Gobots are a range of toys that mutate from robots into cars, planes and other vehicles. They star in their own TV cartoon and now they pop up on the even smaller screen. The game's been designed and programmed by Ross Goodley and Tony Crowther - the former programmed Meltdown and the latter is renowned for his Commodore 64 shoot-'em-ups.
The game is well presented with a story "book" which you can load up and some copies - a "limited edition" - also contain an audio tape bearing the story of the Gobots and some fancy music. The game itself is a scrolling shoot-'em-up on a one-sided planet. This curious effect means that the planet surface appears at the top and bottom of the screen, and if you keep flying in one direction you will encounter what was at the bottom on the top and the top on the bottom. Got that?
Dotted along the surface are egg-shaped bases with a hole in the top, which you have to destroy. The craft you fly is a Gobot called Leader One who can fly and land on either the top or bottom of the screen. You have to pick up scooters (another type of Gobot), which also appear on the planet, and throw them at the bases to destroy them.
Naturally the enemy Gobots don't take kindly to this and will throw various defences against you. Cars, helicopters and green flying "clams" will steal scooters. Other Gobots will get in your way and on later levels start shooting at you.
You've got a laser to shoot objects in the air. On the ground you can drill for rocks and hurl them at ground targets. Once all the bases are destroyed, you move onto the next harder level.
A nice feature of the game is an options menu allowing you to alter the game. You can make Leader One more or less responsive to horizontal and vertical thrust; you can make land obstacles fatal and turn gravity on or off. Using these you can set the responsiveness and difficulty of the game to suit you quite well.
The graphics are excellent - smooth scrolling, big explosions and lots of colourful features. The gameplay is fast and quickly gets tough. There are various techniques to learn before you get skilled at the game, particularly how to pick up and use scooters. The computerized book and audio tape add to the atmosphere, which is unusual in a shoot-'em-up. If you follow the cartoon you'll like it. If you're just looking for a tough shoot-'em-up, you'll find it a good challenge as well.
It grows on you. The more you play this game the more addicted you'll become. The scrolling is fast and smooth, sound-effects and tide tune pleasing - and the game playable. It is a spruced-up shoot-'em-up, but has a pick-'em-up element as well. Recommended.
No problem in this department.
P. Sooth scrolling.
N. Big, colourful explosions and features.
P. Excellent title tune.
Grab Factor 82%
P. Options allow you to tailor game to suit.
P. Lots of different enemies to shoot.
Staying Power 80%
P. Levels get tougher with more enemies thrown in.
N. Like all shoot-'em-ups, it eventually lacks variety.
Surprisingly good game of the cartoon or toy.