Thursday, May 30, 2013

VGR RoboCop (Nes)

Half Cop. Half Nes Game.

The Future of RoboCop Law Enforcement Simulators is here!

VGR: RoboCop
From Data East/Nihon Bussan/Ocean Software
Played on NES
Also available on Arcade, Amiga, Amstrad, Atari ST, MSX, Spectrum, PC & Game Boy

Type Sidescroller action 
Year 1989

After the huge success of Paul Verhoeven's classic, a video game adaptation didn't come as surprise to anyone.

The original RoboCop game was created by Data East & the studio Nihon Bussan for the arcades.

The game was developed and released in 1988 on most home systems. Simplified, of course.

The NES port followed in 1989, published by Ocean Software.

The plot is roughly based on the 1987 movie.

This is Detroit, the near future.

Officer Alex Murphy has been killed on the line of duty.

The multinational OCP (Omni Consumer Products) took this occasion to use Murphy has their human cobaye for a new project. They turned him into RoboCop. A half-man, half-machine law enforcer to give them an image boost much needed to proceed with their other future projects for Detroit.

You are RoboCop, back on the streets. Your objective is to clean the city while searching for the crime boss Clarence Boddicker who murdered Murphy.

The game is about 6 levels (of multiple screens) long and actually follows the story of the film pretty well. At the end of each stage, a boss fight will await you. Be it Boddicker once or twice, some of his thugs or the All-New ED-209 model.

The game is a sidescroller action game.

A beat 'em up to be precise, with gun mechanics and not a Run & Gun as you'd expect at first.

Meaning you can't simply run around gunning people down, it requires a bit more precision than that.

Instead of going for a simpler shooter game like they were plenty at the time, Data East tried something original and different for a change.

RoboCop has 4 functions on his HUD screen. They indicate several in-game notions in your area. You can't simply shoot people around, you're a law enforcer first of all. Robo will only be able to use his gun if people shoot at him first or they are visibly armed.

One Button is to punch unarmed threats. The other is the gun, you can also aim above, below and in diagonal while shooting. Pressing Select will allow Robo to duck.

Yes, there are no Jump button in this game. And here lies the entire gimmick of this game. The goal is run around, explore the levels to reach the exit/boss. But time is running out, Robo runs on a limited energy supply (the "timer"). When time/energy will run low, it will be indicated on screen. So don't explore to much!

When you are attacked on all sides by foes and dogs(!), simply duck as they hit you.

To help you out enemies will often drop weapons or power-ups you can also find around. The most important one being the extended time/energy fuel.

The boss fights end up repeating a lot. Boddicker will run off and let you deal with hordes of bigger/stronger enemies. You fight ED twice, much harder at the end at OCP's. My favorite boss being the guy holding an hostage, it's a nice change of pace.

Robo can also enter doors and whatnot to find alternate paths on different rooms/ammo and detect breakable walls that reveal hidden passageways.

It's still a very linear game though. Don't expect too much.

At the end of a level, you get introduced to a shooting bonus round. other ports of the game had different bonuses and in-level screens, but overall they're all the same game.

Its only real problem is that there's basically only one song for the entire game, the theme song, and it plays over and over again through the whole game.

Overall, it's a good game.

The gameplay mechanic is actually very interesting. It gives it a difference enough from most other similar games to make RoboCop stand out from the rest.

It gets a bit getting used to, but if you think for a second, ducking is a much better and more realistic notion than jumping like in any other action game. How many times do people (and RoboCop at that!) jump to avoid getting hit in a fight?

The problem isn't the lack of a jump button. But sometimes it's really difficult to make Robo take some stairs! Really. It takes some getting used to. But you need to be on a specific pixel to make him go up or down the stairs... 

Nothing game-breaking, though. 

The levels are simple enough but the sceneries from the film are recognizable. You get the streets, the OCP, the abandoned factory.. it's all here!

The original arcade version was truly the best one. Of course, the NES port wouldn't match it, but for what it's worth it's a pretty close and similar game at its core. A really sweet little port slightly simplified graphic-wise, but that's all.

Note that there also was a Commodore 64 RoboCop game I didn't mention above since it's a totally unrelated game with its own gameplay and level design.
I give it:
2 / 3 Invaders!

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