Review by Comfortably Numb
"Strategy? I've got your strategy right here: BANG! That's strategy."
I don't know how to do an introduction to Robotron 64. Let's see... it's based on the classic arcade game Robotron 2084. A 2020 lesser difference between the original and the new one, I see! Yes, I know it's just called Robotron 64 because it's on the Nintendo 64. You don't have to hurt me for that, other reasons are applicable of course.
Here's the story, of course ripped from the instruction manual, but this game doesn't have any cutscenes or such explaining it; it just goes straight into the shooting:
In 2084, inspired by his never ending quest for progress, man perfects The Robotrons, a robot species so advanced that man is inferior to his own creation. Guided by their infallible logic, The Robotrons conclude that the human race is inefficient and therefore, must be destroyed.
Ah, I see. The original Star Trek Nomad. Huh? Oh, yeah, let me continue.
You are the last hope of mankind. Due to a genetic engineering error you possess superhuman powers. You mission is to stop The Robotrons and save the last human family.
Actually, wouldn't it be families? If there was only one family left, psh, we're dead. Well, all those big words are just a backup to the mindless shooting contained in this game so it appears that it actually has a story at all. Don't pay attention to it, once you get this game booted up you won't really give a damn.
Your superhuman character is Eugene. He's especially superhuman because he can be killed with one hit and he has a gun. Huzzah! As Eugene, you play in small arenas where you rescue humans and shoot everything else. Rescuing humans is in fact, not required. Just a big point booster. I told you the story was a load of ****!
The arenas you play in are either large squares or octagons. The arenas look average; simply a pattern of the same square figure over and over again. Arenas include repeated Green circles, gray with bumps, black with a blue outlining, purple with blue streaks, a metallic figure with bolts in it, and some other ones that look similar and don't really come to mind. They don't come to mind mainly because they look so average. Surrounding the arena is a fog of mixed colors that always matches what the arena is colored in someway or another. Arenas change every ten levels, though some arena pairs of ten have different arenas per stage. Most of the arena fits on the screen on your normal Arena view (3/4 overhead/Slanted overhead), but I recommend Smart which gives a closer battle perspective. You can change you view with the R Trigger Button. The two other views, Third and Overhead, give a closer perspective (so you can see the little details, which are little, but you can see them anyway), but you won't be able to see much, making Arena and Smart views the better gameplay views. There are 200 Arenas in the game, by the way, but only 100 are played if you play the game in Easy difficulty. Switching between levels you'll see Eugene warping in a blue, green, and red, ehm... warp. You'll also see the level name in big white letters. Level names include ''You Will Die'', ''Now You Die'', and ''Die Die Die''. Okay, that's only 3 of them. Most of them are short, but good, and yes, few say, ''Die''. One in particular is Level/Arena 90, which may be a Rocky Horror nod, or simply a mistake, but you never know... ''Just a Jump To The Left''.
Eugene wears a white coat, big green boots, red gloves, and purplish-clear goggles. You won't really notice anything else or anything special besides the fact that you control him. Humans (Point Boosters) come in four ways: ''Dad'', blue suit, blue pants, and if you look really close, a black suitcase. ''Mom'', pink dress. ''Mikey'' Conveniently, all kids on Earth in 2084 will be named Mikey. Red shirt, blue plants, baseball cap. ''Grandpa'' wears brown and a cane. From the arena view he looks like a monkey. I was wondering, ''Why does the human race need monkeys? Why are the Robotrons after monkeys? I thought they were only after humans. Ah, so the plot thickens! Perhaps the monkeys are some sort of message! The monkeys will destroy the Robotrons, for it is in the prophecy!''. There are many of each per arena, so we'll just switch their names to ''Man'', ''Woman'', ''Kid'', and ''Anonymous Creature''. You can't save (collect points) them all: If you kill all destructible enemies in the arena, you'll warp to the next level automatically, and Hulks have the capability to kill them.
Robotrons come in an interesting variety. First of all, Grunts. Grunts are what you'll be seeing the most of. The main Grunt has a red body with blue arms and legs. Other grunts include yellow ones, silver ones, and dark ones. They are destructible. Hulks, however, and virtually invulnerable. The only thing you can do is push them back by shooting them. The first hulk is green and picks up and smashes Eugene or humans onto the ground. There are blue ones that vacuum them up, in a motion of a human or Eugene spinning around. There are red ones that mash humans, and finally bright blue ones that chop humans up. You won't really see mashing or chopping: The chopping is simply spinning the body around, and in the mash you'll see a fist come down and a regular, undeformed body the next. All bodies disappear in a matter of a second. When all destructible enemies are taken out of the arena, the Hulks will disappear in a flash of light and Eugene will move on.
The next enemies are spheroids: Round figures. One looks like a red life saver (from a boat, so you'll see white also), another a purple life saver, a purple life saver broken into four spinning pieces, and a green life saver broken into four spinning pieces. Spheroids create Enforcers. There are two types of enforcers: Squares will four spinning blades, which come in silver and green, and diamonds with legs (to describe them best), which come in orange and purple. Next are Quarks. The first two Quarks you'll encounter and dark blue squares with a yellow light in the middle of it, and brighter blue squares with again a yellow light in the middle of it. The two other Quarks look like round UFOs, red and green ones. Beware, as they create Tanks. The regular Tank is a bright brown slope figure. Another one is a slanted blue figure, and a straighter green and brown figure, which looks more like a tank than the rest. The final Tank is a grey rectangle with a white top and brown edges. Tanks shoot blue missiles, which look like bubbles. Hehe, bubble missiles!
Finally, we'll get to Brains. Brains are probably the most threatening enemies, as they can shoot you and ''reprogram'' humans, turning them into lifeless progs that attack you. Regular Brains have a scientific white coat with green gloves, black boots, floating red eyes, and floating above that a round-ish purple figure. A more powerful Brain wears Eugene's attire, but his floating purple figure (which is now larger) has a large line separating the middle, making it look more like a Brain. The next wears the same scientific coat, but now has green boots and gloves, and a green floating round-ish thingy (figure was getting overused, and thingy was to be used somewhere in the review. Now was an appropriate time) above their evil red eyes. The final Brain looks like a green brain. No coat, no boots, no gloves. But a brain; a Brain's brain.
The progs that the Brains 'program' are made from the humans when running into Brains (or in the green boot man's case, whoever he wants that's nearby). They are basically the humans, but now they leave a streak of color behind them: Blue for ''Man'', pink for ''Woman'', red for ''Mikey'', and brown for ''Anonymous Creature''. They move fast, and when they hit you, you're dead (like anything else that hits you). Besides progs, Brains shoot tracking laser beams.
Other enemies include green bug looking things and small things. No way to really explain them, I'm afraid. But look at that! We got what the levels look like, how they play out, enemies, and what they look like, all at once! WOOH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hey, I think we just took care of visuals! And for a game with such dismal visuals? Am I really that tired?
The music to Robotron 64 is all electronic, fast, and plays non-stop from the time the game boots up. And it's good, too. Some of the techno tunes have electronic voices in them, not pure vocals, but it adds up. The sound effects are simple, but effective. You'll hear lots of laser firing, small explosions, and a scream every once in a while if you're slacking off on saving humans, you sadist bastard!
Now, it's finally time. Gameplay time. It's a simple concept (it's based off of an old arcade game, of course it's going to be simple in some way or another): Shoot and kill. Kill by shoot. You must kill all destructible enemies (everyone but Hulks and progs, progs are destructible, but you don't have to kill them, but it's highly recommended if you don't want to die a quick death before ending the level) to go to the next arena, or you can destroy a magic Grunt to get a transporter. Magic Grunts are rare, and they conveniently appear as the last enemy. One hit kills, don't get hit. It's easier than it sounds, actually. You run with the control pad or stick (stick high recommended), and you shoot with the C buttons. C Left, you shoot left, C Right, you shoot right, and etcetera. It doesn't matter which way you're facing: You'll shoot. You can shoot diagonally, too, like pressing C Up and C Right simultaneously, you'll shoot northeast. With the running and shoot anywhere, anytime mix, you've got yourself one hell of an action game. For a few levels, don't think about even being hit with your mad sense of destruction! Of course, soon enough, what seems to be hundreds of Robotrons will attack at once, and some areas even have laser beams lining off areas. After each arena, you'll get an extra live, and for later levels in this game, you'll be needing them. This game becomes an addiction right at the first level.
Two player in Robotron 64 is very bizarre, but works if you're playing with the right player. Controller sockets 1 and 3 are used: Player 1 controls Eugene with the control stick, and Player 2 is socket 3 uses the control stick to fire. Hmmm... interesting, but you have to be playing with the right player. Very original!
Yes, like any arcade style action game, there's the score. Most enemies score in the hundred range, and some in the thousand. Humans give you 2000-4000, maybe more. Of course, you're wondering, ''Well, why do they give you so much points? They can't be running into Hulks, making them hard to catch!'' Oh, yes they do. I've finally realized Eugene's superpower: He has eyesight. And in the future, everyone will be named Mikey and they will all be blind. They walk around moronically, usually straight into land mines or Hulks, meaning you deserve a reward you saving them. If you get #1, you can enter a comment to hover above all of the scores.
Time to describe Power Ups! First of all, there is the shield. The shield lasts an obscene amount of time and protects you from pretty much anything; anything that's ever tried to hit me, that is. The weapon power-ups are interestingly named Two Way, Three Way, and Four Way. They don't last long (a few seconds), and maybe we should ask fakeplasticmanatree if they do in real life! Of course, he wouldn't know, despite his nonsense rambling, because his relationships probably last a shorter period than the power-up itself. Silly fakeplasticmanatree, we all know he sits in a room watching The Truth About Cats & Dogs 24 hours straight. Poor fellow. We need to buy him Silence of the Lambs, or something else that's really good.
Other weapon power-ups are weapons themselves, including a flamethrower and a gas gun. Both don't last long at all, but they're extremely powerful (if rare, but they appear exactly when you need them)!
There are also electrodes. Besides killing you when you walk into them, they serve no useful purpose, with the exception of the metallic electrode. When you shoot the metallic electrode, the lasers you fire at it shoot across the room, easily taking out enemies across the arena.
Did I get everything? Well, enough for you to know what Robotron 64 is and why it's an action fan's dream. This game is pure insanity. Techno music, shooting, and Three Ways!
*sees if anybody has skipped to the end of the review and is wondering what the hell I'm mentioning three ways for... fool!*
Final Rating: 9 Excellent
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 05/22/01, Updated 05/02/02
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