Robo Army (Arcade) review
"In Robo Army's quest to add some variety to the robots you'll be beating up, it ends up creating pretty funny designs. As you guide your half man, half machine avatar (or all machine, if you're the second player) through a crippling city, you'll be cutting mechanical soldiers in half with one fist and avoiding land mines littered all over the streets. Eventually, you'll reach the end of the stage, where you'll go up against the boss, who takes the form of a walking, green car. Stay..."
In Robo Army's quest to add some variety to the robots you'll be beating up, it ends up creating pretty funny designs. As you guide your half man, half machine avatar (or all machine, if you're the second player) through a crippling city, you'll be cutting mechanical soldiers in half with one fist and avoiding land mines littered all over the streets. Eventually, you'll reach the end of the stage, where you'll go up against the boss, who takes the form of a walking, green car. Stay too close to it, and you'll find yourself in an uncomfortable position as the car tries to gobble you up. Further into RA, you'll run into the most pointless design in the game: floating robots that shoot lasers. What's wrong with that, you say? It consists of a head and an upper torso... that has breasts. You can also temporarily transform into a pink buggy.
Despite the silliness with some of the designs, it's still cool of the developers to try and make an assortment of robots. They could have just made a bunch of bland killing machines, but they went ahead and made birds, gorillas, dogs, scuba divers, a somewhat flamboyant police officer, and jet skiers. It gives RA an interesting look to it, when it could easily have been a pretty cold beat'em up. Unfortunately, they didn't put the variety to much use, because the typical robot soldiers still dominate the playing field with their multicolored uniforms. It's too bad, because RA's "look" is the best thing the game has going for it.
It tries to be diverse with its gameplay, but it doesn't try hard enough. Right below your health meter, you'll have five slots, which is already filled when you first start the game. Each slot consists of a special attack, and you can perform them by hitting the C button. They decrease in strength the more slots you use up, so you gotta know when to unleash them. The obvious time would be during boss fights. They're a nuisance to use, however, because they're not the type of special attacks that damage everyone on screen. You'll have to align yourself on the same plain the enemy is on for it to take effect, but it's annoying to do, because if you're even slightly off, you can miss them completely. There's also two segments in the game where you'll climb down two sets of ropes while fending off attacks coming from everywhere. It's a nice change of pace, but they could have done more with it, like add a big, mechanical robot boss into the fray. And then there's that pink buggy I mentioned earlier. Again, another missed opportunity, since you can only use it for a few seconds. They could have dedicated a whole level to that vehicle.
Who cares, right? As long as you get to beat up an army of robots, everything is right in the world. Sadly, even this part of the game has its flaws. It's a real simple beat'em up, but with the set amount of problems it has, it becomes tiresome to play. The first problem you'll notice is that your health meter has five bars inside it, and you lose one every time you get hit. Yeah, it's real easy to die in this title. What makes this more frustrating is how cheap the enemies can be. The normal soldiers have this attack that they randomly use where they run from one side of the screen to the other. While they use the attack, they are invulnerable to any assault from your player; those bastards won't stop no matter what you do. And in later stages, you'll lose two bars instead of one from a lot of enemies, amping up the frustration. Oh, and you know how you usually have to walk up or down towards a foe in order to get a solid combo in? It's next to impossible to perform here. Typically, in other games, they'll just slowly back away when you do this, but in RA, they dash back. Because of this, you'll have to resort to jump kicking your opponents, or, the even riskier "tactic" of just walking towards them in hopes of not getting hit.
By the time you reach the middle part of the game, you're on autopilot. You've been through the same thing over and over again, making you numb towards the gameplay once you reach the fourth stage. You won't be missing much anyway if you keep going, it just keeps going downhill. You know what the last stage consist of? A boss rush. Ack. Robo Army could have been a fun, simple beat'em up, but it couldn't even get that right...
Community review by pickhut (September 26, 2008)
Alternative tagline: Hit the Road, Jack.
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