Robots can be weapons of mass destruction, but they can also be our heroes, maids, companions, friends, and they can even be sports athletes. No matter what purpose robots have, they generally serve to make our lives better (or worse). They can also make the gaming experience better, memorable, exciting, challenging, or all of the above. These five retro games are some of the best examples of what video games can do for a robotic cast ensemble.
5. Mischief Makers (Nintendo 64)
You are Marina, the android maid of your creator Professor Theo, who you must rescue from a wide variety of villains. Using Marina’s abilities to grab, shake, and throw almost any object in the game, she journeys across planet Clancer to protect the inhabitants (a bunch of sad-face aliens) from the Emperor and his cohorts. You will fight evil sad-face aliens, dragons, humanoid beasts and their transforming vehicles, and the Emperor himself. This was the first game developed by Treasure (Gunstar Heroes) for a Nintendo system. And it wouldn’t be a classic Treasure game without incredible boss battles, unique action/puzzle hybrid levels, and a fun soundtrack. In a time where side scrollers were being phased out, Treasure gave us Mischief Makers to remind us that side scrolling can still be fun, even on advanced (at the time) systems like the Nintendo 64.
4. Super Baseball 2020 (Neo-Geo)
In the year 2020, half of the baseball players in the world will be replaced with robots. The other half will be equipped with mechanized enhancements to help them compete against the robots. It’s not just the cast that makes this game a fun and creative way to experience baseball. It’s the challenge of knowing how to upgrade your team using the in-game currency. It’s how you play the game to determine how much money you can spend. It’s ensuring that every player (robot or human) is in top condition, before they get too tired to play the game, or in the case of the robot players, before they explode. Everything about Super Baseball 2020 is an experience that would be very difficult to replicate in any other baseball game.
3. Vectorman (Mega Drive)
Don’t call these guys robots, instead you may call them orbots. They are tasked with cleaning up the planet Earth after humans a mess behind on their voyage to colonize other planets. However, one orbot goes insane when he attaches itself to a nuclear missile, and self-proclaims himself to be Warhead, the ruler of the world. As Vectorman, you must save the polluted world from Warhead, and the orbots he has corrupted. To do this, Vectorman must drill, cut, bomb, and swim his way through treacherous traps, and obstacles. For its time, Vectorman took a very creative approach to the 2D action genre, resulting in one of the last great hits for the Mega Drive.
2. Chrono Trigger (Super Nintendo)
In the year 1999, Lavos ascends from beneath the planet to destroy everything and everyone. 300 years later, humans still struggle to survive the harsh environment, while robots continue their dominance on the post-apocalyptic world. One robot, however, serves to help the humans instead of aid in their complete extinction, R-66Y, also known as Robo. He can’t cast magic, but he can shoot lasers, throw bombs, and heal his friends when they’re down and out. A fine balance of offense and defense. Chrono Trigger has been praised to death for how great of an RPG it is. But Chrono Trigger should be praised for having one of, if not, the best robot ally in an RPG.
1. Mega Man 3 (Nintendo)
Is it REALLY a surprise to see a Mega Man game at the top? You’re a robot, fighting a lot of enemy robots leading up to a fight with robot masters. But why go with the third title, and not the second one? While two was a brilliant game, three doubled the overall experience. Not only do you get the eight robot masters for three, you also get the opportunity to challenge the robot masters from two through the games “Doc Robots.” You also get a robot dog to help you traverse the challenging areas in the game, and you are introduced to your robot brother (who you’re not supposed to know is your brother, you know, like Speed Racer’s relationship with Racer X). An excellent game, with one of the greatest soundtracks on a Nintendo game, and quite possibly the largest robot cast ensemble in a retro game. And if 3 isn’t your favorite Mega Man game, just replace it with any other Mega Man game. It would still take the number one spot in this countdown.
How about you? What are your favorite retro games featuring robots?
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