'Robocop. Who is he? What is he? Where does he come from?' asks the pretty young news presentress, in Robocop the movie. Well, you silly woman, he's one PC Alex Murphy, killed whilst on the trail of the unofficial crime boss of old Detroit, Clarence Boddiker. He is the world's first and only cyborg cop, built on the remains of the aforementioned Murphy, after he has most of himself mercilessly blown away. He also happens to be in the latest action epic from Ocean software.
Robocop (or is he really the tin man from the Wizard of Oz?) takes you through seven levels of pure violent action, much in the mold of the film. 48K owners have to suffer the indignity of multi-load (three loads), while 128K owners (you lucky people) get the whole caboodle in one huge megaload. You get great sound too.
The first thing I've been asked to say is that Robocop is NOT a coin-op conversion. While Ocean were writing the game, the coin-op was being developed, so a direct conversion would have been difficult. Mike Lamb was told to 'Take the good bits from the coin-op, and put in some extra bits.' This he has done, and the lad's done good.
The first level has Robo out on patrol, walking the streets happily blowing away all the punks, chainsaw wielders and general ass-pains who lean out of windows and take pot shots at our hero.
Our hero can't blow away too happily, however. Ammo is limited, and there's a lot to shoot, so it's best to aim first, or even better, get close and let off a powerful punch. Ammo can be found on the floor, along with baby food (replenishes lost energy) and extra, more powerful, better weapons. These include double powerful bullets that can rake through an entire crowd of nasties and then some, a three-way firing bullet that can take out both enemies above and below you, as well as the one in front.
After his romp through the streets, Robocop hears a cry for help from a nearby alleyway. Keeping with his programming, he turns and bowls up the street, stopping face to face with a frightened woman, and more importantly, a rapist standing behind here with a knife at her throat/ at this point the view changes to a first point perspective and the familiar crosshairs implemented in the film come into use. The rapist moves left to right and back randomly, always keeping the woman more or less in front of him. Occasionally he will step out a little. It's at these times that you must shoot. The idea is to kill him without harming the girl. Every time you hit the girl, you lose energy., The funny thing is, if you've got a lot of energy, you can blow the girl away and survive, making it a lot easier to kill the rapist.
Then it's back to the side-view for another patrol jaunt. This one has Robo battling against Emil (one of the guys who killed Murphy) outside a petrol station. Blow him off his motorcycle, and it's into the second load.
The first level on the second load has you truing to put together a photofit of Emil on the police computer in a certain time limit. On the left is a picture of Emil. You have to cycle through all the possible eyes, noses, hairpieces, chins, ears and mouths, select the ones you think are right and then put them together. Get them right, and you are told all the details about Emil, such as his companions in crime, and that includes Clarence Boddiker.
The next bit sees you in Clarence's drug emporium, in which you blow away all of his staff as you climb the maze-like building. Make it to the top, and you find out that Clarence actually works for Dick Jones, No 2 at OCP, the company that runs the cops. Robo heads directly to Dick's office, only to discover that his mysterious fourth directive is that he can't arrest a senior officer at OCP. He is then disarmed (well, he goes all spasy and drops his gun as he loses control), ED 209, the original plan for a robo-cop is then brought in. This is the only bit in the entire game that I felt could have been better. ED 209 launches streams of bullets at Robo. You have to get Robo close enough to... no, watch the film to find out what to do.
After that, it's off to the steel mill, where Robo was killed, to finish off Clarence once and for all. I have to admit it, I've still not managed to get past this bit yet, however, I have seen the last section.
In the final level, the view goes back to first person. Robo has gone back for Jones. Jones, on seeing Robo, grabs the top guy and threatens to kill him unless he gets a helicopter to escape in along with lots of money, a fast car and a signed photograph of our very own Alison Skeat (eurgh, yuk, spew - the whole SU team). Immediately, the old guy fires Dick, which instantly cancels directive four. Robo has to blow Dick away, which is pretty difficult.
It's quite a long game, and a pretty difficult one at that, but pretty fab as well. Robocop is Ocean in the finest hour. It's hard, yes, but not enough to put you off the game. Plus the fact that all the levels are different, which makes you want to get to the later levels, just to see what you're missing.
The graphics are unbelievable. The animation is unspectrumly smooth and Jon Dunn has got the look of Robo perfect. Hell, he even walks the same, and it's worth getting the game, just to see Robo walk up stairs.
48K sound is almost non-existent, which is a shame, but 128K sound is g-r-e-a-t!!! Lots of really great tunes, a continuous in-game tunette, lots of explosion effects and sampled speech. At the end of each level, and at the end of the game, a voice exclaims 'Robocop' (and not Applecart, as our Jimbo first thought).
I had to fight to get this review, and funnily enough, it was worth it. Robocop is one of the most entertaining and addictive games I've seen this week. I can't wait to see the 16-bit version.
Author: Mike Lamb, Jonathan Dunn
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
Utterly brilliant game that captures the mood of the film perfectly. Brill sound and graphics.