Robotron 64

a game by Player 1

Platform: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64

Genre: Action

Sorry can't slow down playing Robotron 64 has boosted reflex speed way past normal human levels fire fire fire fire surrounded by enemies no respite run around shooting everything like maniac rescue last human family from evil machines 200+ levels bonus I stages power-up weapons wave after f wave of robots attacking no mercy no time to think act on reflex really really need to slow brain down before it explodes get coffee drink it caffeine hit reduces my brainwave patterns to a more tolerable level, meaning that I can finally start to introduce little things like punctuation and grammar into my sentences. Phew. Is that steam coming out of my ears?

Zap Zap Die Blammo

Robotron 64 has been a game a long time in coming - its original release date was scheduled for around September last year, but for various reasons it didn't appear when planned. Not the least of these reasons was the original publisher's decision to scrap the game! Midway, who were originally going to unleash Robotron 64 on the world, for some reason got cold feet at the last minute and kicked the game into touch, leaving developers Player 1 rather peeved. Luckily for them, and indeed us, new boys Crave Entertainment stepped into play and took over.

Robotron 2084, the distant ancestor of Robotron 64, is arguably the greatest shoot-'em-up of all time, a title it frequently fights over with Defender. Interestingly enough, both games were designed by the same man, Williams Eugene jarvis. Unfortunately, the only things he's done recently have been Cruis'n USA and its scarcely more impressive sequel, so greatness obviously doesn't last forever. What made Robotron so unstoppably playable was its sheer relentlessness - faced with a screen full of deadly robots, you either killed them or they killed you, and because of the speed at which everything moved you didn't have any opportunity to work out clever attack strategies or any of the smart-arse stuff that players do today. Nope, you just shoot 'em.

Attempts to "update" classic arcade games haven't always worked terribly well, as the programmers become obsessed with adding in modern features like bosses or power-ups that don't actually benefit the gameplay. Super Dropzone and Defender 2000 are but two examples that jump to mind. Sensibly, Robotron 64 doesn't mess too much with the original formula. Weapons power-ups were an inevitable addition, but they only last for a few seconds, so you can't grab a weapon at the start of the level and mow down wave upon wave of robots with gleeful impunity. The number of different enemies you face has been dramatically increased as well, but again, even the new robots stay fairly close to those from the original arcade game.

Robot Roll Call

The year is 2084, and mankind, as it often does in sci-fi scenarios, has made the rather obvious error of creating a race of robots that are not only superior to humans, but nasty with it. The robotrons (for 'tis they) decide that the world would be a lot better off without us, and looking at the programme lineup on 17V of a Saturday it's hard to disagree. Only one man, the begoggled Eugene, has the power to destroy the robotrons, so he gets lumbered with saving the world.

Although the basic aim of the game is simple - destroy everything in sight - there is a secondary objective, to rescue the last surviving humans before the rampaging steel hordes get their metal mitts on them. Wandering mindlessly around each level are mums, dads, kids and doddering old grandads, who can be collected for bonus points. Most of the robots leave them alone, concentrating their attentions on you, but the various types of Hulk and Brain robots actively seek out the other humans. The Indestructible Hulks simply grind them up and stamp on the gooey remains, but the insidious Brains are able to take over the minds of any humans they catch, reprogramming them into kamikaze Progs who stuff their pockets full of TNT and run after you with the same determination as a beggar wanting spare change.

The original arcade game made use of two joysticks - one controlling movement, the other direction of fire - and Robotron 64 manages to duplicate this extremely intuitive method with aplomb. In default mode, either the d-pad or the analogue stick are used to move Eugene around the arenas, and the four С buttons let him fire in eight directions. For the first time, the smallness and closeness of the N64 extra fire buttons actually works to a game's advantage. Just plonk your thumb over them and roll it around -millions die screaming with the minimum of effort, and even when you're faced with a Rourke's Drift charge of Grunts you still have a chance of blasting a hole through the heart of the mob and making an exit.

The other control method actually mimics the two-stick approach of the arcade game, requiring two controllers - use the analogue sticks to move and shoot in any direction. Oddly, this is slightly less effective than the default control method, because it takes just that little bit more work to move the stick than it does to use the С buttons. Sitting there with a pad in each hand also makes you look a bit of a pratt!

The Fast Show

Speed is where Robotron 64 gets its licks in. Unlike the earlier PlayStation conversion, which suffered from massive slowdown and annoying waits between levels as new data was loaded, the N64 game doesn't pause for a moment even when dozens of new enemies teleport onto the screen at once. Just like its arcade progenitor, when you're playing you have to rely entirely upon reflexes to clear each wave, because the robots keep coming at you relentlessly. If you pause for a second to think about your tactical situation, you'll die horribly, the screen zooming in for a brief shot of your slayer dancing a jig over your still-twitching corpse.

One major difference between Robotrons 64 and 2084 is the difficulty level. Although they seem to play in an identical manner, Robotron 64 is a lot easier. You could consider yourself some kind of hyped-up super-player if you could get past the twentieth level in the arcades (most people tended to peg out shortly after the tanks made their debut), but on the N64 it's possibly to carve your way well towards the level 100 mark right from the off. This doesn't change the fact that Robotron 64 is addictive in an old-fashioned mindless sort of way, but it does lower the challenge somewhat -at one point in my first game I had a stockpile of 37 extra lives! You can crank up the difficulty level, but the default setting really should offer more challenge to begin with.

This is a minor let-down - a bigger one is the annoying choice of viewing angles. You really need to be able to see the whole arena in order to spot the humans, which makes everything incredibly small. The alternative angles to this are pretty much useless - the so-called 'smart' camera blatantly isn't, the lowest angle makes the game impossible to play and the overhead view, which is the nearest to the arcade game, zooms in too close to the action so you can only see a small portion of the arena. It's a bit like watching Starship Troopers while looking down a toilet roll tube.

Despite these flaws, Robotron 64 still offers N64 gamers something they haven't been given to date - a balls-to-the-wall shooter with no annoying puzzles to distract players from the ceaseless destruction. Yeah, this is what videogames should be all about - indiscriminate carnage on a massive scale without a trace of cuteness, "nurturing and trading" or thought. In fact, I can feel my mind getting into Robotron 64 mode again so I'll go for a quick blast through the next 100 levels two controllers this time grab the power-ups destroy everything kill kill kill kill kill!

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Robotron 64 Downloads

Nintendo 64 Robotron 64 download

Crude-looking but throughly playable update of a classic arcade game. Don't be footed by the looks - give it a try if you like blasters.

reggie posted a review

An entertaining update of the classic arcade shoot-'em-up. but it's more than a little repetitive if you're not a committed retro fan.

reggie posted a review

Love It or hate it, Robotron 64 is here! (Personally, we love it.) And so are some cheats to make the whole thing a little easier...

The following codes should all be entered whilst on the Robotron game setup menu screen.

Level Select

Down, Up, С Left, Down, С Left, С Right, Down, С Right.

50 Lives

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, С Left, С Right, С Left, С Right.

Game Boy Mode

Up, Down, Right, С Left, Doyvn, Up, Left, С Right, Up, Down. The following codes need to be entered while playing the game.

Speed Up

During the game, Left, Left, Right, Right, С Up.

Shield

During the game, Down, Left, С Left, С Right.

Flame Thrower

During the game, Down, Right, Down, Right, С Right.

Gas Gun

During the game, Up, Down, С Right, С Left.

Four-Way Fire

During the game Down, Down, Up, С Right.

Three-Way Fire

During the game, Right, Right, С Left, С Down.

Two-Way Fire

During the game, Up, С Up, Up, С Up.

Extra lives

Enter the following passwords to start the game with no lives.

Easy difficulty level: BSBBBBTJBB Normal difficulty level: BCBBLBTJBB Insane difficulty level: BFBBBCTJBB

Passwords:

  1. Level 90: CSSRQQHLRH
  2. Level 98: DGQDQQLLHJ
  3. Level 99: DNKFQGLLJJ
  4. Level 100: DDJGQGJLLJ
  5. Level 101: DLRHQQDLMJ
  6. Level 102: DBBjQLDLNS
  7. Level 103: DNMJQGFLPS
  8. Level 104: DNTJQLCLQJ
  9. Level 105: DGBKQLCLRJ

Access Final Level

Enter BJTCNGLFCR as a password.

reggie posted a review
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