October 12, 2010
Review By: SSJKamui (Forum Link)
Developed by: Andrew Braybrook
Released by: Hewson, Jester Interactive Publishing (Ovine by Design)
Platforms: Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, Acorn Archimedes, C64 Direct-to-TV, Wii(Virtual Console), Windows
Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Medium
Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: High
Overview: Paradroid is a videogame for the C64 computer, created by the English programmer Andrew Braybrook, where the players play a robot who has to fight other robots who have overtaken a spaceship. If the player wants to, he is also able to hack the robots to control them.
Story: The robots of an unknown spaceship (the Paradroid) rebelled against their masters and took the ship into their control, but one small Robot fights them.
Like all older computergames, the story is extremely thin and only contains a few cyberpunk elements. The elements present in the story are a focus on the underground (the game centers around the robot servants of humanity and the player is playing one of the weakest robots. This can be seen as the “Underground of the Underground”.). The Information Access theme is present through the hacking parts.
The negative impact of technology is also present, because the robots attacked the humans on the ship and possibly even killed them. Because, in the game, there are no humans, there is obviously no “Fusion of Man and Machine” element.
The Visuals: The Visuals of the game are abstract labyrinths, mixing metallic looking borders with a cyberspace like environment. (Because of this, the Visuals are very cyberpunk.)
The robots on the grid are represented as abstract circles with a registry number in the middle. During the hacking, you see the actual physical shape of the robots. The hacking interface is a circuit diagram like representation of the ports of the robot. (This is also very cyberpunk like.)
The abstract visuals are among the coolest aspects of the game, although they are extremely simple.
Gameplay: The player moves his robot through the ship and is able to attack hostile robots with his lasers or he can dock and try to hack them. The hacking is a more hardware hacking, where the player has to gain control over the ports of the enemy robot. (In fact, this is extremely complicated and requires a high amount of dexterity. Because of this, I never succeeded in it.) When the player fails, he is destroyed. Else, he controls the enemy robot and can use him in turn to hack other robots. The higher the registry number of the robot, the more complicated is hacking him. In some aspects, the game is a kind of “Hacking arcade game”. The gameplay is fun, but personally, I think it’s a little bit too hard.
In the game, nearly nothing about the game mechanics is explained, so, a look in the manual is often needed.
Conclusion: Paradroid is a very interesting game, but not a very good game for long term play. It’s more a game for short sessions. The graphic is simple, but indeed interesting. Because of it’s high difficulty, I can’t recommend it for people who don’t play very often. For hardcore gamers, it can be indeed a very entertaining game.
Postscript from Mr. Roboto: If you want to play Paradroid, but don’t have your C64 anymore, head over to Ovine by Design and download their remake, Project: Paradroid. It’s Paradroid with updated graphics. See if it brings back any fond memories of your Commodore days.