ROBOCOP 2 / Data East / Arcade
Robocop 2 opens up the vertical playfield in beat-em-up style even though you're still primarily using a gun to mow down foes. There's actually two fire buttons so you can fire left while moving right and vice versa. Also a jump button which is almost never used except in a couple of boss battles.

In fact, there's a whole lot of ideas that are introduced and then just sort of forgotten about. Towards the end of the first level there's a quasi-QTE where Robo has to push a truck that's trying to run him down back into a wall. It's actually a cool little segment, but that sort of thing never really appears again in the game. Towards the start of the first level you get a vertical shooting segment down an alley a la Wild Guns, but there only ends up being two more of those throughout the rest of the game. There's a couple of driving segments between levels, but they feel unfinished as you only move a crosshairs and can't move your actual vehicle at all.

Part of that is just that the game is extremely short. There's maybe 20-25 minutes of gameplay time on the whole and the final 10 are taken up with an extended multi-part boss battle with Robo Cain that drags on for so long it feels like intentional padding. Unlike the first game, it isn't balls hard and full of cheap hits for the entire duration, but there's little cheap segments and boss battles here and there with nearly unavoidable hits to make sure the game at least makes a couple of bucks off of you. An approach that actually might be more cynical and manipulative than just making the game cheap as shit from the outset.

A lot of people will probably forgive all of this as the game has considerable panache in its presentation. It looks great (for 1991), it has great heavy industrial music pumping that really suits the tone, it has just enough cool sequences and boss battles to make you feel like you're not totally wasting your quarters. A lot of the gameplay and level design feels amateurish, or like they ran out of money halfway through and had to ship an incomplete game, but the presentation carries it probably a point farther in the ratings than it really deserves.
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