What Is It?
It’s a truism in video games that the Xbox did very, very poorly in Japan, and the Xbox 360 only somewhat better. Despite that, for the very few people who owned Xboxes in Japan, there were in fact some rather interesting exclusive games that never made it to other markets. One of these was Metal Wolf Chaos. I’ll be perfectly honest, having seen a video of the game I wanted it, but could only get it by torrenting the disc image and playing it on a friend’s modded Xbox. It’s too bad it never was released in the U.S., because I and most of my friends would definitely have bought copies of it. It’s not impossible to get a legit copy, but it’s not cheap either.
The basic premise of the game is the kind of thing only a certain kind of Japanese game designer would come up with. The Vice President of the U.S.A. stages a coup, turning our great country into a military dictatorship overnight. With much of the military siding with the VP’s tyrannical regime, the President himself must don a power suit and blast his way to restoring liberty and freedom. Along the way you get to visit (and more often than not blow up) major American landmarks, upgrade your weapons, and see cut scenes with awesomely cheesy English/Engrish dialogue (“Suck my missile punch!”), until you finally get to have an epic confrontation on a space station.
Why’s It Awesome?
The President is in a presidential mecha, blasting the crap out of America’s enemies. The White House become an armored, mechanical monstrosity: The Fight House. It’s Independence Day plus Full Metal Panic, minus any and all shame. If you want a taste, check this out:
Most any reasonably customizable mecha game — Mekton Z, Exosuit A-OK, etc. — could handle the mayhem of MWC, though you could easily use a more generic system that can do mecha (BESM, OVA, etc.). Another option would be to go for a more descriptive system that concentrates on cinematic action, like Wushu. (And for a blast from the past, I might just dust off my copy of the old Project A-ko RPG…)
As an RPG scenario, MWC’s setup would probably need to be tweaked for more than one protagonist. The way I would handle this is to have the players campaign and vote (naturally) for who gets to be the President, and assign other cabinet positions from there.
MWC is not a thematically deep game by any means, but what depth of story it does have comes mainly from the President’s ties to others–a VP he’d thought he could trust, former comrades from the military, etc.–being tested by the present circumstances. A little bit of this can help keep the story from becoming nothing more than an excuse to blow stuff up, and a lot could make it either more of a serious drama, or crank the melodrama up to 11. In the latter case, my as-yet unrealized dream of a fighting shonen manga game would be idea if it existed, and the former case it starts to sound like a weird Dogs in the Vineyard hack might be the order of the day.
Up Next: Fighting Shonen Manga