Lost GBA game
THE LOST GBA GAME
Interview with Robocop titus's Eric Laporte.
[Source: www.computerandvideogames.com ]
[ Interview by: Johnny Minkley. ]
As the mighty cyborg law enforcer is resurrected from the annals of time, we speak with Titus about its arcade-action GBA shooter
The huge success of Paul Verhoeven's dystopian action-thriller unsurprisingly spawned a popular arcade game by Data East, in which you guided Murphy through a series of increasingly difficult side-scrolling levels. With the general retro trend seen in current GBA software, Titus has jumped on the bandwagon, reviving the spirit of this classic coin-op with an entirely new adventure based in the cult Robocop universe.
After French publisher Titus Interactive secured the rights to the Robocop franchise, the company started development on a PS2 game and games for the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Color.
It's an old game and an old film: do you still feel Robocop is relevant?
Laporte: Well, you can also say that Superman, Batman and Spiderman are old comics book characters. Robocop has really become a myth, with great worldwide awareness, three movies, comic books, dedicated websites, several videogames... All the themes developed in the story are even more accurate today than they were 20 years ago.
What's your overall impression of the GBA hardware?
So this is no mere port of the original arcade game, then?
Laporte: No, the GBA game is a brand new original one, it isn't a porting nor an adaptation of the Data East coin-op. Levels, weapons and story are different. However, our intention was to catch the same spirit and gameplay with fast-paced, side-scrolling shooting action. And it will also be a reminder for all those "old" gamers who used to spend dozens of pennies on the arcade game.
For those who might not be old enough to remember the style of the coin-op original, what should they expect?
Laporte: 2D fast-paced, side-scrolling action: you're playing as Alex Murphy, aka Robocop, and you'll have to force your way through 14 different levels, punching or shooting a whole bunch of different enemies, including challenging end-of-level bosses, finding power-ups, weapons and upgrades. And, of course, protecting the innocent, serving public trust and upholding the law.
What weapons are available during the course of your adventure?
Laporte: In the early levels, Robocop starts fighting his way through villains with his fists, but before too long he draws his famous gun (he has unlimited ammo for this weapon). Later in the game, a special weapon is mounted on his arm, featuring a regular gun, a flame thrower, a missile launcher and a laser gun - ammo bonuses are then scattered in the levels.
What steps have you taken to ensure longevity?
Laporte: There is a limited number of "continues", depending on level of difficulty chosen; the bosses are challenging - it's not just a matter of shooting them, but also finding accurate strategy to do it. The position of your character, choosing the right weapon, and finding their weak points are all important - Robocop can't survive a dive in deep holes or water, so he'll die if the player misses a jump over such obstacles. All these elements should give the player good replay value and gaming experience.
Laporte: Gamers can have the same experience on a handheld system as a regular, under-the-TV console. The GBA hardware is very close to the SNES hardware and this means the best 2D games ever have been or will be available on GBA. Programming on the GBA seems quite easy, and the console offers great graphics and sound possibilities. The only limit now is the imagination of game designers, who now once again have in the videogame market a 2D system to make games on. Besides, the hardware power and performances aren't 100 percent exploited so far - there's still much to discover, and we'll soon have great 3D on GBA.
Do you think Nintendo got it wrong with the problematic display, and has it caused you any problems during development?
Laporte: Nintendo had to choose between display quality and battery life - they obviously chose battery life. I'm not sure it's the best choice but you can still add a light accessory to it. As far as development is concerned, this forced us to use a gamma correction routine and pay attention to how the graphics were made, in terms of brightness and contrast.
Why should someone buy Robocop as opposed to any other side-scrolling GBA action title?
Laporte: Several reasons: shooting action with lots of weapons; great graphics; the Robocop character and universe; and a strong story-line.