Saturday 24 August 2013

Chō Soku Henkei Gyrozetter

Video Games & Anime Series

Legendary video game developer Square Enix, most famous for the Final Fantasy series, produced a multimedia franchise called Chō Soku Henkei Gyrozetter. The name roughly translates as Super High Speed Transforming Gyrozetter. The franchise is about a futuristic society in which cars are controlled by AI (sounds like éX-Driver) and features transforming battle mecha robots called Gyrozetter which are piloted by specially chosen drivers. The Gyrozetter are supposedly kept secret and run by the Arcadia Defense Agency under the guise of a driving school, they battle the evil Xenon organisation. It's the kind of premise that could only have come from Japan, the land that brought us Mobile Suit Gundam Wing and Super Sentai.
Arcadia's hero Raibird

One of Xenon's Gyrozetters

If this all sounds very much like Transformers, then you're right there are many similarities. However, Gyrozetter is notable for featuring many fully licensed iconic Japanese cars. Square Enix was able to bring the likes of Mitsubishi, Subaru, Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda on board. So if you've ever wanted to see a Nissan GTR transform into a giant robot and fight a Mazda Roadster to the death then Gyrozetter could be just what you're looking for. The hero car is known as the Raibird and was involved in an April Fool's with Subaru, read more on that here.

Gyrozetter was originally an arcade game that was half racing game half beat'em up. The arcade cabinet itself was unique in that it actually used the transforming theme of the game and transformed itself with additional controllers being revealed when the game was in battle fighting mode, a pretty cool feature.
Driving Mode
Fighting Mode

A key part of the game are the collectable "machine cards" which are a bit like an advanced form of Top Trumps. Each card has different stats which would affect how well it does in battle. These cards were dispensed from the arcade cabinet when you first start playing and can be scanned by the arcade machine with the data they carry used in the game itself. It's a similar mechanic to the Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune arcade racing game, where your game progress is stored on a card that you put into the machine when you want to play.

Like any good card game, the machine cards have rarity levels with some being much harder to find than others. The most common cards have a rarity level of Normal, then there are Premium, Metallic, Ultra Premium, and Arcadia cards which I am presuming are the hardest to find. The Roadster NC is featured on at least six cards.  For some reason the Subaru Impreza WRX transforms into a Gyrozetter that looks like a cowboy with a big shotgun, and the Roadster's Gyrozetter looks like a Muay Thai martial artist with tyres for gloves. Here's a few machine card examples:

There is also an upcoming Nintendo 3DS game, a line of transforming toy cars, and an Anime TV series spin off which follows the story of the game. The Anime series is currently airing on TV Tokyo network in Japan and there have been over 40 episodes so far. It's possible we may see it over here at some point in the future but for now you may be able to catch episodes that have been uploaded to video sharing sites.