Post Game Wrap-up: Robowarrior

Posted: June 8, 2013 in Post Game Wrap-up, Retro Gaming
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I have a tendency to put on nostalgia glasses when playing old games, and I’m willing to admit this may be why I’m still so enamored of Robowarrior for the NES. Robowarrior has an odd release tale. It was initially part of the Bomberman series when released in Japan, titled Bomber King, and was developed by Hudson Soft (moment of silence). Due to licensing issues, it was rebranded for the western market as Robowarrior and distributed by Jaleco (another moment of silence). It was released in the U.S. in December of 1988.

Robowarrior #2

The Set-up/The Story:
You play as ZED (Z-type Earth Defense) and are tasked with saving the planet Altile from the Xantho Empire and their leader, Xur. Altile was created due to Earth over-population. It was a prosperous planet at peace until the invasion by the Xantho Empire. ZED is the latest in a line of robotic warriors/fighters and is sent after an SOS is received from the planet. As with many NES games, the story isn’t exactly deep. You’re the good guy and are working to overcome the force of the bad guys.

The Gameplay:
The links to Bomberman are evident right away in the gameplay. You play from a top-down view, reminiscent of the Legend of Zelda and, of course, Bomberman, and progress horizontally (there is no vertical scrolling, other than the opening screen and secret rooms hidden behind bomb-able walls along the top border of the level). You are blocked in your progress by bushes, trees, rocks, etc… that can be bombed and destroyed. The bombs can hurt Zed, so you have to watch yourself when laying them. ZED is also equipped with a gun that can take out most enemies in a reasonable number of shots. There are also ten special items that can be used with various effects (lanterns, candles, mega-bombs, speed boots, etc…). These can be found in the bomb-able obstacles as well as in the aforementioned secret rooms.

At the end of each few levels, you will encounter a boss that must be defeated. You may also enter a store of sorts at the end of levels which offer items in exchange for medals you will find. The best place to find items is to find hidden subterranean areas (these are numerous). The downside of this is that these areas are entirely dark and you’ll have to use a candle to find items as well as the exit. The positive is there are no obstructions and the items are lying in plain sight to be picked up.

Robowarrior #1

Speaking of the levels, there is a bit of variation. Some levels are simple affairs, where you simply move to the right until you come to the end, where you will find  a key (always on the screen with the exit as you can’t backtrack). There will be levels that are totally dark, forcing you to use a candle or, hopefully, a lantern, to allow you to see. Some levels will also hide a chalice item that you must find. Fail to find it, and a portion of the level will continue to loop until you do. As you aren’t informed which levels have this chalice, it can be frustrating to realize you’ve repeated the same area a few different times and have made no real progress.

Another criticism I would give this game is the constantly depleting health of ZED. One of the items you can pick up is an Energy pack that will totally refill your energy and while these are plentiful, it is very easy to lose track of your health. When ZED gets hit, there is no invincibility period for him, and some enemies are quick and get take a great deal off your life. If it was low already, you could be in trouble. Bombs do a massive amount of damage to ZED and two will basically wipe him out. Somewhat helpfully, a “danger” tone warns you when you get down to 1/4th life.

Robowarrior #3

Despite the obvious flaws of this game, it still holds a spot in my heart. I sold it when I was younger as a way to raise funds to buy a Super NES, but purchased a copy off of Ebay a few years ago. I can still sit down and enjoy it to this day, even though it isn’t a very deep game. Does it stand up to the NES stalwarts such as Super Mario Brothers 3, Metroid, Zelda, Mega Man, and the like? No, not at all. But I still think this game has a lot of heart and is well worth giving a chance if you happen to still have an NES and come upon this game at Goodwill or a yard sale.

Trivia: A sequel to this game was developed for the Nintendo Gameboy. Called Bomber King 2 in Japan, it was called Blaster Master Boy in North America. This was an obvious attempt to profit on the Blaster Master brand, even though the game has no connections whatsoever to that franchise.

All game pics from:

  1. CHRIS--D says:

    Pretty neat never played this one on the NES, Seems like a cool Bomberman style Game! Have to dust off the old emulator and give this a try!

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