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A relaxing non-linear adventure! Get ready for... STEAMBOT CHRONICLES!!
Steambot Chronicles is an Action RPG made for the Play Station 2, known as BumpyTrot overseas. Set in an Steampunk Alternate Universe where most daily tasks are handled by steam powered mechs, affectionately known as Trotmobiles. The main character, Vanilla, wakes up on the shore of Seagull Beach with amnesia, awakened by a girl who's part of a band called the Garland Globetrotters. Finding an abandoned and beat up trotmobile nearby, he agrees to help her reunite with her friends in the nearby town, while also trying to rediscover his lost past. Supposedly.
Said to be like Grand Theft Auto if you removed every shred of psychopathy from the mix, Steambot Chronicles offers a cheery Cel Shaded world with a massive amount of SideQuests, MiniGames, fashion, music, and myriad other ways to completely waste your time. The game has a massive array of choices, from what Vanilla says, to what Vanilla wears, to what Vanilla does, ninety percent of which does not actually matter as far as plot is concerned, but are quite effective as a means to... completely waste your time.
The game didn't sell particularly well, at least partially thanks to its incredibly laid back style, as well as load times and occasionally wonky controls. But the world is interesting, and there are far worse ways to do.. ... uh... whatever it is you do in this game.
It was later followed by Steambot Chronicles Battle Tournament, a PSP game taking place sometime after the first game. It did away with most of the elements Steambot Chronicles was known for, focusing purely on the Trotmobile battles and the side quests.
A proper sequel, BumpyTrot 2, was announced in 2006. It was in Development Hell for years before finally getting cancelled shortly after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The Bloody Mantis takes over the only oil refinery, sending prices for fuel, parts, and repairs sky-high.
- An Interior Designer Is You: Halfway through the game, you're given the opportunity to rent one of several apartments, which you can decorate at your leisure. Although you can just buy furniture, you can make them really fancy if you're willing to tromp around some optional dungeons for treasure (and don't plan on handing them to the museum).
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: The Japanese boxart used the same cutesy art style you see at the top of this page. The American boxart, on the other hand, features a more serious-looking Vanilla outfitted with goggles (which can be obtained in the game, but not worn on your on your head), a hotter-looking Connie, and a more badass trotmobile.
- Awesome but Impractical: The first boss of the game, the Don Elephant ll. Its a giant steam-powered mech that is covered in mounted cannons and takes a huge amount of damage before its destroyed. The catch? Once you jump onto its back you can just beat it to death with little resistance. Also it moves so slow thats its no real threat even to the weaker trotmobiles.
- Beware of Hitch-Hiking Ghosts
- Book Ends: After the end of the game, you have one last mission : find the various members of the Garland Globetrotters, one year after Vanilla left. For doing this, you have to travel to every location you visited during the main game, in the reverse order of how you got there. You finally reunite with Connie on the very beach where Vanilla awakened on at the start of the game.
- Cel Shading
- Crap Saccharine World: Wow, this world is so bright and cheery! Hey, this cute girl likes me! Hey, that song she's singing is.. pretty damn depressing, actually. Wow, this backstory is.. that's pretty awful. Oh, geez, these people lost their livelihood. Oh Crap, these people are dying..
- Dastardly Whiplash: Bergamot. He starts off pretty high class, but then he starts talking. And if you take the hero path, the final confrontation with him is practically a parody.
- Dead Little Sister: Actually Dead Little Brother, late band member Chicory's death caused a pretty huge ripple of dysfunction through its members... some way more than others.
- Dialogue Tree: Everything Vanilla says is selectable, although most of it doesn't actually matter. It does, however, provide you the ability to make him anything from a pure hearted hero to a vaguely heroic jerk to a disaffected villain to a complete psychopath... through dialogue.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Hot Cocoa option in the dating minigames.
- A serious example - when Vanilla and Connie have to go through the shack to reach the trotmobile, Connie seems very unhappy to be in, near, talk, hear or even think about the shack. It has very little connection with Chickory's death by getting hit by a car and if you ask her some more about it, she'll say she used to basically play with her dolls in the shack, but "a lot of things happened" and now she doesn't like going in there. Other than some old memories of Chickory being in there, to someone who isn't hip to the plot it almost looks and sounds like a setup for some Lifetime movie type of story about a little girl being raped by some pedophile. Though nothing like that ever happens in the game. Especially with it being a rated T game.
- Downer Ending: The hero ending, believe it or not. Even though you've saved the country from certain doom Savory is shot dead by Bergamot, and Dandelion is executed for his attempted coup.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: For all his importance to the story, you only find out that Dandelion was executed for his crimes in your absence through an offhand remark and a new grave site.
- Edible Theme Naming: Many of the main characters are named after herbs and spices (Vanilla, Coriander, Dandelion, Savory, etc.).
- Evil Pays Better: Subverted. Although you can become evil halfway through the game, doing so prevents you from acquiring most of the best equipment. Including the Infinity+1 Sword, wielded by Elder, which you can only get from being a "true" hero (meaning you can't choose the bad guy path at all).
- Face Heel Turn: Savory if you decide to stay on the hero path, or you if you decide to join up with the Bloody Mantis gang halfway through the game.
- Five-Man Band: Vanilla and the Garland Globetrotters are a literal five-man band. Connie is the lead singer and guitarist, Savory provides backup vocals and piano accompaniment, Marjoram plays the drums, Basil plays bass, and Vanilla plays... whatever the hell you want him to play (though his signature instrument is the harmonica). Fennel was originally a member of the band, but he quits to seek out his own sound about a third of the way in.
- Floral Theme Naming: Virtually every character of any significance is named after some sort of plant -- most are also seasonings, as mentioned above, but some are just plain old plants.
- Funny Afro: One of the barbers gives only funny afros to his customers.
- Gotta Catch Them All: The license plates. There's 30 of them and a few can be easily Lost Forever.
- Guide Dang It: You WILL NOT be able to get 100% on your first try. Items can be Lost Forever, quests can become Unwinnable, and the game can become Nintendo Hard when trying to find all the trotmobile parts, plates, CHILDREN'S STORY BOOKS, instruments and so on.
- Did you know that you can unlock a hotsprings area? Cause you can. How? If you have to ask you might as well forget about it...
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Quite a few notable English voice actors lent their talents to this game: Spike Spencer as Vanilla, Wendee Lee as Connie, Yuri Lowenthal as Dandelion, Jessica Straus as Savory, and Tara Platt as Ciboulette, to name some.
- Hot Coffee Minigame: Sort of. You can invite a girl over to your appartment for a date and the minigame begins when she arrives. You start with a set number of hearts and various actions use up hearts. If you increase the number of hearts enough and select the right actions the screen will go blank while a short "hot coffee cutscene" plays.
- Humongous Mecha: Powered by STEAM!
- Identity Amnesia: Vanilla, the main character, wakes up at the beginning of the game with no idea who he is. Interestingly, you get to choose his background about halfway through the game, and it makes absolutely no difference for the rest of the game.
- Inevitable Tournament: One you're not actually required to win.
- I Have Many Names: Vanilla will receive titles usually based on what your mech is and how full you are
- Karma Houdini: Dandelion to the extreme on the villain path. He literally just goes back to his day job after it's all over, despite being the mastermind who was running the show, and nobody even so much as suspects him.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Good luck completing the photo album...
- Loads and Loads of Loading: That and the combat controls killed the game for some people.
- Lyrical Dissonance: Actually, despite their upbeat attitude, most of the songs sung by the Garland Globetrotters are pretty damn depressing. You probably won't notice the first time you hear them, though.
- Mask Power: Elder, the "White Phantom", hides the upper half of his face, and holds the championship title for mech battling. His Reveal as Dandelion marks a surprising shift in personality as he reveals his Axe Crazy goal.
- Mini-Mecha: The Trotmobiles. Most emphatically not the bosses.
- Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: The Killer Elephants. Their boss just wants to go to the moon, but the only way to make the money needed to make his dream possible is banditry.
- Nintendo Hard: The instruments, believe it or not. While the Harmonica and Trumpet are so simple you could play them with one hand (almost), things like the Accordian, Organ, Piano, and Electic Guitar will likely test even some of the die hard Rock Band players.
- Now Where Was I Going Again?: In case the article didn't clue you in, it is entirely possible to end up with five different SideQuests active, get distracted playing music on the street corner for half an hour, and end up with no idea what the hell you were supposed to be doing for any of them. The game does have an in game journal for this purpose, but it's not at all organized or helpful with hints.
- Previous Player Character Cameo: In Steambot Chronicles Battle Tournament, Vanilla appears as the final Rank A tournament match along with the trotmobile he used in the first game, Chamomile II. Apollo/Luna does not get the chance to actually speak with him, however.
- Red Herring Twist: About the first half of the game is dedicated to Vanilla trying to regain his memories. After being reuinted with Mallow, though, Vanilla suddenly regains his memory (the player can determine what kind of past he had), then the rest of the game is devoted to the machinations of the Bloody Mantis.
- Rhythm Game: Playing music, whether with your band or on the street corner, takes the form of this. The actual input method varies based on what instrument you play, so dependent on your choice you can make things really easy on yourself (Harmonica, Trumpet), or pointlessly hard (Accordion).
- Sidequest: What the game actually means by 'non-linear'. And there's a ton of them.
- Steampunk: Well, there's definitely steam going on, but the punk part is pretty subdued.
- Stepford Smiler: Connie. Big time.
- The Chick: Connie.
- The Short Guy with Glasses: Basil.
- Timed Mission: The desert battle against the Bloody Mantis.
- Tragic Villain: Dandelion founded the Bloody Mantis and donned the identity of Elder out of anger at an apathetic technology-dependent society and revenge against the one he deems responsible for Chicory's death.
- Virtual Paper Doll: Vanilla, your avatar, can mix and match various clothes, accessories, and hairstyles to create a variety of styles. Occasionally, NPCs will even comment on them.
For example, if you wear a full set of Cowboy clothing (clothes, boots, and hat), Coriander will remark positively on how you look in them if you talk to her.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Many characters won't hesitate to call you out for saying rude or mean-spirited things. Some will also get quite angry if you try to extort money from them.
- Wide Open Sandbox