- Machine: Game Boy;
What has happened to Detroit? In the old days, everyone understood the meaning of law and order. The lawmakers wrote the laws, and most people obeyed. The police were around to handle the criminals, those who chose to make their own rules. The average citizen knew whom to trust and whom to fear.
But these days, the local government can't even run the city or keep the streets safe. Admitting failure, the town leaders took bids from private companies who claimed they could restore safety to the city...for a price.
The job of running Detroit's police department went to Omni Consumer Products (OCP), a gigantic corporation involved in just about everything. The executives of OCP claimed to have a new kind of police officer. The big surprise came when everyone saw that OCP's breakthrough in police protection wasn't the product of an intensive new training program - it was the product of a laboratory experiment.
The scientists at OCP started with a man who was nearly dead.
OCP built him a new, mechanical body with an almost indestructible frame of reinforced titanium. He was outfitted with super bionic arms and legs that gave him great speed and strength. As a result, he was physically tougher than any patrolman who had ever walked a beat.
Then OCP went to work on his mind. Neurosurgeons wiped his memory clean, leaving it completely blank and fresh. They reprogrammed the supercop to follow strict rules and regulations of law enforcement.
OCP had lived up to its claims. Tests showed that this new breed of police officer could indeed out perform any regular cop around. He was the perfect creation. And he was called "Robocop".
Motown's Meanest Machine
Robocop first appeared on movie screens in 1988 and created an instant sensation. Since then, a second film has been released, as well as several Robocop videogames. Now, from Ocean of America, there's Robocop for the Game Boy.
Robocop sticks pretty closely to the story of the original movie. As Robocop, you begin the game by walking an exceedingly dangerous beat. Luckily, you're toting the Auto-9, a special-issue handgun that packs a mighty punch.
Stages 1 and 3 of the game take place on the mean streets of Detroit. The sidewalks are crowded with creeps, and snipers pop out of almost every window. The snipers are difficult to eliminate, partly because it takes two shots to kill them and partly because they can fire diagonally. You must carefully wait to avoid their line of fire before moving to the best firing position, which is almost directly beneath them.
Other kinds of street trash are also difficult to handle. For instance, one type of thug approaches you while swinging a club. If he connects, you'll lose a lot of life energy. Another creep walks up rather innocently, then tosses a bomb at you. This guy is unpredictable - you never know how far he'll toss his bomb, so you have to watch him closely each time he appears.
You can't avoid suffering at least some damage from all the gunplay going on. In fact, there are a few areas where you can be ambushed by so many enemies at once that it's possible to lose all your life energy in just a few seconds. Because of this, power-ups become very important. To find them, just look for the baby-food jars that appear from time to time.
In addition to the side-scrolling action, Robocop offers other scenes and perspectives. In stage 2, you attempt to free a hostage who's held by a desperate gunman. During these sequences, you see the crime scene from Robocop's view point. You'll find that the gunman will have to be shot a number of times before he'll go down and surrender his hostage.
If you get stuck, here's a clever way to "cheat": When you pause the game by pressing the Start button, you can still move the cross hairs to aim your gun. Then, when you press the Start button again to resume the game, your aim will be dead on your target. To get the most from this trick, repeatedly press the B button to fire your gun before resuming the game. That way you won't be giving the gunman any time at all to dodge your shots. Repeat this trick until your target is down.
After successfully patrolling the streets a second time in stage 3, you'll advance to stage 4's photo identification sequence. Not only does this level adapt an interesting scene from the movie, but it also gives you a brief opportunity to rest your weary trigger finger.
Your job here is to play mix-and-match with some different facial features recorded in police mug shots. The goal is to build a face that duplicates another face shown on the left side of the screen. It sounds considerably easier than it is. You have to pick the correct hair, chin, eyes, mouth, nose, and ears -- all within 40 seconds. Neither stage 2 nor stage 4 is terribly difficult, but it's important to complete them on your first try. If you fail, you have to start over again at the beginning of the preceding street-fighting level. In other words, if you can't assemble the photo I.D., you'll resume the tough street beat of stage 3; if you accidentally shoot the hostage in stage 2, you go back to the very beginning of the game.
However, if you make it through the first four stages, you'll move to the gang hideout in stage 5. The graphics have more of an industrial feel, but the action is fairly similar to what came before. Gang members appear on the hideout's different floors. You've got to move among the barrels and girders to blast the criminals before they hunt you down.
In stage 6, you enter the well-furnished office of OCP executive Dick Jones. But you haven't come for a friendly chat - you're there to arrest him.
Who's The Boss?
Since the Game Boy version of Robocop closely follows the movie, it's not surprising that the game will make more sense if you know what happened in the movie. To be specific, you need to understand the conspiracy operating within OCP. It reaches nearly to the top of the corporate ladder, and that's why you've shown up in Dick Jones's office.
Unfortunately, you won't succeed in arresting Jones. As any fan can tell you, Robocop was programmed to follow four basic directives. The first three relate to basic law enforcement ideals, such as serving the public and so forth. But the fourth directive is classified top secret, and for good reason. It was implanted in Robocop by Dick Jones, and it forbids you from arresting any OCP personnel.
Instead, you'll have to fight for your life against OCP's other secret weapon - a massive robot called ED-209. ED-209 can move and follow you while spitting out a rapid-fire spray of bullets. The best way to survive is to drop to one knee when your head is directly underneath ED-209's main gun. This should get you out of its potent line of fire.
In stage 7, you leave Jones's office and try to find an exit from OCP headquarters. Naturally, you wouldn't expect a giant corporation to lack security guards, so you can count on plenty of armed resistance. Unlike most security guards, however, these guys aren't content to merely throw you out of the building. They won't settle for anything less than your complete destruction.
Although you've already had worlds of shooting practice by this point in the game, stage 8 is a shooting gallery where you can brush up on your marksmanship. Small tank like vehicles roll toward you while stationary targets appear throughout the brick enclosure.
Stage 9, which takes place in a junkyard, returns to the side-scrolling action of stages 1, 3, 5, and 7. The backgrounds are different, but the action is similar. This level does offer something new, though - a special weapon called the Manta Gun. Other weapon power-ups are found throughout Robocop, but this one is by far the most valuable. When you fire the Manta Gun, it cleans out everything in its path. You'll definitely need some serious firepower in this stage, especially when you run into ED-209 for a second time.
We won't spoil the ending by revealing what happens in stage 10, but we will tell you that it, too, is true to the movie. If you've made it through the first nine levels, the tenth should be a cinch. Just remember what you learned in stage 2 and apply that knowledge here.
It's good that the game's designers separated the side-scrolling scenes in Robocop with stages that call for other skills. As a result, Robocop should appeal to fans of the blockbuster movie and to game players looking for full-tilt, gun-blazing action.
Take justice into your own hands as you become a law-enforcing cyborg!