RoboCop and Terminator games have varying degrees of success to say the least – The Terminator, excellent (but too short); RoboCop3, get out of my house, get out of my house now! Virgin are clever people and their penchant for quality is obvious. So, when they say Skynet has gone bonkers and only RoboCop can sort it out, we listen, and how! Please excuse the inadvertent rhyming.
The premise is simple, as detective Murphy (is he a detective?) you must clean the streets of all of Skynet’s robots and crones. The presentation is slick as you’d expect from Virgin and you really feel part of a “movie” experience. The moody backdrops, including deserted streets and a homage to the factory at the end of the first RoboCop film (you will enjoy this) really help set the tone. And our Murphy is more than equipped for the job. If Kyle Reese had this much artillery then the first Terminator film would have been very short indeed.
Graphics-wise I’ve not seen much better on the 16-bit (including SNES – less said about that version of this game the better). The backdrops are well detailed without being intrusive but it’s the sprites where this game really comes into its own. Every sprite, that’s our protagonist and all the bad guys, look gorgeous. RoboCop looks exactly like the “real” thing. The way he walks, his posture, the reflection from the gun flare, is perfect. One thing that’s a little ropey is his jump, but let’s be honest, RC ain’t meant to jump!
One of the many reasons this version is superior to the SNES version is the insane violence, it’s completely uncensored. RoboCop’s bullets tear through the bad guys as they explode in a red mess. The guys behind the windows? You can get them too with bonus blood-splattered drapes. The requisite sound FX is present too. Every gun, every cry of anguish, every whisper of the word “terminator” feels amazing. The music is slightly repetitive but this is mainly due to the length of the levels, which I can’t really complain about.
So how does this thing play? Well, if you’ve had a bad day at the office I thoroughly recommend this game for “therapy”. It’s absolute carnage. Every gun from the standard auto-fire pistol to the flame thrower despatches foe in a thoroughly satisfying manner. My favourite has to be the grenade launcher, pug out about ten grenades then move them about the screen to annihilate all and sundry. I really haven’t seen anything like this before. The only things that hinder this are the repetitive nature of the action (blast everyone, move on) and the claustrophobic nature of the boss fights.
The boss fights take place on one screen. This isn’t a problem for a lot of other games but RoboCop’s weedy jump means you all too often touch the bad guy, which raises another negative. This game isn’t that difficult if you keep your enemies at bay with gun fire. As soon as your sprites touches another, RC’s health vanishes like the last Capri Sun on sports day. You can absolutely killing the game, only to slightly brush a bad guy and find yourself dying and losing the gun you’re carrying (thankfully you’ll have the other one you can hold). This is most infuriating in the boss fights as you’ll be left with the pistol which does no damage whatsoever to them.
Having said that, this is a fantastic game. The levels are a joy to play – watch out for the later levels that pay homage to Kyle’s flashbacks in the first Terminator (bonfire in a TV set anyone?). Although there aren’t any other game modes (except the ridiculous “Killer” difficulty setting) or any unlockables/bonus levels, you will keep coming back. Why? For much needed “therapy”. 🙂
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