When Rise Of The Robots Was released it was the only beat 'em up on the pc of any consequence whatsoever. It wasn't that it was particularly fantastic, it was just that at the time if you wanted to give anything a good leathering it was the only thing available. Unfortunately though, soon after it was released the pc games market woke up a bit and we suddenly found ourselves inundated with conversions of countless arcade classics which were more than acceptable; in a very short space of time poor old Rise ended up looking like a very naff game indeed. It sold by the bucketload (god knows how), but has been receiving a ritual kicking from just about everyone ever since.
A sequel had always been on the cards, and after a major shake-up in the development team and a drastic rethink on what makes a good beat 'em up, Mirage soon started work on Rise 2.
A new beginning
By looking at what lots of other beat 'em ups had done particularly well, the new Rise team seem to have managed to plagiarise just about every well known game on the planet. Whereas the original was totally lacking in oomph, Rise 2 has the projectile weapons of Street Fighter, the death moves (which they've called Terminations) of Mortal Kombat, and the super-combo moves of Nintendo's Killer Instinct; it even has 'Progressional Moves' which allow you to build up new, super-special attacks by performing the normal boring ones a number of times, thus proving that you pretty much know what you are doing. Obviously you will need to have the dexterity of a double-jointed octopus to pull off some of the more ludicrous ones, but as far as features go, this has to prove that what we have here is er, almost everything.
In addition to the moves though, the game features all of the secret stuff that made many of the beat 'em ups on the snes so popular. It's weird actually - the more you learn about Rise 2 the more it comes across as almost a textbook example of 'what the kids want'. There are hordes of characters, as well as secret warriors for you to find - an extra ten. in fact. On top of this there are bonus levels and even bits of interactive scenery where bizarre objects fly across the screen and blow up in your face. So if it's got all of this fab stuff, why is there a huge 'but' looming around the corner? It may sound absolutely lovely, and let's face it, those graphics are certainly better than ever, but all is not well...
A game can boast all the features in the world and still suffer in the gameplay department. The beat 'em up genre as a whole is becoming an increasingly crowded area, and when the shit comes down the only thing that anyone cares about is whether or not it has the ability to get you hooked.
Mortal Kombat managed it, Gametek's Super Street Fighter II managed it - but above all FX Fighter proved that the pc could have its very own classic fighting game. When you pitch Rise 2 against this lot. it fares pretty well against the first two. but Jez San's classic 3D beat 'em up really has the edge.
It's all down to the way the thing makes you 'feel', I suppose. The sign of a really good beat 'em up is when someone is watching over your shoulder and says, "Christ, that must've bloody hurt'" But Rise - 2 tails to do this for two reasons. Firstly, despite all of the special moves and fancy footwork that the characters boast, you never I feel that a punch or kick is actually connecting -and this, after all. is a vital element in games of this genre. Secondly, who really cares if you give a robot gorilla with a rocket launcher up his arse a good clobbering? Thumping robots lacks the 'human' element that beat 'em ups rely on - there's none of that essential Bruce Lee ingredient that makes you scream "Wow!".
At first glance. Rise 2 is considerably better than its predecessor, and after playing it for some time I have to conclude that it is vastly superior. Unfortunately though, it's only really what we had expected of the original, and when you compare it to everything else it tends to fade somewhat. If you have a strange anime related fascination with robots fighting, apart from the fact that you should be locked up. you'll probably like it - but otherwise it has to be said that there are better games out there.
The story to the first game was all pretty convoluted and, well, er, y'know, a bit crap. Robots were all going loopy because of some weird virus or other and you had to go in there, as a Cyborg, and kick the crap out of everyone.
After the first game made its way into its very own decidedly tedious novel (uniquely titled - wait for it - Rise Of The Robots: The Novel) it seems that the Mirage chaps have gone utterly loony with the story to the sequel.
This time, it seems that the Cyborg (whose name was Coton, apparently !?!?) actually failed in his pugilistic mission and the Supervisor ended up capturing him and downloading bits of his human brain to feed into her robot warriors. As a result, they're now all much more intelligent and have all developed unique personalities. Ho-hum.
To combat this - and this is the clever bit - the Electrocorp chaps have developed another virus. An 'Anarchy Virus'. Ooh. Freshly infected with this new amazing quirk of computer technology all of the worker robots are now thinking independently of the evil supervisor. As a result -quelle surprise - they're now beating the shit out of one another. Of course, as you would expect, this is where you come in.
It seems that Coton is actually still alive (yawny-yawny), despite his body being destroyed, and he now appears to have the ability to move his psyche into any robot that he chooses. Hence - here comes another clever bit - he can now fight as any of the robots, thus allowing you to control any of the fighters in the game. Blimey! How incredibly ingenious!
Well, after all that I think I'm going to have a little lie down now.
Download SlamTilt Resurrection
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Mirage recently announced that it is currently working on a sequel to the best looking beat 'em up to reach the pc. Rise of the Robots. Imaginatively titled Rise 2: Resurrection, it will feature the same stunning visuals; fully-animated, parallax-scrolling backgrounds; 18 new, perfectly rendered pugilists; a cornucopia of new moves (including a much needed jump over your opponent facility) and a versus mode where you can play any robot off against another, as well as grappling, weapons and missiles.
Hopefully, what all these much needed changes will add up to is gameplay by the bucket load (which the original severely lacked) and a soundtrack by legendary axe-man Brian "Bubble-head" May, including the track "Cyborg" (again, which was also originally promised to accompany the first release, but was omitted). The sequel will also feature amazin' cut scenes a-plenty and will be promoted by an ad campaign bigger than ever.
There's also already talk of a Rise 3D in the offing. And although not planned for release until much later next year, it is said that it might just be not too unlike a texture-mapped, polygoned Virtua Fighter - purportedly, with knobs on!
Developer 21st Century has made a decent living from its endless run of pinball tables, and the two on offer here are perfectly adequate. Decent ball physics and the usual array of options, including multiball and several ridiculous sub-games (like the 'splat the bug' game which takes a whole minute to play through) lift the game out of the mire, but only just.
You can choose from three different table views, but none of them can actually disguise the fact that the tables are fairly uninspiring. After about ten minutes on each we were seriously pining for a pint, a pocketful of ten pence pieces and a solid table like the classic White Waters.
Still, at only $19.99 for both tables you're getting reasonable value for money here. If you're looking for a game that can relieve office boredom for ten to twenty minutes then you're reading the right review. We'll stick to Quake III, though.