One of my highest collecting priorities these days is tracking down all the games I remember spending the most time with when I was younger. What this means is that although certainly classic games like Super Mario Bros. 3
or A Link To The Past
are high on that list, they also rub elbows with games that another collector may have never played -- or even thought twice about playing. Friends, I present you with one such game: Robocop
Released in 1990 and developed by Ocean, Robocop
was based on the ultra-violent film classic of the same name. Due mainly to the limitations of the Game Boy hardware, the game isn't nearly as blood-soaked as the film, but it is a surprisingly competent release which is saying a lot for a movie-licensed 8-bit game.
The game is mainly a side-scroller in which you patrol the mean streets of Detroit. There are a load of scumbags out there looking to take you down, and for an incredibly strong cyborg you can die pretty easily. And unfortunately the controls can feel a bit clunky. For instance when you duck down, you have to manually push Up to stand up again. However, this and the rather limited height of Robocop's jumps actually help to make him feel a bit more robotic and heavy. Perhaps this was unintended, or perhaps it was brilliant design. Either way, it works in a strange way.
What's really interesting about the game are the mid-levels. Each one offers some kind of change-of-pace to the usual shoot-everything side-scrolling levels. For instance, you may find yourself reconstructing the face of a wanted criminal via the police computer systems. Or maybe you'll be using a scope to disrupt a hostage situation in the first-person perspective. There's definitely a lot of variety to the level layouts. And in no shocking surprise for many early Game Boy releases, Robocop
gets really hard really quickly. Though there are only ten levels total, I've never beat the game myself. And yet, the difficulty never really stops it from being fun either.
There are a surprising number of Game Boy sequels including a crossover with the Terminator, and even eventual Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance releases. But I can't speak about any of them from experience. All I can say is that either nostalgia has skewed things way out of perspective, or Robocop
is one hell of a fun game.