ZX Spectrum Games Robocop
Nice shooting son what's you're name?
Ocean Software once again created a movie tie in arcade game - and did so in style with the ZX Spectrum version of Robocop in December of 1988.
The game was also a popular choice in amusement arcades with the version by Data East eating plenty of 10p pieces.
Anyway, Robocop on the Speccy was a run and gun game which captured the spirit of the film pretty well. We are going to concentrate on the Spectrum 128 version which was quite superior to the standard 48K Spectrum version.
As soon as the game loaded you knew you were in for a treat. Sampled speech featuring the dulcet tones of Peter Weller saying 'Robocop' was followed by a haunting and well composed piece of music which highlighted the capabilities of the AY Sound Chip.
If I remember rightly the game was released at the same time as the movie was on VHS (Video tape!) - a nice piece of marketing.
In the game you (of course) play Robocop (rebuilt from the near dead officer Murphy in the excellent movie).
This arcade game began with RoboCop in a horizontally scrolling section, shooting snipers looking down on him from the windows of building, and eradicating kung fu kicking villains and chainsaw weilding nut-jobs.
You began the game with four lives and an energy level (Robo could take a fair amount of punishment) and the energy meter could be replenished by collecting baby food jars.
Ammunition was limited too but there were extra magazines lying around to use, as well as three special weapons powerups (such as 3-way firing bullets and 'super bullets'). If Robo expended all of his ammo then he could use his fists to fight with. If you're energy level reached zero then a life was lost and it was back to the start of the level.
While on patrol RoboCop is called to the scene of an assault where a woman was being held hostage. Now the game switched to a first-person perspective and you had to shoot the criminal without hitting the woman (just like in the movie). As on each section of the game there was a time limit and a life was lost if you exceeded it.
After that was completed it was back on patrol on the next level with bikers coming after you. Here you also encounter Emil (one of the guys that 'murdered' Murphy), hiding out at a petrol station (again based on the scene in the movie).
Now you had to go to the police stations photofit library to match up a picture (Emil was one of Clarence Boddikers gang). Eyes, ears, chin, nose and hairstyle had to be matched to the picture on the left which was not easy to accomplish in the time alloted.
Once Emil had been identified information was provided which lead RoboCop to a Drugs Factory (another horizontally scrolling section), and once you had completed it RoboCop learned the name of leader of the gang which killed him - Clarence Boddicker. (Clarence Boddicker must be one of the greatest movie villains of all time eh?).
Clarence was employed by an OCP executive - leading our Robo to the OCP headquarters tower. Here you had a showdown with the legendary ED209.
Overcoming Ed pitted you against more bad guys as you tryed to escape the tower in a horizontally and vertically scrolling section. If you managed to escape then it was on to the junkyard (where Murphy was 'killed'), for a confrontation with Clarence himself.
Killing him put you back at OCP where you had to rescue the president of the company who was being held hostage by the high ranking executive who employed Clarence (it was Dick Jones in the film.)
Well the movie was hugely popular and the game turned out to be too. Gamers marvelled at the haunting music, sampled speech, nicely animated characters and smooth scrolling backdrops. Robocop managed get the arcade action just right - it was difficult put perseverance paid off. The variety of levels added to the game (it wasn't just more scrolling levels with different graphics) and it was an instant classic game.
The test of time:
Playing this again brought back some memories for me - and you know what it's still pretty good. The developers obviously put some effort into coding this and it shows. It took me a few goes to get the hang of it again (as you'll see in the video - I'm not great!) but it's still pretty playable as a scrolling shooter.
Play Robocop again and uphold the law.
We recommend getting hold of the real Sinclair hardware but if not then download Robocop for a ZX Spectrum emulator. Alternatively you could try and play it online
Please see our other ZX Spectrum retro game reviews and programmer interviews - all links are listed in alphabetical order. Cheers guys.
GENRE: Arcade game
RELEASE DATE: End of 1988
RELEASED BY: Ocean
DEVELOPER(S): Mike Lamb and Dawn Drake
PRICE: £8.95 Cassette or £14.95 Disk - UK
Don't move creep... Robocop - a very fine arcade game:
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