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Rise of the robots AGA logo  AGA

Steve Bradley plays one of the most looked-forward-to robotic beat-em-ups of the year. But does it live up the hype? Or is it just another mediocre effort?

Rise of the robots AGA S o the robots have finally risen. After a year of hype and bluster, this futuristic, metallic beat-em-up – and after all, it is a beat-em-up – finally hits the shelves. And before the majority of magazine reviews have made their stands too. Tsk. But listen to the manual: ‘Rise Of The Robots is a new ‘generation’ computer game conceived to combine state-of-the-art programming design and graphics display. Rise was created using the Auto Desk 3D Studio CAD software package. 3DS is fundamentally a rendering package’.

Corks – sounds pretty impressive, eh? And this game looks mighty good. Load up the disks and you are treated to some quality rendered visuals. Not only that, programmers Mirage have got Queen’s Brian may on board to execute some axeular wah wah effects. Hurrah! It has taken some time to put this lot together. Rise Of The Robots is, apparently, the first game to be simultaneously released on all formats. History in the making, eh?

Along the way though, it seems that one vital ingredient has been neglected. Gameplay. Stick the difficulty level on to Medium in one-player mode and take on your first opponent. The Loader Droid is a huge, awkward-looking mechanical beast. How can you possibly beat him? Easy. Move your joystick to the top diagonal right position, and if you are feeling lethargic, why not use autofire. Now chat with friends. Or read a book. It does not matter, for you do not need to look at the screen. A guaranteed victory. OK, so the Loader Droid is not meant to be a pugnacious opponent but cripes, you have just spent £43. A teensy bit of action would not go amiss.

Not that beating the other five (phew, count ‘em) metallic beasts is so easy, though they still ain’t much of a challenge. It is more that this is just a horrible game to play. It takes an age between manoeuvring the joystick and the movement taking place on screen. Rise Of The Robots just feels… well, it does not feel at all.

I cannot recommend you buy this game. You are as well to look at the screenshots in the magazines as to spend over 40 quid. The five-disk intro looks tremendous. But you only ever watch these things twice. The robots look fabulous. The attention to detail is excellent, the movement fluid, in a mechanical sort of way. They are supposed to have artificial intelligence which allows them to read your moves and act accordingly. So why is it that you can squeeze them into a corner and tap away at them until the bout is yours? Simple moves like crouch and kick are very effective, but after winning five bouts on the trot, you get rather bored.

If you want to buy a beat-em-up then plump for the superb Mortal Kombat II. OK, so it is thin on the ground robot-wise but it is a lot more fun. I really hope you do not get Rise Of The Robots for Christmas.

Amiga Format, Issue 67, January 1995, p.p.70-71
C3PO: SOFT AS BUTTER
Rise of the robots: Cyborg droid
CYBORG DROID: The only robot you get to play, unless in training mode. The Cyborg is intelligent but a bit soft.
Rise of the robots: Loader droid
LOADER DROID: An old, and somewhat stupid robot. If you cannot beat this chap, retire to Worthing immediately.
Rise of the robots: Military droid
MILITARY DROID: Has advanced artificial intelligence, apparently. Vulnerable to extremely heavy blows. You will beat him.
Rise of the robots: Cyborg droid
BUILDER DROID: Huge, ape-like robot. Slow to react, trap him in the corner and kick him until he falls over. Easy.
Rise of the robots: Sentry droid
SENTRY DROID: A tough opponent, the Sentry Droid has few weaknesses. He looks a tad stupid, however.
Rise of the robots: Crusher droid
CRUSHER DROID: This chap has got a particularly long reach, but he is rather vulnerable to the counter attack.
Rise Of The Robots
Publisher:
Price:
Versions:
System requirements:
Release date:
Time Warner 01604 602800
£42.99 (AGA), £34.99 (CD32)
AGA, CD32
AGA machine
Out now
Uppers ROBBIES: It looks nice. Downers MARVINS: Completely lacking the essential ingredient commonly known as gameplay. What a pity.
Overall rating 19%


Rise of the robots AGA logo  AGA

Wir sind die Roboter - und wo wir sind, da fliegt das Blech: Digi-Karatekas, Street Fighter und Kampfelfen legen wir mit der linken Diode auf die Matte, denn wer sich mit uns anlegt, der legt sich mit dem besten Prügelspiel aller Zeiten an!

S Rise of the robots AGA eit Monaten werden Mirages Roborecken von Kampflustigen Amiganern herbeigesehnt, jetzt sind sie da und verdienen sich ihre Vorschlussorbeeren quasi mit links. Denn dieses Spiel tritt nicht umsonst auf jedem Amiga-Modell mit einer eigens programmierten Version an: tatsächlich reizt es die Hardware wirklich gnadenlos aus: Die Vorliegende AGA-Fassung kommt einer grafischen Revolution gleich!

Die hiesigen Stahlkolosse und ihre Arenen wurden nämlich weder mit einem Malprogramm gepinselt noch real gefilmt und dann am Bildschirm nachbearbeitet - statt dessen hat man die komplette Optik zunächst als Drahtgittermodell entworfen und anschliessendper Raytracing zum Leben erweckt. Das Ergebnis dieser monatelangen Detailarbeit sind prächtig animierte Kampfroboter mit Rippen, Muskeln, Fingergelenken und allem, was sonst noch zu einer bewegten Mechano-Anatomie gehört. Natürlich geht es in vollen 256 Farben zu Sache, wobei die Sache selbst an traditionelle Kampfsport-Klassiker wie "IK+" oder "Budokan" anknüpft: Statt sich, wie es derzeit im Genre üblich ist, mit einer Unzahl verschiedenster Button-Kombinationen herumzuschlagen zu müssen, löst der Spieler alle Hiebe und Tritte mit einprägsamen Joystickbewegungen und einem einzigen Feuerknopf aus. Dass das hohe Spieltempo dem geübten Fighter trotzdem eine ganze Reihe von effektiver Special-Moves (wie z.B. Schulterblock, Unsichtbarkeit etc.) ermöglicht, verdient deshalb ein Sonderlob.

Vor der Auseinandersetzung ist freilich darüber zu befinden, ob der Kampf über drei, fünf oder sieben Runden geht und, ob er nach 30, 60, 90 Sekunden oder erst nach dem endgültigen K.O. eines Fighters abgebrochen wird. Außerdem lassen sich der Schattenwurf der Recken sowie das Erschüttern des Screens bei besonders harten Treffen an- und abstellen, was aber keinerlei Einfluß auf das eigentliche Gameplay hat. Anschließend dürfen sich die Teilnehmer des Zwei-Spieler-Modus auf ein gegenseitiges Handikap einigen und so eventuelle Unterschiede in der spielerischen Kampferfahrung ausgleichen. Abschließend wählen Duellanten wie auch im Übungsmodus befindliche Solisten dann ihr Alter Ego aus einer sechs Blechköpfe starke Mannschaft. Doch ob von einem Kollegen oder dem Amiga gesteuert, der Gegner ist stets ein blauer Cyborg - was vermutlich mit der herzlich belanglosen Vorgeschichte um diese Mensch-Maschine zu tun hat...

Rise of the robots AGA Keineswegs belanglos sind indessen die individuellen Techniken, welche jeder der angebotenen Charaktere hier im Schlagrepertoire hat. So gibt es etwa einen Laderoboter, der sich auf tiefe Kicks und hohe Sprünge spezialisiert hat, eine Mechano-Spinne, die ihre Gliedmaßen über den halben Screen strecken kann, und einen äußerst beweglichen Militär-robbi, der selbst vor einem Handstand nicht zurückschreckt. Im Missions-Modus muß der Cuborg in Händen des Solisten dann all diese (nun vom Computer gelenkten) Mech-Krieger hintereinander auf die Matte legen, um schließlich im Finale dem im Optionsmenü nicht anwählbaren "Supervisor" gegenüber zu treffen - einem Kampfmonster aus Flüssigmetall, das á la "Terminator 2" morphen und so etwa seine Handkante zur tödlichen Speerspitze umformen kann!

Amiga Joker Hit In der Arena stellt die CPU ihre Lernfähigkeit unter Beweis und statte die von ihr kontrollierten Kämpfen mit erstaunlicher Intelligenz aus; doch keine Sorge: Der variable Schwierigkeitsgrad überfordert Einsteiger genausowenig, wie er Martial Arts-Experten unterfordert. Die Wucht der Schläge lässt sich exakt dosieren, und Treffer wirken sich je nach Körperteil unterschiedlich auf die Konstitution bzw. Energieleiste des Getroffenen aus - wie es sich gehört, richtet ein Hieb gegen den Schädel also mehr Schaden an als beispielsweise ein Schlag gegen die Elle. Im Erstfall fliegen dann wortwörtlich die Fetzen, denn nach besonders harten Treffern purzeln schon mal Schrauben und Nieten zu Boden, oder ein Robbi zerfällt gar in seine gesamten Einzelteile.

Zahlreiche Zwischenbildchen und -animationen sowie eine irre Soundkullise aus harten Gitarrenriffs und knalligen FX begleiten das Kampfgeschehen ausgemacht stimmungsvoll; die Musik der CD-Version wird dann sogar Queen-Mittglied Brian May persönlich besteuern. Natürlich hat eine solche Power-Präsentation ihren Preis: Das Game kommt auf satten 13 Disketten daher. Zwar ist es theoretisch auch direkt von der Scheibe spielbar, aber wer ungetrübten Spaß an dieser Starken Robot-Dressur haben will, sollte es doch besser auf eine Festplatte nieten. Die optimale Konfiguration beinhaltet darüber hinaus eine Turbokarte bzw. eine 32-Bit-RAM-Erweiterung, da solche Extras das Spieltempo noch am den letzten Tick beschleunigen.

Weil wir diesem innovativen Produkt gegenüber fair sein wollten, bezieht sich unsere Wertung auf die erwähnte Top-Ausstattung, trotzdem dürfen auch Amigos mit weniger PS unter der Haube relativ bedenkenlos zuschlagen. Immerhin birgt Rise of the Robots schon aufgrund der gewaltigen Präsentation mehr Spaß als jede andere Amiga-Keilerei; daß das Prügelgenre nicht unbedingt neu definiert wird, ist dabei nebensächlich: Mirage hat Standards gesetzt, die so bald keiner übertreffen wird! (rl)

Amiga Joker, December 1994, p.p.16-17

RISE OF THE ROBOTS
(MIRAGE/TIME WARNER INTERACTIVE)
ROBO-KEILEREI
91%
"GEWALTIG"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPAß
88%
92%
84%
86%
90%
92%
VARIABEL: 4 STUFEN
PREIS DM 99,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
2 MB
13/JA
JA
NEIN
ANLEITUNG


Rise of the robots CD32 logo  CD32

Rise of the risible, more like.

Runs on: A500/600 (1Mb), A1200, CD32
Publisher: Mirage/Time Warner
Authors: Instinct Design
Price: £40 (500/600), £43 (1200), £35 (CD32)
Release: Out now

W Rise of the robots CD32 e previewed Rise of the Robots in AP32, over a year ago. Edge magazine put it on their cover in the same month (an accolade usually reserved for new consoles from Sony or Sega), and ran an eight-page feature on all the effort that was going into creating the graphics using 3D Studio rendering software. Since then, work on the Amiga version has been delayed by a proliferation of versions for other formats – in total, Rise of the Robots is being produced for 22 different machines, including CD-I and 3DO, and there is even a coin-op version. The music has been written by Brian May, who used to play the guitar for pop group Queen. A multi-million pound market campaign has led to a Rise of the Robots novel from Penguin, and discussions are underway regarding Rise of the Robots toys, Rise of the Robots comics and a Rise of the Robots cartoon series. There’s even been some talk of a Rise of the Robots movie.
Meanwhile, here is the Rise of the Robots game.

THE GOOD POINTS
* The graphics are great. The robots look suitably fearsome and move about smoothly. The backgrounds look good too.

THE REST
* The scene is set before each round by animated sequences showing your opponent walking into view, while text is written on the screen a letter at time accompanied by a beep-beep-beep noise. It is therefore necessary to switch these off.
* As the two characters then face each other, the battle is begun not by a voice crying “Fight!”, but by some more text being written a letter at a time.
* There are 7 different characters in Rise of the Robots. In Street Fighter 2 there are 12, in Mortal Kombat 2, 17.
* In a one-player game you can only be one of the characters – the blue one.
* In a two-player game, one of the players has to be the blue one.
* Each character performs the same set of basic moves, plus as many as two ‘special’ moves, performed, for example, by moving the joystick Down and Up and then pressing Fire.
* Only one fire button is used, even on the four-button CD32 joypad.
* All the moves involve hitting your opponent in some way – you cannot throw him or crush him or launch a fireball at him, and you certainly cannot pull off his head or tear out his heart.
* Oh, except there are ‘secret’ moves as well. These involve becoming invisible (so the other player cannot see you) becoming invincible (if you manage to do this before the other player, you can then kill him without him being able to do anything to prevent it), and – watch out for this one in a future Kangaroo Court – reversing the other player’s controls.
Rise of the robots CD32 * Because of technical limitations, the characters cannot turn around and face in the opposite direction. This means that in two-player mode you cannot jump over your opponent’s head to, for example, avoid being trapped at the side of the screen and helplessly killed.
* The backgrounds are static, rather than scrolling, so the playing area is only as large as the screen.
* The impact of these huge metal warriors striking each other is indicated by a couple of small triangles floating to the ground, and a crunch noise.
* The shadow beneath your robot overlaps your opponent when you approach him. There is an option to switch the shadows off.
* Brian May’s music consists of a guitar going “kerrannnnnnnng, kerrannnnnnnnng, kerrannnnnnnnng” and is confined to the options screen. During the game there is no music at all.
* For some reason you have to ‘fight’ the first group of five baddies twice before you can take on the sixth and final one.
* In Beginner mode, you can complete the game by pushing the joystick up to the right, and then holding the fire button down for about ten minutes.
* In Easy mode, you can complete the game in the same way, although to beat the last character you have to repeatedly press Left, Right, and Fire.
* In Medium mode, you can defeat the first five characters in the same way, but then you have to fight them all again in Hard mode.
* In Hard mode, none of your moves have any effect on the other characters unless your power bar is charged up to maximum when you make contact. You charge it by pressing and holding the fire button for a couple of seconds. Unfortunately, as soon as you hit your opponent (which is what tends to happen when you press the fire button), the bar stops charging, so it is difficult to see how the game could be completed in Hard mode.
* As you hold Up, Right and Fire, the robots initially try to fight back, but then simply cower in the corner of the screen until they die. This is presumably owing to the “unique combat intelligence system that adapts to and learns your style of play”.
* In a two-player game, if Player 1 holds Up/Right and Fire, Player 2 loses the match every time.
* The Amiga 1200 version comes on 13 disks, 7 of these are required to play the game, 5 contain the introductory sequence, and the other installs the game to a hard drive.
* The CD32 version of Rise of the Robots costs £35; the ordinary Amiga version, £40; and the AGA version, £43

We fear for the immortal souls of those quoted on the packaging who would have you believe that Rise of the Robots is worth 93%. (“You will wish all your games were this good”. For pity’s sake…).
We only hope you have not already been swayed by them, by any ‘exclusive’ Rise of the Robots ‘reviews’ you may have already read in rival Amiga magazines, by the 60 second Rise of the Robots TV and cinema ads, by the national Rise of the Robots billboard poster campaign, by the ‘controversial’ Rise of the Robots ad in Viz, by the six-foot-high cardboard Rise of the Robots cut-outs in computer game shops across the nation, or by the big, exciting Rise of the Robots box it comes in.

Copies of Rise of the Robots were only released to the press a couple of days before the game went on sale, so it will have been in the shops for a month before you have had a chance to read this.
Rise of the Robots is terrible. I am not exaggerating. Ironically, it is probably because the graphics are so good that it plays so poorly – every move the robots make takes so many frames of animation, and so much memory, and so many months of rendering with 3D Studio, that is simply would not have been possible to make the gameplay any more complicated than it is. What an astonishing waste of time.
JONATHAN DAVIES

Amiga Power, Issue 45, January 1995, p.p.60-61



"Because of technical limitations”


CD32 Upper UPPERS
Nice graphics.
Downer DOWNERS
Farcically tedious.

THE BOTTOM LINE
Even if you do not believe in Father Christmas, it might be worth writing to him to make sure he does not bring you a copy of this.
5

P E R C E N T

THE BOTTOM LINE

A1200 Looks and plays the same as the CD32 version, and, although it comes on 13 disks, the swapping is not that bad. Recognises a second drive, too.

THE BOTTOM LINE

A500 We have not seen a copy of the 500 version yet, but it inevitably won’t look quite so good. We are told the gameplay remains intact, though. Phew.