, they carry rifles and can cause a significant amount of damage to the opposing infantry units.
These guys are great support both on the AFW and off, when they are on the AFW managing the reload, they can increase your accuracy. While off they can start you off at optimal distance for attacking with your main cannon.
Medics help out your other infantry units for the most part. They can offer up gas masks to your other units in case they get gassed, as well as help them heal faster.
These guys carry the RPG type weapons and can deal a fair amount of damage to the enemy AFW. However, they are extremely weak against enemy soldiers, best used when the enemy has lost a significant amount of troops, or has moved their units back.
Your repair units. These guys can increase the rate at which your AFW is repaired on the battlefield as well as lay down mines and remove enemy mines.
These guys are best used on the AFW as they have incredible reload times as well as increase the movement speed of the AFW during combat
Armored Fighting Walkers
There are 4 types of AFWs in the game each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The ones you control all have their own unique character associated with them so you can’t just purchase all of one unit type and load the map up with them. You get a set amount of each unit type. They are as follows:
These are your standard looking mechs, bipedal by design with arms and generally human looking and acting. They are your standard class and are overall good at everything, from close quarters combat to a general medium range of fire for the main cannon.
These are extremely fast mechs both in combat and on the map. They are essentially legs with a platform on top for the crew. They generally only carry a light machine gun instead of a main cannon, however, along with moving fast, they also have an incredible reload rate. All this is moot though if it takes one too many hits, the Light AFWs have minimalist armor.
These are the long range bad boys of the group, they can wreck some havoc with a really fast reload crew; even still though they fire fairly slowly. Their best range is as long as possible, however, with their slow speed sometimes that can be hard to maintain.
These are fast even compared to the Light AFW. They resemble Standard AFWs but are more built for close quarters combat. While they have a medium cannon mounted on the head, it doesn’t do as much damage as a standard AFW. They also pack a shield, but once it’s destroyed your health will deteriorate fairly fast. If you can get in close enough to do numerous CQC attacks, then I think it would be safe to say “bye-bye” to your opponent.