This Wednesday, the remake of RoboCop will be released. If you have any dignity, you’ll undoubtedly be avoiding it. The original RoboCop was a dark, ultraviolent sci-fi masterpiece packed full of social commentary and satire. The new one is PG-13. Of course, even RoboCop 2 and 3 were garbage, and in fact I doubt the remake could be any worse than those.
You see, despite the original’s hard R rating, RoboCop has consistently been marketed towards kids since. The tone of the sequels were considerably lighter, and there were even two separate animated series. Stores were full of RoboCop toys, and, of course, there were video games. Most RoboCop games were forgettable at best, but there’s one exception…
1992 brought us RoboCop Versus The Terminator, a four-issue comic series crossing over the two franchises. Crossovers were huge in the 90’s… Double Dragon and Battletoads, Iron Man and X-O Manowar, even Wario and Bomberman. Before long, several video game adaptions of the comic were released for everything from the Genesis to the Game Boy. This here is the Genesis version, so let’s take a look!
The game looks great, replicating the run-down and seedy Detroit as shown in the movies, with all sorts of little details like trash blowing in the wind. And of course, there’s that wonderfully tinny Genesis sound effects and music. The controls are nice and responsive, and it feels good to play. The game’s essentially a run-and gun platformer… not quite as fast-paced as Gunstar Heroes or Contra, but you definitely need to stay on your toes.
The game follows the ultraviolent nature of the first movie, having enemies explode into a bloody mess when killed. It’s very satisfying. There’s also a lot of vertical climbing in the game, so it doesn’t feel like you’re just running in a straight line shooting everything.
Most of the enemies you’ll face are humans, but of course you’ll encounter the Terminator before long. There’s also multiple guns you can pick up, ranging from steerable bombs to a Contra-like scattergun. Pretty much all of these weapons are superior to your default pistol.
And don’t worry about repetition… later stages take you to other locations, and each one feels fresh and different. Overall, the Genesis version of RoboCop Versus The Terminator is a damn good game, and I’m surprised more people don’t remember it. Anyway, let’s take a quick look at the SNES version.
You’ll notice immediately that the game looks completely different. The graphics are still nice, but it gives off a much different vibe than the Genesis version… this one feels more like a comic book, while the Genesis version feels more like the movies. The music and sound effects are also quite bland compared to the Genesis version, which is odd for a Super Nintendo game.
The gameplay is very similar, but feels different… understandable, since this version was developed by a different company. It’s still a run-and-gun platformer, but it feels slower. Also, there’s no blood in this one, and it’s not nearly as satisfying killing enemies.
Speaking of enemies, their behavior is a little different too. Some enemies will even take cover in alleys, which is a nice touch. There’s also pitfalls now, which result in an instant-death. Unfortunately, compared to the Genesis version RoboCop’s jumping is considerably more janky and awkward, so prepare for some frustration.
Another big difference is how lives work. In the Genesis version, when you die you just come right back to life, with invincibility frames. In the SNES version, when you die, you have to start the whole level over again. It’s very frustrating. This, combined with the slower pace, janky controls, and bland sound design, make the SNES version sadly inferior to the Genesis. It’s rare for me to say that, but lo and behold.
If you want to play a great RoboCop game, try RoboCop Versus The Terminator on the Sega Genesis. It’s fun to play, looks great, and holds up pretty damn well. The SNES version isn’t quite as good, but hey, you might want to give that one a try too.