wonder sometimes, if the pages of gaming magazines aren't laced with
powerful suggestive drugs. Case in point: several years ago, I was flipping
through a back issue of Nintendo Power and found a preview for Rise
of the Robots, a game which shall live in infamy. Deep down, I knew
from the screenshots of the awkwardly-postured blue guy fighting a terminally
squatting red guy that the game would be as bad as their stances, probably
worse. The fact that they once printed a six-page article on Weapon
Lord, Namco's crappy conceptual 2-D version of Soul Edge (thank God
they managed to get the weapon-fighting formula down better in the Soul
fighters) and neglected Rise should have set off warning lights and
sirens. Hell-kite, it was released by ACCLAIM. But no, something inside
my naive teenage head told me that the game must surely have something
going for it. Why, it has ray-traced graphics and full 3-D FMV sequences!
The game's major claim, the aforementioned 'ray-traced graphics' basically
meant that they constructed 3-D models of every robot then exported
them for use as regular sprites. That's kind of like spending years
on an exquisite oil painting, having it hung up in a museum, then sealed
behind a brick wall and painted over so they can display one of those
post-modern paintings of a blue dot on a white canvas. Oh wait, the
soundtrack features a number by Brian May, former Queen guitarist. Unfortunately,
Mirage Studios decided on a peculiar tactic that involved having a psuedo
big-name musician create the worst theme in the entire game. His original
piece for Rise, "The Dark," consists of a long guitar chord
going down, then one going back up, then the same two played a little
shorter. If I could convert the sound to text, it'd probably best fit
as *BOM... nyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer.... *BOM... NYYYAAAeeeer.... *BOM....
and graphics aside, Rise of the Robots is a thoroughly depressing muck
through a game that has less gameplay value than Urban Champions, the
classic NES title from which all street fighters are ultimately derived.
Urban Champions had a pair of nearly identical guys who would fight
in front of one building until one of them falls offscreen or down a
manhole. Then the winner would walk down the street a little and fight
the same guy in front of the next store. There were only two moves,
a high and low punch. And yet UC manages to be more fun overall than
Rise. Horrible, unresponsive controls. Useless special moves. You can't
even use special moves without going out of your way to the options
menu and turning them on. The two-player mode seems more like a bug-testing
feature the programmers forgot to remove, since Player 1 is forced to
play as the same guy, and player two gets to choose from all of the
other robots. Yes, that's right, this game has a vs. mode that only
allows player two to select a character. Most of the enemy robots aren't
that special, though. The first couple are depressingly slow, weak cannon
fodder, and the next three and boss (who is hidden and therefore automatically
good) are the only robots who pose any sort of challenge to The Cyborg,
or for that matter, small mammals and the infirm elderly.
plot is fairly straightforward: It's boring and you don't care. But
regardless, a robot factory/city gets infected with a virus, causing
them to (duh) go insane and threaten the safety of the tiny fraction
of the population that is comprised of real, be-fleshed human beings.
The last hope for survival for these future people who obviously haven't
seen a sci-fi movie about insane computers?
Magnus, Robot Hunter
M.D Geist Megaman X Zero The Cyborg! Within
his blue frame is a human brain, which means he can enter the city without
getting infected. In spite of the fact the Cyborg getting infected with
the virus is apparently the entire premise behind the game's ill-gotten
sequel. Then, he must purge the virus from all the infected robots and
their Supervisor by engaging them in hand-to-hand combat. ("In
order minimize damage to the plant, the cyborg was to be unarmed,"
the instruction book rationalizes.) Of course, there are only six opponents
in the game, and the opening sequence claims there are upwards of 30,000
in the city, but maybe we can take this as a small hint of mercy on
Acclaim's part. At his disposal are not one, but two special moves.
One is a sluggish shoulder ram that puts you in the enemy's waiting
pincers, and the other is a complex maneuver where he leaps into the
air and slams his head into the enemy. Which might be a good move if
not for the fact that his distinguishing characteristic is, again, a
very squishy human brain jostling around inside his head.
though at the time of its release there were already about four Street
Fighter II titles out on the Super NES alone, and Mortal Kombat had
already been fairly well-established, don't cry for Rise of the Robots.
And don't waste your tears on the people who have already given up tiny
portions of their lives to the game; we're already dead, at least on
the inside. Learn well from our mistakes, young one. And for god's sake,
listen to all those stupid 'insane computer scenario' sci-fi movies.
Or at least keep them in mind when you design a mainframe that has the
ability to control eveything in your house right down to opening and