Macross Since 1983 Game Review
by Graham Parkes 11-07-1998

Here is my review of "Macross Since 1983", a map based strategy game by Japanese software developer Upstar. This game was released on October 21st 1998 in Japan, at a retail price of ¥5,800. The single disk game runs best on Japanese Windows 95 or 98 and requires a Pentium 90Mhz CPU.

I'd been told that this game would only run on Japanese Windows.
However, this is not entirely true. The game will run on standard
English language (US) Windows, however some of the Japanese text is
illegible even when using software that normally allows viewing of
written Japanese.

However, this is not a big a problem as it first sounds and the game is
still playable. Firstly, the menu screens for starting, loading, saving,
deleting or quitting games are in English. Secondly, the Japanese text
used in the action control menus during battles can still be read.
However, even if you don't have access to a Japanese or Chinese
translator, the action menus are easy to figure out being simple
commands such as move, attack, transform, etc.

The biggest problem is that the Japanese text is illegible on the
dialogue boxes used when characters are talking to each other between
missions. Unfortunately, this means that it is not possible to follow
the exact thread of the story. However, as this is a strategy war game,
as long as you complete the missions, i.e. blow away the enemy, it seems
pretty irrelevant. Although, I should mention that during character
conversations the player is sometimes given multiple choice replies. How
much this affects the course of the game I'm not sure.

Luckily the game installs quickly and painlessly even though I couldn't read the Japanese
instruction manual and the installation screen instructions were
illegible (due to the above mentioned problem of running the game on
non-Japanese Windows). Basically, it was just a matter of clicking on
the continue or finish buttons. Total time to install was under 5
minutes. If a computer illiterate like me can install it then anyone

The game starts with an opening movie that lasts about one minute. The
movie starts by showing Roy Focker's VF-1S Valkyrie in fighter mode
taking off from what is presumably the SDF-1. Next Maximilian Jenius's
blue VF-1J is featured in fighter and Battroid modes. The VF-19 Kai Fire
Valkyrie also makes an appearance performing some neat aerial maneuvers
reminiscent of Isamu Dyson's flying in Macross Plus.  The best sequence
is near the end of the movie where a VF-1S Super fighter speeding down a
corridor turns, transforms to GERWALK and blows away two pursuing Regult
Battle pods.

Now for the bad points of the opening movie. On both my office and home
PCs the movie is fairly pixilated and blocky. I'm not sure whether this
is a software problem or because both PCs I was using are obsolete, i.e.
more than six months old! There is also a small technical inaccuracy in
that the VF-1S super is shown carrying and launching 18 AAM-1 missiles
from the wings. VF-1 Valkyries only carry 12 AAM-1 missiles on the

The BGM featured during the opening movie and in the subsequent game is
not original Macross music. Unlike the dreadful BGM in VF-X, it does
manage to capture the feeling of Macross. However once into the actual
game it does become very repetitive. Luckily the BGM can be toggled on
and off for those who can't stand it.

Now onto the game, which is divided into several sections. When starting
a new game you must first click through a long illegible dialogue
between the Focker type character and your main character. Next a small
square grid map comes on screen showing the positions of all U.N. Spacy
and Zentradi forces in the area. Commentary is give by a Mylene
lookalike bridge bunny. After your units have been automatically moved
into position, action is transferred to the large grid playing area and
battle commences. After 4 to 5 battles, the overall mission will have
been completed it is usually time for some more dialogue. Between
missions, you can also visit different areas of the SDF-1, such as the
concert hall, your quarters, the civilian town area, an amusement arcade
and the big rectangular viewing windows in the leg of the SDF-1.

The battles are played on a large grid map about two to three times larger than
the monitor screen. A ¾ 3D perspective is used to show the mecha which
are quite detailed. Some of the backgrounds include the flight deck of the ARMD carriers, inside the SDF-1, Saturn's rings.

The battles are turn based with no time limit for turns. Once the player
has completed all actions for his forces, it is necessary to click the
finished icon on the menu and the computer will quickly play the
opposing forces turn. Unfortunately there is no two- player option.

Control of your variable fighters is by the mouse. A cursor is used to
click on your variable fighters and brings up the menu boxes for
controlling movement, attacking, transforming, etc. Once you chose your
desired action it is simply a case of clicking on the space where you
want to move or fire.

The amount of actions a player can perform in a turn is based on a point
system. With every action costing a certain amount of points. Each VF
pilot character has a fixed amount of action points to use. However
characters gain more points through experience which is gained by
successfully destroying or damaging the enemy. More than one action can
be performed per turn or actions can be repeated as long as enough
action points are available. However some actions like launching a large
missile strike on moving the maximum allowable distance will eat up a
lot of action points and may leave that character unable to perform
other actions that turn.

A word on the characters. Although the game seems to be set on the SDF-1
during Space War-1, no original Macross characters are featured. Many of
the characters look similar to established characters, but are not
identical. A good example is the SDF-1 bridge operator who is the
spitting image of Mylene Jenius! Characters are shown as talking heads
for most of the game.

During the first mission you are given control of two characters, A
blonde squadron leader who vaguely resembles Roy Focker and flies a
VF-1S and a newbie pilot who is your main character (not Hikaru Ichijo)
and flies a VF-1J. After a couple of battles, The Focker type character
leaves and gives you command of 3 additional newbie pilots; a Max Jenius
type character with long blue hair, but no glasses, a cute girl with
short brown hair and a tall dark skinned well built guy. A forth newbie
pilot a girl with long black hair is added to you squadron after several
more missions.

Every type of mecha from all Macross animations including Macross, DYRL, Macross II, Macross Plus Macross 7 make an appearance. Probably the most powerful mecha in the game are the Macross II Variable Fighters and Destroids.

Combat in this game is not always easy to win and like Chess requires
careful advance planning if you want to keep your team alive. The
VF-1 Valkyries are superior in performance to most Zentradi mecha
encountered so far and can make short work of standard Regult battle
pods by staying out of their gun range and attacking with missiles.
However, the same is not true of Glaug Officers Pods or Artillery
Regults which can be fearsome opponents. However, once you progress onto more advanced types of mecha, it is relatively easy to kill the enemy without taking loses except against the Macross II Destroids. or in the final stage against Bodolza

In most early missions your team is outnumbered 2 to 1. However, taking out
the enemy team leader will win you the battle. The reverse is also true
though and if your team leader is killed the game is over. Team leaders
on both sides have a small '1' icon next to them. Later on in the game, your squadron gains more characters, and you can have 10 to 12 characters under your control.

In combat the three different modes of the variable fighter (fighter,
Battroid Gerwalk) affect not only the range you can move, but also the
attack spread of your weapons. Four standard attacks are available,
including; missiles, Gunpod, lasers and hand-to-hand (Battroid only).
Players can also chose between standard attacks and precision attacks,
which of course cost more points but are more effective.

All in all I must I had a great time with this game. The
control interface is easy to use and the game is fun to play. If you
don't mind missing out on the dialogue between characters and having to
memorize the different menu commands then I highly recommend this game
to all Macross fans.