You know, it should be pretty easy to make a bad game. Just mess something up, and bam, you have a bad game. Really easy. In fact, I believe the average game quality out there tends more toward the lower end of the scale. It's just that we tend to remember good games, while merely bad games willl fade into obscurity. For a bad game to be remembered, it needs to either be terribly broken, to the point that it actually becomes a cult title, or just a big marketing push. The former category has games like Big Rigs and Limbo of the Lost. The latter category has Daikatana and, alas, Rise of the Robots.
So it has finally come to this.
Well, I can't deny a small attachment to this game. It was my first PC game, for crying out loud. Ok, maybe I could have chosen a bit better, but still. The box art was pretty slick, so what did I know? I was just a 9 years old. Give me a break. And besides, the back cover screenshots looked kinda impressive (note: when you have been playing with a Commodore 64 for the past few years, everything will look good in comparison... especially screenshots from CG cutscenes).
In case you didn't know, this is a 1 vs. 1 fighting game. Now, where to start... perhaps we should start with the bad points, since there are so many. I'm not even gonna talk about the excuse plot, because that's not really a problem with fighting games. But I could say so much about the terribly unbalanced characters, poor collisions, absolute lack of special moves, unresponsive and unintuitive controls, and extremely restricted roster. To expand on that last point, you get a whopping 6 robots to choose from. And you can even unlock a seventh one with a cheat code. I don't know why anyone would want more than that. But wait, there's something else. The story mode can only be played with the Cyborg, every other robot is only selectable in VS mode. But wait, that's not all! In VS mode, Player 1 will always have to use the Cyborg! Want to put the cool-looking Military against the powerful Crusher? Too bad, one of you must use the lame Cyborg.
This game was pretty hyped back in the days, probably because the graphics actually looked pretty cool. If you had a SVGA-capable PC, the crisp visuals were a step above other games on the market (low-res didn't fare so well, but still looked ok). Animations didn't have too many frames, but probably more than you could expect from a 1994 game. I wish I could say something good about the music as well, but I can't... not that it's bad or anything. It's just completely absent. The box touts a soundtrack composed by Brian May. I'm not sure what exactly is contribution was, because aside from a very short jingle at the start, the game is silent. The sound effects, on the other hand, are uninspired and sometimes out of sync.
Rise of the Robots is mostly forgotten by everyone today, while other, more famous bad games such as Daikatana, will be always remembered and laughed at. I don't know why that is, probably because it didn't receive that much hype in comparison to the far bigger guns. But at its time, it did get quite a fair bit of coverage, and Time Warner was hoping to make it into a franchise, an intention that was too ill-conceived to come true. It eventually received a better (if kinda anonymous) sequel, but if you want to experience the true horror of Rise of the Robots, you'll have to stick to the original.
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