- Arcade

Reviewed by LS

Robotron 2084. Speak its name to a grizzled arcade grognard and you likely to bring tears to his eyes. Nope, I'm not old enough to be pushed into this category, but I sure can appreciate the hectic, adrenaline-pumping action of Robotron.

The premise of the game here is that mankind's robots in the year 2084 has developed sentience and have decided to exterminate the inferior humans. It would have been a virtual slaughter but for you, a genetically altered human with the powers to (hopefully) stop the advance of the mechanical monsters. A simple yet perfect premise giving enough reason to lay waste to robots and rescue the humans, no?

The unique thing about this game is it's very original control scheme that uses two joysticks and no buttons at all. One joystick moves the hero and the other one fires the rapid fire lasers. I haven't had the good fortune to come across a working Arcade machine, but Mame emulation and a good four-button pad do make for a half-decent job. Oh, and you can find the game at too, which is pretty faithful and gives a lot of control options. Must mention though that playing with a keyboard is an exercise is frustration.

The game starts off rather slowly but picks up the pace in no time. There are a whole lot of robots to exterminate, traps to avoid or disarm, and humans to rescue. Killing all the robots moves the player to the next wave, and rescuing the humans yield lots of points. Score 25,000 points and get a free man. Life is difficult though - the robots move fast, and those that can shoot do so at a very rapid pace. At some waves, the number of bullets on screen will overwhelm! This is what gives that sweaty palms experience.

I must mention the 'brain waves'. At these levels, there is a lot more humans than the average levels, enough to send a player drooling as he dreams of multiple 5000 points bonuses. Ah, but the crafty Jarvis put in a heck of a lot of brain enemies too - these evil creatures shoot many triangulating cruise missiles that are hard as heck to shoot and avoid; and if the Brains manage to catch a human, they can reprogram the victim to do their evil bidding - killing you!

A good player must know his priorities. Should he kill that last Brain/Enforcer or risk getting shot in the pants while rescuing the last human? Is that 5,000 points worth the risk? Or should you just move on to the next wave where pastures might be greener (Fat chance. Expect more robots and hostile projectiles than anything else)?

And that's how it is. Kill robots, rescue humans. Kill robots, rescue humans. Repeat ad infinitum. It's like a mantra. And it IS a mantra. The player will be sucked in, dying again and again but will continue to put in coins (or hit the 'coin-insert' in Mame) and trying ever one more time to beat his last score.

Robotron is a delicious twitch-shmup. Go play it.

Score 9.9/10
[ok, I'm taking off 0.1 point because I died again and I thought that last one was unfair =)]


The start of a quiet day. Not for long though. It just occured to me how poor these shots are. It's much better when playing though - psychedelic color cycling and stuff.

Yes, things are definitely picking up by the third round. Yes, I died while taking the pic, thank you very much.

The 'Brain Wave' that you'll get every five levels. Notice the humans being brainwashed... Brains must die!

Yippee! Only one brain left and so many humans to rescue! Drool... Points, points, points...

Tanks. Oh boy, and lots of them. Notice all of those bullets flying around. These babies bounce off the walls at high speed. Only the best billiard players who can calculate the trajectories of 30 balls at the same time will survive...

Scramble!! Those blue blue/grey enforcers will shoot semi-homing x's at the player, and these are a pain in the butt at high levels.

Ah yes, can you count them all? Hardly seems fair isn't it? I once went to wave 11, and it's worse. Never can get there ever again though.


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie