Power Quest
  • Genre:
    • Fighting
  • Developer:
    • Japan System Supply
  • Publishers:
    • JP Capcom
    • US UK Sunsoft
  • Released:
    GB
    • JP 11/27/1998
    GBC
    • US December 1998
    • UK 07/20/1999
Score: 65%

This review was published on 02/15/2018.

Known in Japan as Gekitou Power Modeler, Power Quest is a video game developed by Japan System Supply. It was originally published by Capcom in Japan for the Game Boy on November 27, 1998. Sunsoft published a localized version of the game for the Game Boy Color in North America in December 1998, and Europe on July 20, 1999. Not to be confused with EverQuest, Power Quest came out around the time that the Pokemon craze was in full force. In the highly unlikely event that you don't know, Pokemon is a game series based on the collecting and battling of fictional creatures. The premise of Power Quest is more or less the same thing, but with robots. Despite that, Power Quest doesn't actually play anything like Pokemon. Instead, it curiously combines the mechanics of a one-on-one fighting game like Street Fighter with role-playing game elements reminiscent of Dragon Warrior. As interesting as that may sound, the game is unfortunately rather mediocre.

Image

Set in a mostly contemporary world with a few sci-fi elements, Power Quest revolves around miniature robot battles. Basically, two human beings, referred to as "modelers," remotely control tiny robots to fight each other in competitive matches. In this wacky world of robot battles, you take control of a nameless young boy who lives in a nameless young city. The game starts off with the main character finishing up school and beginning summer vacation; every child's favorite time of the year. Louis, the main character's best friend, shows up to excitedly mention that there's an upcoming robot battle tournament. The two lads want to enter the tournament, but they unfortunately don't have enough money to buy a tiny robot of their very own. Luckily, the protagonist's mother informed him that he won the grand prize of a contest he entered, which is a tiny robot of his choosing. With tiny robot in hand, the protagonist decides to prepare for the tournament. That's where the Pokemon comparisons begin and end.

Image

The game is effectively divided into two forms of play: the overhead RPG segment and the side-scrolling one-on-one fights. You'll first be exposed to the RPG section, which takes place in the only city in the game. It's essentially an overworld map with a couple of locations to visit. Nearly every location you go to will result in some dialogue with a denizen of the city, and most of them will challenge you to a battle. They won't even give you the opportunity to decline. The city is also where you'll find the sole shop in the game; more on that later. If you go to your house, you'll be able to change some of the game's basic options, check out your current status, and see what parts your current robot is using. You also get your passwords from home, because yes, this game lacks a save function. The passwords are also a bit on the long side, so there's that.

Image

During the side-scrolling one-on-one fights, the game plays like a highly simplified version of Street Fighter. Left and right on the d-pad moves your robot in those directions, down ducks, and up jumps. The B button is for light attacks and the A button is for heavy ones. Light attacks are fast, but weak, and heavy attacks are slow, but powerful. Attacks tend to be different depending on whether they're done in the air or while ducking, and sometimes holding forward on the d-pad in conjunction with a button results in a different attack. You can block attacks by holding back on the d-pad, but this doesn't work against throws. Speaking of, you're able to grab and throw your opponent if you press the A button while holding forward near them. Not counting start and select, the Game Boy and Game Boy Color only have two primary buttons on them. As a result of that, there aren't very many moves to use, making the combat feel limited. The fighting isn't terrible, but it's slow, clunky, and lacks depth.

Image

There are six different playable robots, known as "models," but only five are available in the main story. The first one is Max, who's a balanced fighter that has similar moves to Ryu from Street Fighter. Gong is big and strong, but predictably slow. As her name implies, Speed is the fastest robot, but a bit weaker than the rest. With a misleading name, Axe doesn't use an axe, and is instead another balanced fighter. Lastly, you've got Lon, who mostly specializes in kicks and wields nunchakus for one of his specials. You can switch between which model you're currently using at the shop for free, so you're free to experiment with all of them until you find the one you like best. The sixth robot is only accessible in the "versus" mode, and he's basically a joke character that sucks. In any case, the fact that there are only five playable robots in the main story means that you'll be fighting against the same opponents over and over, so the repetition will set in rather quickly.

Image

Each playable robot in the story mode has three special moves, which are generally executed by doing specific inputs on the d-pad prior to pressing one of the two attack buttons. Beneath your life bar, there's another meter with a number next to it that gradually fills up as you fight. Every time this meter is completely filled, it'll increment the number by one point. Whenever you have one or more points stored, you'll be able to execute one of two unique super moves that every character has. However, doing so will subtract a single point from the meter. These super moves are the most powerful attacks at your disposal, so they should be used wisely. Bizarrely, the game doesn't allow you to utilize any of these super moves until a predetermined point in the story. Other than that lame detail, this whole system was already pretty standard fair in most conventional fighting games at the time.

Image

The amount of damage your special moves do is dependent on the part that's currently equipped onto your robot; higher level parts result in greater damage. There are also expensive parts that slowly regenerate your life and super meters, which is quite useful. Besides that, none of the parts give you new moves or anything, so buying them isn't terribly exciting. They're essential to your success, though, because the later opponents are damage sponges and have devastating combos. This is where the problems start to become apparent. The parts are all rather pricy, and the amount of money you make per victory is miniscule, especially early on. The plot also doesn't actually move forward until you fight a specific amount of battles. Due to those circumstances, most of the game will be spent on grinding for cash. Last time I checked, grinding isn't fun.

Image

Conceptually, this game is intriguing, as it combines the progression system of an RPG with the battle system of a fighting game. However, the overall design is just not conducive to facilitating anyone's entertainment. The whole game is nothing but one big grind fest, and there is only one tiny overworld map to accommodate it all. As far as I'm concerned, Power Quest should have been called Grind Quest. If it weren't for the incessant grinding, this game would be halfway decent. Then again, the game would probably only be around thirty minutes long if you cut out all the grinding.

Word Count: 1,262

Tweet