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RoboCop Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Rating: 20%
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  • Review Score:

  • D
There are a lot of things 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System games are good at. For one thing, they excel in letting you fly with a raccoon tail. You can save the world from an alien invasion simply by running left
to right, and all random battles are turn-based. There's no question about it, old NES games are good at a lot of things. Unfortunately one thing they're bad at is nuance.

The original RoboCop movie was not just an ultra-violent action movie from Paul Verhoeven, but also an indictment of big businesses taking over our government and security. The film features satirical commercials and news clips, as well as a TV announce who will buy just about anything for a dollar. The deeper you dig, the more nuance you can get out of this influential 1980s blockbuster.

RoboCop (NES)

Unfortunately, this 8-bit NES game decides that none of the movie's humanity is worth exploring. This cheaply made tie-in has no interest in Officer Murphy's backstory or how he became RoboCop. They couldn't care less about the political messages and satirical commercials. Hell, it barely acknowledges that RoboCop has a strong female sidekick. Instead exploring this character's humanity, Data East has turned this into yet another boring side-scrolling shooter.

You start after Murphy has already become RoboCop. There's no cinema showing what happened, so anybody who hasn't seen the gory film won't have a clue what's going on. RoboCop walks from left to right punching criminals and shooting anybody that resists arrest. You do this on the streets, in a police station, through a run-down factory and so on so forth. From time to time Robo will be able to use his gun, but most of the time he'll be walking around punching out the morons that rush him.

RoboCop (NES)

From time to time the levels try to mix things up and make Robo walk up stairs and navigate an elevator. Some of the stages employ mazes, which forces the player to pay attention to the right path. What's especially frustrating about these stages is that the bad guys don't play by the same rules. Many of the most annoying baddies can literally walk through walls, which makes no narrative sense. RoboCop isn't fighting a gang of ghosts, these are flesh and blood humans he's shooting up.

Outside of occasionally using movie locations, RoboCop shares very little with the actual film. You're just some dude killing thugs, which completely misses the movie's subversive point of view. You can beat up thugs in countless NES games, from Bad Dudes to Double Dragon. The reason RoboCop endures is because it actually took a political stand, not because a robot cop punched a criminal real hard.
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