Reviewed by LS
2084. Speak its name to a grizzled arcade grognard and you likely to
bring tears to his eyes. Nope, I'm not old enough to be pushed into
this category, but I sure can appreciate the hectic, adrenaline-pumping
action of Robotron.
The premise of the game here is that mankind's robots in the year 2084
has developed sentience and have decided to exterminate the inferior
humans. It would have been a virtual slaughter but for you, a genetically
altered human with the powers to (hopefully) stop the advance of the
mechanical monsters. A simple yet perfect premise giving enough reason
to lay waste to robots and rescue the humans, no?
The unique thing about this game is it's very original control scheme
that uses two joysticks and no buttons at all. One joystick moves the
hero and the other one fires the rapid fire lasers. I haven't had the
good fortune to come across a working Arcade machine, but Mame emulation
and a good four-button pad do make for a half-decent job. Oh, and you
can find the game at www.shockwave.com too, which is pretty faithful
and gives a lot of control options. Must mention though that playing
with a keyboard is an exercise is frustration.
The game starts off rather slowly but picks up the pace in no time.
There are a whole lot of robots to exterminate, traps to avoid or disarm,
and humans to rescue. Killing all the robots moves the player to the
next wave, and rescuing the humans yield lots of points. Score 25,000
points and get a free man. Life is difficult though - the robots move
fast, and those that can shoot do so at a very rapid pace. At some waves,
the number of bullets on screen will overwhelm! This is what gives that
sweaty palms experience.
I must mention the 'brain waves'. At these levels, there is a lot more
humans than the average levels, enough to send a player drooling as
he dreams of multiple 5000 points bonuses. Ah, but the crafty Jarvis
put in a heck of a lot of brain enemies too - these evil creatures shoot
many triangulating cruise missiles that are hard as heck to shoot and
avoid; and if the Brains manage to catch a human, they can reprogram
the victim to do their evil bidding - killing you!
A good player must know his priorities. Should he kill that last Brain/Enforcer
or risk getting shot in the pants while rescuing the last human? Is
that 5,000 points worth the risk? Or should you just move on to the
next wave where pastures might be greener (Fat chance. Expect more robots
and hostile projectiles than anything else)?
And that's how it is. Kill robots, rescue humans. Kill robots, rescue
humans. Repeat ad infinitum. It's like a mantra. And it IS a
mantra. The player will be sucked in, dying again and again but will
continue to put in coins (or hit the 'coin-insert' in Mame) and trying
ever one more time to beat his last score.
Robotron is a delicious twitch-shmup. Go play it.
I'm taking off 0.1 point because I died again and I thought that last
one was unfair =)]
The start of a quiet day. Not for
long though. It just occured to me how poor these shots are. It's
much better when playing though - psychedelic color cycling and
Yes, things are definitely picking
up by the third round. Yes, I died while taking the pic, thank you
The 'Brain Wave' that you'll get every
five levels. Notice the humans being brainwashed... Brains must
Yippee! Only one brain left and so
many humans to rescue! Drool... Points, points, points...
Tanks. Oh boy, and lots of them. Notice
all of those bullets flying around. These babies bounce off the
walls at high speed. Only the best billiard players who can calculate
the trajectories of 30 balls at the same time will survive...
Scramble!! Those blue blue/grey enforcers
will shoot semi-homing x's at the player, and these are a pain in
the butt at high levels.
Ah yes, can you count them all? Hardly
seems fair isn't it? I once went to wave 11, and it's worse. Never
can get there ever again though.