home > feature > That Retro Review: Fun With Eco-Terrorism: Robowarrior
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ups: Difficulty could be what some people want, blowing up trees is always fun, neat isometric view
downs: Difficulty could also be something people will hate, game is repetitive ad infinitum

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That Retro Review: Fun With Eco-Terrorism: Robowarrior
game: Robowarrior
posted by: James Gardiner
publisher: Jaleco
developer: Hudson Soft
date posted: 02:08 PM Sat Oct 7th, 2006
last revision: 02:09 PM Sat Oct 7th, 2006

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Click to read.Game stats:

Released: Originally released by Hudson Soft on December 7, 1987 in Japan under the name \"Bomber King,\" it was published in the US in 1988 and the UK in 1989 under the name \"Robowarrior.\"

System: NES

The Game in a Nutshell

The tale of Robowarrior is a tale set in dark times, in a place where a once green world filled with greenness has dubiously turned red, and only one man ? no, cyborg - can make things right again. His name is ZED, and with the help of the latest in demolitions technologies, our hero makes his long journey across the agonizingly large world of Altile in order to stop the invader Xur.

Robowarrior plays kind of like Bomberman, but with an eco-terrorist agenda, instead of going around a room and making enemies explode you go around a forest and make bushes explode. That is, until you run out of bombs, then you get to kill enemies with a magic-marker that shoots pink bullets for half and hour collecting one bomb at a time from giant undead bees and nefarious flying triangles. THEN you can go back to destroying bushes.

Scattered throughout each level of Robowarrior are mysterious staircases that whisk ZED to a far off land devoid of fiendish shrubbery where it\'s totally dark and enemies run rampant. Thankfully, you can use a candle (if you have one) to see everything immediately around ZED for about a half a minute. After you do this you might notice that there are all sorts of semi-awesome power-ups around you, like MEGA points and range extensions for your magic-marker. But you really don\'t have time to collect all these because you have to haul ass to the exit out of there before your candle runs out, and missing the exit the dooms you to an existence of wandering around the bonus cave in pitch-black and relying on blind luck to walk over the staircase the size of one square out of there

If you\'re skilled enough to navigate through the first three sets of levels (or \"periods\" as the Robowarrior calls them) you\'ll be greeted by the first boss: an enormous blob with one eye that spits out smaller blobs. But who cares about that? What really makes this fight cool is the sound the game makes when you fire your magic pink bullets at the big blob. It sort of sounds like glass breaking but not really, and all in all is probably the sweetest part of the game.

What\'s The Big Deal?

Robowarrior is a game I would label as \"deceptively bad,\" at first the game seems sort of cool ? you run around, blow up trees/bushes/pillars and shoot stuff, sounds like a solid way to spend an afternoon. But after the first few sections the more frustrating parts of the game rear their head. For example, some levels will loop endlessly until you find a magic chalice, which wouldn\'t be so bad except many of the levels fork - so if you happened to choose the wrong route you\'re SOL and are forced to go through the entire level again. Also, many of the later levels have huge complexes of walls you have to bomb your way through without being told which blocks are breakable, each breakable block taking multiple bombs to break, anyway. Also, ZED\'s own bombs are super-deadly to him and the enemies aren\'t, so most of the time you die it\'s due to your own misuse of ZED\'s high powered weaponry.

To Robowarrior\'s credit, games of its kind don\'t really exist anymore and there is sort of a simple pleasure to be had from piloting dudes around overhead maps aimlessly. But as fun as aimless wandering is, times have changed and people don\'t want to just wander around any more, they want dirty earthen rewards at the end of their wanderings, like 102 DPS +5 mauls vs. ogres, or experience numbers to make their level numbers higher. But Robowarrior isn\'t about that, can\'t you understand? It isn\'t about numbers... or items... or any of that, it\'s about making the world a better place though the destruction of our natural woodlands.

If all you\'re looking for is a challenge, there is no arguing that Robowarrior is hard, albeit more from tediousness and less from the game actually being effective in killing you. Nevertheless, maybe there is a place for Robowarrior in the hearts of gamers who preferred games back when they were just-plain hard, regardless of the reason (poor play testing) and weren\'t wimpified for the whining masses.

Has it Aged?

I recall, once upon a time, beating this game at 4 a.m. in my friend\'s dorm room and feeling like I had completed some sort of ordeal, like finishing someone\'s taxes or reading The Odyseey. I felt like prancing around the room or shouting at the top of my lungs, but I couldn\'t do either of the these mainly because it was four in the morning and I\'m not the kind of guy who typically prances (although I will do it on occasion), no all I got out of beating Robowarrior was the message it gave me: that no one man, woman or cyborg is really a robowarrior, and being robowarrior is all about staying in school, not doing drugs and drinking plenty of good ol\' vitamin A. Well actually, maybe that was a Mr. T P.S.A... but Robowarrior still had a valuable message - it\'s still prominent today - and that message is: robots hate trees.

Also: listen to the end credit music.

Where can I get it?

Currently, EBAY has some pretty cheap copies of the game, some starting as low as $0.01.

Also Amazon.com has some more copies without bidding starting at $0.75.

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