Rise of the Robots (1994) - Hourglass review
The characters aren’t worth talking about but given that I am running with the theme of wasted energy I’ll begin. There is a blue, yellow, red, green, white and silver robot. The end. I would like to point out here you play as none of these and unless you have two controllers, and a friend chained in your basement, alive by steady diet of determination, assault and this game alone, you will never use them. The lead character is your only concern,. He is a cyborg aptly named the cyborg. You as the player have the thrill of conquering all of these colours with a simple flick of the kick button which you can occasionally mix up with a few strokes of the back button and the up button. Credits.
Now you might be thinking, “wow what a stinking pile of ass but what is the problem here? Aren’t there more pressing issues out there in the world? Shouldn’t you be out there tackling AIDS, cholera and plague-ridden dwarfs?” My answer? No. And here is why: this game celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year and should be remembered not only for its painstaking lack of attention to fun, but also as a firm example of how marketing companies write heart warming, rainbow quilted crapola in the press about how their game will “enrich the earth” and Mirage’s marketing division was no stranger to the concept of the illusionary.
Firstly, we were led to believe that this would be the videogame equivalent of Blade Runner. A fully immersive, breathing environment of robot justice awaiting all those hungry enough to purchase this road hugging turkey. Even with revolutionary CGI graphics, what this motif boiled down to was a simple opening where Mr Cyborg wakes up, flies into town and walks over a platform. Sadly, this wonderment could be appreciated on your 3DO, and because Rise was spread over 16 bit consoles and handhelds globally few would even see this incredible walking across a platform feat anyway.
Secondly, the game was marketed as one of the first boasting an active A.I. system. The robots would learn how you play the game. They would develop unique strategies to counteract your moves. Kick, kick, kick, death. Awful, awful lie. If robots demonstrated any degree of learning in this game it was the complete understanding that they must kill themselves immediately and that suicide by foot was the most intelligent option available in a factory of misery and lies.
Finally, Brian May and I have to mention this, because it’s Brian May. That rocking, long haired, take no prisoners hero that even your dad loves wrote the soundtrack. And with Queen, Blade Runner, A.I. and machines where can you go wrong? As clique a rhetorical question as this may be let me answer it. Never play this game and please try to get more fresh air. May frets three chords on the opening title then swiftly leaves to be awesome elsewhere. Take his cue. The results of Rise spoke in whispers, disappointed sentient life and faded through the mists of time but those lies and mahogany slamming afternoons lived on in our hearts forever.
Guilty Gear X (2001), Street Fighter 3: Third Strike (1999), Garou: Mark of the Wolves (1999).