Rotox (U. S. Gold) Review | ST Format - Everygamegoing

ST Format

By U. S. Gold
Atari ST

Published in ST Format #12


A series of attacks by extraterrestrials make Earth painfully aware that its weapon system is crude and out of date. A new kind of weapon is needed, something that can out-manoeuvre and outgun the enemy.

Enter Lieutenant Kowalski, a trooper who was badly injured on patrol. Instead of treating his wounds, doctors rebuilt him, replacing his damaged body parts with prosthetic limbs controlled by computer. The idea is that Kowalski be put into action as Remote Offworld Xenoprobe (ROTOX for short), a weapon capable of challenging alien forces.

Naturally, a new weapon has to be tested before it's put into service, so ROTOX is shipped to Neptune where huge test platforms have been built. Viewing the game from above, you take control of ROTOX as he's put through his paces. Throughout the test levels he remains in the centre of the screen; when turning left and right the scenery rotates around him; when moving forwards and backwards it scrolls beneath him.


The test levels are split into nine areas, each populated by a set number and type of drones. Each area must be cleared of drones before ROTOX can move on to the next. This isn't as easy as it sounds, because the only way to travel between the areas is via an intricate system of shifting platforms. These platforms either move between areas, swing around a fixed point, or expand and contract. Careful timing and agility are needed to pass safely from one area to another.

As the game progresses, the drones become more dangerous and harder to destroy, though additional weapons such as missiles, shrapnel bombs and jet-packs can be bought to make the going a little easier.

Once all nine areas have been cleared, ROTOX is transported to the next (and more difficult) area, which simulates different types of life-or-death combat.



Rotox is a combination of sprites (for the main character and some of the drones) and solid vector graphics (for large drones and platforms). Although they look strange to begin with, the visuals really are impressive. The sprites are well-drawn and the platforms are smoothly and clearly animated. You occasionally become disorientated because some platforms are smoothly and clearly animated. You occasionally become disorientated because some platforms have symmetrical patterns, but this makes puzzle-solving more intriguing.

The sound isn't up to scratch. Music and effects don't enhance gameplay and will undoubtedly be turned off by most gamesters.


Rotox is a manic shoot-'em-up with puzzles to solve. The blast sections are frantic because you have to keep an eye on the floor to prevent stepping off the moving platforms into the void. The puzzle element comes in when negotiating the connecting platforms. It's an infuriating exercise until you discover the correct strategy.

Even though the first few levels are pretty simple and you're furnished with a fistful of credits to continue the game, the later levels are a swine to complete, and will keep players struggling for hours.

Maff Evans

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