Data East. 1988.
“You have 20 seconds to comply!”
In the not too distant future…
O.C.P. Proudly presents.. Robocop! The publics replacement for an incapable police force. With no complaining about pensions, hours or pay, our product benefits all with three laws to serve and protect.
1.Protect the innocent,
2.Maintain the publics trust.
3.Uphold the law.
So then. Movie cross overs. This is a very dangerous area for video games, many have tried and many have failed. Here however, Data East released a licensed classic.
Robocop was indeed a fantastic movie back in the late twentieth century, but this isn’t under scrutiny here, it’s the game and what an absolute authentic offering this was.
Lets begin with the dynamic. A beat em’ up. Well, ok I’ll elaborate. Scrolling left to right and sometimes ascending to descending, the player takes on the role of Murphy, a human cyborg put back together by a multi billion dollar corporation after being shot to pieces on an emergency call.
Armed with a high velocity rapid-firing side arm and metal casing to protect vital remaining organs, the primary functions are to clean the streets of Detroit and to replace a lacking police force.
Upon entering the first call, the player walks into the urban sprawl with simple controls. Left,right, jump, crouch and jump with an angular onus on the firing mechanism to blow villains out of windows and off roof tops.
As with any city, the maze of gang owned housing areas and industrial complexes must be patrolled to flush out and “arrest” the perpetrators and this is no simple feat as the lack of police presence has caused an increase in criminal activity so caution and a certain… forceful attitude must be enforced.
Upon reaching further levels of the game, bonus rounds are entered. A firing range to squeeze off a few rounds to improve targeting and a face matching identification terminal to piece together data for the arrest of high-profile criminals, after which the hunt can ensue.
Collecting vital health, in the form of baby food, is a vital ingredient for the hydraulics and components fused with Murphy’s organs in peak physical condition. Keeping magazines and ammunition replenished is also a key component of the game to progress to further levels and reach other O.C.P. rogue products and weaponry, always attempting to battle the gangs and crime syndicates.
In a not too distant, corporate future with privatised military and security forces, the scene is an excellent parallel to an excellent film license and one which succeeds in all areas, which as mentioned before is and always has been a difficult task some how for game developers, earning its place the hall of arcade greats.
Review by Rob Joy.