Rotox (US Gold) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


By U. S. Gold
Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #63


Before Rotox was Rotox, he was a trooper in the elite marine corps, daily proving his bravery and lethal skill in countless interplanetary battles. But even the best can make mistakes, and combat injuries rarely leave much to bury. But 22nd Century medical advances keep our hero alive just long enough for him to provide the brainpower for an awesome combat droid.

Rotox is a cyborg war machine, completely mechanical apart from a human brain hardwired into it. This RoboCop-ish concept could ensure many victories... but first it must be tested. Ten war zones have been built in space, each consisting of nine sub-sections, all packed with hostile forces. Beat them all and you'll be hailed as the future of warfare. Lose and your builders won't bother repairing you - they'll sell you for scrap iron!

Rotox boasts a "revolutionary new game technique called Rotoscope", which means an overhead view of the cyborg which is fixed at the centre of the screen. Push right on the joystick and the whole screen rotates around your man, complete with however many baddies are homing in on you. Rotoscope isn't merely a gimmick though, as it allows a new game-style. Each of the sub-sections are linked by bridges which can be quite a trial, with various segments rotating, expanding/contracting and, in short, doing everything they can to disorientate you! If you fall off you plunge through space right back to the centre of the sub-section you were on. On later levels this costs energy, and destroys any add-on weapons you might have.


Each sub-section has plenty of monsters to kill, from swirling snakes to static launchers pumping out such odd homing missiles as bees. You must kill them all to complete a sub-section, and ultimately the level. Each level has its own theme - the first has each of the sections shaped like a spaceship, from the shuttle to the USS Enterprise. Later themes include death, puzzles and even gardening! While battling through the game you can find add-on weapons such as scatter-bombs, a grenade launcher, a jetpack (with limited fuel) and heat-seeking missiles.


To quote Phil, "Nyah! nyah! yes! No! Aargghhhh! Mmmmh!" Which, translated, means this is a challenging, addictive and very mean game which really has you sweating as the aliens come swooping in and the floor starts shifting under your feet.

At first glance it doesn't look that impressive, especially in static screenshots, but once you begin to play the shoot-'em-up action soon becomes compulsive.


Later levels than start fooling around with the ground in various mind-boggling ways which make progress both addictive and frightening. The continue-plays usefully delay the irksome return to level one, and although there isn't an incredible amount of depth, this is a first rate shoot-'em-up which could well drive you up the wall (with Phil).


I feel sick! All those spinning and pulsating shapes are enough to give anyone motion sickness. But if you can keep your breakfast down this really is a great game. Most 'innovative' 16-bit games are tremendously complex, so it's a relief that Rotox is so easy to pick up and play. The rotating overhead view works well, heightening the vertigo-inducing tension of walking along thin bridges and rotating platforms.

Some of the sector layouts are very imaginative, such as the huge flowers and fruit on level three. Sound is also of a high quality with a cacophony of atmospheric background effects. The game is tough, requiring both good tactics and fast reactions, but at least you get plenty of continue-plays to avoid frustration. Great fun!



Presentation 86%
Good intro/outro sequences. Intelligent continue-play which resets the level you're on to its start position.

Graphics 84%
Rotoscope isn't massively impressive static, but it looks better moving and is certainly very effective.

Sound 79%
Distinctive spot FX add to the atmosphere.


Hookability 88%
A bit weird to begin with, but you soon get the hang of it.

Lastability 89%
...which doesn't mean it's easy. Ten levels provide plenty of arcade action and stunning puzzles.

Overall 88%
An unusual and innovative shoot-'em-up which tests both arcade reactions and mental agility in a fearsome arcade experience.