As well as following what’s going on in cinema, streaming, tv and the latest daguerreotypes, there are certain projects in the world of gaming that offer cross-over appeal; I’ve written about my mission to play James Bond games, and the cruel discovery that not many film and tv tie-ins are worth playing. But there are exceptions, such as the remarkable Rango game part of which takes place in a facsimile of Hunter S Thompson’s desk, and this new Robocop game, developed by Teyon and published by Nacon; I’ve only played the first few levels, but it certainly delivered on what I’d want from a game set in the Robocop world.
So while this is a low-budget effort compared to the heavily promoted Spiderman game, Rogue City is far more interesting to the casual player in that considerable effort has been made to make this feel like a direct continuation of the movies, or rather the first two. Following in the footsteps of Superman, where only the first two movies seem to be considered canon, Rogue City ignores the reboot completely, as well as the random third film of the trilogy. Thus, we’re back on the beat in Delta City as Robocop, with Alex Murphy voiced and played by Peter Weller, with Nancy Allen back in her fatigues as his human partner Officer Lewis.
Of course, this is a first person shooter; Rogue City opens with terrorists addicted to the Nuke drug taking over the local tv station and taking newscasters as hostage, a scenario which taps into in the media satire of the original films. The first broadcast, about a US nuclear submarine accidentally opening fire on a community of Laplanders, has the right kind of blackly comic edge, and that scrupulous fidelity to the Robocop legacy feels apparent from the start. So no, you can’t run, duck for cover, or take too many evasive actions here; Robocop is tied to a stake in terms of his physicality, which makes for a different kind of game to the usual run and gun. As it should be, the shooting controls feel fairly intuitive, and Robocop’s close controls are very satisfying; if you remember how Robocop flung crims around in the petrol station in the first film, right through a glass-fronted drinks cabinet, you’ll enjoy the sheer thrust of your propulsive potential actions here.
So no star rating as yet for Rogue City, a first person shooter that seems to have enough to offer in terms of narrative to make it worth a play-through over the holiday season; plans are afoot to nail this experience down, and I’ll write about the result here. But while most licenced games are a travesty, Rogue City is a rare beast in that it seeks to put players in control of an iconic character in the traditional old-school style that should appeal to fans; you can resist if you want, but the reality is, you have only twenty seconds to comply. Your move, creep.