Unlike most film tie-ins, the computer versions of Robocop were developed at the same time as the Data East coin-op, so Ocean had a choice to either make a game purely based on the film (something like Platoon) or to make a straight
The game is set in the Detroit of the future, where the police department is being run by a corrupt private company called OCP. The company has big plans to robotise the police network, but a small setback with the prototype machine (ED 209) means they have to re-think their plans, eventually coming up with the idea of a half-human, half-robot cyborg.
All they need is a volunteer body donor. A young cop called Murphy just happens to fit the bill after being badly shot up in a vicious attack. OCP robotises Murphy and puts him on the streets, without completely erasing his memory, and he soon goes rogue and sets about hunting down the gang who nailed him.
It's a multi-stage strolling shoot-em-up, with the player controlling Murphy as he wanders about his business of upholding the law. Baddies appear at first floor windows and on the street and the general idea is to either shoot them or clock 'em on the jaw with a titanium-
They shoot back, every hit they score reducing your energy until it runs out: game over time. Fortunately there are extra firepower symbols and extra energy that can be collected by smashing through marked crates. Collect the symbol and your gun suddenly has things like three-way firing or super-big shots. Sadly, the extra weapons only last for a set number of shots; use them sparingly.
Reach the end of each stage and there's an end-of-level guardian to be destroyed before progressing to a bonus stage where you can practice your shooting or have a bash at putting a photo-fit together. For each level the object remains, effectively, the same, to work your way through the stage and destroy the end guardian. All that really changes is the setting: in the junkyard, inside the drugs factory and so on.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
The title and in-game tunes are all right but not brilliant, and the same can be said for the spot effects and the occasional burst of digitised speech. The background graphics and sprites are good and the whole thing is smoothly animated. Just about the standards expected from a coin-op inspired game.
It's a nicely put together platform shoot-em-up which fans of the film will be well pleased with. As a game in its own right it stands up, but it's not terrific and you'll complete it sooner rather than later. From then on, the only real reason to keep playing lies in constant attempts at improving your score.
Andy 'Half-Human' Smith