The Challenge Of The Gobots (Ariolasoft) Review | Computer Gamer - Everygamegoing

Computer Gamer

The Challenge Of The Gobots
By Reaktor
Commodore 64/128

Published in Computer Gamer #25

In the eternal battle against Dr Braxis, the Gobots meet their foe in a ring of fire.

The Challenge Of The Gobots

Take a long, thin strip of paper by its two ends, put a twist in it and join the ends with tape to form a circle. Next place a pen on the paper and start to draw a line around the ring. Continue running the pen along the paper's surface and eventually you'll meet the point where you started. Undo the tape and you'll see that you've drawn on both sides of the paper! This is a Moebius ring, the basis of the Challenge of the Gobots.

In the command centre relaxation room, Matt, AJ and Nick are discussing the discovery of a planet on the dark side of Saturn. A planet with only one side may seem impossible but that is what they've found. Fascinated by the strange phenomenon, they don't realise the sinister nature of the planet Moebius, the new home of Dr. Braxis and his evil, robotic henchmen who are already discussing the downfall of Earth's guardians, the Gobots.

The three humans get a chance to examine the planet at close quarters at close quarters when they are captured by the enormous robots Cy-Kill and Crasher. Also the dreaded 'anti-move' ray created by Braxis is used to capture one of the Gobots, Turbo. With his four prisoners safely under lock and key, Braxis is confident that soon Earth itself will be under his control.

Back at command centre, Pathfinder is the first to notice the red warning light flashing in response to the alarm transmitter which Turbo secretly dropped before his imprisonment on Moebius. Leaving a message for the rest of the team, Leader 1 and Scooter, Pathfinder wings his way to the satanic planet but falls prey to Snoop and Cy-Kill. The hypnosis ray used to pacify Pathfinder renders him a slave to serve alongside the wicked robots in the coming battle against the two remaining Gobots.

Responding to Pathfinder's note, Leader 1 and Scooter finally arrive on the planet's surface in search of their five friends. The scene that greets them is shocking enough. Braxis' bases are everywhere and the air is full of enemy transporters rushing to and fro, but another shock awaits the intrepid duo. As Leader 1 turns to talk to Scooter he is confronted by three confused clones of his friend and before he can even speak more and more clones appear.

Thus the scene is set for the oncoming battle to destroy Braxis' plans and the computer game begins.

Set in a Minteresque world, there are two planet surfaces displayed at the top and bottom of the screen and Leader 1 flies along the channel between them. The top of the screen shows an inverted view of the opposite side of the Moebius ring to that which is represented beneath it. Between the two surfaces a staggering array of enemy craft to go about their business and Leader must be careful not to collide with them.

Scooter clones run along the ground between enemy bases which look like giant puff balls waiting to burst.

On the surface of Moebius Leader's lasers are useless, neither the guns effect the destruction of the bases. What can Leader do?

Other weapons must be found on the planet. Clones can be captured by Leader if he mines rocks from the planet's surface and uses them to knock out each Scooter. In turn, the captured Scooters can then be used as ammunition with which to bomb the bases. At the same time, CopTurs are collecting clones as energy supplies for Gog who is busily rebuilding any destroyed bases.

Certain elements of the game can be set before playing but all the levels are very, very hard. Programmed by Tony 'Loco' Crowther, the game is technically brilliant and the characters break away from his usual chunky style in favour of smaller detailed graphics which allow the profusion of zappable aliens which zip around the screen.

The game requires caution and planning rather than crude shoot-'em-up techniques. You can't just fly at full tilt, blasting as you go, because there are indestructible, renegade robots teleporting from one surface to the other. These teleporter beams span the screen and look like massive pillars designed to hold the two surfaces apart. The beams have no substance and don't affect Leader 1 but collision with a transporting robot brings instant death.

Instead of a traditional numerical scoreboard, the screen sports a bar chart which increases as you progress towards the release of your friends. Success will not be achieved until you destroy all of the bases with kamikaze Scooters and this is no easy task! Avoiding the aliens, you must approach each base so that your Scooter-bomb will arc down into a hole at the top of the base. Success is rewarded by a satisfying explosion as the base is shattered. Failure means a hazardous search for another Scooter.

The success of the television cartoon series and the resultant spin-off toys and other memorabilia guarantee that the game will attract a lot of interest. Those who buy this game will not be disappointed and will be rewarded with a shoot-'em-up which out-Minters Llamasoft's quirky Sheep In Space. Far from being a mere rip-off of Sheep In Space, Challenge Of The Gobots has sufficient originality to set it apart.

Also included in the package is a computer storybook which outlines the story of the Moebius adventure as written by K. Blake and R. Goodley. As the more informed reader will know, Ross Godley is the other programmer who defected from Alligata to Ariolasoft at the same time as Crowther. The text displayed on the screen is supplemented by attractive illustrations which depict the Hanna-Barbera characters simply but very effectively. It's a pity that the text is not so well penned.

I thoroughly enjoyed playing the game at Ariolasoft's offices, but I did have the advantage of being able to turn off the alien threat. Even so, the game was difficult to complete and, with the collision detection turned on again, the game is incredibly tough. This must rate as one of the best shoot-'em-ups of all time. Defender deluxe!