With Metal Gear Solid V being on everyone's minds these past couple of weeks, it got me thinking about one of my favorite forms of weaponized transportation: the Mech. Since I was a kid, there has been nothing I wanted more than to own a mech of my very own, even though I've always been more partial to the ones in video games. Many of them appear so much cooler than anything that we could theoretically build, but my favorites never seem get the proper attention they deserve. So here is my top 10 list of the most overlooked mechs in gaming in no particular order.
(Please keep in mind that my opinions may or may not reflect your own, this list is entirely biased. It should also be noted that many of these entries spoil story elements from the games they are from. You have been warned.)
The Ride Armor from the Mega Man X Series
Let's start with something simple first shall we? The Ride Armor is a series of small multi-purpose mechs that are are deployed to areas of interest to help the Reploids and/or Mavericks in their war against each other. While there are many different varieties that are designed for specific battle scenarios, my personal favorite from these games is Vile Mk. II's Goliath Armor from Mega Man X3. It is heavily armored, fast, and is equipped with spiked fists and a chest mounted buster cannon. It's only real flaw is that it can only be ridden by Vile, which I personally find to be a bit unfair, but I guess it's alright since X gets four of his own to ride in that game.
The Platinum Robo from The Wonderful 101
The greatest weapon devised by Mother Platinum in order to repel the invading alien force known as GEATHJERK; the Platinum Robo is a massive mech aligned with the CENTINELS and created to aid the Wonderful Ones. It is roughly one hundred meters high, has the combined abilities of all of the Wonderful Ones, and it can also utilize the weaponry of both the CENTINELS' Virgin Victory and the enemy Cough-Foon ships. It is also theorized that it may be the reincarnated spirit of its creator (and Luka's mother), Professor Margarita Redgrave, but that has yet to be proven.
The Drill Dozer from Drill Dozer
I bet you're thinking "How can this tiny thing possibly be considered a mech?" Well, it has legs, and that's one of the primary prerequisites for it to be classified as one. The Drill Dozer is a compact, one-ton mech that can drill through hard earth and stone like it's nobody's business. It can also use its drill like a screwdriver and use it to turn screws, bolts and gears to help its pilot Jill get to her intended goal, which is usually a treasure or jewel of great value. Not a bad vehicle to get the job done if you ask me.
The Tinker Tank from Shovel Knight
This mech in particular is probably MUCH more advanced than the technology of its time would allow, but it's freaking awesome so I'll allow it. The Tinker Tank is a massive wood and iron medieval themed mech made by the rather diminutive Tinker Knight in order to compensate for his stature and overall poor strength against Shovel Knight. It is equipped with a colossal drill lance, rocket launchers and a massive cannon that can fire both missiles and bouncing grenades. Plus if that isn't cool enough, at the end of the game it is revealed that Tinker Knight started to make little toy versions of that mech for the village kids to play with. Please make these real Yacht Club Games!
The Magitek Armor from Final Fantasy VI
This magic-powered piece of machinery is the primary mode of transportation of Emperor Gestahl's army, and Terra for the first area of the game. It is surprisingly durable considering that its coloring suggests that it is made out of bronze or copper, and it is equipped with many pieces of magic-based weaponry like beams of lightning, ice and fire, and more advanced tech like missile launchers and a fogger that sprays dangerous microorganisms. This excursion is short-lived though as they are can only be piloted in two small segments in the game, but I hear that they made a comeback in the new expansion for Final Fantasy XIV. That makes me a very happy camper indeed.
The Anthropomorphized Battle Engine from Codename S.T.E.A.M.
This is a bizarre entry for sure, but it is very cool nonetheless. The Anthropomorphized Battle Engine (AKA The A.B.E.) is a giant steam-powered combat mech built for the sole purpose of fighting off the invading alien menace known as the Shoggoth, but if that isn't weird enough, its appearance is modeled after President Abraham Lincoln and it's piloted by him as well. When engaged in combat, it has the ability to use its internal steam to propel its fists forward at rocket speed, or to power the mech's wrist-mounted Gatling gun. This is probably the most absurd entry on this list, but I can't help but smile when I play as it in the game.
The Glastonbury from No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Commissioned by Travis Touchdown and built by Dr. Naomi, the Glastonbury is a gigantic mech modeled after the mech from Travis's favorite anime series, Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly. In classic anime fashion, this mech is armed with a giant energy katana (in the shape of a guitar no less), laser cannons, and a devastating attack called "Anarchy in the Galaxy" which completely vaporizes everything in the surrounding area. However, Travis doesn't get to use it for very long as it confiscated shortly after the battle ends because it is described as a "public nuisance." Imagine how much money was lost on the construction of that thing only for it to be impounded ten minutes after its first test run.
The Umbran Armor from Bayonetta 2
Built over five-hundred years ago by the Umbran Witches to help them in the great war against the Lumen Sages; the Umbran Armor is a large and powerful magic-fueled suit of armor that greatly improves the abilities of its pilot. While it is similar in design to Final Fantasy VI's Magitek Armor, its abilities are vastly different. Instead of magic-based attacks and abilities, the Umbran Armor's weapons are much more technology-based with machine gun mounted arms, shotgun mounted legs, and a powerful jet propulsion system allowing it to skate along the ground or even take flight. Even though the chapter you play it on is short lived, you can get a trinket afterwards to allow you to use it as a modification to Bayonetta's Umbran Climax ability. This is very cool and helpful power-up to be had.
The Great Sacred Treasure from Kid Icarus: Uprising
Built by Dyntos, the great God of the Forge, and given to Pit after he completes his "three" trials to see if he is worthy enough to us it, the Great Sacred Treasure is a fantastically powerful mech made from the most durable and magical metal known to man: Orichalcum. This mech is capable of changing into several different forms to better fit the situation at hand and is equipped with a gatling turret, arrows of light, ring lasers, an energy sword, and a massive divine cannon that can devastate even the vindictive god Hades. It doesn't last very long though as it is only used in the final chapter and is slowly destroyed by Hades as you fight him. It's too bad though, Pit had so much fun using it before the fight.
The Mechonis from Xenoblade Chronicles
This is by far the most massive of any mech I have ever seen. One would initially assume that the Mechonis, the colossal titan that killed (and was killed by) the Bionis would just be a simple relic of times long past, but about half way through the game you find your way from the Bionis to the behemoth corpse on the other side only to find an entire country within its body and a control deck inside its head. It started to move again after Egil in the Yaldabaoth took control of it in the absence of its goddess Meyneth and nearly destroyed all life on Bionis in the process. He would have succeeded too if Shulk and his friends hadn't intervened.
Well, that's my list folks, if you disagree with my choices, tell me why in the comments and what you would have chosen instead. Until then, I'll be seeing you.