Botics logo

Krisalis * £19.99 * Joystick

In the future, people aren’t really going to want to see more and more extreme forms of sport. Violence will be distasteful; death unacceptable. In the future, people are going to want to watch robots playing Pong.

Pong, if you don’t have memory circuits that stretch that far back, was a game involving two paddles and a bouncing ball. You batted the ball to your opponent; he batted it to you. First one to let out a jaw-cracking yawn loses.

But in the year 2085, people yearn for the quiet life. They dmenad a return to the days of Pong. But Pong played by real people might be too exciting, so they invent robots which can do it. Steel robots, steel arena, steel balls.

Reality of Cyberpunk
Also, time has added a third dimension to the game. Pong is played in a box-like oblong arena with letter-shaped apertures on each far wall. These are what the ball is aimed at. Thus you must not only judge left and right, but the up, down and bounce angles too.

The paddles are cybernetic robots, as is the ball. All have little faces, no doubt to marry together the harsh virtual reality of cyberpunk and the sweet niceness of cutesy graphics.

You must amass five wins to go to the next round, facing even harder opponents. The arenas remain the same; it’s just the more skillful computer opponent which makes the game harder.

You have the ability to electrify your robot. This sends the ball bouncing towards the enemy at a huge rate of knots. If the ball ever comes to a halt on the surface of the arena, a steel plate slams it towards one of the participants. Thus the game continues until soeone has lost the required number of games.

The rewards for playing well appear simply to be the chance to play in another, different coloured arena. Botics is there is just absolutely nothing addictive to it.

Combination of cuteness and futuristic metal doesn’t work. There are many frills and baubles which give the unfortunate impression of filling space, and fleshing out what is otherwise a fairly simple reworking of the oldest compute game of all.

Botics: Game introduction

In common with many cyberviews of the next couple of hundred years, Futureworld 2085 has banks of densely packed TV screens. Whether people are going to rapidly evolve the ability to watch a dozen channels at one time is never adressed. The idea, presumably, is information will come streaming towards us at many times the rate it does now, because there is so much more of it to absorb.

In Botics, the screens display adverts, news and plugs for the game itself. But the high-technology, information-laden media is rather a waste of time, this is simply because none of the video screens are really worth watching. So robots do the announcing, and nobody ever pays attention to the viewing figures. In reality, the general populace of the future is watching the Show Jumping on BBC2.

Botics: Brett

The Botics characters are, to a man, completely irrelevant. Meet Brett. He is, however, a worthy opponent (i.e. you can beat him easily).

Botics: Hank

Hank's secret weapon is his frighteningly unrealistic side-burns. They are detachable and offer little protection should a steel ball slam into them.

Botics: Mitch

A latter-day Jimmy Saville, Mitch has chosen to model himself on 19th Century political figures. He regularly adopts the nasal monotone of Disraeli.

Botics: Mark

Another worthy opponent. Mark is 26, speaks German and wants to travel. He drives a 1979 Capri and claims never to heard of the world "mellifluous".

Botics: Rock

Rock is possibly the hardest of the players. His agression stems solely from being christened Susan by his cynical virtual-reality cyber-parents.