Developer(s) – Color Dreams
Publisher(s) – Color Dreams
Artist – Dan Burke
Yet another 2D side scroller, albeit a more traditional one, Robodemons was developed by Color Dreams, who would later come to be known as Wisdom Tree, selling video games from Christian bookstores. The company themselves have given two separate accounts of this history; one story being that they re-branded for the sake of spreading the word of the bible, and the other was that they did it as a joke. But I think anyone who has had the misfortune of playing their games will realize that neither is correct, and that they simply did it to keep their business alive after Nintendo forcefully halted the sale of unlicensed games in shops, which couldn’t afford to not carry Nintendo games at the time. Not only is this game living prove of this, but its also extremely bad.
Graphics – 6/10
As the best aspect of the game, the visuals are fairly diverse, containing satanic imagery, as well as being a very early example of an overly violent video game. The level of flesh in particular contains rivers of blood, platforms made out of brains and heart ventricles, which act as doorways to different areas of the level. It isn’t anywhere near as violent as Abadox was, but it was almost as intriguing. Major problems with the game, however, are that it is infested with glitches and the same song plays throughout the entire game, like in many of Color Dreams’ titles.
Gameplay – 3/10
The objective of Robodemons is to simply traverse each level, defeat enemies, whist racking up a high score not visible on the screen (as a result of inconsistent programming), and beat a boss at the end of it; and when I say simply, I mean the game is easy beyond comprehension. In the third level, it is even possible to beat the boss at the start without even coming into contact with it. The fact that the high score isn’t even displayed on the screen also encourages incentive considerably less than any other game on the market at the time, and even back then, not many people cared about the score to begin with.
Controls – 10/10
Since this kind of game was commonplace at the time, there shouldn’t have been a problem with it. Even so, I was glad to see that the developers got this aspect right at least. Not suffering from many of the same problems as many of the more challenging games at the time, including the original Castlevania and Mega Man, the controls are fluent and easy to get to grips with, and will cause no unnecessary complications for players willing to plough through the experience.
Lifespan – 0.5/10
Clocking in at about 20 minutes in total, this was overly short even for an NES game; and a late one at that, having been released in 1990. Side scrollers could be made to last at least an hour at this point, and for a game to last a fifth of that lifespan was and is unacceptable.
Storyline – 4/10
The game’s story is extremely archetypical for it’s time, save for the lack of a damsel in distress. An unnamed hero resolves to defeat a demon king named Kull. It does have a small element of artistic value, since it was inspired by the Divine Comedy, and the levels are supposedly structured in the same way as Dante’s journey through Hell, but the developers were never going to make the story stand out any more than what they needed it to, which at this time, was very little anyway.
Originality – 2/10
The only unique thing this game has going for it is in the kind of things that influenced it; but even then, demonic or disturbing imagery had been seen in video games, such as Castlevania and Abadox. It certainly doesn’t stand out in gameplay either, since the genre it belongs to was the standard at the time, and a trend that had been well and truly set.
In summation, Robodemons is most probably one of the worst video games of the third generation. It’s insultingly easy, very unoriginal, and was clearly rushed by a developer who was unsurprisingly unworthy of Nintendo’s seal of quality.