Rise 2: Resurrection
Rise of the Robots looked great. C'mon, admit it... you may fed somewhat prejudiced against it for whatever reason, but if there was one area in which it excelled, it was the presentation. Fab cut-scenes, groovy sprites, wicked backdrops - it's just a shame that the gameplay was er... shite. Things (we hope) are going to be very different this time, though, and the original development team is currently beavering away in a small, dark hole in Cheshire to produce what it thinks will be the definitive robot beat 'em up.
Resurrection or re-hash?
The storyline that's behind Rise 2 has been very carefully worked out by the programmers, but to be honest, it's of little significance to the game.
After the total carnage of the original battle, tire Supervisor has now gone absolutely bonkers and is building new robots with which to try and take over the world. Unfortunately, due to the introduction of the ego-virus (the same virus that went on throughout the story of Rise 1) into the system, the robots are no longer Fighting for a common cause. Oh no now all that any of them care about is asserting their dominance by thumping the living daylights out of anything that moves.
Instead of playing the "lone-warrior" role like last time, Rise 2 sees you simply choosing a robot with which to fight and then going into battle. This is a far more traditional idea and is the first welcome addition to the game concept. And from what we've seen so far there is quite a number of improvements in the new game. Obviously a lot of these are things which really should have been in the original game but weren't. So, on the whole, it seems that Rise 2 is shaping up to be a far more "complete" game than its predecessor.
So what have we got now then? For starters there are now 12 basic characters as opposed to the original seven, and we're reliably informed that there are a further 36 (yes... 36!) hidden away in there too. Quite how you get to these extra characters is unclear as yet. but talking to Gary Leach, the senior programmer on the project, it was revealed that the bonus features in the game will mainly be "rewards" for gameplaying excellence. To be honest (again) we don't think Gary has actually made his mind up yet but further probing revealed that things would probably appear if you manage to move through all 1I opponents without losing a single bout. Tricky... but possible.
Aside from the ludicrous numbers of new robots, it would appear that all of the original characters have been spruced up somewhat with such things as extra bolt-on bits and obligatory go-faster stripes.
The Cyborg (the hero) seems to have undergone a series of collagen injections and now has the biggest thighs you have ever seen. The Loader has a new paint job and some serious looking hardware strapped to each shoulder, and Prime 8 (the one that looks like an ape, funnily enough) now has a huge, extremely vicious looking hydraulic ram thing attached to its arm.
It's not just new characters that make Rise 2 a bit better, though. Nope - the team has finally twigged that there were some fundamental problems with the original and has consequently fixed 'em. For a start, you can now jump over your opponent and fight him from the other side. It was pretty unbelievable thai you couldn't do this before, but hey... it's fixed now. Secondly, there are now oodles of special moves, which can be accessed using some seriously Street Fighlcr-ey joypad jiggery pokery. All the characters now have fireball/sonic boom-style weapons as well as all kinds of well 'ard throws, punches and psycho-weirdy moves. The pre-release blurb boasts of more than 20 special attacks for each character. Now that's a lot of finger-fumbling to come to terms with by anyone's standards.
Beyond this, however, many of the improvements are purely cosmetic. The backgrounds now feature some nice animated bits, the ground scrolls by in glorious parallax, there are loads of new cut-scenes and, tah-dah, it's got a soundtrack by Brian May. Yep, if you thought that the bits culled from Bri's Bari; to the Light album in Rise I were good, you'll go simply gooey over the original recordings that ol' curly-top has produced for this.
Is It enough?
I have to admit that I wasn't really expecting to be that impressed with Rise 2, but I can safely say that I was quite shocked by the early development code that the Mirage boys showed me. The graphics are significantly better this time round, the gameplay is infinitely superior (there are a few "borrowed" Street Fighter I and Mortal Kombat-type elements, which really make the whole thing work well), and the overall "feel" of the game seems to be much better than before.
The original game had the misfortune of being one of the first beat 'em ups of any significance on the pc and was quickly superseded by the "big guys" from the arcades. But having sat back and taken note of the way the market has moved, I think that when Rise 2 is completed (which should be in a couple of months time) it will be more than capable of holding its own against the likes of Mortal Kombat III and any other sprite-based beat 'em up that may be ported to cd-rom.
Download Rise 2: Resurrection
Egad! I'll go one-on-one with anybody who doubts my claim that Rise Of the Robots was one of the absolute worst fighting games to ever sully the cartridge ports of my 16-bit systems. Guess what? There's a sequel? I'm shuddering, but it seems as if Acclaim is trying its best to correct the sins of the past.
Rise 2: Resurrection finds the hero of the first Rise, Coton the Cyborg, in search of a new body so he can continue his fight against the villainous Supervisor at Electrocorp.Wow! You can actually choose different robots to fight as this time instead of being forced to fight as the lame silver default cyborg of the original! A landmark in game design! Jinkies! Yes, I'm being sarcastic, but what do I know? I only crticize these things for a living, mind you.There are 18 (count 'em) robots to choose from this time, and each robot has 15 base moves, four special moves and a "termination" move. Cool! Survival Research Laboratories:The Game! The graphics are "3-D" and the music has been provided once again by Brian May of Queen. Let's just hope it's good.
Acclaim must be some of the most confident people in the world, because the concept of releasing a sequel to the odious Rise of the Robots seemed to come from the mind of a nut. But surprisingly, Rise 2 is actually quite enjoyable.
Instead of the original's one selectable robot (That's right, one!), Rise 2 has 18 initially selectable robotic proxies, plus the promise of hidden ones.The 'bots themselves look great and have a cool variety of moves.You can even customize their colors! While it's not the most advanced battle simulator out there, Rise 2 is a worthy addition to the fighting game canon.
Graphics - 8
Sound/FX - 7
Gameplay - 7
Rating - 7