So...what do we have here?

Elemental Gearbolt [First-Person On-Rails Shooting Game]


U.S. Game Front

Nell, the main character you control.

Nell Has The Power Of The Navy Holy Gun.

Seana, Nell's younger sister.

Seana Has The Power Of The Red Holy Gun.

The Assassin Case. About 40 of these are said to exist.

See More At Game-Rave's Site.

-General Information-
Version: U.S.
Year: 1998
Publisher: Working Designs
Developer(s) and Others: Alfa System
ESRB Rating: Teen
# of Players: 1 or 2
# of Blocks: 1 block for saves
# of Discs: 1
Estimated Market Value as of 07/28/2007: $30 - $42 (USD)
Other Info: Analog Controller Compatible. Special Controller (Guncon, etc.) Compatible. 1997 in Japan published by SCEI. U.S. game is significantly more challenging (like several Working Designs products). You can find out additional info about Elemental Gearbolt by going to the Working Designs link above. Victor Ireland, the president of Working Designs, is now part of a company called Gaijinworks. The game also has a special "Assassin's Case" that was produced in extremely limited quantities. Find out more here.

Elemental Gearbolt...the oddity brought to us by Working Designs and developed by Alfa System. Many people know who Working Designs was. The company was responsible for bringing U.S. citizens several obscure titles that many gamers have come to know and love. Ever played the popular Lunar? Heard of Popful Mail? Own the Sega Saturn Magic Knight Rayearth? Like Dragon Force or Alundra? Got yourself a copy of Arc the Lad Collection? If you have any of those titles, you may or may not already know that you own a piece of Working Designs history. While Working Designs has many unusual titles, why did I decide to discuss Elemental Gearbolt? Well, Working Designs is most popular for bringing RPG style games to the U.S., but this title is a "on-rails" shooter. Back in the days, I was extremely lucky to get this game in mint condition for free, and I was so impressed with it, I still play it to this day. I'm normally not a big fan of on-rails shooters. Don't get me wrong; They're decent (Time Crisis, Virtua Cop, etc), but they never had anything that was truly superb to me. This game is different.

You play the role of Nell and Seana (Nell's younger sister)...two girls whose bodies get taken over by "Holy Guns" that act like parasitic organisms that feed off the mind of their victims and can control the victim's body. This makes them hosts to the "Elemental Circuit", a part of the Network Computer. The Holy Guns possess the extraordinary powers of the elementals, who wish to bring peace...but their powers only usually bring destruction. For this reason, the Network Computer has become suicidal, and wants Nell and Seana to not only destroy the kingdom, but the Network Computer itself. Nell possesses the Navy Holy Gun with the exterior Gold Spirit Circuit while Seana has the Red Holy Gun with the exterior Silver Spirit Circuit. Bel Cain, the young and determined prince of the kingdom, wishes to unify the world under his vision, but is his vision good for the future of humanity? While most of this is from the manual, the game plot progresses through anime cutscenes. I won't spoil what takes place, but the plot behind this shooter is perhaps the best I have ever seen in a shooter. There is more to be said, but I don't want to get long winded here. Witness love, betrayal, anger, sadness, confusion, and chaos in this epic drama. Will it end in peace or will it end in tragedy?

Graphically speaking, the game is excellent and moves at a crisp and smooth framerate that usually moves around 60FPS. The environments are well done and and they seem like something out of a fairytale. The game still uses some 3-D environments, but unlike some of the earlier on-rail shooters like Time Crisis and Virtua Cop, the game has sprite-based foes. Some can look a bit fuzzy when they get really close, but in the end, I feel it works in the favor of the game. The combination of 3-D and sprites in this game is well done and gives the game a cool style when combined with the fantasy setting. There are plenty of explosions to go around and the special effects are solid. The game also uses cool hand-drawn animation scenes. The music is also very fantasy-themed. It's both soft and mellow at times, but also deep and dramatic. This is good because it blends in with the story, characters and settings and the sounds build up the suspense as you fight your way to the royal palace. The story scenes also have voice overs which are well spoken. If you've played other games that Working Designs has brought to the U.S., this shouldn't surprise you in the slightest. Overall, the graphics and sound nicely compliment each other and boost the overall experience.

Working Designs loved their RPGs back then and so they couldn't help but make sure that the shooter they localized in the U.S. had some kind of RPG features. The game allows you to switch between three weapons on the fly; A fire shot, a thunder (wind element) shot, and a water shot. Each weapon has different characteristics. The fire shot is the most powerful, but it is only a single shot and isn't as rapid as the water shot. The thunder shot is the least rapid, but spreads over a large radius. This is good for shooting coins for extra points and getting rid of waves of weaker foes. The water shot fires numerous shots automatically, but is hard to aim. You get "combos" and "hits" by successfully hitting targets without missing. As you shoot targets, your hit and combo number will go up and the bigger the combo, the bigger the multiplier and the higher your score will become. You collect coins for points, fairies (for points), chalices (hidden in the stages), potions for life, and you can become invincible.

After you beat a level, you get the option of giving up points in order to level up. By leveling up, you gain more life and things become easier against the tougher foes ahead. You have to shoot enemies before they shoot you. A green square will appear around the enemy and once the square disappears, they will attack you. Some enemies shoot while others may leap at you or hit you when they are close. The game is challenging and you are always moving so you have to have a sharp eye. The game only has six levels (two chalices on each) and is short, but it's still the greatest on-rails shooter I've ever played. It still demands a pretty high price even to this day, so if you see if for cheap, run home with it and brag to your friends. Elemental Gearbolt is a gem and more games should possess its artistic direction.

- Written by Vyse the determined -

Game Screenshots

Title Screen is nice...naked fairy motif is kinda Kinda working. I wonder why the Network Computer would have Nell dress like this? Interesting.... This is for you Nell...A memento from Bel Cain. You see my face? I'm pissed now. Leave me be. Wardom has some tough armor...better use the fire shot! Bullies jump out of every corner in this forest. Watch carefully.

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