RoboCop 2

RoboCop 2
1
Game Name: RoboCop 2
Platforms: NES
Publisher(s): Data East
Developer(s): Ocean Software
Genre(s): Platform
Release Date: Apr, 1991

No… no.. dear God, no! THEY MADE MORE! The same team that was behind the stinkfest Darkman has to be behind this game as well. It simply reeks of them. Now I thought the fact that Darkman existed was bad enough, but now we find out they were allowed to make MORE games!? Do you remember at the end of Evil Dead, when Ash has just killed everyone and survived the Deadites, only to turn around and see the camera springing at him through the door? That look of horror on his face? That’s how I’m feeling right now.

RoboCop 2, the movie, is all about the bionic officer taking down a powerful cartel of drug dealers. RoboCop 2, the game, is all about pastel colors, poor control, and a constant stream of the same objectives in outlandish levels. In other words, it’s just like Darkman.

I want the designers of these two games to take an actual trip to a factory. I really do, just once. I just want them to see what real buildings look like, because going by these two games, they just don’t know. Also, watch Robocop 2 for me. At any time during the film, do you ever see floating Mario-esque platforms suspended by rocket engines, springy platforms that shoot people into the air, or “wacky blocks” that reverse Robo’s controls? No? So what version did these people watch? The LSD cut?

The graphics in this game are from the bright pastel section of the NES palette, a section where no developer should ever go. They are drawn reasonably well, but colored terribly and poorly sized. A fire hydrant is almost as large as Robocop, and it doesn’t get better from there. The game has you hopping through identical crazy levels, picking up bottles of “Nuke” (the drug this game’s development seems to have been powered by) and arresting certain villains. These special fellows look different from the others and the game beeps to indicate when they’re nearby. Running into them sends them off to jail, and all other baddies are dealt with through judicious use of your automatic pistol. As with the first game, you are timed to complete the levels and still take damage from pistols and kicks, despite being Robocop. You would think Robo would have a longer battery life, and maybe some armor…considering he’s made out of frickin’ steel!

Each level is introduced by a screen of Robo downloading his mission from the Detroit PD’s computers. These are very brief and work to keep the story on track, yet there is never any variety – you’re always destroying Nuke and arresting people. Even when you are saving hostages, you’re tallied as arresting villains. I suppose it would be too much work to make an extra screen for these situations saying “hostages saved.” Also interesting is the fact that you can never complete 100% of your mission, always 99%. I suppose three digits were too taxing to code. Should you fail to complete the required percentage of either of your objectives, you are sent to a shooting range for “calibration.” Those who have suffered through Darkman will recognize the exact same Hogan’s Alley setup, this time having you shoot at cutouts instead of snapping pictures with your camera. Succeed here and you move on, fail and you have the joy of playing the last level over again.

The ultimate goal of the game is to beat the sissy ass of Cain, leader of the Nuke cult, then beat his sissy ass again when he’s placed in the body of Robocop 2. Robo 2 is, of course, much larger and nastier than you, and the fight between the two of you is what you are meant to look forward to through the entire game. So it would make sense that Robo 2, as the villain and all, would need to be fierce and scary-looking, right? Well the master designers are at it again: Robocop 2 lays down a barrage of bullets and deadly PINK rockets. Pink. How can you take this thing seriously when it’s launching this nonsense at you? I’m not frightened by the fact that he’s twice as large and shooting rockets the size of Jeeps. I’m not even a little concerned, because at any second I expect Robocop and Robocop 2 to stop fighting, sit down together, and drink some Arbor Mist and watch Cher.

It’s interesting to note that two complaints from the first Robocop game seem to have been addressed here. Robo now always has his gun, and has the ability to jump. This jumping ability now allows for jumping puzzles and challenges throughout the levels, which may or may not be a good thing for you. Unfortunately, the game has continued Darkman’s tradition of having the character slide everywhere before stopping. Your jumping distance is also determined by your forward motion, so you must get a running start to leap any real distance. When you are sliding around on a tiny box, trying to get enough space to run and leap to the next box (where you must then quickly reverse to keep from sliding right off), it’s quite easy to get just… a little… PISSED OFF.

Admittedly, Robocop 2 is a far better game than Darkman, and there is certainly more to do here than there was in the first Robocop game. They do try to give you enough to do, and mildly succeed. The first Robocop is the better choice for a fun arcade experience, and if you’re looking for a challenging platformer then you’ll want to go somewhere else. But if you’re being held at gunpoint and forced to play this game, then you’ll probably be able to make it all the way through without preferring to eat a bullet. That’s about the best compliment I can give for this game. Take it as you will.

 

The Good

Pretty damn long, and can be challenging, though more out of dealing with the game’s many frustrations.

The Bad

Now you’ve done it. You’ve pissed Robocop off with another shitty game based on him.

One Comment

  1. Gelo says:

    “De turdybus, non disputandum est!”

    This “interactive” chapter, was my last cartridge of collection of Robocop games for NES, years ago. Actually, I had a version of Famicom port, which supported more games on a single cartridge – very comfortable and economical but, as for contents, games were often cheap and unreliable.

    So, here’s my personal story about this thing.

    I was twelve years-old, and I’ve had a chance to take a glance, before buying it. I’ve decided to take it, nontheless the poor grafics and, seemingly, sloppy controls.

    My major concern, apart an unplayable character and all the hideous levels included, were the “shooting range” areas, where you had to decrement your score by shooting targets of your interest – say, when you missed to arrest an established percentage of felons or to collect the same for the “nuke”.

    We know that the the basics of most games, at that time, were to increment your score by killing the walking mushrooms, elfs, goblins, etc… Not many games took the opposite way of completing a determinate mission – which, in this case, was crucial, for me and also my friend (one day, I knocked at his door, in search of help), to understand, why the damned “pew-pew” areas were sending us back to the second level, where we were perpetually stuck! By shooting the cut-offs, you were forsed to DECREASE your score, walking against an established rule and, for a bit, we weren’t able to understand this thing.

    Once we’ve breached “the wall”, it was all grinding – all effort of mine, because of my friend’s sage refuse to play this thing anymore. Meanwhile, I was trying to regain my money’s value back, by “beating the horror”. Three times.

    Finally, I must say, it’s one of few games that has been able to induce a fan in such an acute form of neuroris…

    It’s hard to name it a “game” – more of a torture.

    Cheers.

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