For boys under 40, action films from the 80s and 90s of the last century are like icons. In these films, the main character is almost always a courageous and daring alpha guy, capable of putting a reckless outcast on his backside with a glance and casually saving a city, a planet or a Galaxy, depending on his own schedule.
But there are a couple of franchises that hold a special place in our hearts. And both involve huge steel robots. The first is the “cyborg killer”, the T-800 liquidator, who arrived from the future with the goal of eliminating the waitress, who will soon give birth to the Savior of Humanity.
The second is a robot policeman, which was created by a huge corporation in order to demonstrate its capabilities under the pretext of “restoring order on the city streets.”
The eternal debate about who is stronger – RoboCop or the Terminator – has not been resolved, even decades later.
But there is one more interesting detail. Modern video games about these steely fellows are made by one studio – Teyon. This team also released Rambo The Video Game, but we won’t talk about it. The developers did very well with Terminator: Resistance. Let’s see how it turned out with RoboCop: Rogue City.
Everything according to historical documents
The events of the game take place in the period between the films “RoboCop 2” and “RoboCop 3”. The film franchise showed us a picture of the near future (with a discount for 1987) – the streets of Detroit look as if there is a war in the city of ideas. The authorities cannot cope with the uncontrollable hordes of criminal gangs, and the megacorporation OCP decides to take a radical step – to create a cyborg police officer, the ideal cop.
You can see what ultimately came out of this in the films. The game assumes that you are very familiar with the franchise, you know who Alex Murphy is and what is happening in general.
RoboCop is more than just a license that can be easily transferred to action figures. The 1987 film was a surprisingly gray look at corporate abuses, gentrification, the role of the police and the nature of humanity, among other things. Add insane ultra-violence to the mix and we get great material to translate into a modern video game.
Remembering many of the RoboCop games of the 90s, I always thought that Murphy was a fairly agile robot who ran and jumped vigorously, although there was nothing like that in the films. But the image that formed in my head was from the games. And it was a real surprise for me to discover the fact that in RoboCop: Rogue City the main character cannot jump. At all. No way. This is logical, but it is very unusual. Overall, it seems like RoboCop is barely moving. Any criminal, even if he has any brains, can simply escape from a multi-ton steel carcass. His advantage over crime is that he is virtually immune to small arms firepower. You’d expect any first-person shooter developer to take some creative liberties and just have Murphy move and die like any other main character, but that didn’t happen.
If you approach the game from a logical standpoint, then the only correct difficulty level should be “easy”. After all, you’re playing as a steel robot, and what can regular 9mm pistols or even an AK-47 do to you? Nothing special. At least some significant damage should be expected from large-caliber guns and explosives.
The opponents in the game do not shine with intelligence. They rarely move unless scripted, like bikers on motorcycles, and make an excellent target. If you judge the game from the standpoint of a shooter, you may find yourself disappointed – the game offers no challenge at all. But if you are familiar with the unspoken laws of action films of the 80s, then everything falls into place and follows these canons. And judging by the care shown by the developers of RoboCop: Rogue City, they are familiar with these laws.
It’s so nice to be RoboCop. Even with your standard AUTO-9 pistol, you can destroy everything in your path. Any damage can be repaired using a first aid kit. I’ve often wondered who would be stupid enough to actually shoot a walking death machine, but every time the cutscene shows us a crowd of such crazy people. Everyone knows about RoboCop, but they think that their little fart can at least do something. It’s like playing the game with god mode enabled. The swarms of thugs were just flies to be swatted.
In between shooting sessions, Murphy does the usual police routine – writing tickets for illegal parking, reading morals to thugs, or raising a teenager who has not yet become a bandit, but is close to this path. The attitude of the population depends on your choice.
For completing tasks and searching for evidence in the form of stolen wallets and drugs scattered here and there, you gain experience, which is converted into RoboCop improvement points. In addition to the standard “damage” and “armor”, you can develop the main character in engineering, psychology, deduction and other skills useful to the police. At peak values, skills provide bonuses, such as determining the “correct” answer in dialogues or the ability to restore up to 75% of damage to the robot’s body without using first aid kits.
In addition to upgrading RoboCop, from a certain point you will be able to upgrade his iconic automatic pistol. This is done using special OCP schemes, which you will find in the game, and the first one will be given to you according to the plot. Calibrating the gun is presented in the form of a mini-game where you need to feed the power according to the circuit, ignoring problem areas.
Patrolling the Detroit areas somewhat reminds me of locations from Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. In the sense that the player is presented with some small piece of territory on which he is free to walk. From time to time you come across some mise-en-scène with dialogues between the local population complaining about their lives. At the same time, even punks and bikers speak a language as if they were assistant professors at universities. No “ebonics” for you, no “gopnik” intonations.
This is how the missions are structured: you will have time to wander, look, search, and then the time comes for a shooting session in which you, as if in a shooting gallery, destroy crowds of stupid opponents.
Graphics and sound
The developers of RoboCop: Rogue City did an amazing job with the game’s music. Yes, it is there, like the original musical composition from the film in the main menu, but in the game itself you will rarely hear any background melody. Except when RoboCop turns on detective mode and starts scanning evidence or defusing a bomb. But these are rare cases, so most of the time you will walk around in relative silence, except for the booming sounds of the robot’s footsteps and the noise of the environment.
But visually the game perfectly conveys the spirit of crisis Detroit. There is dirt all around, graffiti, homeless people wandering around – it’s amazing how in this world entire cars can be parked along the roads. In the overall visuals, there is some kind of budget-consciousness, but the developers have taken the trouble to compensate for these shortcomings with atmosphere and immersion. Honestly, in no other game you will find such natural puddles on the asphalt after rain. Flying garbage, steam from the sewer, the meowing of a street cat – everything works to create the right atmosphere. Yes, NPC models are repeated over and over again, as soon as you turn a corner, but you quickly come to terms with this and stop paying attention.
As a result
RoboCop: Rogue City can be approached from two positions – from the side of a shooter and from the side of an action movie from the 80s, where we were given control of the main character. If you are a supporter of the first and didn’t see “that happy time” in the films, then the shooter mechanics turned out to be very mediocre. Even the dismemberment of bodies quickly becomes boring and you naturally stop noticing it.
But if you approach “RoboCop” as an interactive film, then you are guaranteed to enjoy the process. And I belong precisely to this category of players.
Yes, there are bugs in the game (a separate “high” was catching drug trips with camera distortion when shooting from a large-caliber sniper rifle), but the game never crashed on my desktop (hello, “Spider-Man 2”!) and Overall it went smoothly. The optimization is decent; I have never encountered any problems with frame rate drops.
Teyon turned out to be a decent action movie for a couple of evenings with a predictable plot, simple morality and an excellent atmosphere of the “near future” of the eighties of the last century.