lauantai 5. helmikuuta 2011

REVIEW - RoboCop 2 (1990)

Genre(s): Action
Released: 1990
Available on: Amiga, ARC, Atari ST, C64, GB, NES, PC, ZX
Developer(s): Special FX, Ocean Software, Data East, Painting by Numbers
Publisher(s): Ocean Software, Data East
Players: 1-2

At a time I considered special effects, reckless action and good punchlines to be the most important traits of a movie instead of a good, dramatic plot and great character development, I actually thought RoboCop 2 was better than the first film. Directed by Irvin "The Empire Strikes Back" Kershner (R.I.P.) and written by the legendary Frank "Sin City" Miller, RoboCop 2 is still a good sequel to the sci-fi action classic, but in time, it has become more of a good, moderately entertaining clip packed with action and humour instead of a real milestone in its primary genre. What about the game then? The first RoboCop video game for the NES wasn't entirely bad on the usual standards of a movie license, and unlike most movie sequels, most video game sequels are better than their predecessors. RoboCop 2 is an exception. To be frank, it's like some sort of shock therapy. I wouldn't be surprised if they trained field cops with this game. It is just that frustrating.

Directive 2: "Expect no rewards."

An ambitious psychologist working for the OCP begins the development of RoboCop 2, seeing OCP's last creation as both obsolete and a threat to her new project. At the same time, an insane drug dealer by the name of Cain is pushing a new experimental drug known as "nuke" on the streets of Detroit. Even with an enemy on the inside trying to ruin him every chance she gets, RoboCop must do his job.

I won't go over any major connections between the movie and the game this time, I'll start off with a wholly personal note. RoboCop 2 is by far one of the only NES games I had no knowledge about; I knew there was a home computer game at least for Amiga - I think I had a copy actually - but I thought they only made one RoboCop game for the NES. Well, that's how it should've been. The game starts off from a very awkward base, and continues to go all downhill. It's not exactly awful, but... hell, I don't know what to make of it! It's one of those "loss of words" games when it comes to playability.

Oooh, I fucking hate this shit.
The audiovisuals of the game step in right off the bat to inform us that the budget behind RoboCop 2 wasn't the biggest of its time. The graphics are pretty poor - even the first game had better graphics, although it wasn't exactly a glorious sight to behold either. It kind of reminds me of an old Commodore 64 game called Batman - The Caped Crusader, which was released around the same time as the first RoboCop game, and again, on the C64. This is the NES we're talking about here, the very same NES that had already hosted a wide array of audiovisually satisfying games. It's not the ugliest game ever, but the fat and flat RoboCop sprite tells stories. The low-frequency music is irritating, and the RoboCop theme song is as absent as it was from the movie.

In this game, you have two primary objectives in each stage: destroy nuke containers, at least two thirds of the amount which can be found in each stage, and arrest (in other words kill) a certain amount of criminals. Sounds all dandy, until you start the game. You see, multi-directional scrolling was one thing that was immediately eliminated from the fray when they began making this game. They also radically changed Murphy's movement and abilities - now he can jump, and he moves a little too fast. Traction is a thing you can only dream of while playing this game; Murphy slides after each step like he's part of some "RoboCop on Ice" show, and his jumps are a bitch to adjust, if not impossible. Nuke containers, criminals and hostages can be found on multiple floor levels - too bad you can pretty much only walk on one throughout the stage, since without multi-directional scrolling, you can't return to a barrel or crate that would help you get to an upper one, and without some conveniently placed holes in the floor, you can't return to a lower one. Oh, there are holes in the floor all right... virtually invisible ones. I'll tell you what: if you're on an upper level, just make the farthest jump possible whenever you see a pit or a water hazard on the ground level. About 99% of the time, a hole is placed right on top of one - of course it is. Just hope that your effort is enough, whether you make the jump or not is mostly based on none but sheer luck. Invisible walls are anywhere and everywhere.

The shooting range, where you'll spend most of
this game... until it's closed off.
The most ridiculous thing about the game is that you simply cannot "arrest" all the enemies you're supposed to. There are simply not enough of them! I already told you why you can't destroy all the nuke containers, either - although I didn't mention that some of them are in places you cannot even reach with this game's physics. Well, fully completing your objectives is not the point, or so it seems. If you somehow manage to arrest a sufficient amount of criminals and destroy an equally sufficient amount of nuke, OCP lets you proceed to the next stage, no problem. If not, you're taken to a shooting range to "re-calibrate", which basically means that they expect you to deliver better results next time around, after shooting up some cardboard villains and bags of nuke. You need to perform well here, if you're planning to advance in the game. Like in most rail shooters, you need to watch out for civilian cardboards, and shoot as many bad targets as possible, with the aid of some occasional power-ups. When the time limit expires or you run out of ammo, the stage ends and you are left eagerly waiting for your results. God damn it, I failed... so what's next, you ask? Well, you do the previous stage all over again, what else?!? Fuck this God damn piece of shit! It would've been OK if it was the first stage with its retarded leaps of good faith over the million water hazards, but it's the second stage in which there are these annoying moving platforms, bolts of lightning zapping up your ass and sending you flying, a million cogwheels with the same effect upon impact, and multiple glitches involving magically falling through floors to your death (they aren't glitches, actually... read on, and you'll know...). Gotta keep pushing on, though - let's do it again, then. *whispers* Fuck this shit...

OK, I still didn't pass the stage any better than the last time, but this time I aced the shooting range bit, so I was finally able to proceed to the next stage... which STILL takes place at the River Rouge! For the sake of a flying fuck, doesn't this God damn marina ever end? This third (although it feels like the thirtieth...) stage taking place at the River Rouge is pure hell. Not only do we have to suffer from the very basic problems of the game, but also hydraulic presses which were present in the last stage, but now they're a true one-hit-kill problem, these huge magnets that cling on to RoboCop and have the potential of unceremoniously dropping him into his death, and a rocket platform used for navigating through mazes lined with cogwheels. Now I figured out the magic behind falling through floors - it's the cogwheels, and the lightning bolts. They seem to just simply send you flying, but actually, they're OHK's also. Oh, great! I wondered when the game would become difficult, it has been so easy to make progress up until now! I swear, if I make it through this stage, I will not think softly about this game even if it gets better... yes, I passed the stage. Now give me my result - I absolutely KNOW I got everything. Well, the game doesn't. 52% of nuke destroyed, 99% of criminals arrested. Gee, thanks. That was fair, considering I did everything I possibly could. Just take me to the shooting range already. "You have failed. Return to your previous assignment." That's got to be a glitch - take me to the shooting range. No, I'm in the beginning of the previous stage. Power off.

Good God, Murphy, what happened to your face?
Is this game impossible to beat or what? It doesn't matter what or how well you do, it downright fucking punishes you for even the best possible execution of your assignments! Even if it was hard on both the thumbs and the brain, even if I fucking hate one-hit-kills, even if every single jump in this game was more or less a digitized prayer to God, I was almost starting to get used to the bad controls and enjoy myself until the game stole away the possibility of redeeming your "lackluster job" on the shooting range. The game's pretty much over after three stages, all that is remotely good about it at the very least. It's something, sure, but... FUCK! You know what all this means, don't you? It's a 4.0 for challenge, time for me to dish out some punishment!

RoboCop 2 might not be awful in the most vomit-spawning sense you can imagine, but it's got to be one of the most frustrating and unrewarding games I've ever played in my life. If it wasn't for the sheer impossibility of being able to kiss the ass of your superiors properly, I would probably return to it and never rest until I beat it to the motherfucking hilt, it's nearly that playable. But it is impossible! If someone has beaten this game or ever beaten any stage to be actually congratulated by the OCP for a job well done, please! Let me know! You deserve a holiday named after you!

Graphics : 5.7
Sound : 5.0
Playability : 4.8
Challenge : 4.0
Overall : 4.8


In the movie RoboCop 2, RoboCop visited an arcade hall in which most games were developed by Data East.

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