Journalism is supposed to be objective and unbiased. But here’s the deal. I kinda hate fighting games, always have. But I love everything related to giant robots. Tech Romancer, a 2000 Dreamcast fighting game, combines both those things. Does my love of robots cancel out my hatred of fighting games, leading to an objective game review? Read on and find out.
Tech Romancer, like many Dreamcast games, started life in the arcades. Though, to be honest, I’ve never seen a Tech Romancer cabinet in the wild before.
Because of the game’s arcade past, Tech Romancer plays like a game meant to steal your quarters. On the standard difficulty I was able to beat the first two opponents without any serious effort, then got absolutely crushed by the third.
I went through the options and turned the difficulty way down (no shame) and gave Tech Romancer another shot. This is when I started to enjoy myself. This is also where my bias comes into play. Tech Romancer is fun and quirky, but it’s still a fighting game.
If you like fighting games, this might be something to sink your teeth into. It has everything that a standard-depth fighter has: blocks, combos, counters, specials, items, unlockable characters, the works. These are also my least favorite parts. To be honest, the Dreamcast controller kinda hampers the playability. For example, using items requires pressing all four face buttons at once, something I’m just not able to do with my thumb effectively. I’m sure this experience is much better with an arcade stick.
The stand-out aspect of this game to me was the entire art direction and character design of the game. Tech Romancer cleverly mocks every trope present in the mecha anime genre. Characters are parodies of classic mecha franchises like Gundam, Mazinger, and Macross. Each character has their own story arc, but they’re mostly as irrelevant as they are over the top.
Like a lot of the Dreamcast library, this game is climbing in price. Currently a complete NTSC-U copy of Tech Romancer goes for $150! A disc-only copy will run you between $50-$70.
I played this game using a “back-up” on my revision 1 Dreamcast. This method is fairly easy and widely discussed online. While I won’t go into it here, I encourage you to look into it if you’re on a budget and want to play this game on original hardware.
If you love fighters, love the Dreamcast, or are just looking to try something quirky, look into Tech Romancer.