#100 Paradroid

Posted: 28th May 2011 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

57th game played so far

Genre: Action
Platform: Commodore 64
Year of Release: 1985
Developer: Andrew Braybrook
Publisher: Hewson Consultants

The most roundly numbered game we’ve covered so far, Paradroid is an old action game that makes you hack robots and fight your way around. Blow up the ship by shooting other droids and taking over their bodies. It’s that simple.

Our Thoughts

Time for a game which sounds more like a crappy Hitchhikers tie-in than anything else. It’s certainly not a well-known title. It’s our first, and only, title for the Commodore 64. I think it is fair to say that we had to emulate it… considering how old it is.

Yeah. Now, this is an interesting game anyway. It took some time for us to figure out what we needed to do. Ah tutorials and instruction booklets how we missed you. Very true. The idea is actually not too bad – you’re a droid assigned to blow up a ship that looks a remarkable lot like the USS Enterprise of Star Trek fame. (Why blow it up? Why not?) To do so, you take over other droids with more powerful weapons by hacking their system in a minigame that makes you take more rows of a column than the opponent. Stronger droids are, of course, harder to take over. It was great since it gave me the only opportunity I am ever going to have to try and explode a starship with Shatner still in it. At least in theory. Like the theory about Shatner’s Shakespearean acting method? It’s either that or early dementia. But that’s not relevant at the moment.

One thing that is very interesting from this game is that although it it top-down they only show enemy robots if they are within your droid’s line of sight. Making for some surprise appearances as you round the corner, especially when you’re a simple droid suddenly being faced withsome super fighter. Who is kick-ass when you beat the mini-game and then do a little bit of mechanical body snatching. It is so useful in clearing a path from some measley inconsequential droids. Absolutely. Taking them over remains tough, but if you can manage it, it’s great. That minigame is a real bitch until you figure out the best way to beat it. Something that takes you about the first ten games you play. When playing this game, prepare to die and restart often. Oh god this game is frickin’ brutal in that respect. It’s a good thing this game predates long cutscenes… else it’d be horrible.

Still, when you get that far that you get it, the game actually gets quite addictive. I must admit that while I was playing to try to get a good screenshot, I instead did try to get a bit further in the game… what should have been a single game took… a few more than that. A few more than a few more. A bit like Tetris then where you keep playing it to get better and better scores. Yeah. But instead to get to the next deck of the ship.

What helps here are the graphics. Yeah, they’re simple compared to what we have now, but they’re effective. A futuristic ship with a fitting layout of the decks, starting out in the crew quarters and being able to go to other places. They’re nicely layed out, making some sense, and nice to explore – you want to see all decks. I realise there aren’t many, but it’s just nice and varied enough to work. They also go through pallette swaps between games, somehow effective in making them look just a little bit different each time. I have to admit that I really did love the looks of the different marauding robots. Some of them actually look slightly threatening as you roll around the corridors in a metallic foetal position. Some did give me the impression of some big humanoid thing stomping around the halls. This is also helped by the randomness – while the ship start out in a similar way each time, the robots follow their own path that changes between games… meaning I was very surprised to face the nastiest droid as I was walking down the first corridor.

And so I started yet another new game.

Final Thoughts

This is a game from a simpler time, with the appropriate graphics and difficulty curve. You need to take your time to get this game. After that, you get a game that’s addictive in the sense that so many games from this era are – a single game doesn’t take long, but you just want to keep trying. It’s fun, addictive, and you just want to try to win.  And there’s so much more strategy to it than running around a Pacman maze, as we might be used to now.

  1. […] criticism that has been levied at our blog is that when we review classic games (such as Paradroid and Earthworm Jim) we tend to look at games through modern eyes. Whilst we do realise that this is […]

  2. […] however, was not the case with Paradroid which I thought was absolute pants. We actually ended the post being positive since we were not […]