überhaupt hat Maxis' futuristische Materialschlacht wenig mit den heutigen Sportarten gemein, es handelt sich eher um eine besondere Form von "Kriegsspiel". Statt richtiger Soldaten kämpfen gefühllose Roboter, die man auch nicht trainieren, sondern programmieren muß, bevor sie auf eins der drei Schlachtfelder rumpeln. Dabei wird festgelegt, welche Aktionen (marschieren, warten, Bomben legen, schießen) die einzelnen Robbis ausführen sollen. Der Computer berechnet dann das Ergebnis und führt anschließend eine Art Film vor, der die Kampfhandlungen auf dem labyrinthischen Spielfeld zeigt.
Für Abwechslung sorgen –zig Einstellmöglichkeiten bei Schwierigkeitsgrad, Spieldauer und –regeln, Teamstärke etc. Richtig lustig wird es aber erst, wenn man sich nicht bloß mit der/den Rechner-Mannschaft(en), sondern mit den maximal drei von Menschenhand gesteuerten Teams herumbalgt, via (Null)-Modem kann man auch einen Fernkrieg führen. Leider wirkt die Steuerungüber Maus-Menüs und Tastatur etwas überladen und verlangt vor allem von Anfängern viel Einarbeitungsarbeit. Lohn der Mühe ist eine farbenprächtige Grafik, die trotz netter Details eher zweckmäßig wirkt und auch das Maxis-Typische Ruckelscrolling aufweist. Soundmäßig gibt es neben der Titelmusik nur sparsam verteilte, dafür umso lautstärkere FX. Bleibt die Frage nach der Motivation, und da fällt Robosport gegenüber den Simulations-Knüllern von Maxis deutlich ab – aber für ein paar zünftige Wochenend-Schlachten reicht es auf Fälle. (pb)
Amiga Joker, December 1992, p.30
Maxis make the move away from SimSomethings and venture into the murky world of weird robot strategy warfare things.
Release: Out now
h no, what is wrong? A game from Maxis that does not have the word ‘Sim’ in the title. Whatever can they be thinking of? SimCity, SimEarth, SimAnt, SimLife and SimFish and SimFarm in the pipeline… You do not have to be a lexical genius to realise that RoboSport does not fit into the neat linguistic progression. Success must have added the old corporate brain. Dear me, is nothing sacred?
But some things never change, and you can rest assured that the latest offering from the masters of simulation still provides enough strategy and statistics to keep you up late into the night. And as with SimAnt, it tries to throw in a bit of humour to lighten the laborious load. For labour you will. Despite the seductive explosions on the game’s box, and the promise of a mixture of chess and guerrilla warfare (very attractive), it is all a bit of a trial to play.
The concept is easy enough to grasp. You control a bunch of robots who have to achieve certain objectives depending on the game you have chosen to play In the simplest game you just have to wipe out the enemy, and in more advanced scenarios, you have to capture the enemy’s flag, pick up treasure or rescue hostages. The game’s parameters are entirely user definable, so much so that the Quick Start menu gives you a stock of pre-set scenarios to save you the bother of customising your own. You can decide which weapons you and your opponents are armed with, the type of landscape the battle is to be fought on, and the size of the playing area.
The game is turn-based, which means you give out orders, and then watch the robots carry them out. A slick point-and-click control system makes it easy to hand out commands, and because each turn is a limited length (up to 40 seconds), each robot can only be given a limited number of orders. You tell the ‘bots where to move, where to look, where to fire, who to fire at, and when to duck. The computer or human opponents do the same and you sit and watch the results.
Obviously, you cannot see where the enemy robots are while you are programming your team, and that is where your brilliant strategic and tactical thinking comes in. You have to guess where the enemy ‘bots will move too, and set cunning traps accordingly. One of the best tactics is to hide behind a building and wait for them to walk around the corner. Not a particularly brave or exciting strategy, but effective nevertheless.
Having made all your moves, it is time to set the wheels in motion and commit your team to action. End your turn and the computer generates its moves, and the results of the combat. To see what has happened, you switch to the movie section, where the positions at the start of the turn are shown. Hit play and you see the robots perform their manoeuvres, waste the enemy and get wasted themselves. It is a peculiarly voyeuristic feeling – good attacks are played over and over again (you can even save them to disk to show your friends if they are not around), and bad mistakes are brushed under carpet as you move swiftly on to the next round.
It is very much like Laser Squad really. The gameplay in both games is essentially the same – it is just the graphics and control system that are different. RoboSport has some neat touches, such as the sound effects that play while the moves are being generated at the end of each turn. It is all quiet, you know that nobody has come under fire, but if you start to hear crashes and screams, you know that the two teams have exchanged fire and that somebody’s robots have been severely dented. This adds a bit of extra excitement when the movie starts – you know someone is going to get in the neck, you just do not know who. But then again, if you have paid enough attention to the stats, you should know who is going to get it. Success or failure on this battleground depends on what type of armour you have, the type of gun you are using, how far from the enemy you are, and whether you are standing, ducking or crouching. Throw all those variables into the grey matter up top, shake your head around a bit and the chances are you will be totally nonplussed by the whole affair. But if you have got a head for figures you will probably love it.
The main trouble with RoboSport is that it does not hang together well. There is lots of pointing, clicking and hammering at the keyboard to program your robots, then there is a pause while the moves are generated, then you have to watch a movie of the battle, and then there is another pause while you go back to the programming section. It is all so disjointed – the game just does not seem complete. Rather than being one coherent strategy to achieve a single objective, the game is at times reduced to being a series of one-off engagements with the main aim being to avoid being hit by enemy fire.
Ultimately, it is not a particularly satisfying game to play. Sure, there are plenty of statistics and game variations, but the basic game and game structures are not smooth enough to keep you hooked – there is no real flow to the proceedings. The small attempts at humour are moderately engaging for a while, but it is not long before you are turning away to find either a more substantial challenge in the shape of something like Civilization or some real action. RoboSport is trying to be the “thinking man’s shoot-‘em-up” and to a certain extent it succeeds. You have to think, and things definitely get shot. But that does not mean it is very much fun, and anyway, we have already got Laser Squad, Breach 2, Paladin 2...
Amiga Power, Issue 21, January 1993, p.p.54-55
"It tries to throw in a bit of humour to lighten the load"
Have Maxis created the ultimate in Hide-and-Seek games? Tony Dillon goes into a corner and counts to a hundred.
Living in the universe created by the Maxis team isn't all hard work, no matter how it may seem. There is more to life than building and maintaining, you know. There is war. There is sport. There is cheese, ham, pepperoni and pickle rolls. Most important of these is war, of course, and as humankind works its way to its own destruction, it only seems logical to assume that robots will at some stage play a large role in battle. A battle robot would need to have a heavy amount of intelligence if it is to succeed in its task, and as far as the Maxis team can see, this is where things start to break down.
If you haven not already guessed, Robosport is a strategy title where teams compete against each other in organised wargames. You know the sort, usually played out by advertising executives with paint-firing guns. There are five different games to play here, from the standard Survival, where your team has to be the last one standing, to Catch The Flag, where you have to steal your opponent's flag and return it to your home base, along with new ones like Baseball, where you have to try and tag all four bases for a home run.
The game works like this. Each team takes their turn in ordering their robots about. Once all the orders have been made, the battle commences and you can see the results of your actions. The interesting thing about the game is the way you control your units. Each team starts with four units, and on each turn you plan the actions of separate units for the next 15 seconds by programming a series of moves.
Clicking on a location moves the unit to that point, and using the icons on the left of the screen lets you choose between the various firing moves. Everything you do takes time, and as you program, a clock tells you how much time you have left to fill. Ingenious.
For a strategy title, it is simple to the point of perfection. The control method is so easy to master that you will find yourself hooked within minutes, and the only game that ever did that for me was Connect 4. The graphics and sound might not be the hottest ever, but Robosport is a hot piece of software. If you like Laser Squad, you will drool over this.
CU Amiga, February 1993, p.58