A video game developed by Andrew Braybrook, released by Hewson Consultants in 1985 for the Commodore 64
, later ported to the Amiga
and Atari ST
The game takes place on a spaceship where the robots have gone berserk and are now universally hostile. The player controls an "influence device", which is self-propelled and armed with some low-powered lasers, but whose most important ability is to take control of a nearly droid and control them for a short duration. Higher-level robots possess stronger weaponry, which may be used when the influence device is in control of a particular model.
To take control of a particular droid, a minigame is played consisting of sending pulses through representations of logic gates to gain control of the robot's processor, while the robot you are attacking does the same thing. A central game mechanic is that the number of pulses you can send depends on the level of the robot you currently control, making it difficult to transfer from a low-level robot to a high-level robot without taking some intermediate steps.
The game is well remembered, and several remakes have been made for modern machines.
This game provides examples of:
- AI Is A Crap Shoot: Implied. The 999 command cyborg is noted as having an "experimental new brain".
- Body Surf: What your Influence Device does, just with a technological justification rather than a spiritual one.
- Continuing Is Painful: Failing to take control of a new robot bumps you all the way back to controlling just the influence device. If there are no low level robots left to take control of, you're in for a big jump.
- Hollywood Hacking: The minigame through which you gain control of a robot.
- Mind-Control Device: You control a lightly armed influence device. It is pretty much all you have.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: The game was converted to the ZX Spectrum as Quazatron, which keeps the grapple minigame but has a completely different graphical style (isometric 3D rather than top-down 2D).
- Shout-Out: The 883 security droid looks remarkably like a Dalek. The in-game console database explicitly refers to the 883 as being "modelled on archive data".
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Averted. If you want to, you can take the bare influence device directly to the 999 command cyborg and attempt to take it over the moment you enter the game. It's not impossible to succeed, too.