The ’90s were like the Wild West for kids, especially for those like me who were raised by a single mother who worked on three jobs just so we could eat for the week. This also meant she wasn’t around a lot and I found myself doing things I probably shouldn’t. Nothing extreme, harmless things like watching scary movies and playing things I probably wasn’t mature enough for. Never would have admitted that at the time, but I have a better grasp of the level’s life has. One of the movies I watched during this time was a film called RoboCop. Yes, it’s as Shakespearean as it sounds.
Now, I know these are ’80s movies, but I wasn’t alive during their release. Instead, I discovered the VHS collection in my mother’s movie collection. When I say I was captivated by the movies and the character, believe me, I was completely enthralled with the entire premise. I mentioned how I was a weird kid in the last episode of WedNESday, running around pretending I was Belmont. The same runs true with RoboCop, I would pretend I was a robot and mimic his mannerisms from the films. This was also around the first time I began to craft original stories in my head based on television icons that took a strong grip on me.
So, I’m in the middle of all of this, watching the movies nonstop and being a bad influence on my cousins when they spent the night by forcing them to love this new thing I had discovered when my grandparents took me to a Pulguero. They went there almost every other Saturday and essentially it was a flea market where Hispanic people sold things. I hated it. We would get there around eight in the morning and stayed for hours as they looked for great deals. On this particular day, we passed by this older looking man that looked like one of the monks from Breath Of The Wild, and he had RoboCop 2 for the NES for sale. To this day I can feel exactly what I felt at that moment, my heart stopping and my face turning to form the dumbest grin a kid can muster.
There were very few instances where my grandfather bought me a game. Why? Because boys that were growing to be men needed to be outside and not glued to the television. This was one of them because I only grabbed the cartridge, I pondered how I would ask, but he simply asked me if I wanted it. A nod later and we were walking to look at the next set of potential purchases, only this time there was a little pep in my step and a new game in my hands.
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So, did it live up to the hype? Oh, hell yeah.
The starting menu was well worth whatever was paid for the game. They had RoboCop firing his gun looking like he was just begging someone to give him a cross look. When you actually played the game, it was everything I wanted. You run around as RoboCop taking out bad guys throughout the city. That’s all anyone should have wanted from this game, to be the character, and this game nails it. Now, if I recall correctly, your goal is to stop Cain from spreading a new drug called Nuke and arrest villains, but I think to arrest the villains you have to shoot them and if I am remembering this correctly, murder = arrest. Like I said, Wild West. At the end of the stage, you get a percentage of how many Nukes you were able to get off the streets and the number of bad guys arrested.
If you really think about it, you are playing as Mega Man’s dad… Mega Man Senior. The game can get hectic at times with enemies and their attacks coming from all angles, but I don’t remember it being as difficult as the Mega Man games. One thing about the game that was awesome and still holds up, was the music of the game. It is all the glory of the 8bit era. The space level with the spinning satellites is still one of my favorites and the section I remember the most. Mostly because I’m a space nerd who is always obsessed with aliens but even more mostly because of countless deaths. I played a better RoboCop in my head. The game does have boss fights, pretty sure one or some of them were rejected Metal Gear designs. The game is absolutely fantastic. Go play it.
I know for a fact that I beat the game once, for sure. I can’t remember if I ever beat it more than once because, during all of this, I burned myself out on RoboCop. Too much RoboCop. Between all the film’s, the game, and pretending to be him, well, it was all a little too much for me. Regardless of that, I loved the game because my grandfather bought it for me. I did take a break, a brief pause, in between getting the game and beating it for the first time due to what was mentioned above.
You see, gaming was different back then. It wasn’t about microtransactions and loot boxes, it wasn’t about keeping the player engaged for all eternity, it was about fun. Modern gaming seems to have lost that. I’m grateful for the era I grew up in and the memories I have from easier times in my life. So, thanks Mom and my grandparents, I love y’all.
What precious gaming moments do you have? What is your favorite NES game? Did you play RoboCop 2 on the NES? Let me know!