Title : Atomic Robo-Kid
Publisher : Treco / UPL
Genre : Side-Scrolling Shooter / Action
Players : 1 Player
Release Date : 1990
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $5-$10
Why is that when humans create space outposts, they never last very long? They're either invaded by aliens, or in the case of Atmoic Robo-Kid, blasted by a massive dose of cosmic radiation. And we all know what happens when humans are exposed to radiation.
Just when you think it couldn't get worse for the poor souls of Terra-12, aliens have to invade. Basically, these aliens are now already kicking these mutated beings while they're already down. Talk about crappy luck. I sure as hell wouldn't want to live there, unless the rent is controlled, and they offer some government housing discount.
So what do you do when you have mutated lifeforms that were once human being slaughtered by aliens? You send in a robot kid to take care of it, that's what. But just take a moment and look at that box art...that's who we're playing as...a creepy little robot kid that looks like an elephant for some reason. Everyone with me so far? Did I lose anyone? Elephant Robots? Aliens? Mutants? We're all on the same page?
Good. Throw all that out the window. This is about side-scrolling shooters, and we don't need a half-assed story. We need to blow some stuff up. I've already played a few shooters for the genesis in my reviews, so let's see if this one does anything different to make it stand out from the crowd.
Right off the bat, you'll see this game is not really like the other shooters you may have played. Instead of constantly moving from left to right, you actually have the ability to pace yourself, as the screen only moves when your robotic avatar approaches the right side of the screen. There's also levels where you'll move up and down, and not only left and right. In a way, the game plays a bit like a cross between an action / platformer and a shooter. You can fly around the screen, and also walk around the ground, so it's kind of a twist. A welcome one at that, when you're sick and tired of playing the same old shooter.
You'll blast your way through a total of six stages, which may seem like a pretty small amount, but you can actually choose which stages you make your way through bringing the grand total to about 18. Let me explain that again. You'll go through a stage, then determine a sub-stage from a selection, and move on until you hit six stages where you'll hit the end game boss. In a way, this offers quite a bit of replay ability, as you'll want to discover what stages you're missing out on.
Besides the movement, Atomic Robo-Kid follows the traditional shooter formula. You'll collect power ups, upgrade your weapons, gain extra lives, and of course, kill everything on the screen. You'll get your standard upgrades such as spread shots, rapid fires, and gun enhancements which will assist you in your path of destruction.
As you progress through each act, you'll encounter a boss. The bosses are pretty simple, and you can really just spam them with whatever weapon upgrade you have available and take em out pretty quickly. It's pretty unfortunate, because I actually died more often from static enemies sending their missiles at me, than bosses. The bosses just don't have the AI that I've come to expect from shooters. They're as dumb as bricks.
Let me digress a bit, and talk about what makes the bosses so easy, and the regular enemies so hard. It's the straight up fact that there are so many damn enemies, and unfortunately you move so incredibly slow.
This game is a serious crawl. It's a pain in the arse when the projectiles being thrown at you move at least three-times faster than you do. The only reason you die in this game, is because you can't outrun your enemies onslaught and dodge them. It also doesn't help that most levels shove you in a confined space so you can barely move as it is.
The game is pretty to look at, and the music is very reminiscent of some Mega Man tunes, but those two perks are the only things that stand out for me in this game. Game play attempts to be different, but the execution just falls incredibly short. When I'm playing a shooter, or an action game I can't feel as if I'm walking through sludge the entire time. It feels like everything is cluttered together and shoved into a tight space just to fit as much into the screen as possible. If this went the fast paced side-scrolling shooter route, I would have probably enjoyed it more. The combination of the two genres, just made it awkward.
While the game isn't bad, it definitely doesn't do it's job of being something I'd want to replay despite the option. It's incredibly difficult and unforgiving, and the pace will just drive you mad. I may be alone in this boat, as I know some people really do enjoy this game, but for me, it's lacking.
Don't hate me robot elephant kid.....I did like your rocket booster boots....