Retro Review: Robocop versus The Terminator
Robocop versus The Terminator
Platform: Sega Megadrive
Publisher: Virgin Interactive
Developer: Virgin Interactive
Feverish fanboys have often debated which of their favourite characters would win in a fight; Freddy vs Jason, Alien vs Predator, we’ve all done it at some point in our lives. The upcoming movie version of Batman vs Superman shows us that mixing successful or popular franchises isn’t going away anytime soon.
Robocop versus The Terminator on Sega Megadrive takes two of the most iconic characters from movie history and pits them against each other. From what I understand the story is based on the Dark Horse comics written by Frank Miller, but being completely honest I’m still not sure what the hell it’s all about. It has something to do with Cyberdyne Systems modelling Skynet on Robocop’s neural network which then inadvertently makes Skynet self aware starting the war against humanity. Lets just say it’s a good excuse to blow stuff up!
The action takes place as a side scrolling shooter very similar to the 1988 arcade game Robocop, the main difference being that you can now climb ladders and shimmy across pipes and girders.
You start off with Robocop’s classic pistol and there are a good range of weapons to aid you in your fight. My favourites are the flame thrower which is more like a shotgun as it has a fairly devastating spread shot and the homing missile gun which turns you into an unstoppable killing machine. You can hold two weapons at a time but be prepared to lose one if you die.
As you make your way across the levels there are a nice variety of enemies usually accompanied by a boss battle with old favourites like ED-209 and Robocop 2. I like that the Terminators start off looking like Arnie but the more you shoot them more of their metallic skeleton is revealed. A nice reference to the movie is that you can find jars of baby food to give you extra health.
One of the things I remember about this game is that there was some controversy about how violent and bloody it was as human enemies explode into a puddle of blood when shot. In fact the Megadrive version of the game was bestowed the (dis)honourable award for the bloodiest game of 1993 by Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine. By todays standards this is extremely tame and to be honest I thought it was fairly tame back then.
The graphics are nicely detailed with bits of paper blowing across the levels and all the character models looking like they should. Bad guys wield the famous Cobra Assault Cannon from the original Robocop movie which is a really nice touch. If you leave the controller for a few seconds there is an excellent animation of Robocop’s leg holster opening up and him spinning and holstering his gun. This is one of the things I used to love about games when I was younger. I’d always experiment to find out if the people working on them had put any extra animations or easter eggs in for us to discover.
The music and sound is decent if a little repetitive with the same tune being used on multiple levels. However it does have an industrial mechanical style which suits the tone of the game. There is also some sampled speech with ED-209s growl and Robocop’s iconic pistol sounding great.
The game is fairly short featuring 10 levels based on the two movies. One gripe I have is that it can be very tedious and difficult if you only have your pistol when fighting some of the later bosses. You do very little damage and will die over and over again as you slowly whittle down the bosses health. In fact the difficulty ramps up considerably towards the end of the game meaning you will die in quick succession.
Graphics – The animation of the various characters and particularly Robocop look great. The gore effects are tame but seeing enemies explode into a bloody puddle is fun nonetheless. 7
Sound – The mechanical and industrial sounding music captures the tone of the movies. The sound effects and sampled speech are also generally excellent. 6
Playability – The game is simple old school fun with the 10 levels of mayhem and destruction lasting just the right length without becoming too repetitive. The later levels can be frustratingly difficult. 6
Re-Playability – Robocop versus The Terminator is still a fun game to play and the makers have captured the spirit of those movies. 7
Overall – Not a classic side scrolling shooter but a good use of the movie licence. The game has the characters, weapons, violence and enough references to make you fondly remember the original films. 7
Review by Chris (co-host of 60 Minutes With and The Same Coin)