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Overview

Robowarrior (Bomber King in Japan) is an action game released for the NES in 1987 in Japan and later published by Jaleco for the US in 1988 with some minor changes. It is a side-scrolling, top-down action game that required the player to clear out large areas by placing bombs and removing obstacles. Players take control of a Z-type Earth Defense android as he tries to defeat the alien emperor Xur. The player has two main attacks, a rifle that shot short range bullets, and bombs.

GAMEPLAY

Robowarrior featured two different types of levels, both of them requiring the player to perform a specific action in order to move on. The first kind of level was a traditional point A to point B layout with a key somewhere on the last screen that needed to be found to move on. The other kind of level was an infinite loop that the player would continue to cycle through until they found the chalice, and then the exit would appear at the end.

A to B stages were arguably easier as there was a set ending, but the key could be hidden anywhere, including areas of the stage that weren't traditionally destructible like walls. The player would be required to bomb everything and anything on the screen in the hope of finding the key. When trying to blow up a part of the environment that wouldn't typically blow up, multiple bombs would be needed. The player had a limited number of bombs to accomplish the task. Once out, enemies would have to be shot in order to pick up more, one at a time.

Many stages featured water, which slowed the Robowarrior and would cause him to slowly sink to the bottom. After a few seconds he would sink completely, which costs a life. In early stages, water could be avoided easily, but later stages were almost entirely water. The player could use life preservers to stay afloat during these levels, but if they took too long their supply ran out, they would drown.

Enemies re-spawned constantly in every level, giving the player a much needed, although extremely inconvenient source of bombs. Enemies had many advantages over the player. While many of them died with only one hit, most enemies were faster than the player, many could mover over the environments, and others could shoot over them as well. While the player's bullets stopped at every wall, the enemy's could travel over every barrier across the entire screen.

Dispersed throughout the levels were bosses that the player had to defeat. These bosses didn't follow any of gameplay involved in the stages and would have no tiles in need of bombing. They are more traditional dodge and shoot affairs and like all the other enemies tended to be much stronger and faster than the player.

Adding to the games extreme difficulty are two additional factors: First, the player's health doubles as power for the Robowarrior, meaning that it depletes constantly over time. Take too long and it would run out, which meant losing a life. If the player dies, they may continue on the stage that they died on, but they lose half of their items and half the range of their gun.

WEAPONS / ITEMS

Throughout the game, the player can pick up or purchase additional items to assist their mission. These items require the player to open the menu and select them before their effects can be appreciated. Each of these is a one-use item that the player can stockpile and use when they see fit. These include:

  • Candle - In darkened stages, lights a small amount of the stage around the player. Lasts for a short time.
  • Energy Tank - Completely replenishes one battery meter.
  • Stopwatch - Freezes all enemies for a short time.
  • Super Boots - Allows the player to move twice as fast for a short time.
  • Missile - A much more powerful shot that will destroy all enemies and items in its path, but will stop at walls.
  • Flash - Instantly destroys all enemies on screen, does not affect tiles.
  • Cross Fire - Makes bullets fire in all directions.
  • Life Preserver - Allows the player to float on water for a short time.
  • Lantern - In darkened stages, lights the entire screen for a short time.
  • Mega Bomb - Clears the entire screen, destroying all enemies and tiles that are visible.

In addition, the player can pick up other items that are used instantly. Health and money pickups are dropped by enemies and are in blocks. Bomb icons give the player an instant upgrade of ten additional bombs. Power blocks allows the player's rifle to shoot one additional space for each pick up. A shield will make the player invincible for a few seconds and star blocks will add to the score. Finally, there is the Hudson Bee, which will randomly add to the player's stock of items.

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