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Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation (GBA)

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Rock 'em, sock 'em action. Robots flying apart into bits of shrapnel. Space battles of disturbing hugeness. You'll find all of that in Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation, one of the last big Japanese strategy role-playing series to make its debut in the U.S.

Yes, although the premise might suggest frenetic action, the Super Robot Taisen series has topped the charts in Japan for the past 15 years by providing thoughtful tactics instead of twitch gameplay. Previous versions of the game have culled their casts from popular animated TV shows; not so Original Generation, which has all-new characters and story.

Soon after humanity makes its first serious inroads into space, a meteor crashes into the Earth - one filled with advanced technology. Worried that the inventors of the advanced robotics the meteor contains will follow their creation and snatch it back, humanity creates powerful robots known as Personal Troopers. Given that "taisen" means "war," it's no secret that things go just as humankind expects.

The game's graphics are surprisingly detailed for a GBA title, with outlandish robotic creations covered in tons of guns and pointy bits of metal. The gameplay is pretty intricate, too: you can customize your army of robots and teach your pilots new skills over the course of the battle for the fate of the Earth.

Though it's obscure in the U.S., this series has had anime fans and strategy buffs salivating for years; now, everyone's set to see what the fervor is all about. Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation is due out this summer, with a sequel slated for the fall.

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