The sequel to the biggest selling Speccy game of all time had to be good, didn't it? Ocean wouldn't have lived down a dud. And here it is, and it's fab!
The first striking thing are the graphics - all really well designed and detailed. Animation's great too: there's always lots happening on-screen and RoboCop stomps about like he means business (which, of course, he does). The second striking thing is how tough the game is: gameplay's much more than just a combat blasting affair, there's a lot of brain work involved too.
The action begins at the River Rouge Drugs Laboratory, which basically looks like a falling-down warehouse. The detailed backdrops do a smooth eight-way scroll as Robo moves around - he can stomp left right, jump up and crouch.
There's no time allowed for practice: opponents rush in immediately, so grab your gun and blast (you can fire left, right, up and at different angles with a variety of collectable weapons). The guards are armed with everything from handguns to missile launchers, and being hit knocks down Robo's energy level. If it sinks to zero you can wave cheerio to a life. Funnily enough, dying outright can be put off for a long time: you're awarded continue-plays for doing particularly well in a level and falling icons, if shot, boost power reserves and time limit. But try and avoid collecting the minus icons as they deplete power.
Running away from the bad guys isn't any use as crates halt Robo's progress and have to be punched to pieces. Mapping is essential as the game insists on you knowing a good route, which includes leaping on moving conveyor belts, jumping onto platforms and all sorts of tricky manoeuvres - not just running around blasting.
To help Robo around there are lifts, doors and, if you can find them, insecure walls to be smashed giving you entrance into another part of the warehouse. That's about it for level one. Level two is completely different, it's a puzzle game. You're looking at a load of chips in a memory bank and the task is to move a cursor around collecting the white chips in four banks to help Robo remember his human identity. Sounds easy enough. The problem is that as you move the cursor the area behind it fades away and you can't go over the empty space. Also, red chips are lethal: avoid.
Another style of gameplay for level three - a shooting gallery where Robo has one minute to shoot enemy targets. You control the cross hairs with the help of a targeting device to let you know when to fire.
Level four is like level one - a warehouse brewery where Robo stomps around shooting opponents and negotiating platforms. The playing area isn't very wide, but it's very, very tall. And be careful not to fall as there are a few lethal beer vats around. You can get over the tanks by grabbing hold of a moving hook, but be quick or Robo's weight will send him to a happy death. Another danger is droplets of beer which make Robo drunk, reversing his controls! It's a bit hellish to complete level four as there are lots of hidden doors and you're playing against the clock.
Levels five and six are more tricky repeats of two and three; get 50% success rating in level six's shooting gallery and an extra life is awarded!
Level seven is another stomp-around-and-shoot level, set in the posh office of the Civic Centrum. Billions of human enemies and security droids belt along the floors. There are mini ED-209s and little robots that can be kicked out of the way. The playing area is massive and interconnected with security locked doors. To unlock them you have to solve a numeric password puzzle. Like, complete the sequence: 2,4.6,?. Ha! Ha! Easy! It's 8. What about 28,14.7,? ? Erm...
The game is completed after finding the back door to the Civic Centrum (difficult) and defeating the huge, mean Robocop Mark 2: a cross between RoboCop and a Zoid (remember them?). This is really difficult and I can't do it. Sob.
And that's it! Phew! Wotta game: the programmers have packed so much into the varied styles of gameplay it's one of the few games actually worth the asking price! It's tricky to play at first but you'll soon get the hang of it. Presentation is absolutely superb - there are objective and status reports after each level and a few digitised scenes from the movie all with great music. The only aggravating bit is, when you die, you return to the start of the level or the last door you walked through. Apart from that, RoboCop 2 is fast, furious, addictive and a hell of a lot of fun to play! Essential Christmas prezzie stuff!!
I must be one of the only people in the country not to have seen the movie yet, but RoboCop 2 the game is ace. The RoboCop sprite is as much of a mean mutha as in the original. The game is full of neat little graphic bits 'n' bobs, most of these in the backdrops though the character sprites are no slouches. What struck me though is how much tougher this is compared to RoboCop. An itchy trigger finger is essential because attacks come from all sides, and you'll be hard praised to get past level one on your first few attempts. In short: a worthy successor to one of the best Spectrum games around.
£10.99 cass (128K only)/£15.99 disk
Reviewer: Matt Bielby
So, this is it. The biggie. I suppose the question on everybody's lips at the moment is "Is it as good as the original?" and the answer is... no, it's not. In fact, I'm afraid to say... it's better! Ha ha! Fooled you for a moment there, eh? (Nope? Oh well.)
There's more to it for a start (each level is bigger, and you can move around it as you like, rather than being forced along in one direction), there's more variety (lots of platforms and ladders and other 'interesting' gameplay elements), there're more between-level puzzley bits (and they're rather better too) - even the static shooting galley screens are improved. Oh yes, and it's all animated and put together in a super-snazzy and rather fault-free sort of way too.
SO HOW DOES THE GAME ACTUALLY WORK?
Well, the first thing you'll notice is how well presented it is, with a selection of what look like digitised stills from the film cropping up along the way, and assorted other neat touches showing their faces too. The second thing you'll notice is how well thought out the actual gameplay is, but we'll get to that in a moment.
Unlike most big licences, the Spectrum version of Robocop is actually a very different game from the Amstrad, the C64 or the 16-bit versions (which are, in turn, all different from each other), let alone the various console versions Ocean are working on. Apparently this is deliberate - some (like the console ones) are more straightforward shoot-'em-ups than the Speccy game (the thinking being that the average Nintendo owner is actually a good deal younger than the average Spec-chum). Speccy folk, they seem to think, are in their early to mid teens, meaning they'll enjoy a bit of mapping and some puzzle elements amongst the action - so that's what you've been given.
THE FIRST LUMP
The bulk of Robocop 2 is, of course, your scrolling shoot-'em-up stuff. The first big chunk of it, set in empty warehouse, is a massive eight-way scroller. As before, Robo's walk and movements quite neatly capture the clunky look of the big-screen character, and he can still fire directly upwards or at angles too. Icons drop randomly from the top of the screen as he goes - baby food gives extra energy, a shield gives temporary invulnerability, 'T' gives a three-way firing gun, and 'S' the better scatter gun. For each of these you don't need to nip across the screen and jump on the icons - shooting them will suffice. Be careful though - there are also negative icons about that drain energy and perform other nasty things, as well as a rogue '?'' which can do anything, sometimes good, sometimes bad.
In this level, as in the other scrolling sections. the main difference you'll notice from the first game is the freedom of movement you enjoy - you can take any route you want around the map, and since the playing area is two screens high it also involves you in a lot of platform game-style jumping about (made especially tricky by the fact that half the platforms are actually moving conveyor bell jobbies!). On top of that, the whole thing is actually twice the size it initially looks as well, since at various points you can walk through doors in the background wall through into a second plane of action, exactly the same size as the first (but presented in a different colour, so you know where you are).
Right, once you've completed that it's into the puzzle bits. These occur twice in the game (between the main levels) and are (sort of) based on the early sequences from the film where Robocop is trying to regain memories of the man he once was. Taking the form of a cursor on a circuit board, you have to zoom around collecting the loose yellow chips - a task made tricky by the fact that you can only travel on the green bits, which are disappearing underneath you fast! Complete a handful of these boards and your scores are added up - do well and you'll earn some extra 'continues' for later in the game.
Straight after this comes the shooting range - a single-screen affair, but with more targets than its opposite number in the first game. With some rather pretty spot colour, and a neat representation of Robos targeting device, it's fun - and useful too. How well you do here directly affects how powerful your bullets are later in the game.
THE SECOND LEVEL
Right, moving along, and the second level's pretty much the same as the first, though with a different-shaped map and set in a brewery. There are some complicated bits (like the fact you have to swing over the vats of beer on a sort of overhead hook thing) and some very annoying little touches thrown in, the worst of which are the drips of alchohol which reverse your controls (so when you tell Robo to go left he goes right, for instance). This only last a few seconds, but can prove fatal - either learn to live with it, avoid the drips, or just make sure you get hit by an even number, so you'll come out the end of it with your controls as they should be.
AND THE THIRD...
Level Three is much more of a straight shoot-'em-up than the others. It's set in the OCP building. You have to work your way along eight floors up to the roof, but there's only really one route to take - along to the end of one corridor, into a lift, and then back along the next one. Ceiling-mounted rocket launchers. mini-ED 209s and an assortment of thugs get in your way, and occasionally simple logic puzzles (ie. complete the sequence: 56, 28, ?, 7 - the answer being 14) crop up when you want to access the lift to each new floor. Only at the top do you get to enter the back section of the screen, where you must fight to the death with the evil Robo 2, both of you crashing through each floor as you fight away, eventually hitting the street below.
AND THAT, BASICALLY, IS THAT...
So how does it all add up? Well, this is one of the few games Ocean have done in-house this year (whereas last Christmas most of them were), and it's by the same team who did Operations Wolf and Thunderbolt, so, as you might expect, it's pretty technically faultless. This is about as good as Speccy programming gets, with some very smooth scrolling, nice animation and so on.
Gameplay-wise I'd say its one of the best film conversions Ocean have ever done too. I liked The Untouchables rather massively last year, but with hindsight the gameplay was perhaps a bit too bitty, each level (though all shoot-'em-ups) quite short and very different from the last. Here the levels are massive and retain the same gameplay elements, while managing to be quite distinctive at the same time. Perhaps a bit more variety between them in the backgrounds would have been nice, but then that's limited by the look of the film which seems to be 90% set in warehouses anyway. Certainly the clever platform sections make it a much more interesting game than the first Robocop - in fact, they're probably even better than the platform bits in Batman The Movie, which I thought had more or less set the standard for this sort of stuff.
Faults? Well, although I really like this practice of putting in smaller sub-games between levels I think it's perhaps more of a specialist taste whether you want to do little number puzzles right in the middle of a shoot-'em-up sequence (like the ones on the third level). The game isn't too tied to the movie plot either, but then that's no great fault - I'd much (much) rather have a playable game than a faithful (but useless) movie souvenir anyday.
This is about as good a film conversion as I've seen - indeed, it's about as good a shoot-'em-up per se as I've seen - and all the better for including some mapping and puzzle-solving bits rather just the straight shooting you get with, say, a console. There's no real point me recommending it (you'll all pick it up anyway) but, erm, I can't think how to end the review if I don't. So, erm, I recommend it. You won't be shortchanged. It's ace. (And I can't say clearer than that.)
Despite being 128K only, Robocop 2 received the first SU Classic of 1991. The game closely follows the movie's plot, with Robo having to tackle seven levels of action, including the sludge plant and OCP head quarters. Between each stage is bonus round where you either help re-route Robo's memory chips or take to the shooting range.
Because the game is 128K only, the sound is excellent and the extra memory means there's plenty of room for digitised pictures. Without a doubt this is one of Ocean's best game-of-the-film titles ever. Keep an eye out for it on Budget soon!
Memory: 128K only
Price: £10.99 Tape
Reviewer: Mark Patterson
It's "Your move creep!" 'cos Robocop 2 is here - will you buy or not? Truth is, if you don't buy it then you're definitely going to be ploying with a short deck this Christmas - or have a 48K Speccy that Robocop's immense 128K of music, digitised graphics and all action gameplay won't fit into.
So, he's back. He never really went away though as Robocop 1 never actually left the software charts. He's been out there - serving the public trust, protecting the innocent and upholding everything for nearly two years - you'd think they'd give the poor sod a break.
So, what must he do now? Well, Robocop must make his way through seven levels of action, to where he must eventually confront Robocop II but to get there he must complete each of the differing levels. Level one begins in the River Sludge Plant where he must locate the Nuke Lab. Along the way there are some unarmed suspects that are crying to be arrested - arrest flashes at the top left of the screen and Robocop must walk into them, 'cos if you shoot them, a time penalty is taken away (quite right too!)
As Robocop progresses, he gets the chance to recover the memory chips of his human past. This section of the game presents itself as a puzzle, whereby you have to journey around a circuit board, collecting 32 chips to complete the picture on the four boards. Unfortunately, you cannot cross circuits that you have passed along previously because they get 'burnt out' maahn.
There are also two sessions at the Detroit shooting range to sharpen up his targeting skills. He gets one minute to shoot as many armed targets as possible, whilst studiously avoiding anyone who looks like a Joe Bloggs type citizen.
Graphics are good and sound (thanks to the 128K only format) is musically good, although spot effects are somewhat lacking. A large chunk of memory has been used up with the digitised images that greet the start of each level but gives the game an overall BIG feel. I like it, and I'm sure that most people will find the directive BUY THIS GAME, an easy one to follow.
Price: £10.99 128K only
Reviewer: Garth Sumpter
Spectrum £9.99, Amiga £24.99
The metallic scourge of Old Detroit's criminal community blasts back, this time on ye humble Speccy and the Amiga, and makes a pretty good show of it, too! The Amiga version sports some very nice graphics indeed, along with some tasty HAM digitised screens, and enough sound effects to convince anyone you've got the SAS performing target practice in your bedroom! The Speccy version doesn't lose out, either - the graphics are really smart, and the digitised pics are present here, too! RoboCop 2 is a well hard game, no matter which version, but persistence is a virtue, and one that will ensure that this is a game that'll be played again and again.
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