Robocop 1 logo

OCEAN £24.99 * Joystick

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 straightforward conversion of the coin-op. In the end, the game has wound up closer to the arcade machine rather than as a pure, original interpretation of the film.

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-packed punch.

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.

JUDGEMENT

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


Robocop 1 logo

Ocean
Price: £24.99

Since its release just before Christmas time, Robocop has cleaned up, becoming the biggest selling computer game on all formats ever. The one version that remained unreleased, until now was the Amiga, but that looks set to boost sales even further.

The success of the licence clearly has as much to do with the cult status of the film as the quality of the conversions. Robomania looks set to last a long time with a sequel (scripted by Frank Miller) already in the pipeline. It may not be Batman, but it is probably the next best thing.

As a game Robocop provides little more than the standard horizontal beat 'em up that can be found in any number of titles. What turns it into an impressive piece of software is its depth and execution.

The game consists of around a dozen sequences broken up into levels. A scrolling section is followed by an interlude which breaks up the play and gives the impression of some diversity. Thus between making his way from riot torn streets, through junk yards and drug factories, Robo has to practice his shooting skills at the range before using them on a perp holding a hostage, or identifying a suspect.

The action is busy and challenging. As you make your way through the levels Robo can grab extra ammunition and weapons by breaking open packing cases. Probably the most crucial are the tins of baby food. Robo's penchant for these, assuming they are not full of glass, will replenish his energy. Even with these though, the game still remains very tough.

There are enhancements over the ST version, most obviously so the sound with several samples from the film. As the game loads Robocop can be heard reciting his code "to serve the community, protect the innocent and uphold the law", elsewhere there is the odd "thank you for your cooperation", although this and some of the spot effects could be beefier. The tune too could have been better. It still remains too much a port over to justify the extra five pound price tag.

Graphically the game disappoints on one major point. The promise of a full-screen layout has not materialised and there is still that annoying border cramping the look. Otherwise the graphics look adequate without ever being impressive - car wrecks in the junk yards look like the blocks they are rather than the irregular shapes they should be. More attention to detail would have been nice.

Robocop will succeed, as it has done on every other format. Compared to these its quality is more than good enough, but I cannot help voicing some of the disappointment that others will feel when they see this. It could have been superb.


I'd buy that for a dollar - or even 25 quid!

Robocop 1 logo Zzap! Sizzler

Ocean, Amiga £24.99

Come on, do I really have to tell the plot of the film? Is there anyone out there who hasn't actually seen the film? Well, I know one... or maybe two... OK, OK!

Alex Murphy is a cop transferred from a pretty safe area to the dangerous Old Detroit precinct. On his first day out, he is brutally murdered by a gang of bank robbers and left a physical wreck. Meanwhile, the powerful Omni Consumer Products - the company that runs the police in Detroit - are due to build a new complex named Delta City. With huge robot guards (Enforcement Droid 209) being used to keep the peace. However, at a meeting of OCP officials, the ED-209 prototype malfunctions and kills an executive.

Bob Morton steps in with his plan - to use newly-killed cops in robot frames for better efficiency. Thus the Robocop program is started, with Murphy being virtually brought back from the dead and placed in a robot body.

You play the part of Murphy in his quest to clean up the streets of Old Detroit. The action begins with him walking along the streets fending off attackers with a well-aimed punch or two.

Next he comes across armed criminals and so takes out his leg-mounted machine-pistol to fight his way along. The end of the level pits Robocop against a biker which has to be punched off his mount to be destroyed. Somehow that biker looks familiar...

Not that he's got time to think about that. There's a vicious ED-209 in front of him an Murphy's got to get rid of him before he can go to the photofit screen to identify the biker (the one he took out before, remember). When he finds the ID, the face is linked with the murder of one Alex J Murphy. The memories begin to stir...

The information leads him to a warehouse where the gang that killed him hang out. Here he learns of the corruption in the OCP company, one thing leads to another (like several levels later) and he ends up at the OCP building for the final confrontation. Round of applause, please.


Kati Hamza He's mean, he's tough, he's made of metal and he walks just like he does in the movie - oh yeah and the coin-op, of course. In fact, it looks, plays and feels a lot like the arcade machine, even though the gameplay itself isn't exactly the same. The graphics are slick, the action is tough (when I say tough, I mean really tough) and the strategy and arcade elements really work together well. The heads in the photofit section are digitised which makes fitting them together a realistically creepy affair. Fancy blowing a few namby pamby criminals away and throwing together some grisly looking chins and ears? Right then, shove loads of baby food into your mouth, start practising the robotics and rush out to your friendly software dealer NOW.
Maff Evans The actual film Robocop is one of my all-time favourites and the coin-op managed to capture a lot of the atmosphere of the movie. The Amiga version does pretty much the same thing - starting with the intro sequence and followed by the accurate arcade-quality graphics of the game itself. Rather than going for an all-out conversion, Ocean has gone for a 'half and half' format combining the best bits from the arcade version and adding strategy elements. The game is tough and will take some completing but rather than a chore. I'm sure that it will be an enjoyable experience. See for yourself - buy Robocop today!