We’d like to start this post off with an unsolicited plug. Our friends over at The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling recently interviewed the great Glenn “Kane” Jacobs for their podcast (which we wholeheartedly suggest you subscribe to via iTunes or whatever other service you use for podcast delivery. You can get a taste here – but the full thing is definitely worth a listen!
They’re dropping like flies! The field continues to narrow as we near the end of Round 2! TONIGHT – Sumo will attempt to squash Papaya Tokuma beneath his giant hips! Sumo doesn’t seem like much of a fruit eater to me, but something tells me he’ll try to devour Papaya Tokuma nevertheless. Can our favorite salsero dance around the weight disparity to pull of another shocking upset? LET’S FIND OUT!
Papaya Tokuma, FPWR’s version of Mango Fukuda (a/k/a Bear Fukuda, a/k/a Takayasu Fukuda, a/k/a Hustle Ranger Yellow, a/k/a one of many men to lose to a ladder) pulled off a stunning upset in Round 1, defeating the heavily favored Raven Gush (FPWR’s version of Kevin Nash) in Match 13. While the match was competitive, Papaya put “The Genocide” to sleep at 13:28 with a Doctor Bomb. I apologize to Kevin Nash and his lawyers for letting this happen on my watch.
Listen, I’d love to tell you more about Mango Fukuda and his career, but I don’t think it would be good for my mental health. Last time I explored this guy’s accolades, we went down a dark path filled with Ninja Turtles and brainwashed Power Rangers. I’m scared of what I’ll find if I dig any deeper than that. So you’ll just have to settle for this Salseros Japoneses match.
If you fast forward to the 17:00 mark, you’ll actually catch some footage of Mango showing off his salsa moves. It really sheds some light on his decision to take up a second career as a Power Ranger.
Despite outward appearances, history has shown us that Papaya has got the go to back up the show… but he’s got a VERY weighty challenge ahead of him.
Rikishi is headed to the WWE Hall of Fame this coming Saturday. There’s no way I can do a better job than the WWE production team at summing up his legendary career… so I’ll just let them do the work:
The real x-factor in this match: Dancing ability. Despite the earlier provided video evidence to the contrary, you’d have to think that Mango would have the edge, based purely on his training as a professional salsero.
Well, you’d be wrong about that. Statistics tell me that most people don’t actually watch the videos, so just trust me when I tell you these guys are equally fatigued. Can Papaya do it again?
No. Sumo takes it in 11 minutes even with a Sumo Driver! The great “Yellow Beast” has been slain!
Billed height: 7’2″. Billed weight: 441 lbs. The “Super Giant,” Great Shiba, FPWR’s answer to the Great Khali, is unquestionably the largest competitor still in the Briefcase Cup. Back in Match 11, he chokeslammed Pakistani expatriate, G.O. Bright, right out of his gross body and into another plane of existence. Here’s hoping he wasn’t one of those Jatismaras. I’d hate to remember that for the rest of eternity. Cut us some slack here. We’re 22 matches deep. Shiba methodically squashed Bright in 11:27, and didn’t take much damage in the process. It takes a lot of gas to power a wrecking machine of this size, though. Will he have enough go power to take on….
Billed height: 5’7″. Billed weight: 176 lbs. FPWR’s version of Hideo Itami/KENTA is unquestionably the superior technician in this match. KAZUYA, caps lock enthusiast and master of kicks, put on quite a brutal display in Match 12, knocking out Bill Bullet in 12:52 with his trademark “Go 2 Sleep.” Like his real life counterpart, KAZUYA has samurai spirit to spare, but he’d better have a katana blade to go with that if he wants to cut down the “Punjabi Playboy.” He got more than a little bloody in his last match, and he’s giving up hundreds of pounds and dozens of inches to this monster!
Only in the world of video game pro wrestling can a 176 pound man hoist a 441 pound man over his head repeatedly and STILL lose the match. This thing just has to be fixed. A valiant effort, but Shiba chokeslams his way to another victory at the 12:27 mark.
TONIGHT! The Briefcase Cup reaches drinking age, so crack open an ice cold Steveweiser and get set for ANOTHER calamitous crash of crazed carnage. We’re more full of it than usual, as the “Crazy Bull” Star Bison takes on Big G. Bull! That’s… A LOT OF BULL. Let’s take this big boy by the horns, shall we?
Star Bison, who is Stan Hansen adjace (copyright and trademark, Peter Rosenberg), revolutionized the concept of elder abuse in Match 9, showing little remorse to the aging Harry Texan, Sr. Utilizing his “fatal Western Lariat” to great effect, Bison picked up a a victory at the 14:21 mark. That being said, the fatherly Texan gave as good as he got: Bison didn’t escape the woodshed without a few belt marks on his ass.
BIG G. BULL
Big G. Bull, FPWR’s loving tribute to Bruiser Brody, lived up to his pedigree in Match 10, where he absolutely BRUTALIZED Keiji Togashi in a contest that had absolutely no business lasting 9:34. Bull demolished, devoured, and digested his opponent (a surrogate for the legendary Kenta Kobashi), turning him into… well… bullshit. I hope someone laughed at that, I’ve been sitting on it for a long time. His first round performance serves as proof positive that Brody/Bull was held in high regard by FPWR’s developers. He’s an absolute beast in the ring, and undoubtedly the fresher man in this match. Bison’s only hope is to wrap that lariat around Bull’s neck early and often.
LET’S… TEAM UP?
Listen, we’ll shoot straight: we didn’t think this match would come to pass; we simply didn’t think there was any way that Big G. Bull would get past the first round, where he was matched up against one of the greatest Japanese wrestlers of all time. We’re glad he did, though, because it will give us an opportunity to talk about the longtime partnership between Stan Hansen and Frank “Bruiser Brody” Goodish.
While Bruiser Brody achieved his greatest success acting like a psychotic viking, entering the ring to an instrumental version of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, it took him a little while to work his way to that point. He started off his career under his given name, Frank Goodish. Goodish wrestled under a cowboy persona, which made him a logical partner for Hansen, the one wrestling cowboy to end them all (apologies to Bob Orton). The pieces fit together even more neatly when you consider that both men were former West Texas Buffaloes, a fact which probably played into the names FPWR foisted upon them.
Hansen and Brody would team together on numerous occasions, achieving great success in both the United States and Japan:
You don’t have to look hard to find evidence of Brody and Hansen’s reign of terror. Just look at some of their matches below:
Here they are beating the the ever-loving Texas out of the Funks (or are they beating the ever loving Funk out of the Texans?):
Here you can see them defeating Mil Mascaras & Dos Caras (the father of our very own Mascara Eagle 2):
…and here they are “Destroying Everyone:”
Sadly, Brody was murdered under mysterious circumstances in 1988. Retroist published an excellent piece on Brody back in July – if you’d like to learn about Frank Goodish’s amazing life and tragic death, it’s highly recommended reading. Brody was truly a bright spot in the world of professional wrestling – but don’t take it from me…
Bull hits a King Kong Knee drop all the way from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun, where the hot springs flow! The hammer of the gods drives Brody to new lands, to fight the hordes in Round 3! VALHALLA, HE IS COMING. Truly, we have witnessed a beastly display of brutality befitting these two legendary badasses.
We’re 20 matches deep, but there’s still much more action to come! TONIGHT – MMA legend, Jorsh Hornet, attempts to sting the explosive Dynamic Kid into submission! Only one man will advance to the next round of the BRIEFCASE CUP! Brought to you by Conono™ – Kilometers Away From Typical!®
VIOLENCE GET! WE ARE ALREADY DEAD!
Jorsh Hornet, FPWR’s judgment-proof facsimile of MMA great, Josh Barnett, dispatched Flash Burton with a brutal capture suplex KO back in Match 7. While the match lasted only 9:03, Hornet absorbed several brutal powerbombs in the process. He’s undeniably a tough customer, but every man has his limits. He’s up against a much smaller foe tonight in the Dynamic Kid, but he just CAN’T be operating at maximum capacity.
They say a bee only gets in one sting before it dies, but don’t sleep on Hornet. He’s been cloned from the DNA of Josh Barnett, one of the baddest men to enter a ring, hexagon, or octagon. Name a shape. Any shape. Josh Barnett has kicked someone’s ass inside of that shape. You dare to doubt me? Fine. Don’t blame me when Josh shows up at your house and kicks your ass while wearing a black diaper.
As you can probably tell, we’re fans of Mr. Barnett here at Subspace Briefcase. That might be why we linked to three highlight videos in his bio. You know he’s a badass. So, instead, please enjoy this video of him fixing a broken nose with two pens.
This man truly is MMA Jesus. Should he lose tonight, he will undoubtedly rise from the dead.
Dynamic Kid defeated the quite-possibly-racist Curry Mask in one of the more epic matches of Round 1. Though he defeated his spicy nemesis with a German suplex, it took him a whopping 21 minutes! If he’s anything like his real life counterpart, Dynamite Kid, though, he should have plenty gas left in the tank – that guy could GO.
Fun fact – everybody who makes Dynamite Kid tribute videos sets them to sad music. In all likelihood, this is because his hard-hitting style cut his career tragically short, leaving him confined to a wheelchair.
There isn’t much I can say about Dynamite that hasn’t already been said – so I’ll just let Bret Hart say it.
PURE DYNAMITE. So we’ve got two legit asskickers in the ring. A bee may only get one sting, but I haven’t seen a stick of dynamite that can explode twice. Time to get VIOLENT.
All the MMA training in the world won’t prepare you for multiple trips to the… uh… just what is that thing anyway? An exploding strip of cardboard covered with barbed wire? Those giant puffs of baby powder it emits lead me to believe it is probably painful, and also a leading cause of mesothelioma. The Kid hits a dynamic German suplex to pick up the 3-count at 10:10!
JAMES against JAMES! Will Doctor Cruelty administer a lethal dose of pain? Will Deucy James deliver some excessive shock treatment? Will this tournament ever end? Does this look infected to you? The answer to these questions, and SO many more… TONIGHT!
We last saw Steel James, who is somehow not a porn star, back in Match 5, where he brutally murdered the much smaller Andy Spirals in just 8:21. To be fair, Spirals may still be alive, but there are only two doctors in this tournament; one of them is fighting in this match, and the other one is his tag team partner. They won’t be providing any urgent care to their competitors.
As we covered during his first match, Steel James is more or less the late “Doctor Death” Steve Williams, who will go down as history as one of the greatest gaijins to wrestle in Japan. If you’ve ever heard anybody call a gutwrench sitout powerbomb a “Doctor Bomb” – and really, who hasn’t heard that one around the water cooler – it’s because Williams had that particular maneuver down to a science.
This man has a PhD in pain! A doctorate in destruction! He put the MD in MURDER! Why can’t they all be doctors? This practically writes itself! In any event, Spirals barely landed a hand on him in Round 1, so Steel James should be more than ready to go against….
… Deucy “The Shock” James! While he’s not “The Shock Master” (you didn’t think I could write more than 32,000 words on wrestling and not reference that once, did you? They’d kick me off the Internet), he is “The Canadian Destroyer” Petey Williams. Do you see what they did with the last names there? Did ya’?
Deucy had a rough go of it in the first round. While he defeated our sole female competitor, Raja Dunk, our non-existent ringside physicians estimate that he lost nearly 15 cubic hockey pucks worth of blood in the process. Hockey pucks are the official volumetric measurement unit of 9 Canadian provinces. Québec measures its fluids by beaver pelt displacement. Don’t bother looking that up, it’s a FACT.
During his career, Petey Williams earned a reputation as one of the world’s premier light heavyweights in TNA’s X Division, where he somehow made the most implausible maneuver of all time a show-stopping highlight:
Petey was a frequent competitor of “The Phenomenal One” AJ Styles – you could almost say that he was the Canadian equivalent AJ Styles. AJ Styles made it in to FPWR as Andy Spirals. As noted above, Steel James murdered Andy Spirals. Deucy had better hope that Steel James can do a backward roll.
A day late and 15 pucks short. A Murder Backdrop and a Doctor Bomb cinch it up for the elder James at the 8:26 mark!
Get ready for a magic show – we’ve got two wrestling wizards going head to head, as Canada’s Blood Love takes on… uh… America’s British Azteca! Which of these mat magicians will deliver the Power Word: Kill to his opponent? REVENGE IS IN THE AIR, AS WE GET READY FOR MATCH 18!
…or maybe he just wanted a rematch? Bret memorably lost one of the greatest WWF Intercontinental Title matches of all time to Davey back in 1992:
How great would it have been to obtain redemption in the Briefcase Cup – the grandest second stage of them all; the Great Uncle of all wrestling events? Bret hasn’t returned any of my calls since match 4, so I can only assume he’s fuming at the lost opportunity. Either that, or he’s tired of hearing me breathe heavily into the phone while I quietly sputter obscenities in Canadian.
Oh yeah. I guess I should say something about Japan. Here’s Bret Hart beating up Akira Maeda, one of the 14,000 people who can claim to have invented modern MMA.
In any event, Blood sustained a surprisingly minimal damage in his opening bout against the fearsome Smasher Gigas. He should be good to go against…
We covered this in the opening round, but here’s a little primer on Fire Pro-speak: “British” means “American,” and “Azteca” means “Dragon.” British Azteca, then, is the “American Dragon,” Bryan Danielson, who now wrestles in the WWE as Daniel Bryan, perennial underdog and leader of the “Yes” movement. Azteca is representative of Bryan in 2006, so we’ll just say that he’s the vice-deputy of the “Perhaps Platoon” instead.
Regardless, he defeated Mightyboy Eddy, so he’s undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with. Even Bret Hart thinks so!
Hey, it even seems like the Hitman was pulling for good ol’ DB heading into his title match at Wrestlemania 30! All that aside, I think we can expect that all of the good will be thrown out the window in this match – blood is thicker than maple syrup, as they say in Hart’s native Canada.
But, uh… Japanese stuff, right: Here’s some highlights of DB’s feud with Japanese superstar KENTA:
Azteca took quite a beating in his surprisingly bloody match against Mightyboy Eddy. Will he have enough juice in his veins to counter the “Blood Venom?” PERHAPS!
Perhaps not. Blood Love takes it at 11:58 with a Jap leg roll clutch, which sounds like a maneuver invented by American GI’s stationed in Yokohama after World War II.
The pleasantries are over. We’ve met our murderers row of combatants, and now it’s time for us to get down to business. In case you were wondering, Subspace Briefcase is registered as a Subchapter S corporation with a primary business purpose of “brutality.” You’d better believe that business is booming.
Before we get down to said business, we need to discuss how FPWR handles the concept of cumulative damage in tournaments. The instruction manual unequivocally states that “fatigue and damage is carried over to the next round.” Despite this, a great many of FPWR‘s fans disagree with this contention, believing that wrestlers start each round fresh. It’s difficult to find a consensus. Regardless, we’re going to assume that damage DOES carry forward; it just makes for a more interesting narrative.
Enough prattle. VIOLENCE GET!
Giant Rozhmov, our favorite André the Giant knockoff, put on quite the impressive performance in round 1. In just 11 minutes and 31 seconds, he dispatched the wrestler with either the most accurate or politically incorrect nickname of all time, Abdullah “The Arab” Danger, with a Canadian backbreaker. He even survived being stabbed with a fork. Rozhmov is a beast, and an incredible threat to all of our competitors. But the real question that we have to ask ourselves? HAS HE BEEN DRINKING?
If Rozhmov is anything like André, we can only assume that he’s had at least 100 beers and several bottles of blended whiskey before this match. Is he in any shape for a second match?
As we’ve discussed at length, Gigant Borgart is a stand in for Matt Bloom; the wrestler formerly known as Prince Albert, Albert, A-Train, Giant Bernard, and Tensai. He’s currently known as NXT commentator, Jason Albert, but I am genuinely curious as to what he puts on his tax returns. Borgart mopped the floor with Mascara Eagle 2 in the first round, polishing him off with a good ol’ fashioned kick to the face in a mere 7 minutes and 25 seconds. I know it’s hard to believe, but Mascara Eagle 2 barely laid a finger on Borgart. Must have been tough to look Mascara Eagle 1 in the eye after that. In any event, we have to assume that Borgart is the fresher man in this match.
We mentioned previously that Bloom was BIG IN JAPAN. This may come as a surprise to American fans, but trust us, dear reader: he was MASSIVE. As further evidence of his Japanese largeness, I present to you his match against current WWE Champion, Brock Lesnar:
While he came up short in that match, to even set foot in the ring with the man they call “The Beast Incarnate” is an accomplishment in and of itself. Hell, he put on a better pefromance than John Cena did!
In case you were wondering, “gigant” isn’t just some goofy translation error. Derived from the Greek gigantes, it’s actually the word for giant in a number of languages. Thanks, Wikipedia!
Borgart, a beast in his own right, is facing off against a tired, forked, and very possibly drunk Rozhmov. They say that legends never die, but Borgart seems like he’s in a very good position to kill one tonight. Let the games begin!
BORGART DOES IT! Gigant triumphs over Giant as Rozhmov falls to the Neck Hanging Bomb at 18:08. Perhaps Rozhmov should have stopped at 50 beers. I don’t think those things have electrolytes. Borgart advances, but at what cost? His limits have been pushed, but have the been exceeded? STAY TUNED!
We’ve reached the end of the opening round! Dr. Nuke attempts to give the Wild Bronco a lesson in atomic theory as Kerry Boggy takes on Kerry Texan! THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE… guy named Kerry in this tournament. TONIGHT!
We’ve already featured one member of the Texan clan (may that be the last time I ever type the phrase “Texan clan”). You may recall, fan, that we featured the talents of Harry Texan, Jr. – a stand in for the legendary Dory Funk, Jr. – a few weeks back. Kerry Texan is a stand in for Dory’s younger brother, Terry Funk. Aesthetically, FPWR has nailed it. Kerry’s got Terry’s long thinning hair, and he’s wearing a reasonable approximation of Terry’s signature striped tights and headband.
The finishing maneuver, though? Not so much. Kerry’s finishing maneuver is a “Texas Jab.” Terry more commonly employed a spinning toe hold (like his brother) or a piledriver as his finishing maneuver. That being said, it was not uncommon for Terry to paste his opponents with a multi-punch combo during his matches, and I assume that’s what FPWR is referencing. Just fast forward to 6:38 in the video below.
Kerry is known as the “Wild Bronco,” which is approrpiate, because Japanese audiences referred to his real life counterpart as the “Texas Bronco.” Don’t believe me? Just google translate this page and search for it. It clearly says “And ‘Kamen noble’ Mil Máscaras stomping set is two people living legend of ‘Texas Bronco’ Terry Funk.” I rest my case.
If you read further in that article, you’ll also note that “Terry received the touch down swinging the chair from throwing the audience when take out to curb the out of the question to brains.” Terry Funk has done a lot of things that are “out of the question to brains,” which might explain why FPWR has dubbed Kerry Texan both a “legendary man” and a “reckless dad.”
The original incarnation of IWA Japan, which existed from 1994-1996, was primarily focused on deathmatch wrestling. That’s a lot like hardcore wrestling, but with a much higher chance of the participants actually killing one another. So, Terry, being one of the most respected (and technically sound) wrestlers of all time, and a father of two, logically decided it was the best place for him to ply his trade. “Reckless dad?” Arguable. “Out of the question to brains?” Definitely.
But that clip doesn’t even begin to do Terry’s foray into deathmatch wrestling. Here he is facing off against Mick Foley in an exploding ring barbed wire match:
He also took on Japanese deathmatch legend Atsushi Onita on more than a few occasions. Note how the ring explodes at about the 21:15 mark:
Please note that Mr. Onita went on to become an elected representative in Japan, so should you meet him, please address him with appropriate honorifics.
Terry even went on to bring deathmatch wrestling to ECW, where he took on Tattoo – er, sorry – Sabu in one of the first barbed wire matches to reach American audiences. The commercials they ran for this match still give me nightmares.
Terry Funk is still out there doing this. He’s 70. He was BIG IN JAPAN, and he’s in his element in the Briefcase Cup’s deathmatch setting.
But who am I kidding, what he’s most remembered for is his music career.
If we assume that “Kerry” is FPWR’s ever-so-subtle shorthand for “Terry,” we’re already halfway to the conclusion that “Kerry Boggy” is the late Terry Gordy. Terry was known to known to American audiences as “Bam Bam,” and to Japanese audiences as “The Human Torpedo.” Both nicknames have an explosive component to them, which is why I believe FPWR settled on “Dr. Nuke.” Kerry utilizes a “Wild Bomb” as his finishing maneuver. A “Wild Bomb” is a powerbomb into a pinning combination, which Terry employed to great success throughout his career:
Terry started wrestling at the age of 14. He earned his first taste of fame as the muscle for The Fabulous Freebirds, one of the greatest tag teams of the 80’s. Yes, they were a tag team comprised of three dudes. People just went with it. Perhaps most remembered for their time in World Class Championship Wrestling, Terry and his partners have often been called the greatest tag team of all time, winning just about every tag team title possible outside of the WWF.
In the late 80’s early 90’s, Terry took his talents to All Japan Pro Wrestling, where he became BIG IN JAPAN. We’re talking Godzilla huge. Like his opponent, Terry also won the World’s Strongest Tag Determination League three times – once with Star Bison/Stan Hansen, and twice with Steel James/Steve Williams. Together, Williams and Gordy were known as the “Miracle Violence Connection,” which is probably the best name for anything to ever come out of Japan.
Gordy would capture tag team gold 7 times in AJPW. Terry won’t have his partners to back him up in this tournament, but that shouldn’t be a problem for the ol’ Human Torpedo. He had a successful Japanese singles career as well, which perhaps reached its zenith when he captured the Triple Crown Championship in 1990.
Yep, that’s Stan Hansen he beat there. Gordy was BIG IN JAPAN without question. Terry Gordy looked like – and was – a real American shitkicker. I mean that in the best possible sense. He gave his opponents the old fashioned kind of beating up; the kind where he beat on them a lot more than they beat on him. Sadly, Terry passed away in 2001. If this loving tribute is any indication, though, it wasn’t before he became one of America’s greatest ambassadors of pre-scripted pain.
In any event, this should be a brutal match – two of the biggest American names in Japanese wrestling. My money is on Kerry.
GREAT GOOGLEDY MOOGLEDY. Dr. Nuke busts the Wild Bronco at 3:35 with a shocking KO! You don’t need a degree in nuclear physics to know that we’ve got a new Briefcase Cup record!
We’ve done it! We’ve profiled all the wrestlers in the Briefcase Cup! It only took three months and my reputation as a sane person! But don’t put your foam fingers away just yet – we’ve got more brutal action coming your way in ROUND 2!
Chō Jikū Yōsai Macross: Ai Oboete Imasu ka
Sega Saturn, 1997
Developers: Sega/Bandai Visual Publisher: Bandai
Note: The videos in this article contain spoilers for 30-year-old anime and 18-year-old space shooter. If that’s the type of thing your sensitive about, consider yourself warned.
Macross:Do You Remember Love is one of the first animes I can recall watching. Released in 1984, Do You Remember Love (hereinafter, “DYRL“)is a cinematic adaptation of the popular Japanese television series, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross. Despite its Japanese origins, it’s not uncommon for American children of the 80’s (such as myself) to have a tangential memories of the Macross franchise: the original television series was heavily adapted for US audiences in the form of the first 36 episodes of the popular cartoon, Robotech.
It had to be about 1991 when I first set eyes on DYRL. Back then, my older brother was an avid collector of anime (back when we still called in Japanimation, junior), and it was not uncommon for him to come home with blurry VHS fansubs of all manner of Japanese cartoons. DYRL was a bit more complex than your typical American cartoon: characters fell in love, died, got involved in love triangles, dealt with the horrors of war… it was some heavy stuff. But what do I remember the most about DYRL, and every other entry in the Macross franchise? The missiles – check it out (all 20 minutes not required viewing):
SOOOOO many missiles. 9-year-old Steve was in heaven. Giant transforming robots and missiles.
This isn’t an anime website, though, so let’s get down to business. In 1997, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Macross franchise, Sega and Bandai teamed together to develop a space shooter based on DYRL, which is commonly referred to by English speakers as “Saturn Macross.” Containing over 30 minutes of footage from the film, licensed music, and additional dialogue recorded by the original cast, Saturn Macross is a fitting tribute to DYRL. And did they nail the missiles?
You’d better believe it.
In Saturn Macross, the player takes control of the VF-1 Valkyrie unit of the film’s protagonist, Hikaru Ichijo. The VF-1 Valkyrie is more or less what we’d call a transformer: a jet fighter that can also morph into a battroid (giant robot) and a GERWALK (a sort of bipedal flying tank). For much of the game, the player can freely switch between all three forms through the use of the Saturn’s trigger buttons, but the plot often mandates that your Valkyrie is restricted from doing so.
There are three main forms of attack in Saturn Macross: the Valkyrie’s gunpod (in practice, a standard “vulcan gun”), lock on missiles, and bombs. Each weapon has two forms – a weaker form with a larger area of effect, and a stronger form that targets a more concentrated space of screen real estate.
Each form of the Valkyrie utilizes the gunpod differently, with the GERWALK and the battroid sacrificing the mobility of the fighter for the ability to aim your shots with greater precision.
The action in Saturn Macross takes place across three planes, a foreground, middle ground, and background. The player is restricted to the middle plane, but enemies can freely travel between all three. Only lock on missiles and one form of the gunpod can target enemies in the foreground and background, requiring you to utilize the full extent of your arsenal.
For the most part, this is a nice effect which makes excellent use of the Saturn’s 2D capabilities. At times, though, it is difficult to discern exactly which planes your enemies are on, resulting in more than a few bogies flying right by you or scoring the occasional cheap hit.
“Why would I care if an enemy flew right by me,” you ask? Because many of the game’s levels revolve around defending the Super Dimension Fortress Macross, the titular flagship of the series, which is constantly under assault. The SDF Macross has its own life bar, which slowly decreases each time you fail to shoot down one of your targets. This adds a nice bit of tension to the gameplay, and encourages you to perform to the peak of your ability. If you watch the video below, you’ll see this mechanic in action each time I fail to shoot down an enemy craft.
What Saturn Macross does best, though, is capture the spirit and feel of some of the more memorable moments of DYRL. While it’s only a 2D shooter, Saturn Macross makes liberal use of voice acting and integrated clips from the film to give each level a unique feeling.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the game’s last level, which beautifully recreates the climactic battle from DYRL as the movie’s theme plays in the background.
Saturn Macross is not without its faults, though. Often times, the sprites seem a little too large for the screen. There’s not a lot of room to maneuver your Valkyrie when things get hectic. For that reason, I rarely found myself utilizing the battroid or GERWALK forms; it was always easier to play as the far more mobile fighter plane. There are also control issues: the game requires the player to double tap buttons to activate certain attacks, which is a strange design choice, as the game leaves two buttons on the Saturn controller unused. Additionally, the game also runs on the easy side, and anyone remotely skilled at space shooters should have no problem clearing it in under 5 hours.
That being said, Saturn Macross is a highly enjoyable game that really captures the spirit and feeling of DYRL. I’ve replayed it three times, and I’ll probably have a few more go-rounds before I’m done with it. If you’re a fan of Macross, or shooters in general, it’s more than worth your time, if for no other reason than the missiles!
Played on original hardware, upscaled to 720p through a Micomsoft Framemeister. All footage and screens captured through an ElGato HD60.
 Despite this moniker, the game was also ported to the Playstation in 1999. I have not played that version of the game – all opinions in this post are based solely on my experiences with the Saturn version.