Rise of the Robots is a 2D sci-fi fighting game developed by Mirage (under their Instinct Design team) and released by Time Warner Interactive for MS-DOS PCs, Amiga computers, and the Amiga CD32 in November 1994, with the Amiga versions released in Europe only. The PC version was also released in a "Director's Cut" bundle with promotional content.
Set in the futuristic 2043, players control a top-secret ECO35-2 combat cyborg as IT dispatches insurgent robots infected from a potent computer virus (the EGO virus) at Electrocorp's Metropolis 4 plant before the robot army (led by a sentient nanomorph known as the Supervisor Droid) infects the world.
The game was known for its expensive marketing campaign, selling its high-detail 3D visuals (which were pre-rendered, similar to Killer Instinct) and advanced artificial intelligence (which changes certain tactics according to the player's fighting style). It also hyped a dedicated soundtrack by rock guitarist Brian May of Queen fame, though it was instead done in-house, with parts of some tracks from Brian May's previous album Back to the Light included. Upon release, the game failed to live up to expectations and was widely panned due to its weak gameplay mechanics, controls, and aesthetics. Along with a novelization, the game also received a not-as-hyped sequel in 1996, titled Rise 2: Resurrection.
It was ported to popular consoles at the time by Data Design Interactive., including the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (published in December 1994 by T&E Soft in Japan and Acclaim elsewhere), Game Gear (published by Time Warner in 1995), and Sega Mega Drive (published exclusively in Europe in 1995 by Acclaim). It was also ported to the Philips CD-i (by Instinct Design, published exclusively in Europe in 1995 by Philips Interactive) and 3DO (by Cognisense, published by Absolute in 1995). A prototype of an unreleased version for arcade hardware was found, with numerous enhancements (including free selection of all combatants).
The game plays like a traditional one-on-one round-based fighting game, with two combatants fighting to deplete their opponents' vitality.
While it is technically a six-button fighting game, as each combatant has both and Kick attacks of three strengths each, some versions of the game (namely the original PC and Amiga-based versions and the CDi version) only use a single button for attacking, which is held down and released in conjunction with key/joystick input to determine the strength and attack type.
The game's main protagonist, the ECO35-2 Cyborg is a fully-functional bipedal android from Electrocorp's "ECO Project", housing a human mind and organs in thick armor plating. Due to its organic components, it is immune from the EGO virus and is thus used by Electrocorp to quell the robot uprising.
The game's novelization further builds on Cyborg's backstory, with the organic components of the cyborg "Coton" cloned from of the CEO of Electrocorp, who he thought of as a father and swore vengeance to once the rebelling robots murdered him.
It is the only playable character in single-player mode and is always in the Player One slot in the Versus mode (with the exception of the Military mirror-match cheat code).
- Turbo Head Butt (D, U + attack) - 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 Barge (B, F + attack) - A short range charge attack, useful for getting out of corners.
The primitive Loader Droid is a simple all-purpose utility robot whose primary duty was to lift and carry heavy objects with its heavy retractable forked arms. Despite its durability, it is ill-suited for combat due to its slow speed and poor artificial intelligence.
- Fork Slash (F, F + attack) - A mighty horizontal blow in which the Loader swings its fork arms at its opponent, slicing anything that gets in the way.
The BHF03 Builder Droid is an advanced all-purpose utility robot resembling a robotic gorilla, allowing it to mimic more complex tasks and aid in construction. As it is top-heavy, it has superior upper-body strength but is slow-moving. Similar to the Loader, it also has poor artificial intelligence and is mostly defensive.
- Pile Driver (D, B, U) - This is a grab move wherein the Builder picks up Coton, spinning him upside down before slamming him down into the ground.
- Bomber Jump (D, F, U) - 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.
The DH94-2 Crusher Droid is a safety droid and an agile insectoid robot with sharp pincers, used primarily to both dispose of toxic waste materials and to destroy malfunctioning droids. Despite its fragile frame, it is the first opponent with both aggressive artificial intelligence and fast agility.
- Pincer-Mincer (D, T + attack) - 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.
A prototype Military Droid and a top-secret humanoid combat droid built for a government military project. Codenamed "The Exterminator", it appears humanoid in shape and specializes in unarmed close-quarters combat with its advanced and adaptable artificial intelligence.
Some versions of the game have a special cheat code where players can perform a mirror match with both players as Military.
- Catapult Spin (D, U + attack) - 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 (B, F + attack) - 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.
The SRT23-3 Sentry Droid is an intimidating humanoid combat droid resembling the next generation of Electrocorp's military robotics. Despite its large stature, it is very agile and is able to hover with its mounted jetpack for brief periods of time.
- Flying Jet Kick (D, D + attack) - Here the Sentry makes use of its jetpacks to fly towards its opponent at rapid speed, delivering a destructive kick.
Representing the dawn of a new era of robotic engineering, the Supervisor Droid is a nanomorph whose polymetamorphic titanium alloy frame can change into any shape. As the subject of Electrocorp's "Leader Project", it sports the most advanced artificial intelligence known to man before it gained sentience due to the EGO virus and began amassing a robot army.
It is the game's final boss and is only playable in Versus mode with a cheat code.
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.