Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters

Title		Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters
Game Type	General Action
Company		Tengen/Domark
Players		1 or 2
Compatibility	A500
Submission	Chris Burns

When I finally stumped up enough cash for an Amiga 500 in 1990 (I know,
pretty late huh? but I was a poor student) I plumped for the Flights
of Fantasy pack, which contained Rainbow Islands, Deluxe Paint 2, F-29
Retaliator and this little gem, with the impossibly long title!

The game, a coin-op conversion, is very much in the style of a 1950's
comic book and is definitely played for laughs. There's a fun intro in
which two members of an interplanetary SWAT team, Jake and Duke, are
briefed. It transpires that Planet X, a synthetic industrial planetoid,
has been taken over by the evil Reptilons; the humans on Planet X have
been enslaved and forced to work on creating an evil robot army which will
be used to destroy Earth! Golly!  Your mission is to try and rescue
Professor Sarah Bellum (haw!) whilst also rescuing as many captured humans
as you can and also polishing off any Reptilons or robots, that are
foolish enough to get in your way, with your Ray Gun or supply of bombs.

The game is portrayed in isometric 3D with simple but quite effective
graphics, and this is one of those games where it's a lot more fun (and
also easier) if there's two of you, although you can play it on your own.
You take charge of the shades-wearing, oilslick-haired Jake, who's
obviously the cool one and player 2 (if there is one) takes charge of the
blond, curly haired Duke. If there's no player two, then you're on your
own! There's no Chaos Engine-style computer controlled player here.

As soon as you start you're immediately surrounded by hordes of robots all
of whom want to shoot at you or jump on you, so be prepared to die a lot
:-)  You get 9 credits though, each of which contain 3 lives so there's no
immediate danger of Game Over.

The game is structured so that you fight your way through factories,
whilst pressing switches to open exits to new levels. After every level,
a map is displayed which shows exactly how far you are from the end of the
game. Every few Factory levels you come across a bonus Maze - if you can
guide your Cyber Sled through the maze then you get a bonus, accompanied
by a smiling picture of Jake (and Duke if he's playing). If you fail,
then there's no bonus and a glum picture of our hero(es) is displayed!
Poor guys, they're obviously not used to losing! :-)  Also placed between
the Maze and Factory levels, there are fight-a-Reptilon levels, which are
a bit more difficult. At the end of all this is poor Professor Sarah
Bellum, chained up like Faye Wray in a King Kong film, presumably
wondering where you've got to.

There's plenty of neat touches - the female captured humans are dressed in
bikinis (as every self-respecting 50's B-movie woman should be) and if you
accidentally shoot a captured human with your ray gun, they turn blackened
and sway confusedly! Ha ha! The Factory and Reptilon levels are suspended
in the air so if you get too close to the edge your player looks scared
for a moment, falls and dangles by his fingertips before pulling himself
to safety. There are also a number of obstacles which can kill our
valiant SWAT-ers; electrified floor tiles which give our hero a nasty
jolt; spikes which thrust in and out of the wall - if you aren't quick
enough, your player will be speared and will jerk to and fro :-)  Quite
sick really. There's also heavy robot balls that squash you flat if you
don't dodge them quick enough. As ever, there's plenty of bonuses and
green crystals (which recharge your ray gun) to collect and your player
will give a gleeful "Yeah!" if he's especially pleased with what he's
collected. At the end of each level there's a Post-o-matic machine which
sucks you through a twirly tube (!) to the next level.

In all, this is one of the better two player 'together against the world'
sort of games while also managing to be a fun one player game. I must
admit though, that it's completely blown out of the water by the likes of
The Chaos Engine both graphically and design-wise. For all that, it's a
pretty decent way of spending a few hours.

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