FAQ by War Doc

Version: 1.04 | Updated: 01/18/05 | Printable Version

                        | R O B O T R O N   2 0 8 4 |

              GAME:  ROBOTRON 2084
           CREATOR:  WILLIAMS 1982
AUTHOR OF THIS FAQ:  Kevin Butler AKA War Doc
            E-MAIL:  kevinb(at)technologist(dot)com
       FAQ VERSION:  1.04


                              TABLE OF CONTENTS


1.  Legal Stuff
2.  Version Information
3.  Acknowledgements
4.  Welcome
5.  Overview


6.  The Game

    6.1  The Controls
    6.2  The Playing Field
    6.3  Scoring
    6.4  Wave Setup


7.  Playing the Game


8.  Conclusion


To find a particular chapter or subchapter do the following:

1.  Highlight the chapter or subchapter name you wish to find.
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5.  You will arrive at the desired chapter or subchapter.


********************************* U N I T  I **********************************
| 1.  LEGAL STUFF |============================================================

This guide may not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal
private use.  It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed
publicly without advanced permission from the author.  Use of this guide on
any other web sit or as part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and
a violation of copyright.  All content in this guide is Copyright 2003, 2005 by
Kevin Butler.  Only the sites listed below have permission to publish this
work or to display it:


If you wish to put this guide on your site, e-mail me and ask.  Save yourself
the headache of putting up with lawsuits and whatnot because you failed to ask
a simple "Can I post your guide on <insert site>?".  If you wish to use info
in this guide, please acknowledge that you have done so.

If you see this guide on any other site then the one listed above, please
e-mail me.  If you wish to ask questions or give input to this guide, please
e-mail me.  Just have Robotron 2084 as the subject so I know it isn't another
kooky vendor trying to sell me hair gel or another XXX site telling me I have
new friends.

| 2.  VERSION INFORMATION |====================================================

Version 1.0    7/25/03:  A guide is born.

Version 1.02   7/26/03:  Added to the tips and conclusion.

Version 1.03   8/28/03:  Fixed a couple of errors.

Version 1.04   1/18/05:  Added reader input.

| 3.  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS |=======================================================

The following are a list of people or organizations that have made this FAQ

Andrew Schultz for his invaluable input on tips and input on the conclusion.
My wonderful family (who has had to put up with the tapping on the keyboard)
Williams for making a great arcade game
GameFAQ's for putting up this FAQ
James McGovern at Retroblast.com for his strategies
Kevin Steele at Retroblast.com for is strategies

| 4.  WELCOME |================================================================

Welcome to my FAQ for Robotron 2084.  Since the game is just a shooter that
goes until all your men are killed, there is no walkthrough per se.  Instead it
will be broken up into the game itself, strategies for survival, and some in-
teresting quirks in the game.  Input is appreciated along with constructive
criticism.  If you wish to e-mail me thoughts on this FAQ, better ways of doing
things, other strategies, etc., feel free.  Make sure you put Robotron 2084 as
the subject.  If you don't, I'm liable to discard the e-mail as spam.

| 5.  OVERVIEW |===============================================================

Robotron 2084 was one of Williams most successful games.  Based on a composite
of other different games, Robotron 2084 stormed on the scene.  With its fast
pace of action and constantly putting your man in constant peril, there wasn't
a moments rest from the game.  With its innovative use of what I call "scoot
and shoot", the use of two joysticks (one to move and one to fire) made this
quite the game of skill.  With your man being the only hope to save the human
race from the rebel robots, you have a tough job ahead of you.  Good luck.

******************************** U N I T  II **********************************

| 6.  THE GAME |===============================================================

Robotron 2084 is a two-dimensional shooter.  You control your man to wreak as
much havoc on the robots as possible.  Of course, the robots are trying equally
as hard to make it so you won't have a nice day.  Survival of the fittest is
the motto of this game.

/ 6.1  The Controls /__________________________________________________________

In order to become a master of this game, you must be familiar with the
controls.  The controls are a little complicated at first since you have to be
able to move in one direction while shooting in another.

-  One 8 way joystick that controls your man's movements.

-  One 8 way joystick that controls which way you fire

Combined, it enables you to independently move and fire in different directions
at the same time.

/ 6.2  The Playing Field /_____________________________________________________

The playing field consists of your man and a whole lot of robots to deal with.
In addition, you have human families that you also need to rescue from the
robot menace.  I have included an example of what the playing field look like
(a little larger then normal):

    |                                                                   |
    |              _                                                    |
    |             [_]                                                   |
    |             _|_                                                   |
    |            |   |                                                  |
    |            |___|                                                  |
    |             | |                                _                  |
    |                                              |   |                |
    |                                                -                  |
    |                                                                   |
    |                                                                   |
    |             _[]_                _                                 |
    |            |    |              (_)                                |
    |            |    |               |-                                |
    |            |    |              / \                                |
    |            |____|                                                 |
    |            \oooo/                                                 |
    |             ----                         /-\                      |
    |                                         |   |                     |
    |                                          \-/                      |
    |                                                                   |
    |                                                                   |
    |                                                                   |
    |                                                                   |

You control the man to avoid robots and their bullets.

/ 6.3  Scoring /_______________________________________________________________

Scoring in this game is actually a little harder.  The reason it is harder is
that there are a lot of things that will earn you points.  Plus, there are a
lot of different enemies on the screen.  Here it the breakdown using this

  Missile Type:


         Score:  100 points
  Missile Type:  NONE
Characteristic:  These are the red robots.  Although they don't fire, they
                 overwhelm your man by sheer numbers.

| HULK |

         Score:  N/A
  Missile Type:  NONE
Characteristic:  The are the big green robots.  They are indestructible and
                 there main purpose is to kill the humans.


         Score:  500 points
  Missile Type:  "Snake-like" homing missile worth 25 points
Characteristic:  These are the robots that are blue and have really large
                 heads.  They "re-program" the humans into evil Progs who home
                 in on your character.  The Progs are worth 100 points.


         Score:  1000 points
  Missile Type:  NONE
Characteristic:  These are the red circles that travel around the game screen.
                 They are the transports for the Enforcer robots.


         Score:  150 points
  Missile Type:  A semi-guided mine that looks like a six-point star worth 25
Characteristic:  These are the blue, "Robby the Robot" looking robots.  They
                 tend to congregate in the corners of the game field.


         Score:  1000 points
  Missile Type:  NONE
Characteristic:  The white boxes with an "X" in the middle that travel around
                 the game screen.  They are the transports for the Tanks.

| TANK |

         Score:  200 points
  Missile Type:  Bouncing bomb worth 25 points
Characteristic:  These are the red robots that have tracked wheels underneath
                 them hence making them look like tanks.


You get 1000 for the first human rescued. Then it will progress at 2000, 3000,
4000, then 5000 for every human rescued after that.  This will last the entire
wave or until you get killed.  If you get killed or go to a new wave, then the
progression starts at 1000 again.

You start the game with 3 men and receive and additional man for every 25,000
points you get.

/ 6.4  Wave Setup /____________________________________________________________

The waves (or levels) in Robotron 2084 are set up in a definite pattern.  Once
you understand that pattern, you will be better prepared to deal with the
enemies that the game throws at you.  Here is how the waves are set up.

-  The SPHEROIDS make their appearance on the 2nd wave and every wave

-  Starting at the 5th wave and every 5 waves thereafter (i.e. 5, 10, 15, 20,
   etc.) is a BRAIN robot wave.  These are also the waves you can amass a large
   amount of points due to all the humans you have to rescue.

-  Starting at the 7th wave and every 5 waves thereafter (i.e. 7, 12, 17, 22,
   etc.) the TANKS will make their appearance.

-  Starting at the 9th wave and every 5 waves thereafter (i.e. 9, 14, 19, 24,
   etc.) you will have one of three alternating enemies to deal with.

   -  On the 9th wave and every 10 waves thereafter (i.e. 9, 19, 29, 39, etc.)
      you will have the "GRUNT" waves.  These waves put you right in the middle
      of a large number of GRUNT robots.  In addition, the lit side edges are
      removed to make the field look bigger.

   -  On the 14th wave and every 20 waves thereafter (i.e. 14, 34, 54, etc.)
      you will have the HULK waves.  These waves put you right in the middle of
      a large number of HULK robots.

   -  On the 24th wave and every 20 waves thereafter (i.e. 24, 44, 64, etc.)
      you will have a combination TANK/ENFORCER wave.  These waves have you in
      the middle of large numbers of SPHEROIDS and QUARKS before they deposit
      their ENFORCER and TANK robots.

-  On wave 28 and each wave thereafter, you will get a combination of SPHEROIDS
   and QUARKS depositing their ENFORCER and TANK robots.  Before this, it was
   only the SPEROIDS depositing their ENFORCER robots to make your life

-  These progressions will continue until you hit wave 255.  After that, the
   waves roll back over to wave 1 and you start the cycle again.

******************************** U N I T  III *********************************

| 7.  PLAYING THE GAME |=======================================================

When you start the game, your man will be in the middle of the playing field
surrounded by various robots.  Depending on the wave that you are on will
determine exactly what robots are ready to terminate your existence.  The game
is straight-forward, take out all the robots (except HULKS) to advance to the
next wave.

-  It is vital for your survival that you learn how to "scoot and shoot".  If
   you don't learn how operate the controls independently and run in one
   direction while shooting in other directions, you won't survive very long in
   this game.

-  Equally important to "scoot and shoot" is your ability to be able to fire on
   the diagonal.  It's easy firing up, down, left, and right, but it takes a
   little more mastery to fire in the diagonal directions.

-  Learn the different things the enemy robots do.  For example, the SPEROIDS
   have a tendency to congregate in the corners.  This works to your advantage
   since you can blast about 3 or 4 before they discharge their supply of
   ENFORCER robots.

-  Your main objective is to blast a path through the robots and get to the
   edge of the screen.  It doesn't matter what edge, just get to one.  The
   reason is painfully simple:  It give the robots one less direction to
   assault you from, plus, you can lead them around in circles blasting them
   and also cleaning out the corners from the abovementioned ENFORCERS.


Kevin McGovern's strategy:

When dealing with the enforcers and the missiles they fire.  If the enforcers
get out of their transports, I seem to have fairly good success in dealing with
them by travelling in a counter-clockwise arc, generally hugging the edges and
shooting as I go.  For the most part they seem to shoot their missles targeting
the spot you are at, not where you are going (with some exceptions). Travelling
in that arc tends to keep the missles behind you and a bit easier to deal with.


-  The only times where you won't want to seek the sides is during the BRAIN
   and TANK robot waves.  The BRAINS fire a homing shot at your man so you need
   as much room to maneuver as possible so going against the wall would
   restrict that movement.  The same goes for the TANK robots which fire bounce
   shots.  They may miss you initially but you might get hit by the shot as it
   bounces up.  You are safer in the middle area where you have room to
   maneuver.  Just watch out for other enemies (which will be very low in

-  Try to rescue the humans as long as it doesn't put your man in danger of
   dying.  You can rack up some major points on the BRAIN waves since they are
   loaded with humans for the BRAIN robots to "re-program".  Again, make sure
   you have an avenue of escape.  Doesn't make sense to save a human, get the
   extra man, then die.  You, in essence, gained nothing from that level.  You
   can also shoot the HULK robots to push them away from humans also.  On the
   BRAIN waves, make sure you pick off the BRAIN robots as soon as possible.
   This prevents them from reprogramming the humans and leaves you more people
   to get major points with.


Kevin Steele's strategy:

The "Mikey" bug - on the first Brain wave.  There are a lot of Mommies and only
one Mikey.  The Brains all go for Mikey - if you can protect him (don't pick
him up, though!), the Brains will ignore all other humans, making for a point-
fest if you can grab them all.  As soon as you die, however, the Brains will
grab any human they find.  This actually works on all Brain waves, but in the
other waves the "golden human" is a random Daddy or Mommy or Mikey, so you
don't know who to protect.  It's a bug, but a cool one.


-  Since you don't have a limit on your shots, you can put up a "wall" of
   energy in whatever direction you move.  This can have a very devastating
   effect if applied right.

-  Make sure you take a quick look at the wave to assess where the main threats
   are.  You will have from 1 to 2 seconds to get ready for action.  If you can
   survive the initial few seconds as you blast your way toward the edge, your
   chances of survival will be that much greater.  Also be sure to remember
   what each wave has in store for you, this also will give you a greater
   chance of getting through the wave.

-  If you get tired, you can take a break.  That's right, wait for a TANK wave.
   Eliminate all of the robots except for one.  After firing a few shots, the
   TANK robot will run out.  After that, it's just a matter of avoiding the
   TANK and any other pesky robots.

-  ENFORCERS, like their SPHEROID transports, tend to congregate in corners.
   Use this to your advantage.  Every now and then one or two will zip very
   fast across the field. Their main threat, though, is volume of fire.  When
   you are on the edges, watch out since their shots tend to roll toward your

-  See all those pretty shapes on the playing field?  They are there as a
   nuisance.  They will kill your man if he hits them.  They can, however, be
   shot out of the way but yield no points.

Andrew Schultz shares his thoughts and tips on getting the most out of your
Robotron 2084 experience.  I am grateful for his input since he is also an "old
school" gamer like myself.

-  I found electrodes are useful as bunkers. They are the lowest priorities to
   shoot right away especially as more and more grunts appear. I like to save
   my shots to fire diagonally into the corner to pick off the SPHEROIDS.
   Getting rid of those guys are good except when I'm in a brain wave and would
   rather kill all the brains and leave just one ENFORCER.

-  On the GRUNT wave, I found a good strategy was to run at a particularly
   vulnerable area and retreat and keep firing. In theory, you might, say, run
   up and then fire up/left, up and up/right. In this case I think the top
   edges are a bit better to get to than the sides, just because they're
   closer. After that I usually cycle around the edges for this board.

-  Grunts don't quite go straight for you. They kind of zigzag back and forth,
   and that can often cause you to miss something you thought you shot at. Also
   as the level goes on they get a bit faster until they're as fast as you. If
   you have some spare people still to pick up this can be a problem and one of
   those ENFORCERS is better to have around last than a grunt.

-  The edge isn't always a good place to go or stay, if there are ENFORCERS
   you'll need to leave it a while.

-  Because you only get three(or is it four?) shots, you will want to make sure
   that you use them as rapidly as possible. You should be shooting constantly,
   but try to run at enemies that are obvious targets and shoot them while you
   spray bullets. A corollary here--you won't want to fire too often in any one
   direction as once you've cleared a path that way your shots will go through
   and take longer to hit the edge.

-  Electrodes can be very nasty to shoot. If you go to the edge and fire at one
   that's near the edge you're on, you can miss it and still be at risk of
   being killed by it.

-  I disagree with you about getting killed on a brain wave being a wash. Say
   you pick up 12 humans. That's 50000 points. And say you have 8 people to
   pick up and one grunt left, but it's running fast. Get killed. You'll be
   able to get the 8 people with your next life for 30000 points.  The one
   thing getting killed does is reset the bonus for humans, and that can be
   nasty since you can lose up to 10000 points.

-  People also need to develop an immediate impulse about where to attack and
   where to cut through to get to the side. There's very little time for this
   but once oyu learn it it's part of the excitement. On the downside getting
   killed doesn't always leave you with something easier to restart with.

Thank you Andrew for these tips.

********************************  U N I T  IV *********************************

| 8.  CONCLUSION |=============================================================

This game, unlike many of the other arcade games I played, would keep me spell-
bound for hours at a time.  Since there are no continues on the game, you had
to make the most out of the limited supply of quarters that you had.  The game
play got intense enough, that one would be sweating up a storm although the
A/C in the store was at 30 degrees.  I know I enjoyed the fast paced nature of
the game and even when you knew what was coming next, the excitement level
remained high.  It was also that time of proving yourself worthy by putting up
the high score on the machine and everybody else challenging it.  If they beat
it, you became the challenger.  Unfortunately, it is very rare to find this
machine anywhere.  However, through the miracle of emulation, a whole new
generation is realizing what we "old" folks enjoyed those many years ago.  You
can also play this game at www.shockwave.com.  You will, however, have to do it
using the keyboard.  A good way for setting it up is use the direction keys for
movement and the WAZS keys on the right side to fire with.  If you're left-
handed, reverse the order.  I hope this guide helps you in being able to get
the most amount of gameplay for this game.  If you do have other ideas or
thoughts, please e-mail me and share them.  Who knows, maybe I'll start a Q&A
Chapter in this guide if enough people ask the same questions.  Anyway, thank
you again for reading this guide.

To see other FAQ's I have written please go to:


           ~~~  No trees were harmed in the making of this FAQ ~~~