Video Game / Robotrek
are cool. We know this. But what about robot mons combined with humor that pokes fun at the RPG
genre? This is the basic premise of Robotrek
, known as Slapstick
in Japan, released for the Super Nintendo
It tells the tale of the young son of Doctor Akihabara, whose family has just moved to the village of Rococo. All is not well in the world as the Hackers are trying to take over the world with robots, and it's up to this young lad to stop them with his robotic servants that he himself made, called "Robots".
Though the "Save the World
" plot didn't blow many minds, Robotrek
's gameplay was a refreshing change of pace. The game includes a great deal of Character Customization
for a Super Nintendo RPG, and the combat is an odd hybrid of real-time and turn-based gameplay. Unfortunately, the level of customization can be daunting; a poorly-specced robot makes the game much more difficult than it already is
. Additionally, like most Japanese RPGs before Final Fantasy VII
popularized them in the west, it suffers from a sloppy translation. The game is still a worthy addition to any retro gamer's library.
Robotrek contains examples of the following tropes:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Rococo has one.
- Absurdly High Level Cap: Level 99. Your robots reach 99 points in every category other than health (which isn't capped) by level 47, and the highest level "Inventor's Friend" book is level 80. If you do get all the way there, your robots will have maxed-out stats and 624 health.
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Possibly justified in that everyone thinks you're just a kid and not on a mission to save the world. Although you'll find when you can just make the consumables you've been buying off others, they're actually cheaper. Subverted in that there is one place in the game where you can get items cheaper than normal (Past Rococo).
- All There in the Manual: Copies of the game included lists of Item Crafting combinations, the possible attack Combos you can program into your robots, and the locations of the Inventor's Friend volumes.
- Always Check Behind the Chair: Especially in the beginning. You can obtain a ton of items that will be of great benefit later on.
- American Kirby is Hardcore: The Japanese box art has the main character with a backpack full of scrap reading a book. The American box art is of a foreboding space station — which spoils the last few hours of the game.
- An Axe to Grind: A robot with an axe is a thing to be feared. Axes do more straight melee damage than any weapon, and do reliable damage compared to the occasional immunity enemies show to Sword Beams.
- Artificial Human: The protagonist's mother. But it's nothing significant anyway.
- Artificial Stupidity: With the multi-layered battlefield, you can position your robot directly above or below enemies. In most cases they are utterly incapable of coping with this tactic and will attack at empty space idiotically.
- Awesome, but Impractical:
- Quite a few, see Power Up Let Down and Useless Item.
- Otherwise, the bomb + shot/laser combinations for skill. One of them, dubbed "big bang", hits every enemy on screen, the usefulness drops like a rock after the first boss. The second one launches three times the bombs that hit random places.
- Back Stab: Attacks from behind do more damage. Certain combos let you jump behind an enemy to exploit this, and some enemies have similar skills.
- Baleful Polymorph: Mice. Later, you can become a mouse at will with the right invention.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: The game's story is fairly interesting, but at times almost impenetrable due to all the Engrish.
- Bluff The Imposter: To expose the fake Mayor, the player needs to exploit the real Mayor's well-known fear of dogs.
- Boss In Mooks Clothing/Elite Mooks: Berets and Maskers. They're ALWAYS invisible (the first time you encounter them you won't have any means to see them) and do ridonculous amounts of damage compared to the rest of the enemies in area. They are worth a ton of data if you beat them though.
- Boring, but Practical: Regular melee attacks are almost always more effective in boss fights than the Run commands that can be spammed against regular encounters.
- Character Customization: You choose the distribution of each robot's stats, as well as its equipment and attack combos.
- Combos: You can configure your robots with up to eight at a time, many of which have unique effects.
- Developer Foresight: In one area, you're turned into a mouse and tasked with emptying the Hackers' coffers (5000 GP) in order to be turned back. As a condition of your new form, you're too short to use the Invention Machine and can't use items in battle, which nominally prevents you from making repairs or buying new equipment. However, each time you gain a level you can use the Portable Invention Machine, with which you can spend money to your heart's content. If you manage to reduce your total GP to less than 5000, the intended recipient comments on the lack of funds — then takes everything you have left. If you manage to reach zero GP (which is a lot harder but still doable), he'll assume you're holding out and you'll have to find at least a little money to give him. Abusing this is a good way to afford your third robot.
- Disc One Final Dungeon: The Hacker Fortress.
- Disc One Nuke: Axes. They are the most powerful melee weapon bar none, and trivially easy to make. If you have some money and know what you're doing, you can make a Lvl 9 Axe 1 fairly early in the game. With a little more know how, you can get the third iteration before the third boss. And you can level any of the Axes up by combining it with Sword 1 (though it's cheaper to get use level-ups from the battlefield capsules). To give an idea of how broken axes are in the game, a critical hit with the three-hit-combo macro from the backside will ONE SHOT NEARLY EVERY BOSS.
- Doppelgänger Attack: Done by an early boss. Some enemies also have the ability to summon more of themselves, though the ones summoned are real and worth experience.
- Eek, a Mouse!!: Mint is afraid of mice, which comes up in two separate dungeons.
- Einstein Hair: Dr. Einst, natch.
- Futureshadowing: The encounter with Napoleon in the volcano shrine.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: One of them shoots dragons.
- Gadgeteer Genius: You are on your way to be one.
- Global Airship: Two — the first lets you travel all around the world, while the second lets you explore space as well.
- Going for the Big Scoop: Mint the newspaper reporter.
- Good Morning, Crono: Dr. Akihabara has a rather interesting way of waking you up at the beginning of the game (A musical horn that sounds like an explosion).
- Guide Dang It: Upgrading and making equipment from combinations follows a fairly predictable pattern. But some equipment you may be scratching your head about how to obtain unless you have the supplemental materials (see All There in the Manual). Notable offenders include:
- Shield 4: Scrap 7 + Scrap 9, you'll be able to make Shield 5 when it becomes necessary.
- Boots 5: Scrap 3 + Scrap 9. But you probably spent the last Scrap 3 to make Boots 6.
- Hammer 2: Scrap 6 + Solar Pack... of all things.
- Blade 4: Scrap 8 + Smoke.note
- Solar Pack: Step 1: Get an Empty Pack which only (rarely) drops off of Biolions which are only found in the Bio Lab, which can be Lost Forever. Step 2: Combine that with a Weather item that you learn how to make soon after. Enjoy an incredibly powerful item that you normally can't make for a couple entire dungeons yet.
- Haunted House: Count Prinky's mansion.
- Improbable Weapon User: The hero doesn't usually fight, but the Weather item used in-battle does allow him to damage enemies by summoning lightning or hail.
- Invisible Monsters: As noted in Preexisting Encounters below, some set encounters only have the enemies show up when you approach, and some are outright invisible without the Chameleon Glasses.
- Item Crafting: The major premise of the game. You can either combine items together or use essentially buy them by learning how to make them from Inventor's Friend books, each of which requires a particular experience level.
- Lost Forever: Several dungeons and past Rococo become inaccessible after you go through them, so any items you miss are gone for good.
- Metal Slime: The Shells in the Rococo sewer. They can randomly block attacks, have very high defenses and tend to run away. Pretty much the only way to kill one is to hope you land a critical hit. Should you beat one, you get 30 EXP/Megs of data, about the same as the first two bosses.
- Mons: An interesting take, since you make them.
- Non-Action Guy: Your robots are the ones who do all the fighting.
- Notice This: If text is highlighted in any way, chances are it's of some importance. Shelves with readable books have one book sticking out to indicate that it can be read.
- Our Time Travel Is Different: It's not easy to pin down what type of time travel is used when the player ends up in past Rococo.
- Pamphlet Shelf: You learn to make new items from scratch by reading books, so you'll be checking out every bookshelf you find. There's even a hidden library that contains one of each volume in the game.
- Party in My Pocket: Literally, since the player's robots are contained in capsules.
- Power Up Let Down: Unfortunately, many of the weapons in the game end up like this, once you've boiled down equipment combinations and strategies that work in pretty much any situation.
- A specific example: Blade 4, like Sword 4, can launch an attack that can hit all on-screen enemies once sufficiently leveled up and is the most powerful weapon in the game. Unfortunately, it can't be leveled up unless the player seeks out the equipment leveling capsules in battle (which is more tedious than anything). Worse still, it is useless against a large portion of the mooks you'll be fighting from then on, though the three-swing combo will kill some things one shot won't.
- Preexisting Encounters: Random encounters are of this variety. Though in many cases the enemies don't appear until you get close to their hiding places. And a few are invisible.
- Product Placement: Your computer at the beginning has an advertisement for ActRaiser 2 and Illusion of Gaia.
- Rare Random Drop: Ludicrous in some instances. Those gel enemies and robots in the first areas of the game? They drop enough GP to build the next two robots sometimes.
- Replacement Goldfish: Nagisa, to the player's mother. Dr. Akihabara even mentions she was modeled after his late wife when she was young.
- Shock and Awe: Sword 4 calls down lightning to hit all enemies. So does Weather.
- Shout-Out: Oh, one of the endgame weapon is a blade that shoot fire birds? Now, where did we see that before? As all these games are developed by Quintet, it's somewhere between an author allusion and a Running Gag.
- One character is a vampire named Count John Paul Belmont Prinky.
- Stable Time Loop: You have the option of closing a rather inconsequential one when you wind up in past Rococo. Give Count Prinky a Small Robot, and that explains why there's one at the mansion when you visited the house at the beginning of the game. There's another one when the player encounters Napoleon in the past, explaining how he knows of you in the Volcano Shrine.
- Translator Microbes: At one point you must craft an item that allows you to speak with animals. And when you get turned into a mouse (see Baleful Polymorph above), you can automatically communicate with other mice (while still understanding humans as well).
- Useless Item:
- For combat related purposes, pretty much every long range weapon after the second boss qualifies, where often times you'll find enemies in dungeons half way in that are practically immune to them... and that's all you'll fight. They sometimes aren't immune to combos using the same, but this takes longer to execute.
- For non-combat purposes, the Little Robot. Learning to make it is entirely optional, and it serves absolutely no meaningful purpose. It's not even included in the supplemental list of item combinations.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: Two, in particular:
- Meta Crab introduces the fact that from here on, everything the player did to attack the other enemies without much in the way of retaliation is ineffective (i.e., you MUST start using Melee attacks).
- Big Eye cements what's necessary in boss fights from there on out. If you are ill-equipped for Big Eye, aside from grinding, the average player stands little chance. And even if you are properly equipped, Big Eye hurts like no other.