Tag Archives: Gamesmaster

#86: Rise of the Robots

Format: Amiga 1200 Genre: Fighting Game Released: 1994 Developer: Mirage

‘Even if you don’t believe in Father Christmas, it might be worth writing to him to make sure he doesn’t bring you a copy of this’. Jonathan Davies, Rise of the Robots review, Amiga Power 45. In 1993 various video game magazines ran previews of a beat-‘em up that seemed to be from the future. It looked stunning, with graphics that promised to be far superior to anything else out there. Not only that but the gameplay was going to break new ground too, with computer opponents that ‘learned’ as they fought you, adapting their fighting style to match yours. All in all Rise of the Robots, for that was the name of this legendary game, was going to be THE game of 1994. Unfortunately, as Jonathan Davies alludes to in the above quote, Rise of the Robots was shit.

Rise of the Robots was more than just a video game, it was an event. The previews of 1993 turned into a steady stream of hype throughout 1994. There was talk of tie-in books, comics, toys, cartoons and a film. It was to be released on practically every platform and giant cardboard robots were cropping up in video game shops across the country. Brian May was even going to write the soundtrack.

Brian May pictured with a relaxed GamesMaster

Being an impressionable 14 year-old I was extremely excited about Rise of the Robots. It looked simply amazing. I mean, you got to be a kung-fu robot! Just watch the video below for a taste of the building excitement. It ‘redefines the fighting genre and raises the ante on gamers with a futuristic motif proven in focus groups’. Focus groups like the motif, what more do you want?

Just after Christmas (the same Christmas I got UFO: Enemy Unknown), with a decent chunk of Christmas money jangling in our pockets, my brother and I went to Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street and, £40 later, we had picked up Rise of the Robots. I always remember how huge the box was. Well in fairness it had to be. On the Amiga 1200 Rise of the Robots came on 13 disks. That’s right, 13.

Rushing home we inserted the first disk and were confronted by a very impressive intro. ‘This is going to be great’ we thought. Then, after an hour or two, we both felt something was wrong. Could Rise of the Robots be… rubbish? Neither my brother or myself could believe it. In fact I remember assuming that we were playing it wrong, that it was our fault that you could beat every robot by doing a flying kick. That there was a way of turning round and jumping over the other fighter we just hadn’t worked out how. That you could pick a fighter who wasn’t the blue cyborg, you just had to complete it or something. How could all the hype be wrong?

It's the big Gorilla Robot! Can't wait to play through the game as him. Oh. You can't.

Rise of the Robots was crippled by its flashy visuals. So much computing power was devoted to having beautifully animated robots that there was nothing left for the rest of the game. I distinctly remember reading Jonathan Davies review and just feeling sad. Ok, at least now I knew it wasn’t my fault the game seemed to be poor. It was poor. But I felt swindled, the victim of a con.

IT'S RUBBISH!

An important lesson for any child to learn is that all that glitters is not gold. Sometimes that which glitters is simply that, a glittery thing. Not only that but rubbish stuff is often coated in glitter to try to distract you from the rubbish underneath. Rise of the Robots, covered in metaphorical glitter (plus fairy lights, shiny baubles and tin foil), taught me that lesson. So in that way, and in no other, Rise of the Robots made my life slightly better.

Ian

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Filed under 1994, Amiga, Fighting, Mirage

Podcast 4: Games on TV Podcast

 

'Greetings...'

 

Celebrate us reaching our half way point on the blog by listening to yet another 101 Video Games Podcast! This time we discuss the strange history of Video Games on TV. If Video Killed the Radio Star will Video Games kill the TV Star? No, of course not.

We ramble on for about 22 minutes this time. We also laugh a lot at our own jokes again. Sorry!

Click on the player to listen directly through this site:

Or click on the link below to listen/download in your media player of choice:

Podcast 4 Games on TV

And just to get you in the mood, here are some clips of our ‘favourite’ shows.

Gamesmaster with a sarcastic Dominik Diamond and annoyed Dave Perry:

Find out everything you need to know about the Atari Jaguar on Bad Influence:

Honestly, it was pretty much impossible to find a clip of BITS which didn’t have Emily Booth in a slightly revealing outfit:

Ian & Lewis

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Filed under Podcast

#49: Mortal Kombat II

Format: Super NES Genre: Fighting Released: 1993 Developer: Midway

[A swoosh of static gives way to an 'insert disk' icon, accompanied by two electronic bleeps. Rudimentary wireframe graphics flit over the screen as choral singing emanates from the television speakers, accompanied by a clanging industrial beat.  The wireframe shapes resolve into a kind of gothic throne, and as the music reaches a crescendo we zoom onto the face of the throne's occupant - Patrick Moore. Suddenly there's a crash of thunder, the screen whites out, and in the place of Patrick Moore's sage visage is the word 'GamesMaster', with the 'M' picked out in florid gothic script.]

[Cut to the inside of what appears to be some kind of cathedral. Wild cheering erupts from the assembled audience as the camera swoops towards a figure dressed in a red sports jacket and crisply ironed white trousers. The look is topped off with floppy hair and Lennon glasses.]

Dominik Diamond: Hello, and welcome to GamesMaster.

[The excited cheering dies down and Dominik turns to camera 2, hands clasped earnestly.]

DD: And without further ado, let’s go over to GamesMaster to find out tonight’s challenge!

[The be-monocled face of the renowned astronomer and (supposed) games expert Patrick Moore fizzes into life on the screen, topped by some kind of metal cowl that looks like it was knocked up on an Amiga in someone's lunch break.]

GamesMaster: Greetings! Tonight’s challenge is on the gore-fest Mortal Kombat II. The pugilists will have 1 minute to inflict as much damage as possible on their opponent. Extra points will be awarded for brutality!

DD: Thank you GamesMaster! So let’s meet tonight’s opponents – Jet from Gladiators and The Bloke From 2 Unlimited!

[Wild applause accompanied by industrial music. Jet and The Bloke From 2 Unlimited walk down the aisle of the church, escorted by two monks. Jet is wearing her Gladiators costume and looks slightly uncomfortable at being surrounded by an audience of leering 14-year-old nerds. I'd describe The Bloke From 2 Unlimited but no-one can actually remember what he  looks like. Let's face it, he wasn't the one you were looking at in the videos. The challengers take their seats. Dominik moves into what appears to be an altar and stands next to a man wearing a garish bandana and a hoodie.]

DD: And with me as always in the commentary box is Rad Toon from Mean Machines magazine. So Rad, can you give the contestants some advice?

Rad Toon: Well, what they’ve really got to focus on is moving their characters next to each other and pressing the punch or kick buttons. The real experts, like me, can use secret combinations of button presses to unleash what we in the industry call ‘special moves’, but perhaps we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves.

DD: And what about fatalities? Do you think we’ll see any of those today?

RT: [Looks confused] …what?

DD: OK, thanks Rad, let’s go over to the contestants. Jet, The Bloke From 2 Unlimited, you have 1 minute to pound your opponent into submission, starting… NOW!

[Wild cheering as the fight begins. The Bloke From 2 Unlimited is using Kung Lao and immediately unleashes a special move, flinging his razor-edged hat across the screen and causing Jet's character, Scorpion, to spout fountains of blood. Jet looks down at her controller in confusion and starts pressing the A button repeatedly. The she laughs a bit - a rather self-aware laugh, as if she's feeling suddenly awkward. She has clearly never played a computer game in her life.]

RT: Jet is using some classic Mortal Kombat tactics here, repeatedly pressing one button to create a flurry of fists that’s all but impossible to penetrate. But wait! She’s switched tactics! Now she’s making a stealthy retreat by running in the opposite direction from her opponent and just crouching in a corner… Ah, but The Bloke From 2 Unlimited has seen through the ruse and is just kicking her repeatedly… Jet’s trying a new tactic – she’s put down the controller and has starting doing her hair in an effort to confuse her opponent. But it hasn’t worked! The Bloke From 2 Unlimited is doing something with the controller… the screen’s gone dark… wait, what’s Kung Lao doing? Oh my God he’s sliced Scorpion in half! I didn’t know you could do… I mean, of course, the classic Kung Lao fatality, it’s what I always do when I play against my games expert friends. Who I always beat, by the way.

DD: Thanks Rad, now let’s go over to the contestants. Jet, what happened?

Jet: Did I lose? I thought I was the other one!

DD: And on that bombshell it’s time to go over to GamesMaster for the Consoltation Zone.

[Cut to a dodgy-looking CGI room. A short, rotund child with glasses materialises in front of the GamesMaster.]

Rotund Child: [Speaking with lisp] GamessssMaster, how do I get infinite lives on Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja on the Sssssuper NESSS?

[Before you can hear GamesMaster's wisdom on the subject, a shout of "TEA'S READY!!!" echoes from the kitchen. You press the television off switch and GamesMaster's Amiga-generated face shrinks to a white dot in the middle of the screen.]

Scorpion vs. President Baraka with classic ‘toasty’ fatality.

Dexter Fletcher-era Gamesmaster, featuring the actors from Mortal Kombat.

Lewis

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Filed under 1993, Fighting, Midway, Super NES