Retro gaming. A lot of us do it, though not many of us will admit to doing so, mainly because it shows your age. Robotron: 2084 couldn’t get much more retro, releasing in 1982 in the Arcades. 23 years on, and the game reached the Xbox Live Arcade.
As with most retro titles, Robotron is simple. Players take on the role of the protagonist who is “the last hope of mankind” as he aims to rescue “humanoids” (clones of the last human family, consisting of a mother, father and son) from the swarms of enemy robots. The game plays in waves, each getting progressively harder with more robots – sometimes with increased difficulties and speeds. Once all the destructible enemies have been destroyed, the level is over.
The aim of the game is to obtain as many points as possible, so saving the families isn’t priority. Points are obtained by destroying enemies and precious bonus points can be obtained by saving the family. Every 25,000 points unlocks an extra life which could prove vital if players are looking to succeed in the game.
The game’s controls are simple, yet were so advanced for its time. The left thumbstick moves the protagonist whilst the right thumbstick shoots. Many players will find them very similar to another Xbox Live Arcade title known as Smash TV and so you should as Robotron: 2084 is the basis of it.
Multiplayer co-op doesn’t make it much easier as it’s all about communication. As one player controls the movement and one the shooting, a mistake at one end of the line could prove vital. Whilst it may be alright for a few minutes, I can’t see many people playing it for much longer, or even again, as it is simply just fun due to the actual gameplay and difficulty. It’s also worth noting, the multiplayer is available online.
Graphically, the retro-ness of Robotron shows as there has been very little evidence of a makeover. The 2D graphics and badly designed robots are still present. Whilst this isn’t acceptable nowadays, being an Xbox Live Arcade title I’m sure we can make exceptions. The graphics may not be something you want to see on your 50 inch high definition television, but you also won’t want to hear the game’s very poor audio screaming out of your speakers. It really is that bad!
The main fault with Robotron: 2084, is the difficulty level. The game contains masses amount of waves yet many will struggle to even get to Wave 10. Surely, the difficulty curve should have been lowered. Another fault is the game’s speed. The frame rate almost makes the game unplayable.
To conclude, newer gamers will not enjoy Robotron: 2084 at all. This is definitely one for the retro gamer, and even then it’s not perfect. Maybe one to avoid.