At a Glance: Robots. Did you know that robots are actually the ancient enemy of Something Awful? The fillings in my teeth do not tell a lie, my readers. Robots will forever and always be the thorn in our side, and we spend every moment either pretending to be robots to learn their ways or killing them ruthlessly with objects we stole from the future. Although I risk death at the hands of Josh "Livestock" Boruff and the other writers, I will divulge one of our most powerful tools in our fight against the digital heathens - the NES game Deathbots.
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here - 192k)
Download: Download ROM here - 64k
Game Plot: In what can no doubt be a futuristic training video for the cyber berserkers that will bring about the fifth Dark Age, this game is specifically crafted to bring about violent, frothing rage that can never be subdued. The year is 1990 AD. The Soviet Union is dead, LL Cool J released "Mama said knock you out", the first Iraq war is about to begin. Anguish and panic are everywhere. Now you will witness the secret cause of this pain. In the year 1990, Deathbots rolled all over the NES like chunky menstruation. Putrid and festering, pulsing with unholy life and spitting cystic bile, it came into the world ready to devour. Video game publishers were shocked and horrified by something only a group like American Video Entertainment (makers of the game Trolls on Treasure Island) could be responsible for.
"No way are we going to make this game!" the industry said in unison. Night Trap was released for Sega CD in 1992.
In Deathbots, the entire future and all its possible chrome is dependant on you, a cyborg marshmallow warrior of the stars. You have been given a secret mission, so secret that no one knows about it - even you. The overlords that control your soul have teleported you directly into a 6 story building full of deadly robots that only want one thing: The name of your tailor. Due to poor programming and a one-time spilling of Dr. Thunder in the mainframe computer the robots confuse "ask about wonderful boots" with "death". Thus, Deathbots, full of unbelievable trainwrecks of graphics whenever you simply pause the game.
Fun Fact: this game will emit a low hissing sound whenever you feel joy. It will shit all over your clothes and smash your wedding gifts. It will stand over your baby's cradle as it sleeps, staring at your child with cold human eyes it stole from the last fool who owned the game before you.
Enemies: Upon entering a stage, all of the enemies turn towards you and begin firing. They never stop. No manner of batmanish maneuvering can save you from being hit by a steady steam of bullets from five robots constantly firing in your direction. Having fulfilled their "death" and "robots" and "smuggling small Mexican children to use as lawn chairs" requirements, American Video Entertainment felt no need to stick to any concept of reality when making their robots. Some look like spoons with wheels, some look like electronic bongs, some are robotic faces. You know there's only one thing you can think when the robotic faces that shoot lasers start coming out of the woodwork: product placement! Unfortunately, there is no product, no placement, or any justification for making such impossible enemies.
The good news is that you can defeat them by simply touching them. This is probably due to the blunt force trauma that each member of the development team felt as they were beat with steel rods. Giving robots hugs is the only form of offense that you can resort to when you future weaponry fails you.
Weapons: On the subject of your future weaponry, you have a large assortment of circles and lines that you can shoot at your foes. You can obtain various guns that look like props from the 1978 Battlestar Galactica trash bin. For those who don't know what that show looked like, here's the translation: they look like pieces of shit. Your guns have a range that is almost always smaller than your enemies. They have a limited number of shots and the game gives you no method of checking your ammunition count without going to a menu. After doing a little bit of research I found that these are the number one complaints of police officers. I mean policebots. Grenades are included in the list of items that you feebly hope will save you from your enemies. A random robot will take any number of grenades to the face, only admitting defeat based on subjects only known to Satan. What's that, dark lord? Kill myself? Let me finish up the review first.
Mystic belts appear once and awhile to keep you from harm for a few moments. In the end levels of the game this is the only thing that will keep you alive. Why you choose to stay alive is an entirely different reason. Health packs can be found and used but appear in such low frequencies that you would assume the game was designed to make you feel like shit and give up.
Levels: Six floors, six levels. Each level is the same but only differ in color and placement. In a masterstroke by the developers, all the doors are displayed at an angle. This angle allows the door to not only be hard to get through but also gives the door a reason to not open whenever it feels like. Ding-dong! Who could that be? Oh wow, it's the deathbots, coming right through the wall and shooting lasers at me! Guess those pesky doors aren't really that big of a problem anyway.
The levels come equipped with teleporters and little survival ATMs. These miraculous stations can give weapons or health at whenever they feel like helping you out (read: never). Both the teleporters and ATMs are placed just right to make sure every action you do is interrupted by teleporting you into a field of enemy fire or halting your grenade by reminding you that there is no merciful soul in this entire six story building.
Bosses: The bosses have a lot to top when their underlings can shoot you from off-screen where you can't hit them. They make up for it beautifully by touching you and killing you instantly, firing almost unavoidable bullets and rays, and moving rapidly in order to make every second grenade or bullet miss completely. Their rays are fed by leeching your enjoyment straight out of your body and shooting it right back at you. Believe me, you've never felt enjoyment until you've been shot to death by a goose-stepping Master Chef (Edit: Chief) or a killed by the touch of a tentacle beast. Killed by the touch of a Tentacle Beast is also the name of my favorite album.
The last boss is harder than all of these combined; only admitting defeat when getting caught on a corner. You exit the building and watch it explode. It is only now that you realize that you are on the moon. Even though you are a cyborg, you will spend the next few years slowly dying and being pulled apart by the vacuum of space. It will be worth it. (Note: Beating the game will not give you a similar experience to the "good" in that sentence. It will however perfectly replicate the "not good" portion.)
Defining Moment: Vomiting blood in all directions. The force of which sends me spinning in a circle like a spinning top that has the ability to both puke and cry at the same time. Bits of cartilage stick to the walls as I make a beautiful splash art mural depicting the rise and fall of mankind all around the room.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).
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The Rom Pit is dedicated to reviewing the most bizarre and screwed up classic console games from the 1980's, the ones that made you wonder what kind of illegal substances the programmers were smoking when they worked on them. Strangely enough, the same illegal substances are often necessary to enjoy or make sense of most of these titles. No horrible Nintendo game is safe from the justice of the ROM Pit.