A Look Back At Robocop For Original XboxPosted: January 19, 2014
In a recent update you might have seen I had bought two new games for the original Xbox; Robocop and Dungeon & Dragons: Heroes.
One of these games turned out to be a great buy, while the other one was a massive let down. Can you guess which was the winning game? Well if you where wishfully hoping it was Robocop, you’re bang out of luck. Seldom have I had the misfortune to play a game so full of promise, which instead manages to disappoint at every opportunity. I would even go as far as to say ET on the Atari 2600 is better, purely for the comic value. Yes that’s right, you heard me invoke the name of ET!
Produced by Titan Software, Robocop looks like it has the potential to be a good game, that is, until you boot up the Xbox and take one glance at the menu. The options are sparse and the music is, well, terrible. It reminds me of an old 90s dance tune. I would highly recommend anyone to select the inverted controls before attempting to play a level. I’d say it makes the game easier to play, but then I’d be giving the game more credit then it deserves.
The games comprises of eight levels, each made up of sections Robocop must traverse while attempting to complete his primary and secondary objectives. The levels in Robocop are huge, and I mean ridiculously so. It can take up an hour just to finish one level and that’s if you know what your doing. This might be bearable were it not for the fact the game does not have mid level saving. So the only way to save your progress is by finishing the whole level. It is almost unthinkable why the developers did this on a console fitted with a hard drive. Back in the days of the NES, Amiga it was common practice, but then levels did not take a mind-numbing 50 minutes to complete.
Now a word on the levels. As I’ve already stated, they are annoyingly extensive. They are also teeming with bad guys with terribly AI, who are armed to the teeth and take 6-8 shots to kill. Ammo is always in short supply, add to this the fact Robo’s weapons, of which he has 3-4, are pretty feeble. You’ll find yourself dying a frustrating number of times. Enemies also have the unfair advantage of shooting through walls and being able to shoot from jokingly long distances. Who needs a hunting rifle with night scope, when you can pop off shots with a pistol from half a mile away? As I mentioned the AI is laughable, play Halo or Ghost Recon and then play Robocop, you will feel the urge to laugh and probably cry. Another factor to the levels is the difficulty, which goes from passable on level one, to absurdly hard on level two, which also happens to be the biggest level of the entire game. You will be confronted with a limited supply of ammo which is dwarfed by the number of enemies that are scattered around the environment. Half of your time will be spent trying to find ammo or energy, yes Robocop is no longer impervious to bullets like in the movies. He now must replenish his energy at regular intervals. I can understand the logic behind this, I really can, an impervious Robo would be like running around with the cheat mode permanently switched on. However the balance of enemies vs supplies is tipped against the players favour even in easy mode. I played Robocop for several days to prepare for this review and I assure you it was a struggle. I found myself torn between my love for Robocop the character and wanting to find some good in the game and the fact the game sucks.
I’m not even sure it is worth covering the sound effects, which are terrible (big surprise!). You will be treated to some of the most cringe worthy one-liners. With Robocop uttering such unfamiliar phrases as “Oh yeah” and “Bullseye” the voice acting for Robocop is terrible. From what I gather it was done in house, with the developers lending their voices for several if not all the characters. Like the rest of the game, the sound is just appalling.
The graphics are sadly nothing to get excited about, resembling something that would look more at home on a Sony Playstation 2. For the original Xbox they are surprisingly bland, colourless and poor. Levels suffer with video glitches, flickering and characters becoming trapping inside walls. Robocop has several view modes, one of which is the almost completely useless thermal vision. In theory it gives you the ability to see enemies through walls, in practice is barely comes close to performing as intended. Half the time it will not show anything useful, leaving you to stumble across enemies.
Playing Robocop is an exercise in futility, which leaves you feeling annoyed, frustrated, and betrayed. Mostly because the box cover looks deceptively good, leading you to think the game will be as well, that is until your take it home and try playing it on your Xbox. Ten minutes in and the illusion evaporates faster than water on the pavement during a heat wave. This is one game to neglect from you collection. Playing it will result in the overwhelming desire to throw your controller at the television. So my advice would be to not play it, or buy a back up TV.