How to make a game the same, but not the same? Try asking the Interplay development house who’ve taken on the SNES version of RoboCop vs Terminator. You’ll know of our love for the Mega Drive version, so it’s a real shame we had to play this second because it’s two clicks away from being a real stinker. As soon as you load up the cart, things don’t feel right. The presentation is poor, with one static screen and some unrecognisable music composing the “intro”. Even the menu options screen feels laboured.
To make up for this, Interplay have put together comic style cut sequences and the first tells us their take on the story. A lady cop called Flo in the future has worked out that the root of all terminators, and thus planet earth’s downfall, was caused by Cyberdyne Sytems getting a hold of RoboCop. I kid you not! What this inevitably leads to is a level structure similar to the MD version (see, I told you to ask them…), which isn’t surprising as Virgin still published this game, having the required licenses.
The graphics, whilst not bad for the SNES, hardly do either franchise any favours. RoboCop, whilst well detailed, is poorly animated, his legs (that look very similar to ED-209’s) moving independently of his body. Other sprites follow suit, including the lycra-clad busty lady types – someone at Interplay clearly didn’t have their PC hat on… His jump is weedier than in the MD version to boot. Backdrops have been copied over from the Virgin-made MD version, but without the quality. As soon as RC pursues Skynet, half of the way in, all the levels look exactly the same. Think I’m exaggerating? Give it a whirl!
The music is poor and whilst the MD version’s was much the same, at least it fit the game. Sound effects are acceptable, but as the bad guys don’t disintegrate into a bloody mush (more on that later), rat-a-tat-tat is as good as it gets, with the occasional cry for help.
Substandard graphics and sound don’t always make for a bad game, true, but add in hair-pullingly awful gameplay and you’ve got the merest sprinkling of glitter atop a giant turd. Where to begin with this game, hmmm… Shooting bad guys is satisfying enough but it’s not the core of the game. Whilst playing this game I couldn’t help thinking this is an extremely poor Pitfall rip off. You must navigate RC around some of the most annoying and tedious levels known to man! Enemies can blast holes in the floor, whilst you’re jumping, this is not good. Collision detection is particularly bad when grabbing on to ziplines and pipes. Hazards will include breakable platforms with tiny barrels that roll toward you. Couple this with RC’s teeny tiny jump and you’ll find yourself constantly falling back to the beginning of the level. Girders and other things will fall from the sky with no warning. With no checkpoints to help you, you’ll end up throwing your controller at the TV before you get to the level’s boss.
Boss fights with the terminators are quite interesting and mostly don’t fall foul of the one-screen problem that the MD version has. But, they inevitably repeat themselves. This game is difficult, not because of the AI or puzzles, but the sheer awfulness of the level design. I’d say it looks like a child has designed it, but that would be doing children a disservice. The game feels rushed and it probably was.
There is no re-playability value here whatsoever. Whilst RCvsT might look okay on the SNES, please don’t be baited by your MD-owning friend into buying it. You’ll be very disappointed indeed.
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