Retro Review: Robocop for the NES


Robocop for the NES has received many scathing reviews over the years.  Most reviewers hate the slow moving main character, the game mechanics, the difficulty, and so on.  However, I am here to give a different look on this oft-criticized game.

Robocop on the NES gives the best representation of the first movie in game form.

In the game, you play as the hero Robocop as he roams the streets of Detroit City, stopping crime as he sees.  And the streets are full of criminals who attack the cyborg on sight, unloading their weapons on him, attempting to take him on fist to fist, or even sending attack dogs after him!  Robocop is armed with a pistol, but he will refuse to use it until an enemy attempts to use a weapon against him.  To me, this is fitting as a police officer.  A cop would not use lethal force unless it was used against him, and in game it makes a lot of sense.

Robocop has two forms of life meters to pay attention to.  The first is a time meter, which is how much time he has to clear a stage.  The second is a power meter, which signifies how much damage he can take before failing.  Again, this makes sense in game, as the time meter signifies how much battery power his system is using before he is required to recharge, and power also makes sense for damage taken.

The player can only move left or right, or ascend using stairs,  He has no jumping ability in the game.  Again, this makes sense, as Robocop isn’t exactly the most nimble character in the movies.  One would expect a human body encased in armor and cybernetic parts to not make jumps.  The game also gets criticized because certain players have trouble using stairs to ascend.  I honestly don’t have this issue, and have no problem figuring out the proper angle for Robocop to ascend a stairwell.

The game very loosely follows the events of the movie, with Robocop fighting crime in the streets, saving the mayor from being murdered, taking down a criminal ridden factory, raiding the OCP offices, and finally facing the criminal lords in what looks to be an abandoned construction area.  One of the shortcomings to the game is that it is quite short.  An experienced player will be able to go from the startup screen to final credits in around an hour to an hour and a half.  That being said, the game has a high degree of difficulty, with some stages having a very tight time limit.  This is helped by being to pick up more powerful weapons (but with limited ammunition) along with Time and Power extensions scattered through a level (some of which are required to beat said level).

The game is actually quite fun to play when keeping in mind the original movie and characters, and is only considered not as fun when taken on its own.  With the limitations that Robocop has in the film, this game does a great job of staying true to the core mechanics of the character.  While many critics claim Robocop on the NES was one of the worst things with the Robocop license, I disagree, and present the claim that the worst thing Robocop was ever in was professional wrestling.

 

Oh, don’t believe me?

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