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|Rating:||4.5 out of 5|
Robotron: 2084 is a great example of "less is more" when you see the dual joysticks and odd lack of any other control buttons. One shoots and the other moves - awesome concept! For unknown reasons I didn't play this often in arcades, but loved the home version and the intense game play it delivers. Regardless of the less than perfect images on the 5200, the manic game play more than made up for it.
You have the ability to play both 1 and 2-player games as well as use one or two controllers. Both player options involve trading the controller(s) between the players depending on whose turn it is. This is where the translation from arcade to home gets interesting.
Say you find this cart at a garage sale or flea market. Aside from the box and manual, there is another component you'll want to find to really make this game shine on your Atari 5200.
The simplicity of Robotron: 2084's arcade controls makes the transition to home console very unique. Your 5200 controllers each have one joystick and oodles of buttons, but Robotron isn't about buttons. Wouldn't it be cool to use both 5200 controllers? Fuck yeah! This is why all 2-player games necessitate trading the controller(s) between the players. You can use both controllers for a very realistic Robotron experience.
The other component to Robotron: 2084 is the Joystick Conjoiner that holds two 5200 controllers in one slick package making Robotron a much better experience. If you don't have this wonderful hunk of plastic, ou can still use a single controller's bottom fire button to shoot and the joystick to move. But the 2-joystick option is much cooler.
Time-wise, it looks as if the creative mindes behind The Terminator may have had a fair amount of time playing Robotron as they devised a movie in which man-made machines become aware and take over. In the game man-made robots, called Robotrons, have evolved to the point where they don't need humans and have turned on them. The Robotrons are determined to destroy humanity or turn them into destructive Mutants.
With only a few human clones left on Earth, your mission is to battle the Robotrons in an effort to save the humans. But the Robotrons know you are immune to their reprogramming and will stalk you relentlessly. You begin with 5 lives and gain another every 20,000 points. Your only defense is an anti-robot laser gun. With it you can defeat all the Robotrons except the Hulk.
The sort of game variety you find in a game like Space Invaders makes for some new challenges to a known format. Robotron delivers a frenzy of action that really doesn't lend well to a myriad of options. It's straight forward and damn tough as it progresses. There are 6 skill levels selectable from the 5200 controller's keypad.
As the action gets crazier, you'll be tempted to fire like a madman as you desperately try to avoid the Robotrons. However, don't forget to tag the humans to rack up more points. Each level ends when you destroy all the Robotrons on the screen.
Avoid the center of the screen where you begin each level, but don't get boxed into a corner. Get the Spheroids and Quarks first, then leave a Grunt or two while you tag any remaining humans. You can't tag humas after the last Robotron is destroyed. The action is relentless and so is the fun and frustration. Great re-play value and a must in any collection.
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