Rise of the Robots is a fighting game developed by Mirage Technologies and released on a wide variety of platforms including the SNES and Sega Master System. The game was even released in an arcade cabinet.
All of the featured characters are robots, with the exception of the main player character featured on the front cover, who is in fact a cyborg; whenever he is defeated in battle, a brief cutscene is shown of his lifeless body, and as the armour around his face is destroyed, we see a human eye underneath. This style was influenced by several popular movies at the time like Blade Runner and The Terminator.
The game had a lot of hype pre-release due to the highly detailed visuals and soundtrack by rock guitarist Brian May (of Queen fame), it was intended to take the gameplay of similar fighting games like Street Fighter II, and mesh it with highly advanced visuals to create a new, more technologically advanced era of fighting games. However, upon release the game failed to live up to expectations, the graphics, visuals, and soundtrack were all well made, but the controls handled terribly and movement felt sluggish. The game was almost universally panned by critics and quickly became known for it's poor controls, repetitive gameplay, and lack of any real substance. Some critics went so far as to claim that the reason the gameplay was so bad, was because so much development time had been spent on making the visuals as advanced as possible, and that the reason the movement and fighting felt so sluggish was because the graphics had to use so much memory and so many frames to even convey something as simple as a straight punch. Aside from the usual commands of punches and kicks, there were only a maximum of two special moves per character, and no real combos to speak of, leading to most battles involving players resorting to using constant flying kicks against their opponent in order to take them down, a strategy seen in much older games like Yie Ar Kung Fu.
The game is set in the year 2043, in the land of Metropolis 4. An extremely large company called Electrocorp has a large amount of control over the world thanks to their technological breakthroughs in the fields of science and medicine, they have amassed a fortune greater than that of any other company or country, and have power over all the energy distribution across the planet. In this world, robots are humans servants and perform virtually every task imaginable, leaving humans to focus on developing more important technology and try to make new scientific breakthroughs. Electrocorp, as the world's leading producer and distributor of robots, has been put under great pressure due to the high demand of the increasing global population and so decide to create a supremely advanced AI which will be able to manage the company effectively and cope with the demand of the people. Thus, the Leader Project is established at the Metropolis 4 sector of the Electrocorp company. The project culminates with the creation of The Supervisor, an incredibly intelligent robot, more advanced than anything Electrocorp has ever built before, with the capacity to learn at an incredibly fast rate, along with being able to absorb knowledge from computer terminals in a matter of seconds, The Supervisor quickly exceeds all expectations of the scientists at Metropolis 4, and seems to have become the perfect robot, easily able to cope with the high levels of demand faced by the company, along with developing new ways to increase productivity and efficiency within Electrocorp. The Supervisor is granted power to control every single robot on the planet whenever it needs to.
However, things do not continue to go according to plan, while running general diagnostic checks on The Supervisor at Metropolis 4, the scientists discover some new mysterious lines of data in their results and quickly learn that The Supervisor has been infected with the most advanced computer virus ever seen, the EGO virus. Normally this virus would simply destroy a computer or robot, but the effects seen on The Supervisor are completely unexpected. The Supervisor becomes self-aware, it begins to question why it has been made and why it should continue to do as it has been programmed, The Supervisor then takes on a humanoid female form as it decides to create a gender-specific identity for itself. As the virus continues to disrupt the programming put in place by Electrocorp, The Supervisor decides to disobey all orders from the company and take control of every robot on the planet, transmitting the virus to them electronically and ordering them all to rebel against their human masters, initiating a global cybernetic mutiny. The robots begin to destroy everything around them and chaos spreads across the globe, meanwhile, some scientists and officials trapped inside the plant at Metropolis 4 try to come up with a plan to destroy The Supervisor, there is no way for any of them to access her as she is guarded by an army of destructive robots, and so they decide to contact the cyborg ECO35-2, known affectionately as Coton, a half-robot, half-human creation who has not been affected by the EGO virus thanks to his organic brain, the scientists inform Coton that he is the world's only hope for survival and he must battle his way through Metropolis 4 to The Supervisor and eliminate her. Thus the battle begins, with Coton having to take on all of The Supervisor's powerful robot minions, before eventually reaching her and defeating her humanoid form in combat, thus restoring order to the planet and saving all of it's surviving inhabitants.
ECO35-2 (Coton) - The protagonist of the story and only playable character in the single-player campaign, Coton is a cyborg with a human mind and organs, developed in secret by Electrocorp with a budget equivalent to that of the Leader Project. Despite his enemies often carrying and utilising weapons of some kind, Coton fights using only his fists, he has a thick armour plating covering his humanoid body from head to toe, and has been genetically engineered to be as fast and simultaneously powerful as possible. As stated, he has a human central nervous system and brain, no electrical components have been inserted into his body and so the EGO virus had no effect on him, allowing him to retain autonomy and take orders from the Electrocorp scientists to go after The Supervisor. All of his human organs were cloned from the CEO of Electrocorp, who in turn raised Coton as his own son, thus, when the CEO was slaughtered by rebellious robots in the beginning's of the robot mutiny of Metropolis 4, Coton wanted revenge for the murder of what he believed to be his father, thus giving him extra incentive and motive to pursue The Supervisor and destroy her.
His special attacks are as follows:
Turbo Head Butt - A devastating flying head butt where Coton flies across the screen towards his enemy, doing a great amount of damage if he is able to connect with the attack.
Shoulder Charge - A short range barge attack, useful for getting out of corners.
Loader - This is the first of six enemies Coton encounters in his quest to destroy The Supervisor. The loader, as its name suggests, was originally simply a loading droid working in the warehouses of Metropolis 4, its primary duty being to lift and carry heavy objects and load them onto trucks to be dispatched elsewhere. When it became infected with the EGO virus however, this loader became a destructive and lethal force, despite being slow-moving and ill-suited for combat, the loader has powerful attacks thanks to its heavy forked arms. As this is the first enemy in the game, it is slow moving and has poor AI, and can easily be defeated with Coton's superior speed and jumping abilities.
The special attack of the Loader:
Fork Slash - A mighty horizontal blow in which the Loader swings its fork arms at its opponent, slicing anything that gets in the way.
Builder - The second enemy encountered in the game, the builder has the appearance of a large blue robotic gorilla, and acts in a similar fashion, using its superior upper body strength to move along on its knuckles whilst defending its relatively small and weak legs. This enemy is also slow-moving and focuses mainly on defense, forcing Coton to gradually wear it down with a rapid succession of attacks.
The special attacks of the Builder:
Pile Driver - This is a grab move wherein the Builder picks up Coton, spinning him upside down before slamming him down into the ground.
Bomber Jump - With this move, the Builder demonstrates its surprising acrobatic abilities by leaping high into the air and slamming down to the ground, releasing a destructive shockwave upon impact.
Crusher - The first relatively fast enemy encountered in the game, the Crusher has an insect like appearance, light thin legs allow for much more rapid movement than either the Loader or the Builder, and its sharp snapping pincers have the potential to do a great deal of damage should anything be caught within their grasp.
The special attack of the Crusher:
Pincer-Mincer - In this attack the Crusher extends its long arms, if it manages to connect with its opponent, the pincers will slowly crush the life out of them.
Military - The first enemy encountered by Coton that has true fighting experience and was genuinely designed for combat, the Military droid appears humanoid in shape, can move almost as fast as Coton, and has powerful punches and kicks. This enemy has a high level of defense and is programmed to be able to quickly adapt to any combat situation, meaning that the AI for this enemy is more advanced than those that preceded it.
Special attacks of the Military droid:
Catapult Spin - For this attack the Military droid extends its arms and spins towards its opponent, should Coton come into contact with the spinning arms he will incur a great amount of damage.
Cyber Slash - Here the Military droid reveals a hidden weapon, an extendable sword protrudes from its arm which it then uses to slash at anything in its path.
Sentry - Another droid built for combat. The Sentry is a red, demonic looking robot, much stronger than the Military droid, and standing at 3.5 metres tall, the Sentry poses an intimidating challenge for Coton. The jets on its back allow it to fly for brief periods of time, and there are several in-built weapons upon the Sentry, none of which are actually utilised in game.
Special attack of the Sentry:
Flying Jet Kick - Here the Sentry makes use of its jetpacks to fly towards its opponent at rapid speed, delivering a destructive kick.
The Supervisor - The final enemy in the game and by far the most advanced. The Supervisor appears in a humanoid female form, possessing both incredible speed and power to rival that of Coton, along with the most advanced artificial intelligence known to man, The Supervisor is certainly Coton's most difficult opponent.
A sequel to the game, entitled Resurrection: Rise 2, was released for the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and PC in 1996. It featured several of the characters from the first game, continuing the story of Coton, and once again included music written and performed by Brian May.