The toys at Santa’s factory are crying out for help! Who will save them? Then, from the depths…ROBOCOD! This fishy character will defeat Dr. Maybe and defuse all the penguin bombs! But only with your help…
It’s extremely hard for me to accept that EA created this game—it is full of the charm their games are so sorely lacking these days. Robocod is the sequel to James Pond, which was the first game to be developed in the UK for the Sega Megadrive/Genesis. Rule Britannia and all that. Unfortunately, it was crap. Robocod completely re-imagines the series to produce a far more satisfying result.
This is a platform game with fairly basic action, save for one interesting gimmick—Robocod can streeeeetch. Literally. He grows upwards, little fins outstretched, then grabs the ceiling and shimmies along. This gimmick isn’t actually used that much beyond the first few worlds, but it’s nice that it exists. The controls are simple. A and C to stretch, B to jump. The physics are a little floaty, which means that you tend to spend more time in the air than is natural. The various vehicles also feel a little weird at first—the car should surely be a bit heavier—but the game is tailored to work with its unusual mechanics surprisingly well.
The levels are enjoyable, with enough variation to keep you playing. All of them are sadly the same, objective-wise: find all the penguin bombs, and then reach the exit. The design is good, though. There are usually a couple of routes through each level, and an odd assortment of objects to collect, ranging from oil cans to a pair of pouting lips.
Pond’s adventures are rather, well, freaky; you fly around in a bathtub, for crying out loud. The bosses seem rather odd, too. A giant teddy tries to crush you with its arse. A giant car spits smaller cars at you. And they get weirder. The apex of sheer oddness comes in the mirror dancers. You’ll know when you get there.
Robocod is sufficiently tricky. The bosses are no trouble at all most of the time, but some of the levels can be fiendish, often to the point of frustration. Some of the enemies take a good beating to go down, and a few cheap shots can leave you seething. There is, however, very little danger of seeing a Game Over screen—there is a ridiculous abundance of extra lives in places.
The game sounds, well, Christmassy. Which is topical, I suppose. The sound effects are rather repetitive, as are the songs. There are only about 4 tracks and they are looped endlessly. Insanity will claim you. IT WILL. Thankfully the graphics will not bore you. The sprites are chunky and well-defined, and the landscapes colourful. A few levels are a little bland, but they don’t really last all that long.
Robocod is absolutely loaded with secret areas, some of which are hidden in ridiculously convoluted locations. There are many hidden levels, all packed with random bonuses. These will keep you coming back, as well as the two secret levels—one of which is the best in the game!
I like this game. It isn’t a particularly brilliant cart, but for the price it usually commands it is well worth a spin. It doesn’t have anything like the depth of its fantastic sequel, Operation Starfish, but it is still a worthwhile play.