So remember when I implied that hitting Start would take you right into the Gunbuster crew's little prologue fighting the Space Monsters?
That was a lie, you actually end up at the character select screen first. I just wanted to give you all some gameplay first, and it flows better this way.
Anyhow, like most home console Super Robot Wars (and many of the handhelds), Super Robot Wars Alpha gives you a number of options for the 'main character' of your story. In this case, as with SRW 4 and its remakes, you can pick from eight different archetypes as your blank slate and then customize those choices further.
There are four personalities and two genders to choose from, for eight possible main characters, all of whom are basically identical aside from voice actor and portrait (hell, you can mix and match the portraits among the same gender too). The only thing we can do here that affects game mechanics is the birthdate, bloodtype, and Super Robot route vs. Real Robot route, which I'll talk about later.
They do each have personality sections on this screen, but since I can't read them, I'm going to be cribbing everyone's personality from the Super Robot Wars Original Generation games, which a) are in English, and b) give each of these guys a distinct personality because they all exist in the same story there. Well, they try anyway.
So, let's look at our choices. Pick the second option on the menu to do so.
Brooklyn "Bullet" Luckfield
Voice Actor: Tomokazu "Kyon" Sugita
Default Vital Stats: Born 5/5, Bloodtype O
Personality Brief: Singleminded American martial artist who knows more about Japan than most of the Japanese characters. Manages to be polite about it instead of superbly annoying.
Yuuki "Yuu" Jegnan (Yuuki Jaggar in SRW Original Generation 2)
Voice Actor: Mistuaki "A bunch of unlucky losers" Madono
Default Vital Stats: Born 6/27, Bloodtype A
Personality Brief: Calm, collected, tea-loving professional. Has a soft spot for people more open than him, but doesn't let it get in the way of orders.
Ryoto "Ryoto" Hikawa
Voice Actor: Yumiko "That guy from the bread anime" Kobayashi
Default Vital Stats: 10/2, AB
Personality Brief: Quiet, polite, and singularly lacking in any personal ambition outside of building and repairing robots.
Voice Actor: Kappei "everyone who ever annoyed you in anime" Yamaguchi
Default Vital Stats: 1/1, B
Personality Brief: Offbeat slacker with an obnoxious tendency to see the good in every situation. Unless he has to work or put forth physical effort.
Rio Mei Long
Voice Actor: Rio "Lulu" Natsuki
Default Vital Stats: 2/16, A
Personality Brief: Loud, vaguely tsundere Chinese (?) martial artist and all-around go-getter. Has trouble sitting still, unless she's in an OG anime.
Voice Actor: Yui "mostly a singer, really" Sakakibara
Default Vital Stats: 11/30, A
Personality Brief: Elegant, self-assured, and pretty damn deadly, but rather sheltered.
Voice Actor: Mikako "Rushuna Tendou" Takahashi
Default Vital Stats: 7/7, O
Personality Profile: Ordinary, helpful, stutter-prone Japanese girl with some really bizarre hobbies. Also, she's the only character here with her own route in both of the other Alpha games with selectable protagonists. Oddly, that one assumes she was the protagonist of the Super Robot route and she defaults to Real...
Rilcarla "Carla" Borgnine (Ricarla Borgnine in SRW Original Generation 2)
Voice Actor: Rica "Ash fucking Ketchum" Matsumoto
Default Vital Stats: 9/30, B
Personality Profile: Cheerful pollyanna of a dancer who gets very attached to people. I think. It's been a while since OG2.
Okay then. So after picking a name and a face, we get to pick the first option on the menu to customize.
This screen lets you change:
Portrait (not bothering)
Name (not bothering)
Nickname (not bothering)
Gender (yes, this will change the portrait)
Birthdate and Bloodtype determine what Spirits the character has, along with one unique skill (SP Regen, Genius [which makes you level faster], Exp. Up, Prevail [get stat bonuses at low health], and Focus [-20% SP costs]). As in all Super Robot Wars games where it's available, SP Regen is broken as hell, but they all have their uses.
Generally speaking, every star sign/blood type combination has its own effect
Noriko: Just like in Princess Maker!
Coach: You realize Gainax isn't paying us to advertise, right?
Kazumi: You're kidding, right? Gainax will do anything to plug anything.
but some specific date/type combinations have secret effects. I'll be picking a specific one for this game, but some of my recommendations are:
8/25 O or Aries A for Real Robot pilots
4/16 O or Virgo A for Super pilots
11/11 B (the birthdate and bloodtype of series director Takenobu Terada) for either.
THE BIG CHOICE
What robot do you want to use?
People who select "Super Robot" (Hot-blooded and Weird by default) start out hanging out with a bunch of Super Robots in Japan and piloting the sword-and-chest-beams-loving Grungust Type 2.
Grungust pros: It's basically Mazinger Z that can transform and has a cool sword.
Grungust cons: Meh theme song, not as versatile as the real type, you have to play the Combattler V intro mission.
Super Robot upgrade pros: (spoilers->) Best theme song in the game, it's a combining transformer, it's completely fucking invincible(<-highlight to read)
Super Robot upgrade cons: (spoilers->) Removes what little challenge the game has (<-highlight to read)
People who select "Real Robot" (Cool and Shy by default) start out in space and dealing with the Gundam plot. They also get a couple of early Gundam-related secret units that the Super-types can't. The Real Robot for this game is the Huckebein Mark II (the bad guys from 2nd OG destroyed all videos of the Alpha version on Youtube, apparently, but here is the Huckebein EX which is a completely different robot, honest).
Huckebein pros: Second-best theme song in the game, it's a Gundaaaaaa--
Huckebein cons: Less damaging than the super type
Real Robot upgrade pros: (spoilers->) Do stupid amounts of damage from all the way across the map with melee OR ranged attacks. (<-highlight to read)
Real Robot upgrade cons: (spoilers->) Unlike in OG2, neither form combines, so your love interest is stuck in a shitty Grungust Type 2 the entire game, themesong isn't nearly as cool (<-highlight to read)
And after you pick all this, you get...a love interest!
Basically, the character of the opposite gender and personality (Hot-blooded<->Shy, Cool<->Weird) gets to be your main character's significant other in the story, and you can customize him/her just about the same way you can your pilot. Surely, that's just meaningless cosmetics...
OKAY! This is the part of the LP where I ask for audience input I would like suggestions on the following before I start the next update:
Who should be the main character? (bear in mind this also affects the love interest. Sorry, no non-canon shipping today)
Should I do the Super Robot route or Real Robot route? (bear in mind this completely changes the first ten or so missions of the game, and a couple later on).
I open the floor to suggestions.
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