Have a go at Robocop, they said. What? Alone? I'd rather go three rounds with Mike Tyson. Fortunately they just meant the game. Otherwise you can bet your unemployment benefit that before I knew it, eight out of ten owners (who expressed a preference) would be saying that their cats prefer me.
You've got to hand it to Ocean. There can't be many spankier licences to get your paws on than Robocop. And where Ocean really got it right was to snap it up ages ago - before, in fact, the arcade licence had even been put out to tender. So, the Manchester-based megagamesters had a hand that, too, and they ended up spending months and months putting the whole package together - computer game, arcade game, 8-bit, 16-bit, the works. They've even bunged in a poster as well.
So why is it all rather unexciting when you actually load the thing up? Perhaps it's because our expectations of Ocean's product over the past year or two has just become a little too statospheric. (Open those dictionaries) Operation Wolf? The new Batman? Brilliant games, superbly designed and implemented on the old beermat. But Robocop just isn't in the same league. Not that it's bad, don't get me wrong. It's just not the earthshattering blasterama I somehow expected it to be.
Anyway, enough of this whinging - let's get down to the game. You, natch, are Robocop him(it?)self, striding along the city streets in Detroit. My the streets are tough. They all look rather similar, too. And, blow! there goes your colour reception, 'cos the whole cityscape's in good ol' black and white.
So long you stride. You have fifty bullets to start with, but these soon get frittered away as you fire at the numerous baddies who attack you. And are there lots of them, or are there lots of them? It's worse than Frinton on a Saturday night, and what's more some of these thugs carry chainsaws, the latest hip accessory down Detroit way. These blighters need more bullets than the others, although if you start picking up those flashing whatnots of ammunition, you might get something a little more powerful than you wee bullet-ettes. Alternatively you might pick up some baby food to give you more energy (impregnated with Castrol GTX, no doubt).
Go on further and you'll find even more useful things like three-way bullets, but of course the nasties get nastier, shooting out of windows from above and other dirty tricks. In the film, bullets would have little effect. In the game, they do inflict a wound, and there's a limited number of wounds you can take. So be careful - there are nine levels to get through yet.
Level one, then, is downtown Detroit, (remind me not to go there.) On level two, you come across a woman being attacked by some crazy. Here you're looking straight at the two of 'em through your viewfinder, and you have to hit him without hitting her in the process. For level three it's back to Detroit with more and harder criminals - a little like the Bronx on a Saturday afternoon.
Level four's a break from the monotony. Here you have a photofit to piece together, using the computer and your own memory banks. Get this right and you'll find who it was who topped Murphy (the geezer you were before you became Roboclot). Hint: it's not Jeremy Beadle.
After that it's more shooting and running about, as you steadily work your way through the film's plot and kill everyone who needs killing, not including, sadly, Jeremy Beadle.
Don't sound too enthusiastic, do I? Well it's all a little samey, and a touch too much like lots of other zappy sideways scrollers set in warehouses and the like. What? Did someone say Rolling Thunder? Well, precisely, though curiously enough (since the film has an 18 certificate) I think the game will appeal greatly to younger gamesters.
The whole package, though, is nicely presented, with neat and well drawn graphics and no complaints about speed or playability. But I wasn't totally convinced. By the time you read this, I bet a good few Spec-chums who got it for Christmas will be wondering what all the fuss was about.
By the way, why doesn't anyone try a can opener on him?
Playable, efficient but uninspired shooty thing based on everyone's fave filmic gorefest. Not really up to the standards of Batman II or Oppy Wolf.