Monday, January 26, 2004

Robotrek (SNES)

Rating: 4 out of 5
Pros:Good graphics, fun, unique game
Cons:Too linear, and slightly out-dated

Robotrek is a role playing game developed by Quintet, and published by Enix (long before their merger with long-time RPG giant Squaresoft). Instead of hopping on the bandwagon, and producing yet another of the same exact games that flooded the market, they decided to do something different with Robotrek.

The main character does absolutely no fighting in Robotrek. That's right, none. Instead of playing the part of some warrior hero, the main character dons the inventor's hat. You create and name up to three robots to do your fighting for you. Neat.

Instead of gaining experience points along the way, you collect so many megs of data for your robot warriors. Instead of increasing strength and dexterity and wisdom, your robots program can be edited to increase their power, energy, speed, guard, or charge time. After enough data has been collected, your robots level up. They all level up at the same time, so don't worry about using one robot too much.

Also when you collect enough data to level up, the main character is able to read the next "Inventor's Friend" book, which teaches him how to make a new item for the robot to use. The robot uses things such as Shot, Sword, Punch, Axe, or Shield in battle, and naturally the higher the level of item, the better it is, so it is in your best interest to read as many of these as you can find. Sometimes they are hidden, or you must back track to an earlier place in the game to read a new one.

Robotrek is one of those "cutsey" games. The little squished character, drawn in a way that would make you think he was made out of balloons, gives the game a cartoonish quality to it. Not that that's a bad thing, because it kind of works well for Robotrek. If you've ever played Harvest Moon, you know the kind of graphics I am talking about. They are really quite pleasing to the eyes, and really make the game that much more enjoyable to play.

The sound is really pretty good too, especially when you consider that this game was made for the Super Nintendo. It's nothing spectacular, but it doesn't get on your nerves and distract you, so it does not detract from the game play. The sound effects are appropriate, and go along pretty well with the cutsey graphics.

Being a Super Nintendo game, the control is pretty easy as well. It's not like there were too many buttons to master anyway. The game is a bit too linear for my tastes, reminding me slightly of Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest. You start in town, and when it's time for you to move on to the next part, a yellow line appears on the world map, and the game allows you to walk to the next place; but no further. When you finish that section, it allows you to move on again.

The storyline is different, but basic. Your father is an inventor, and the game's antagonists (labeled "Hackers") want him to come to work for them. Blah, blah, blah, it's not really that great. You go defeat some hackers with your robot (including a weird guy with a crab for a head), rescue a bunch of kids from a river cave, explore a haunted mansion, and even travel into outer space; which I guess isn't really that big of a jump for a game based upon robots.

Robotrek isn't the longest game in the world, but it is plenty long enough to provide countless hours of gameplay. It is not a game you are likely to beat within a couple of days time, so at the very least, it has staying power. Replay value is probably nominal, because it is so linear. Once you've finished it, it's finished.

I recommend this game to anyone who appreciates a good role playing game, especially if they like linear ones. It's just unique enough to add something different to an over-crowded genre, but enough the same to keep it easy to play. If you like game, you should also try Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest, Harvest Moon, or maybe Breath of Fire.

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