Game of the Month February, 2004:

System: Super NES Developer: Enix/Quintet
Robotrek is one of those overlooked Super NES RPGs that you may have heard about. You may have also heard that a lot of people who have actually played it did not like it. Robotrek can be confusing to play if you don't understand how everything works, or if you don't have the manual and chart that came with the game. But it is an RPG that I feel deserves a second look. It's fast-paced, quirky, fun, has some challenging bosses, and gameplay that exists outside of just its battles. And, get this, it even has a time travel plot, yes, before Chrono Trigger did.

Red robot, I choose YOU!

This station is now the most powerful in the universe! In Robotrek, you play the role of an inventor who creates robots and many other useful inventions. The ever-so-weird plot involves hackers who are trying to find the pieces of a powerful artifact that will allow them to control time. You become involved in their schemes when your father is kidnapped, but you won't actually fight any battles yourself. You will rely entirely on the robots that you build (up to 3). You can customize each robot with special weapons and shields that you either find, buy, or make. Creating things is very central to to Robotrek's gameplay, hence the "inventor" theme. You combine items inside an "invention machine" to create new, more powerful items, and you will need these not only to upgrade your robots, but to acquire items necessary for completing portions of the game. In one such example, you will need to create a pair of infrared goggles to work your way through laser beams in a dungeon, or in another case, you must create an item that will allow you to talk to animals, or maybe even become an animal, yourself.

The battle system of Robotrek is rather unique. You can move your robot around the battlefield via a grid system (how far it can move in one turn depends on the boots it's equipped with). You can attack enemies from far away, but only with guns and bombs. You need to be adjacent to an enemy to use swords and axes; attacking from behind your enemy will deal even more damage. But these rules also apply to your enemies, too, and many of them have special attacks and unique ways of getting around (like the ninjas that can leap over you to land behind you for an attack). With each level increase, you can further customize your robot by allocating a certain amount of points to its stats (strength, defense, and charge speed). You can also program special attacks into your robot, but these will drain its charge meter more than the normal attacks do, and you have to wait until it's full before you can take another turn (Final Fantasy style). Robotrek also has an entertaining story to go along with its decent gameplay, but unfortuantely, it's poorly translated and makes little sense in some areas. But it has many parts that are very interesting an memorable (the Count's Mansion being my favorite).


Nintendo Power once said that even if you never tried or liked an RPG before, you might want to give Robotrek a try. For once, I concur.



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