Robotica (Saturn) review
"For a first-generation Saturn title, Robotica started out quite promising with its cool intro. Hell, it wasn't very grainy and in full screen! As scenes of three robots, named Laocorns, heading towards a fortress, which was attached to an asteroid, and hovering over Earth, were being shown, a narrator was explaining the story. In a nutshell, the World Silent Security Service has been monitoring every single thing that has happened on Earth for the past 8..."
For a first-generation Saturn title, Robotica started out quite promising with its cool intro. Hell, it wasn't very grainy and in full screen! As scenes of three robots, named Laocorns, heading towards a fortress, which was attached to an asteroid, and hovering over Earth, were being shown, a narrator was explaining the story. In a nutshell, the World Silent Security Service has been monitoring every single thing that has happened on Earth for the past 800 years, with the help of the space fortress, Deadalus, and a "revolutionary faction", Robotica, wants to put an end to that. The intro comes to its conclusion with the three Laocorns attempting to gain access to the fortress, but unfortunately, only one manages to get past its outer defenses. At that point, the intro ended, and I was greeted with one of the most basic title screens ever: a black background with the game's title in front of it. After staring at it for 10 seconds, hoping that, maybe, a demo would eventually play, I was ready to hit the start button.
Then I noticed something at the lower right corner of the screen. It was the game designer's name.
At first, it didn't hit me. Then I started having quick flashbacks of two Sega Genesis games. Two strategy games that I remember playing, which involved Rome.
Oh, that Micronet... Responsible for making two of the worst Sega Genesis titles I had the misfortune of playing. Obviously, I was worried about Robotica at this point, but I pressed forward. I mean, come on, there's killer robots in this game! They can't possibly mess that up.
Upon being literally dropped into this level out of thin air, my first impression was that this didn't seem so bad. Then I started moving. Started moving very slowly. It felt like I was just thrown into an invisible ocean. At first, I thought it was just the Laocorn naturally moving slow. Then I walked up to a wall, and noticed a sudden burst in speed. Considering that the screen was dark ten feet in front of my robot, inside the room I appeared in, this was mind-blowing. However, I was willing to put aside this shortcoming for the time-being, and started roaming the cold, gray, lifeless corridors in search for the gate key, which allowed me access to the next floor.
Of course, Deadalus wasn't taking my one robot invasion lying down, and had its own group of robotic killers waiting for me, usually inside closed rooms. Even though the doors were closed when I approach these rooms, these machines had this annoying habit of gravitating towards my direction before I even reached them. So, by the time I normally arrive at a door, the two to three robots inside would be waiting on the other end, as shown on my radar. What's worse is how they're already shooting, so there's the high likelihood of being hit by a flying bullet when I open doors. Yeah, combat is a mess before it even starts. Combat continues to be a mess when it actually happens. There's no cursor. This is a first-person shooter. This is a first-person shooter with no cursor. I'm constantly missing my enemies by inches while dodging their shots at the same time. Ammo's being wasted. The only other option is to stand absolutely still, in front of them, and shoot while they hit me... My Laocorn also rotates annoyingly slow, so if something is behind me, it'll take at least three seconds to face it.
By the time I left the floor, I was actually starting to get a headache.
After coming to the horrible realization that I'm going to be walking through lifeless corridor after lifeless corridor, and constantly entering rooms with robots, in search for gate keys that allow me access to other floors, I considered giving up. This was about 15 minutes into Robotica, too. I figured I might as well finish the floor I'm on now first, and when I did, I was suddenly and unpleasantly treated to a closeup of a crazy bald man's wide-opened eye. It's never implied just who the hell this guy was. It could be someone inside of Deadalus, trying to control the situation, or it could be the person piloting my machine. Or it could just be a crazy bald man who likes to randomly appear in video games...
While the crazy bald man was indeed disturbing, and may appear in one of my nightmares in the near future, I put that all aside when I noticed I was dropped into a different environment!
The room was dark, save for a flickering light here and there, and before I could do anything, text appeared in the middle of the screen telling me that, if I wanted to see, I had to search for a computer to turn on the lights. I didn't want to stumble through the entire floor in the dark, of course, so I went on to stumble through half the floor in the dark. Some armor was lost, lots of ammo was wasted, but I eventually found the computer by luck, turned on the lights, and... yeah. I was back to my usual sights of being able to see ten feet ahead of me, except, instead of being surrounded by corridors of gray, it was corridors of dark brown.
I'm starting to run low on armor, and I'm trying my best to not waste ammo, but the upgrades to my vulcan cannon, which forces five or six shots out every time I fire, wasn't helping. Things got worse when, not even five minutes into this floor, I'm suddenly warned that bug sweepers were released. Great, it's bad enough I have to deal with the problems I'm already facing, but now Deadalus sends pest control after my ass? And thank you for giving them the ability to move through doors and walls.
I've drained all my ammo two floors ago, my armor is at 20%, and the only thing that's been keeping me alive is my left-handed, robotic fist. It's nice to know that I'm still able to act like a complete badass even with all these problems and flaws holding me down.
At this point, I've witnessed the crazy bald man again, been kindly dropped into this level on top of an electric floor, and had just about enough of Robotica. It's been a little over an hour since I first step foot on Floor 01, and nothing has really changed since. I came to the conclusion that this was a horribly repetitive and flawed Japanese, first-person shooter/dungeon crawler, and I don't think playing the remaining levels of this 30-floor fortress (had to look that up) will change my mind. I know this game doesn't have the ability to save or use passwords, forcing me to start from the very beginning when I turn on my Saturn the next time, but whatever, I'm tired. So, I stepped back on the electric floor, saw my Laocorn's armor drain to 0%, and then watched a cutscene of it being destroyed.
Afterwards, I was asked if I wanted to continue or exit. Curious, I continued to see what would happen.
My machine was placed back on Floor 12, with armor at 100%, and with all my weapons fully replenished.
Good job, Micronet, you've done it again.
Featured community review by pickhut (March 24, 2009)
Honestly don't want remakes of any of the terrible Alex Kidd sequels unless they're made DRASTICALLY better. Can you imagine a good High-Tech World or Enchanted Castle?
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