Atomic Robokid logo

ACTIVISION * £24.99 Joystick or keyboard

Forget the Detroit Cop. Here is the Kid. He is a cute, lovable steel-machine and his inly purpose is destruction. It is what he was built for.

When he starts off, the Kid is completely useless. He cannot fly, he is armed with a small laserblaster, and he is surrounded. Things do not look good. But walking around and hitting the gem-like objects, Kid can pick up some impressive weapons and enhancements. Firstly, he gets the ability to fly. After that he can get five-way blasters, massively destructive energy beams, super-speed and so on. All these are collected as Kid moves along infested tunnels, looking for the exit to the next level.

Valid Target
The levels pulsate with grotesque alien life forms and they are all valid targets. If the Kid touches an alien, he is not harmed, but his progress is slowed down dramatically. Many, however, launch bombs at him, which drain his shields until he explodes.

On the earlier levels, the aliens drift towards Robokid but later on he encounters static pods which fire almost continually and require planning to negotiate and a great deal of high-pressure blasting. There are 28 levels of this. The difficulty of each level varies. Some, near the beginning, are very hard. Others, further on, are easy-peasy. It is possible to access varying levels by choosing the different doors available to exit the level you have just completed. The discrepancies are not altogether unwelcome. It is depressing to keep fighting further forward knowing what lies ahead is bound to be harder and bloodier.

Atomic Robokid is, undoubtedly, a straight forward shoot em up. Rattle the fire button, kill the aliens and blast your way thruogh the various levels. It scrolls past merrily, offering more and more targets. And it is good enough to return to rime after time.

Suicidal Sight-Seeing
The speed suffers when things get crowded, but this can work to your advantage, giving you valuable microseconds of reaction time. You will need it. No one object moves particularly rapidly, but when enough of them are miling around, you can easily get overwhelmed.

The aliens and indeed the Kid himself are not very large, though. The actual playing area is fairly restricted, but there are some interesting backgrounds which float past. This detail adds a lot to the semi-organic atmoshpere engendered by the game. There certainly is variety here, and it is possible to revisit earlier parts of the level you are currently negotiating. Ideal for suicidal sightseers.

Sound is fine. The noises are what you would expect when murdering aliens, and the tune fits in well.

This end-of-level mother will home in on you relentlessly, until one of you gets thrashed. You'll need to lure it from side to side of the cell, swinging round behind it to open fire.
Atomic Robokid
  1. At all costs avoid this swinging arm. It's fast, and if it hits you, you'll be instantly smashed into your constituent molecules.
  2. Once the laser turrets are destroyed, the machine's weakest point will appear. It's this red dome-like target. Get enough shots in and the guardian dies.
  3. These dangerous laser-gun turrets must both be destroyed. Once they're taken out, things become easier.
  4. The red spots are other prime targets. Repeated strikes will damage the machine severely.
Atomic Robokid
Missile Bombs. These bome in on approaching enemy bullets. It's a protective device and is probably the most useful collectable.
Atomic Robokid
Three-way Sight-Beam. Blasts out deadly energy in three directions. Fast, long-ranged and powerful. Well worth getting hold of.
Atomic Robokid
Balkan Laser. This creates an impenetrable wall of fire in front of the Kid. Handy for barging through waves of nasties.
Atomic Robokid
Very Large and Dangerous Energy Beam. This vapourises any aliens which get anywhere near it. It's the best offensive weapon, and wastes baddies like there's no tomorrow.

Atomic Robokid logo

Das Ballerspiel um den süßen Knuddel-Roboter hat einen weiten Weg hinter sich: Von der Spielhalle auf die PC-Engine, und von da aus zum Amiga. Mal sehen, ob der Blechknirps auch heil angekommen ist...

Tja, so ganz kann Activisions Amigaversion nicht mit der Konsolenausführung mithalten; Zwar läuft und fliegt man auch hier durch 21 fantasievoll gestaltete Level in Achtwege-Parallaxscrolling, und auch hier gibt's massenweise Extrawaffen, sowie reichlich Hektik dank der vielfältigen Gegner.

Aber! Die Grafik ist wohl immer noch hübsch bunt, im Vergleich zur PC-Engine-Version wirkst sie jedoch ein kleines bißchen gröber, außerdem ruckelt das Scrolling doch recht tüchtig.

Am schlimmsten aber ist, daß klein Robbi in der Grundausstattung nur entsetzlich langsam vorankommt, selbst mit eingesacktem Speed-Up wird man kaum in einem Geschwindigkeitsrausch verfallen.

Es macht jedenfalls mehr Freude, jeman beim Spielen zuzusehen, als selbst zum Joystick zu greifen: Schon die "normalen" Gegner bringen es auf eine beachtliche Größe, und die nahezu bildschirmfüllenden Oberviecher, denen man so alle fünf Level begegnet, sind wirklich eine Pracht!

Auch der Sound ist nicht übel, sobald die Musik anfängt auf die Nerven zu gehen, kann man jederzeit auf FX pur umschalten. Bloß halten die drei Bildschirmleben nicht sehr lange vor, denn auch das Spieler-Sprite ist ganz schön mächtig ausgefallen - den Schüssen ist somit oft nur sehr schwer auszuweichen.

Unter dem Strich bietet Atomic Robo-Kid leider doch nur durchschnittliches Action-Vergnügen. (ml)

Atomic Robokid logo CU Amiga Screenstar

A cross between a vacuum cleaner and a helicopter gunship, Atomic Robokid is a sort of ultra-violent Metal Mickey character that could only be a Japanese creation. Cute, certainly, but not at the expense of some serious firepower.

When Robokid appeared as a coin-op it stood out amongst the R-Type clones as one of the few purest shoot em ups of recent years with at least as much wit and originality. Detailed, fast and furious, it made a total bypass of the braincells and aimed firmly for the trigger finger with the screens full of blinding colour, huge and inventive sprites and plenty of power ups. It did not exactly break new ground, but it was instantly enjoyable.

The Amiga version stays true to the spirit of the original. You can either try spotting all the bits more or less lifted from other arcade games, or you can get on and play. The early levels are quick and explosive without being too easy, providing a good balance for experienced gamers and novices alike.

You are not likely to get stuck at one particular point too often because each time a Robokid meets a sticky end, the droid that replaces him appears on an empty screen where the offending nasties have been rubbed off.

The continue option is also extremely handy for getting a decent way into the game without the hassle of constant restarting. Atomic Robokid can afford this because there are enough levels packed in to keep you busy for a very, very long time.

Probably the game's strongest feature is the number of different challegnes it throws at you. There are short and fast levels where the aim is to get through as quickly as your little booster jets will take you, and others are pitched battles between you and suitably monstrous end-of-level guardian type spries. There are even a few duelling levels thrown in, where you are up against another droid with similar firepower and dexterity as your own. It all adds up to one of the most colourful, accessible shooting games ever to find its way onto the Amiga.

Atomic Robokid's graphics are clean and sharp, if not quite full screen. The intricate backdrops remain faithful to the coin-op, but ultimately the graphics lack a little something in comparison to the arcade version and the excellent PC Engine CD ROM.

Amiga shoot em ups have always been short of luminescence - the sprites are well drawn, but they just do not have the brightness which gives their console and coin-op rivals a more three-dimensional feel. On Robokid, this particularly shows up at points like the end-of-game explosion (a screen-filling spiralling fireball), on other versions this effect is LOUD, on the Amiga it is just quite nice.

These reservations only come up because on the high standard Amiga games have now reached and Robokid is certainly not a bad offender, but it would be nice to have a little more DAZZLE in Amiga shoot em ups. After all, most of the fun from arcade games comes from frying a synapse or two. With that reservation aside, not much can equal Robokid, when he is tooled up with five-way fire and his 'big energy gun'.

This comes strongly recommended as a great source of mindless fun with a few surprises thrown in, but to be honest I think I would buy any game with a title like Atomic Robokid.

Atomic Robokid logo

Just to prove that at ZERO we get all the stars working for us, here is Nick Ross with one of the latest coin-op conversions from Activision. Take it away Nicky boy...

Nick Ross: Hello, I'm Nick Ross, and welcome to this month's edition of Crimewatch. (No, no, that's not what we are paying your for. Ed.) Later on we will be showing you a reconstruction in which a really crap old actress in a nightie will leap out of bed and feebly call out "Who is it? Is someone there?" before being trussed to a chair by three blokes in balaclavas. But first this:

The police need help in tracing a gang of armed robbers who broke into the offices of a computer games firm and made off with the scenario for their latest arcade conversion, Atomic Robokid. I'm joined now by P.C. Spamhead of the Chudley Under Bucket Incident room. Have you got a description for the viewers?"

"Well Nick, it is a pretty standard parallax-scrolling shoot em up, with all the usual fare, y'know: make your way through progressively more difficult levels peppered with obstacles and booby traps and creatures comeing at you from all directions, blast everything in sight, collect power ups and weapons, overcome a big baddie boss at the end of every third level - you get the picture."

"Erm, I meant a description of the robbers, actually. Never mind. (Turns back to camera frowning.) If you think you can help us with our enquiries, call us now. We will be back for an update soon. (Do not bother. Ed.) Don't have nightmares! Good night!"

Amiga reviewJane: You are Atomic Robokid and as shoot em up heroes go, you are a cute little fella, if a bit odd looking. You start the game with a feeble single-bullet gun, but the numerous power-ups will soon have you furnished with all manner of shooty things, designed to be just the ticket for some terrains and enemies, but utterly crap for others. This adds to the challenge of mastering the game.

In terms of action, gameplay and variety (in power-ups, obstacles and foes) Atomic Robokid stands up pretty well next to the shoot em up classics (R-Type, Xenon II et al). The biggest difference, however, is that scrolling occurs when you move Robokid, rather than speeding along regardless of your movements. This makes the pace slightly less frantic, and it also means you can scarper from big baddies to compose yourself (though you will still have to tackle the nasties coming at you from behind). This extra time allows you to bring an element of strategy into your gameplay, rather than relying on the speed of your instincts and thumb (or autofire facility!), though for die hard R-Typers, this could send the game dangerously close to shandy-drinkers' territory.

The background ditty and sound effects are distinctly underwhelming , but the graphics are cookin', with a cute style that sets Atomic Robokid apart visually from other blasters and makes a nice change. The continue option (which you get three chances to use) gets full marks.

Atomic Robokid is good, straightforward, value-for-money stuff: just about challenging and complex enough for the shoot em up expert but sufficiently simple and addictive to hook the novice too.Stop

Atomic Robokid logo

Activision, C64 £9.99 cassette, £14.99 disk; Amiga £29.99

Robokid has just graduated from the Universal University of Space Combat. But to pay off all those student loans he urgently needs a job, so he 'volunteers' for a mission into dangerous enemy territory.

Robokid can walk (not in the C64 version) or use his jetpack to fly through multi-directionally scrolling levels. These are filled with alien gun turrets and various flying aliens which, although not fatal to touch, fire deadly bullets.

Robokid stars off with a standard gun to blast them. Killing one of the occasionally appearing Meta Birds reveals a gem containing a permanent extra weapon: Fire 2 (increased shot-power), Three-way fire, Five-way fire or Missile bombs (these are especially useful for destroying enemy bullets). Weapons can be switched between by pressing the Space bar (on the Amiga you can choose between this method and holding down fire).

Collecting four special gems on the Amiga gives Robokid either a shield or automatic fire lasting about 30 seconds. When he dies, Robokid loses the currently used weapon.

The route through the game's 28 levels can be chosen as some levels have more than one exit. Every third level features a massive end-of-level creature. When this is killed, Robokid must duel with a robot, shooting at it through a wall of moving asteroids.

Phil King It may resemble a scrolling Cybernoid but Atomic Robokid is nowhere near hot enough for a nuclear meltdown. Sure, some of the backgrounds are very pretty - the C64's are especially impressive - and with 28 levels you do get good value for money. But the simple blasting gameplay is repetitive and, although reasonably playable, somehow lacks any thrill factor. Despite the changing backgrounds, there are basically two types of level: knocking out gun turrets, easily achieved with a laser; and blasting aliens in the horizontally scrolling sections, made easy with bullet-destroying missile bombs. Even the large end-of-level baddies aren't half as threatening as the look - they can soon be destroyed with one of the superweapons. On the Amiga, Robokid's initial sluggishness is only improved by speed-ups. It's also irritating when he lands (a totally useless function) and you have to press fire and up to make him fly again.
Stuart Wynne Robokid is a rather obscure coin-op, but one which Activision have certainly put their heart into converting. The C64 version is particularly impressive, with a huge number of levels and plenty of graphic variety. While the first level contents itself with a black backdrop and some nice, Giger-ish floors and ceilings, later levels have elaborate and extremely colourful backgrounds with masses of enemy sprites scurrying about. Then there's all the massive creatures which crop up - end-of-level monsters with a level all to themselves. The main gameplay isn't that original - 'blast everything in sight and collect add-on weapons' - but the large range of graphics help compensate. I especially like the way you're presented with choices at the end of many levels, allowing you to vary your route through the game. On the negative side some of the levels are quite short - making a tape version difficult to imagine - and when blasted guns go off screen and come back on they're restored to action. But if you fancy a large, varied challenge this shoot-'em-up has plenty to offer.
The Amiga game packs in even more detail with a few more creatures and power-up icons. There are also more backgrounds, and shot gun emplacements stay destroyed. As with the C64 the game's attraction relies heavily on the sheer graphic variety - minor gameplay variations such as the vertical dips in the horizontally scrolling action don't add that much. The actual graphics are impressive for their details as well, but the colour shading is a little cure - you can tell it was designed with the ST in mind. It's also a little slower than the C64 version, but the sheer amount of work put into this program shows and it's well worth a look.