Wow, this is pretty damn good for a homebrewed game, a lot of effort went into this one, which I figured something
was up when I was going "why's it taking so long to LOAD?" the first time I unzipped it. No, it's not like it took even a minute to do so, but a lot of these games that I've played from my Retro Gamer mag cds are pretty small, and take no time at all to start up. So that should've been a hint as to how this game would turn out for me.
Before I get to the rest of my experience with Robocop 2D, though, lets go back to The Beginning, with the "explosive sci-fi" movie (as it says on the back of the box of my copy of it): it was definitely a hell of a genre-breaker of a movie, being sci-fi without being nerdy, but also being extremely gory at times with it's excessive violence and all, not to mention it's gang of thugs that are also connected to their own corrupt company that owns pretty much everything in the country (no, not Microsoft, unless they changed their name to OCP, which they probably will soon).
With a horrible crime spree going on in a future Detroit, and their police force about to go on strike, a subdivision of the company that literally owns the police (Omni Consumer Products, or OCP, as I mentioned, and it's sub-company is Security Concepts) creates RoboCop, a cyborg programmed with police procedures. The movie also had a wicked sense of humor (due to taking the "dumbing down of America" theme a bit far) and produced the mixed, not as good as the original (of course!) sequel of RoboCop 2, and then RoboCop 3 was better, but due to Orion being in bankruptcy and being delayed for months, it was a flop. There was also the short-lived tv series (one season), a made for cable movie (RoboCop: Prime Directives), and even a freaking CARTOON, of all things, among who knows what other RoboCop stuff will be made in the future as well.
So, back to the game: as I mentioned earlier, it took way longer to unzip (plus a new game has to load as well, once you have Robocop 2D installed) than most of the other games that came with the Retro Gamer cd that this is on, especially those that had graphics that looked like a junior high school kid's art project. Granted, I come from THE earliest console/portable gaming days of the Atari 2600 and the Microvision, respectively, so the graphics won't matter to me most of the time, but if the crappy gameplay matches the graphics...well, lets just say a lot of games didn't keep my interest for more than 20 minutes, maybe a couple of days, if they were lucky.
Well, Robocop 2D sure did, as it ended up staying on the hard drive, along with me playing it, for several weeks. Even though the side-scrolling/shooting theme has been done to death (Flashback for various consoles, Alien 3 for the Sega Genesis, The Terminator for the Sega CD, Rolling Thunder for the arcade and various consoles, etc., etc., etc.), not to mention I beat it several times as well, didn't deter me at all for a while; for some reason, I kept on going back to it several times.
For those of us who played the arcade game, parts will seem familiar enough, what with thugs hanging out of windows and shooting at you, and RoboCop's nemesis, the Ed-209, popping up for a showdown. (The author of this freeware gives credit to the arcade game, along with the P. C. and Amstrad versions, but I've never played those latter two.) You shoot thugs and all and collect various objects and all as you go along; pretty standard scrolling shooter territory there.
However, due to being based on the movie, there's a lot of really neat touches thrown in, like your upgrades being coins with the OCP logo on them; hah! (Not that I would know why thugs would juuuuuust happen to carry those around and drop them when RoboCop shoots them [the thugs, I mean], but...oh wait, thugs and the corrupt OCP, I think that answered my question. [And more on those in a minute...the coins, I mean.]) You've got several Ed-209 showdowns, soundclips taken directly from the movie (not only dialogue, but sound effects as well), video clips, the attempted rape scene (by the way, wasn't that scene GREAT? That guy got what he deserved! And plus the "future has a silver lining" of the new Delta City poster is in the background too!), the drug factory bust (which it's VERY fun to shoot all the drug vials and all! Kids, don't do drugs!), and...a graveyard? Oh, I get it, one of the headstones says Murphy (the lead character, before he's later turned into RoboCop) on it. Pretty neat!
Anyway, as I mentioned the OCP coins and upgrades and all, you get a few special power-ups and all, of course. The two different OCP coins include the "overclock" feature, which will slow everything down -- and give The Matrix "bullet time" look, which is really cool! -- while the other increases your chances of getting upgraded. Once you're 100% upgraded, RoboCop starts shooting double shots. So that's a good thing, although you won't get there until late in the game. (You also are equipped with a weapon that can shower down a bunch of fireballs in case you get to a stage where you get clobbered, but it's not available with every stage though [wish you could do a "stage select" with that one there, eh?].)
The graphics are also pretty good, looking like they came from a 16 bit gaming rig, like the Sega Genesis. Unfortunately, on the flip side, I would say the intercut video clips from the movie (which you can skip) are really grainy, but then, the computer I was using to run this game on was far below the required video memory to use for the game. So they might look a bit better for those who have enough video memory for it.
And the music is VERY closely copied from the movie; I know, because I have the soundtrack! (And probably the guy who made it does too!) There's nothing better than having the music suddenly swell up out of nowhere when you're playing, as it really adds to the feeling of power in the game, and the theme of the movie, especially when you're on your way to arrest Dick Jones, one of the lead bad guys in the movie. "Directive 4", my a**!
Unfortunately, there's a few stages that seem like you're too low on time to begin with; run out of time, you have to go through the whole blasted thing again. A couple of stages might also leave you stumped for a while, but then once you're able to get through them -- and the game -- it probably won't take you very long to play, and then beat it, as long as you're halfway decent at video games. And I don't get those voice clips either: a lot of the time, a sound effect will cut them short, and at other times, they're out of place, like RoboCop telling Ed-209 to "drop it!", when that's not when it was said in the movie (only dropping Ed will ever do is when you gun him down). And movie fans will probably be disappointed that there's no likeness of super bad guy, killer of over 30 cops, Clarence Boddicker in the game, either, but oh well.
Rating the familiar gaming territory with an 8 might seem a bit high, but this guy went to a bit of trouble with it. This is also better than some games I even saw for my GENESIS, for god's sake! So he gets bonus points there --especially for being a freeware game -- although it's kind of short.
You'll probably enjoy the game more, as long as you've seen the movie too.
And, Robocop 2D 2 is coming out soon too! It'll be RoboCop vs. the Terminator in this one! Whoo hoo!
(Note: although no big deal [except for the fact that I hate making mistakes] -- especially if no one noticed -- as far as I know, the movie was always known as RoboCop, yet for all the title screens and all for this game, it appears that the "cop" in "Robocop" isn't capitalized. So hence the capitalization discrepancy between when I was referring to the movie/character, and when I was referring to the game.) 8/10