Thursday, 21 October 2010

Old Codger's Corner: Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters (Spectrum, TENGEN)

The rather awesome box art. Shame they don't do 'em like this anymore!
What would you do, if the greatest scientific minds were put on another planet to work on some scientific stuff, only to find that aliens have taken over, enslaved the scientists and forced them build a bloody massive robot army, and have plotted world domination? Simple, you hire Duke and Jake to take out the robots and aliens, save the slaves and save the world.

Not a tall order, is it? But, it made for a stonkingly fun arcade game. Using an isometric game field, much like Quazatron and The Immortal, EFTPOTRM (because the original name is so f*cking her-uge!) pits our heroes against hordes of said robots, whilst trying to save said scientists. You can go up ladders or escalators to get to the next part of the level, or to complete the level. Now, the graphics on the Speccy part are something special. Heavily detailed, although monochromatic, you do get the feel as though you are on another planet. There are various kinds of robots to shoot, and even smart bomb to oblivion. You can even see the nerdy people playing about with their controls (oo-er!), and a simple touch saves them. Once you've done that, you can blast their control panel to stop more from being produced. Plus, you can also collect gems to boost your Ray Gun's power, and can also collect more bombs to aid in your mission.
One of the best loading screens I ever seen on a Speccy!
Having said that, the controls are very difficult to get to grips with. Using the same sort of system as Resident Evil (but in a more primative form), you move the stick left to rotate clockwise, and right for anti-clockwise, while up moves forward, and back fires your smart bombs. As I said, it takes a hell of a while to learn, but once you do, it does make the already tough game, that bit easier. But, not by much. The stick is very sensitive, and more often than not, you'll find yourself overshooting on where you're supposed to go. I can't see why they couldn't inpliment the control system of the Amiga version (left for left, right for right, up down as normal, and space for smart bomb), as it just makes the game a test of endurance.
Undeniably blue, isn't it? Still a cracking-looking game, though.
One other great thing about this game, is the comic book-like story panels that help set the scene while the game loads. Again, these are in monochrome, but they work effectively.

Another great Spectrum game, if marred by clumsy controls, but worth a bit of patience to get to the great gameplay underneath. Worth a blast.


  1. Haha, I was going to feature this game soon, you beat me to it! :P This is one my favourite games and the Speccy version is a great one :)

  2. It is, isn't it? I've got this in the Tengen Collection, with KLAX and Cyberball (which doesn't work, and is cack, anyway!). Was worth the price for this game alone.

  3. I think that's how I had it too. I liked Klax but my copy of Cyberball never worked either! :( EFTPOTRM is easily worth the price by itself though, as you say. This was the only version I played for many years so it's still my favourite :)

  4. I loved this for my Atari ST, mainly due to the unique art-style. Good for co-op too.

    Did you ever get to the first boss? I was wondering if the Speccy could render the huge mechanical dinosaur.