ROBOCOP 3D / Ocean / Amiga
So Robocop 3 was a completely execrable movie and Ocean had a long track record at this point of making terrible games out of every license they touched, but especially the previous Robocop games on the Amiga. So this one was sure to be the biggest bomb of the series, right? Amazingly, it's actually the only one that's any good at all.

It took the better part of a decade, but Ocean decided to finally show some ambition with one of these movie licenses and contracted out development to a company that did a couple of well-regarded flight sims. They decided to go polygonal 3D with this one, not only having you drive around a virtual Detroit, but enter into a primitive first person shooting mode inside buildings as well. There's even some clunky 3D hand-to-hand combat that kind of resembles early polygonal action-adventures like Alone In The Dark and Bioforge.

When the game fires up you can choose from two modes of play - Movie Adventure or Arcade Action. Movie Adventure is the meat of the game, taking you through a rough approximation of the events of Robocop 3. You begin by driving through the world map to get to a hostage situation at the police armory, then you've got two minutes to find Officer Lewis in there. You'll proceed from there to various other adventures like chasing cars, fighting the ED-209 and even boxing it out with robot ninjers. Arcade Action just lets you skip straight to playing isolated versions of each of these gameplay modes without having to do all the story stuff.

The trouble with the game is that even one of these modes of play was pretty experimental and cutting edge stuff for the time ... having a bunch of different experimental 3D stuff all in the mix at the same time just kinda leads to all of it being janky and tough to play. Driving mode is the most solid as it's basically just a flight sim replicated on the ground and with simplified controls that work pretty well - steer with the mouse, left button to put on the gas, right to brake. Because it's 1992 and the simple wireframe tech is limited, Detroit looks more like a Mad Max settlement and the models will sometimes clip out and do weird stuff, but it works well enough. You have a little radar map that shows your position, cars of interest and wherever you're supposed to be going next, and there's nothing real frustrating about the experience.

The other modes ... different story. First person shooting mode is like crazy primitive Killer 7 or something. You slowly drag a reticule around with the mouse, fire with the left button and move forward with the right button. All the people are represented by simple silhouttes but of course the bad guys fire at you and sometimes they move a little bit too. The bad guys get to rapid-fire you on sight; they only do one damage point per shot but they pump out tons while you're trying to position yourself and there's tons of them with no chance to refill health. To make matters worse, the game makes the screen shake a little and go staticy every time you get hit, which is like constantly. So that jams up your aim even more and makes you take more damage. The car chases are a little better since we're back in the basically solid driving engine, but boxing with robot ninjers is completely terrible. I didn't get to this point in the actual story mode but playing it in Arcade Mode was sheer pain.

Robocop 3/3D/Whatever thus ends up being technically impressive, but one of those games that's too clunky and hard to play to really be enjoyable. This aspect gets worse over time, but even upon release this must have been a tough one to take as Movie Adventure starts you all the way back at the beginning every time you die - didn't see a way to save or continue at all. Still probably the best Robocop game on computers by default though.

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