Publisher: CRL
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #36

Mandroid | GH | SJ | PG | Verdict


Defecting agent Chris Auker has stolen the Mandroid designs and fled to Cove 4 in order to contact the notorious criminal mastermind, Max. It's the player' task to hunt down Auker, gain information as to the whereabouts of the evil overlord, and hence find the valuable blueprints.

The Mandroid agent is directed either on foot or with the assistance of a remote vehicles. This craft is impervious to most enemy fire, but is destroyed on contact with any of the industrial waste rivers which border the landscape. The craft also uses up energy, but is refuelled from depots which are found scattered around the landscape.

The screen is split between a large information panel and the playing area, which scrolls horizontally. Movement in and out of the landscape is achieved by passing through 'transportation gateways', whereupon the screen flicks to a new location.


Money is necessary for success, and is acquired by gamling or accessing any of the credit dispensers found within the city. Extra weapons become available when sufficient funds are obtained.

Different characters are encountered along the way, both inside buildings and in the streets, and the player communicates by accessing a commands menu. Many characters carry map information vital to the success of the mission, and are eliminated with weapons or by simply ploughing into them with the remote. The deceased occasionally drop their guns, which are then added to the player's armoury.

Side two of the cassette contrains the Mandroid library file which reveals information about the nature of the mission and displays individual portraits of the characters involved.



The presentation on Mandroid is extremely weak: the scrolling is slow and jerky, the playing area is annoyingly small, collision detection is at fault, the control method is awkward and the stupid enemies shoot walls instead of you.

The Mandroid flies on side two are a good idea, but the graphics are so blocky and bland that the characters are virtually indistinguishable. The game itself is also graphically lacking: the backdrops are bland and repetitive, the characters are very poor and the main sprite is badly animated and unconvincing.

The gameplay is pretty tedious: it *is* quite satisfying seeing an enemy dissolve in a splat of blood, but most of them could hardly be classed as threatening or intelligent. A clumsy, slow and unprofessional game with hopelessly limited appeal.



Following in the clanking footsteps of the chronically bugged Cyborg, comes its sequel Mandroid. The game is fairly similar in style to its predecessor, but surprisingly it's actually worse: the scrolling is jerkier (heaven knows why!), the animation and sprites are poorer (ditto) and the presentation is just as lacking.

The background graphics are of a reasonable standard, but they lack variety and interesting detail. The gameplay is moderately appealing but its implementation leaves a lot to be desired: poor collision detection, bugs (such as the inability to move in certain rooms), the annoying reincarnation of enemy men when re-entering locations, the insistence of relying on the keyboard to access secondary functions, a finicky and uncomfortable control method... In fact, it suffers in much the same way that Cyborg did - obviously CRL haven't learned by this mistakes.


What at first sight may appear like a good game design has unfortunately been transformed into a pretty poor program, courtesy of the Zen Room. There would seem to be much room for variety in Mandroid, what with hover-cars to drive, fruit machines to play, cash dispensers to fiddle with, loads of powerful weapons to find and lots of alien types to interact with, but sadly they're all so badly implemented that playing the game is a real pain.


The minimal instructions don't help at all, missing out any description of how to use the displays to best advantage (although from the look of some of them, they don't merit the effort spent on trying anyway).

The pace of the game is another let-down: the mandroid lopes around in slow motion while the background jerks past behind him - incredible, considering the small area of the screen being mvoed.

Other little idiosyncrsies, such as the inability to shoot up or down the screen, give the game that smack of unprofessionalism which would leave it stuck permanently on my software shelf.



Presentation 27%
Extremely lacking (and seemingly standard) CRL documentation. Tiny screen display and an uncomfortable and unwieldy control method.

Graphics 39%
Sombre, dull and indistinct with infantile sprites and poorly detailed backgrounds.

Sound 34%
Standard title track and merely functional in-game effects.


Hookability 29%
Poor presentation and little variety repel any addictiveness.

Lastability 18%
Annoying and repetitive gameplay make completing the task a difficult chore.

Overall 25%
A tedious and badly crafted sequel which fails to improve upon its predecessor.

Mandroid | GH | SJ | PG | Verdict