Developer: Monolith Productions
Engine: LithTech (1.0)
Released: September 30, 1998
Genre: First Person Shooter
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
Shogo: Mobile Armour Division is a first person shooter computer game released by Monolith Productions on September 30, 1998. It was the first game to utilize the LithTech engine, an engine written from scratch by Monolith. It has heavy influences from Japanese anime, particularly Patlabor, Appleseed, and the various Gundam series. However, it also follows many standard first person shooter conventions, allowing to appeal to more than just fans of anime. The game allows you to pilot a large mecha, as well as perform missions on-foot. Shogo was ported to the Amiga PowerPC platform in 2001 by Hyperion Entertainment. Hyperion also made the Apple Macintosh and the GNU/Linux port of Shogo.
|Minimum CPU Required:||Pentium|
|Minimum OS Required:||Windows 95|
|Minimum RAM Required:||32 MB|
|Minimum CD-ROM Drive Speed Required:||4X|
|Minimum DirectX Version Required:||DirectX 6|
|Input Devices Supported:||Keyboard, Mouse, other DirectInput device|
|Multiplayer Options:||Internet (TCP/IP)|
|Minimum CPU Required:||166 MHz x86 Processor|
|Minimum OS Required:||2.2.x or better Linux kernel with glibc-2.x and X-Windows|
|Minimum RAM Required:||32 MB|
|Minimum Disc Space Required:||65 MB|
|Minimum Video Card Required:||Graphics card with 4 MB video memory|
|Sound Cards Supported:||OSS Compatible|
|Multiplayer Options:||Internet (TCP/IP)|
Shogo features a mix of both standard on-foot first person shooter action, and combat with anime-style bipedal mechs. Unlike mech simulator games such as the Mech Warrior series (where mechs are piloted in a manner similar to tanks), the mechs in Shogo are controlled essentially the same as a human first person shooter character would be.
The mech missions are of average difficulty, and feature a variety of energy-based or explosive projectile weapons. Much of the action takes place within city areas.
The on-foot missions feature a variety of mostly hitscan firearms, such as dual pistols, an Uzi-like machine gun, and an assault rifle (non-hitscan weapons include two types of grenade launchers and a BGM-71 TOW rocket launcher). These sections of the game are quite difficult; your character (Sanjuro) cannot survive much damage, enemies are equipped with rapid-fire hit-scan weapons and have great aim, health items are somewhat scarce, and armour is extremely rare.
Shogo also has an interesting game play feature in its critical hits system, whereby attacking an enemy will occasionally bring about a health bonus for the player while the enemy in question looses more health than usual from the weapon used. However, enemy characters are also capable of scoring critical hits on the player. It should also be noted that each of the weapons in the game have different likelihoods of scoring critical hits on an enemy.
Players took the role of Sanjuro, a commander in the United Corporate Authority (UCA) army, during a brutal war for the planet Cronus (technically 46CronusD) and its precious ore (called kato). Prior to the game's first level, Sanjuro had lost his brother (Toshiro), his best friend (Baku) and his girlfriend (Kura) during the war and now, it is revenge that drives him. That, and his dead girlfriend's sister (Kathryn), whom he is dating. In Sanjuro's words, "It's kinda complicated." The game's narrative is primarily what drove gamers to finish the game, as it featured a healthy dose of comic relief without becoming silly.
At two pivotal points in the game, the player also has the opportunity to make a crucial decision, which can alter the game's ending. While the first decision is almost purely a narrative decision, the second decision actually determines who you'll be facing the rest of the game and how the game will end. If nothing else, the ability to play the game twice with two different sets of final missions truly added to the title's replay value.
The game begins with Sanjuro being extracted from a reconnaissance mission two years after the mission against Ivan Isarevich that resulted in Kura, Toshiro, and Baku's supposed deaths. He is brought to the Leviathan, a UCA command ship, and receives his mission from Admiral Akkaraju, who is Kura and Kathryn's father. Sanjuro then is dropped onto the planet, briefly accompanied by his squad, to enter the city of Avernus and kill Gabriel, leader of the Fallen. Once Sanjuro reaches Avernus, a mysterious man called Hank Johnson, a "friend of a friend," warns him about reinforcements coming in. Sanjuro attempts to reach Gabriel's headquarters. But it's a trap: communications with the Leviathan are jammed by an interference array, and Uziel, Gabriel's right-hand man, blocks Sanjuro's way after claiming that he knows him. Sanjuro, assisted by Hank, reaches the base with the interference array, and assists a UCA unit, Strike Force Carnivore against the enemy. He deactivates the array and establishes contact, but hears Kura instead of Kathryn. It is revealed that Kura was not dead, and she asks to meet with Sanjuro in Maritropa, a nearby city on Cronus to explain everything. Admiral Akkaraju, however, dodges the question of why he didn't tell Sanjuro about this, and orders Sanjuro to withdraw. Sanjuro then exits through the sewer to avoid the reinforcements; in the process of doing so, he learns that the soldiers have overwhelmed Strike Force Carnivore, and have secured his MCA. Reaching a parking garage he passed through earlier, Sanjuro kills some soldiers and destroys a tank, allowing Hank to help him escape in the back of his truck.
Hank takes Sanjuro to a pumping station, and with his help, dispatches the guards and helps Sanjuro get another MCA. Despite Kathryn's insistence that Toshiro and Baku are dead, Sanjuro suspects that both are alive, and decides to meet Kura at a nightclub called "The Mecca." With two friends of Hank's, he proceeds through the city and reaches a train station, but is too late to catch the train. Sanjuro then passes through the slums of Maritropa, but an electric gate bars his way, and only a woman whose cat is missing is able to deactivate it. The player can either kill the woman and her husband and open the gate, or do an optional level which depicts Sanjuro's attempts to rescue the cat from some "stragglers" who have been severely affected by working with kato, leading to a humorous exchange between Sanjuro and Kura, and Sanjuro receiving a health powerup as well as the cat's "toy" - a doll of Captain Nathaniel Joseph Claw from the Monolith platformer Claw, that, when squeezed, says "Commander Claw" (Sanjuro actually gets to keep this item for the rest of the game). Sanjuro reaches the Mecca too late; Kura has been captured by the CMC, Cronus's relatively weak yet troublesome military authority, but not before she says that Toshiro is Gabriel, and vaguely mentions "Cothineal." Sanjuro reaches the club, and a businessman from Shogo named Ryo Ishikawa agrees to help Sanjuro save Kura in exchange for a favour. Sanjuro reluctantly agrees, and makes his way to the station, before moving crosstown in his MCA, and catching another train to the detention center. At the station, Hank tells him that Cothineal "is the reason the Fallen exist," but says that Kura can elaborate.
At the detention center, Ryo asks Sanjuro to deactivate a firewall. The player has another choice here; if he helps Ryo, Ryo will leave him stranded by deactivating an energy walkway, forcing Hank to help him escape. If he does not, Ryo triggers the alarms. In either situation, Sanjuro is forced to shoot his way through the CMC, rescuing Kura, who reveals that she was working undercover, which is why she was listed as dead. Kathryn then informs Sanjuro that the Admiral wants to fire the Levithan's kato cannon at Avernus despite High Command's insistence, but doesn't know why. Sanjuro, who knows that the blast could affect Maritropa and Constantine, asks Kathryn to delay the admiral until he returns. After defeating the Fallen assassins who are trying to kill Kura, Kura tells Sanjuro that Cothineal is the source of kato, and that Toshiro is acting as a pawn. Baku, meanwhile, has become insane, and as Kura notes, "I don't know what he's become, but he's dangerous." Kura expresses her concern that Admiral Akkaraju considers Toshiro a traitor. Kura then asks Sanjuro to come to the Oshii Research Station in Avernus, which supposedly has proof of Cothineal's existence and role. She then asks Sanjuro about his relationship with Kathryn, but the choice the player makes doesn't have any clear effect other than dialogue.
On the train ride back, an upset Kathryn shares her displeasure with Sanjuro. Ryo Ishikawa then contacts him, and reveals some of his more sinister dealings. He states that he played at least some role in Ivan Isarevich's rise to power, and implies that he has a stake in the current crisis in the excellent quote of "Two years ago, when you and your squad went into Avernus and killed Ivan Isarevich, you did a lot more than liquidate an up and coming tyrant- you wrecked a scheme that I'd nurtured for years. It's taken me a long time to recover from the mess you've made, and now you're trying to ruin me again. Who do you think tipped off the CMC about your little lovebird, anyway?" Ryo then sends the train out of control, and has the Shogo troops on board attack Sanjuro. Sanjuro saves the train, but when he gets back to the pumping station, it is overrun by Shogo troops. He is forced to watch as Ryo shoots Hank in the head with a shotgun blast, execution-style, killing him. Ryo escapes before Sanjuro can reach him. Kathryn expresses condolences, and convinces Sanjuro to go to the airship dock to reach the Oshii Research Station. He finds Uziel's MCA there, and forces him to retreat after a brief skirmish. He then contacts Toshiro, and arranges a meeting in the History of Warfare museum in Avernus. Sanjuro's efforts are nearly stymied when Admiral Akkaraju announces that the Kato cannon is charging and will fire in two hours; he cites evidence by Ryo Ishikawa, whom he sees as an ally, as proof of Toshiro's treachery. He also will not hear anything of Sanjuro's claims that if he fires the kato cannon and disobeys High Command, "The UCA will be thrown into chaos and the Fallen will be out of the way. The CMC is already in tatters- Shogo will inherit Cronus."
Sanjuro reaches the Oshii research station, and he and Kura find the necessary information despite a raid by Shogo troops. The Admiral reluctantly agrees, and gives Sanjuro one last chance to save Toshiro. Sanjuro reaches the History of Warfare museum, and sees Gabriel, who gives the player a choice of joining him or facing his armies.
Sanjuro accepts, and fights UCA troopers before reaching a ship to board the Leviathan. Sanjuro meets up with Kathryn, and fights his way through the ship to reach the kato cannon firing controls. With minutes left to go, Sanjuro disables them, and defeats Ryo, who plans on reactivating the kato cannon, which was most likely his reason for telling the admiral what he did. The epilogue suggests that the Admiral will be court-martialed, the CMC has surrendered, and the Fallen have declared a truce with the UCA and Toshiro remaining on Cronus as an "ambassador" to Cothineal.
Sanjuro refuses, and fights Fallen troopers inside the ruined museum. He escapes and, defeating Fallen troops in the city, proceeds on to the Fallen headquarters using the same way he planned on using early in the game. He proceeds through the city rooftops, and on to the outskirts of the city, where he learns that Shogo fighters are attacking the Leviathan. Sanjuro enters the elevator leading to Gabriel, and, brushing off Kathryn's concerns, fights with and defeats Baku. Sanjuro reaches Gabriel, who is being protected by an energy field that Cothineal creates, and learns that Shogo reinforcements will attack from behind. Sanjuro shoots Cothineal's eye, lowering Gabriel's defences, and disables Gabriel's MCA. He then defeats Ryo's reinforcements, and Ryo himself. The epilogue notes that Toshiro is being treated for his time under Cothineal's control, and that Admiral Akkaraju will be investigated for disobeying High Command, but little will come of it. Humanity will also work to gain peace with Cothineal.
The expansion pack Shugotenshi would have given us more insight into Kura's roles. It would have been six or eight levels of Kura fighting the threat of a new militia of anti-Kato terrorists, dealing with Sanjuro and Kathryn, and coming to terms with the death of Hank. Some features of that game would have been various body armor for Kura and new enemies and weapons for her to fight and use. Its name is a translation of the Japanese term for "guardian angel" which was a major theme in its storyline. Some deathmatch maps from the project where released as the Shogo Six Pack.
Legacy of the Fallen would have moved away from the fighting of Cronus and taken the player to a remote Kato mining facility at Iota-33. It would show just how well organized the Fallen actually was and the weapon capabilities of an AMBED ("Advanced Mechanical Biological Engineering Division") team. Legacy of the Fallen was to have an entirely new cast of characters, five new mecha to choose from, six new on-foot weapons, five new mecha weapons, several new enemy aliens, and levels that played out more like Half-Life in levels in structure. It was canceled after numerous delays. There was a postmortem on the its creators (Anarchy Arts) website that placed the blame on poor distribution agreements, mismanagement of development resources, and development team burnout. Some of the resource files for the project have been released and there was a similarly ill-fated fan attempt to finish it (only a technology demo and a weapons mod were released).
Because the game was released around the same time as Half-Life, it never performed well in the market. Half-Life came out only a few weeks after Shogo with much fanfare and a marketing campaign that allowed it to overshadow the other shooters that came out at the time such as SiN, Blood II: The Chosen and Shogo.
Half-Life was packaged with video cards, joysticks and sound cards which allowed it to reach a much bigger audience than Shogo. The marketing campaign for Shogo was simply not strong enough to overcome the distraction of Half-Life, even among those gamers who would have most appreciated its features and game play. However, Shogo has spawned a dedicated cult following that is still active as of 2007, as evidenced by the monthly rankings. It should be noted that Shogo took the first person shooter genre to new directions, especially with its unique narrative form and style See, for example: here. Shogo was well received for its complex cinematic-like storyline and, like the Blood series, for its creativity. It was also praised for having enough anime styles to interest fan but enough traditional first person shooter styles to interest other gamers. Many fans felt that if Monolith had put more work into advertising Shogo would have sold better, even with the distraction of Half-Life.
The multiplayer elements of Shogo did receive some criticism, citing that it was slow, had trouble on certain modems, and lacked a lot of the features of other shooters out at the time. There was also the problem of people cheating during Internet play, which caused a certain amount of paranoia among the Shogo community over who were "cheaters"; later anti-cheat packages were created. The Shogo community, in part to combat some of these problems, created a number of multiplayer traditions. One of these was "player"/"mech stacking", in which players would jump on top of each other into as high a pile as possible. Another was "mech surfing" in which one mech would transform into hover-transport mode and another would jump on top of it and try and ride it. There was even a Shogo player who played weekly Shogo hide and seek games with his five year old daughter.
Future of Shogo
"Shogo 2 takes place quite some time in the future beyond Shogo; as long as you stick to the timeline and don't radically change the universe, you don't need to worry about conflicting storylines. Ideally, this document - complete with fan community additions - will be used as the backstory/continuity guide for Shogo 2. Storyline for Shogo 2 will be revealed at a later date, especially since the project is still completely in the design phases and won't begin to get coded for some time. :)" - Jeremy 'Loki' Blackman from Lith on keeping fan works canon.
Despite some previous intentions, Monolith Productions has repeatedly stated they have no current intention of doing a sequel, but numerous Shogo themed easter eggs have turned up in their later projects. No One Lives Forever featured Hank Johnson's grave in the game's last level; The Matrix Online features a nightclub called "Club Shogo"; Blood II: The Chosen features Shogo posters in various rooms in the CabalCo building's living quarters; F.E.A.R. has the Armacham company name, the Bullgut (called the "MOD-3 Multi-Rocket Launcher") and even the Shredder (called the "MP-50 Repeating Cannon") as weapons, plus a secret room with a radio that plays the opening theme music from Shogo and uses a Shogo texture depicting a man riding on a horse. Plus there are also textures that depict the Enforcer mecha as belonging to Shogo Industries and a texture depicting the Shogo cover art, probably as a poster. Plus some players have said that the UAV in F.E.A.R. looks similar to the Spider Mine in Shogo. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin has a man called "Snake Fist" wearing "Shogo 2" t-shirt.
When a development image of this was released it on December 22, 2008 it caused a lot of industry and fan speculation over whether or not this was just another reference or if it hinted that Monolith was going to make another Shogo game. A previous case of such speculation came after the release of a promotional demo for LithTech 3.0, which featured mechs and Shogo-like environments (and images labeled "Shogo 2"). Other rumours were that Monolith was considering a console-only third person shooter sequel to Shogo
As in most games, content was deleted to make sure that Shogo would ship. Some of this content is easy to find on the Internet and some of it is buried inside of the resource files of the game.
The obvious content that was taken out can be seen in some of the various movies on the official site. The shotgun was originally going to have a shoulder stock that was flipped up and out of the way of the handle. A weapon that was dropped, the "pinpunchers", were the mecha equivalent of the two pistols that are the default weapon of on-foot game play. The game was to have different static pictures in the background during level change. These pictures would give you a preview of the action of the next level or just give you a glimpse at some of the enemies you would have to fight. There is also a file named "leviathan.mov" that gives a moving image of the ship Sanjuro is on in the second level. It is possible that Monolith Productions was thinking about having movies play between levels to move the story along instead of static pictures or static text.
The semi-obvious content is buried in the test resources. There are sound files and even fully animated characters that depict what would have happened during the levels. There were at least two levels that were taken out. The first one would have been after the level where Hank drives a truck into a garage and yells "Get your ass in the back." There was supposed to be a level where Hank drives the truck and tells you how he met Kura and why he is helping you. He would have given a speech about how he found Kura underground and why he wants to be a hero even though he never passed the physical tests to be in the UCA military. The level would have ended with enemy soldiers attacking and Sanjuro needing to clear them out.
The other level would have happened once Kura was rescued. This would have brought a flashback to Sanjuro's kindergarten days with Kura, Kathryn, Baku and Toshiro at the UCA military academy. A glimpse of what part of the level would have looked like is in the intro movie where you can see kiddie Sanjuro walking towards a basketball goal. The game would have had Toshiro in danger of falling off a roof and Sanjuro finding a flower for Kura while also attempting to save his brother. What you did and how you did it would affect how characters dealt with you and also would have affected Kura as well as what she said when she found out that you and her sister were dating. Footage of this level can still be seen in the intro of the game. Also, Sanjuro's child model is still in the game's data files. Also typing in the cheat code "Mecha" which is designed to change your MCA into a different model in mecha mode turns Sanjuro into the child model in on-foot mode.
It is sometimes possible that, upon loading a saved game or using the all-weapons cheat code, the player will very rarely find himself in an on-foot level with mecha weapons. Gameplay is still possible in this "hybrid" mode, and the mecha weapons deal much higher damage to human targets than those the player is supposed to be using. However, the player cannot pick up "on foot" weapons dropped by the enemies, and so is forced to make do with whatever ammunition he already has (or cheat). It is also possible to play mecha levels as though on foot; in the third person view the avatar is a mecha-scaled Sanjuro, using the on-foot weapons (which are much less powerful than the mecha weapons).
The game also has some trouble with some versions of Voodoo video card drivers, which cause the menus to be invisible (and consequently the game to be unstartable), or can cause textures to load improperly or not at all (resulting in a totally gray world). Updating the drivers generally cures the problem.
There was also a multiplayer bug. This allowed you to install the multiplayer-only part of the game, and then be able to access the single-player from the multiplayer menu.
During cutscenes hitting escape to access the main menu and then return to the game gives the player control of Sanjuro. This is most notable at the end of the game where you can actually kill Kathryn and Kura as they chase each other around the during the credits. You can spin Sanjuro around in circles and fire around, but you can't move. It should be noted that not all these bugs affect the Hyperion Entertainment ports. Another bug that is more of a continuity error than anything else happens if you kill Kathryn just before you are supposed to free her from you quarters, she drops a shotgun even though she is not armed otherwise. This contradicts the plot-line that states that Kathryn swore off violence and guns.
Relation to the Blood Franchise
Shogo: Mobile Armour Division was released shortly before Blood II: The Chosen in 1998, and it is in many ways the sister game of Blood II. Shogo and Blood II do share objects with one another and since they both use the same version of LithTech they can use some of each others levels and objects.
In Blood II advertisements for Shogo can be seen on the walls at various places such as the numerous subway stations. Shogo also has a reference to Blood, on magazine stands there is a magazine with Caleb shown on the cover, accompanied by Japanese text and English reading "Who is Caleb?"
Also Fallen troops can on occasion be heard exclaiming translatable cultist phrases. Interestingly enough there is a character in Shogo named Gabriel, though it has no known relation to Gabriel from Blood (Shogo also reused the name "Nathaniel" from Claw for the name of the Admiral, the Claw character was also voiced by Stephan Weyte). Shogo was ported to GNU/Linux, Macintosh, and AmigaOS in 2001 by Hyperion Entertainment, this allows for some Blood II content to be ran on these systems.
The Shogo community made fan art was inspired by the Blood fan art and was actually created by many of the same artists (notably Rust). The collection of Shogo fan fiction called The Expanded Canon was inspired by the Blood fan fiction and shared some of the same authors, Caleb on Cronus which is part of the Tome of Blood is part of the "Alternative Universe" collection of the Expanded Canon.
- Official homepage
- Monolith Productions homepage (Original developers and Windows version)
- Hyperion Entertainment homepage (AmigaOS, GNU/Linux and Mac version)
- Download Shogo Windows shareware
- Download Shogo GNU/Linux shareware
- Shogo downloads on Filefront
- Shogo: Mobile Armour Division on Wikipedia
- Shogo: Mobile Armour Division on Giant Bomb
- Old-Games.ru - Shogo screenshots (Russian)
- Shogo: Mobile Armour Division - Macgamefiles.com
Reviews and Articles
- "`Shogo' Delivers Explosive Story", Paul Rosano, December 24, 1998
- Blast from the Past: Shogo: Mobile Armour Division - Tentative Name
- PC Feature - A Return to Shogo
- Netjak - Shogo: Mobile Armour Division Review by Clayton "Alkaiser" Chan
- Linux specific review from Haus of Shogo
- Linux specific Review from Evil3D
- Shogo: Mobile Armor Division Preview Blues News (October 1, 1998)
- GameRevolution review (1998)
- Shogo - Mobile Armour Division (Gamespot preview)
- Shogo review (January 8, 2002)