Arguably the best "pure" action game ever made, Robotron: 2084 rocketed Eugene Jarvis to fame when it was first released in the arcades by Williams Electronics in 1982. This PC version from two years later retains all the frenetic fun of the arcade original, although the experience is somewhat muted without the arcade's famous V-stick mode.
The gameplay in Robotron is as simple as any game ever made – which makes its timeless status all the more amazing. Your goal: shoot everything in sight. No need to worry about the survivors you are supposed to save (who, according to the game's thin plot, are your family members), since they are bulletproof. But because the Robotrons can kill them, you must try to save them first, and fast.
There are many different enemies from the straightforward Grunts to the devious Brains that transform the innocents into vicious weapons of war (called Progs). Worse, some robots create other robots, e.g. the Spheroids create Enforcers that fire guided mines at you, and the Quarks create Tanks that try to run over you or fire Bounce Bombs. There are even the Hulks, which are indestructible and can only be halted briefly by laser fire. Each kind of Robotron has a different way of attacking you and also different point values. Points are also scored by destroying the missiles that they fire at you, by destroying other enemies that appear during each wave and by saving humans.
During each wave, you must destroy all the Robotrons (with the exception of the indestructible Hulks) and rescue as many human family members as possible in order to proceed to the next wave. When you complete wave 255 the game starts over at the beginning. But never mind the lack of elaborate ending – you don't play pure action games for plot, and Robotron is the best of breed. After about ten levels, things are already getting real hairy and you'll only survive on a combination of skill, luck and pure instinct. After the first few dozen waves, you will be so perfectly addicted to and absorbed into the game that you won't even think what you're doing: just react to anything that moves. There is no planning, no rationalizing, just pure instinct. This is when you become oblivious to the outside world ;) If you consider yourself a die-hard action gamer, your experience won't be complete without playing this venerable classic. Be sure to use slowdown programs such as Turbo or Moslo (read our FAQ for details) before playing, though, otherwise your experience will be over in a few nanoseconds. A must-have, and a proud entrant into our Hall of Belated Fame.
Reviewed by: Underdogs