It's a terrible licensed game and it's in Japanese. Hideous.
I first played Zoids VS III for a few hours on October 19, 2004. The
experience disturbed me so greatly that I did everything I could to put it
out of my mind, hoping it would run away from neglect. Unfortunately, the
"responsibility" of playing this atrocity nagged at the back of my mind for
five months before I finally gave in, fighting against my own survival
instincts to see the game in full.
Zoids VS III is based on the popular (?) animated series, which showcases
perky humans piloting giant robots shaped like various animals. As with
many animated series, the show's ultimate goal is to sell toys, and
therefore, the coolest new feature in Zoids VS III is apparently the toy
packed in with the special edition (which I didn't get).
Graphically, the game is in shambles. The
toys Zoids are actually
somewhat detailed, so if you want to gawk at them in the museum, you can.
Everything else would look bad even for an N64 game. The textures have just
enough noise to keep them from being mistaken for solid colors and to
suggest basic elements such as rock or snow, and seams can frequently be
seen where textures meet or repeat. Most arenas are practically empty. A
few levels have background towers and platforms with about as much
complexity as elements in Star Fox 64. To top off our N64 comparisons, each
level is surrounded by a blur of fog to cover over the short draw distances.
Plus, even with this level of visual simplicity, the framerate can never
The gameplay is similar to titles like Custom Robo. Depending on the mode,
you'll either purchase or unlock new Zoids as well as various weapons and
upgrades. You then choose a Zoid to face off against another Zoid or a group
of Zoids. The game includes a straight-forward battle mode; another mode called Zoids Fist, in which you attempt to knock your opponent off a platform; and Mission Mode,
which usually has you battling a group of Zoids, but occasionally provides
a different take on the action, such as sniping or dropping bombs from the
air. Theoretically, there is also a multiplayer mode, but you won't find anyone
who wants to play this game with you.
Control is awkward and non-responsive. The layout actually makes sense:
switch weapons with Y, lock-on with R, fire with A, pounce with X, dodge
with the C stick. However, in execution the machines seem completely
unwieldy. For your shot to really connect, you have to wait for a blue icon
to appear over your target. Even then, most weapons rarely seem to hit your
opponent, as if they are meant to be fired only from specific distances -
too close or far away, and they'll miss no matter what. In contrast,
enemies' weapons home in on your position no matter which direction they're
fired in or how much you try to dodge. The main control frustration, though,
is the fact that whenever you're hit by enemy fire, you're unable to move,
and after a few hits, you even get knocked to the ground and have to wait
several seconds to get back up. Since you are often surrounded by three
opponents at a time, this results in a constant fight with the controls, as
you try to dodge successive shots, but can only rock the control stick back
and forth and watch yourself get pummeled.
As you may have surmised from the control description, the various Zoids are
dreadfully unbalanced. Some Zoids simply have no chance of competing with
others. Either you pick a machine that can cream the other, or you get
creamed. In Mission Mode, you'll gain plenty of new Zoids, but most of them
are not nearly as strong or maneuverable as the tiger you start out with. Zoids Fist
amplifies the unbalanced advantages with poor AI; if you pick a flying Zoid,
you can easily fly away from the platform and lure your opponent to his
Rounding off the package are frequent load times and long story scenes that
can take more than thirty seconds just to skip through. The cut-scenes are
just long winded conversations between still character frames. If you tap
the button fast enough, it almost looks like animation. In the end, this is
a shoddy license tie-in, and it's too frustrating to be any fun.
If for any reason, you do not heed this message of woe, our partners at
Sang will gladly take your money. Although, afterwards, you may wish
that you had instead purchased a laser pointer to shine in your eyes.