easy to find games out there that capitalize on the Halloween season.
Any number of games out there can go for cheap scares and frustrating
gameplay. What about the other holidays? Surely, there are games out
there that capture the true spirit of other famous holidays like St.
Patrick's Day, Easter, and even the ever-elusive Thanksgiving game.
For now, though, let's limit ourselves to a slightly easier holiday:
I've seen a few Christmas-y games in my time, but not one of them
allows you to play as Jesus, or even a measly Wise Man. What does that
say about our heathen video game industry, hmm? I do remember one
Xmas-themed game where do play as an unusual character. It would be
easy to just make the center of your game Santa, or a reindeer, or an
elf (Dungeons and Dragons excluded), but in this case, you control a
hybrid of technology and marine biology in James Pond II –
there was an original James Pond game. It's not often that you see an
entire game based off of puerile wordplay, but it happens. In the
first, you play James Pond, an orange fish with a fancy vest and
bowtie who rescues other fish (and crustaceans, too) from various
hazards in missions named after James Bond movies. In the sequel, you
play a fish that I assume is the same one from the first game, only
this time he has a mechanical suit that allows him to, among other
things, walk on land. Why does he need to walk on land?
to shut down tuna canneries or lay siege to Japanese whaling fleets.
He's been summoned by penguins that can hear toys talking. So, he's
trying to save Santa's toys, I guess. Alright, I can think of worse
reasons to walk around the North Pole, risking death by exposure.
Fortunately, Pond's suit keeps him insulated from the harsh artic
environment. It even gives him the ability to walk around on his
tailfins as though they were stubby little legs. Stubby little legs
that that can kill just about any enemy they touch. Even more
noteworthy, though, is this new ability:
it's definitely imaginative. I wouldn't have thought that a suit could
make a fish stretch to any length and allow him to grab onto the
ceiling with its fins. That's kind of handy. You don't really use it
that often in the game, but it's still kinda neat in a weird sort of
way. The levels themselves are fairly weird.
there are levels that are kind of creepy:
the way, the objective gets kind of muddled. Ostensibly, you went into
the factory to stop Santa's toys from crying, but for some reason, you
can't exit a scene unless you rescue all the penguins in the area. Are
they spies, trapped behind enemy lines? That would explain how the
penguins on the outside heard those screaming toys. Then again, maybe
that was just a secret spy code for "Santa's been kidnapped! Initiate
Operation: March of the Penguins!!!"
Magical stretchy-suits aside, Robocod also has limited access to a
couple of drivable vehicles, including this bathtub.
flies. So what? I know it doesn't have wings or an engine like the
airplane, but it comes with its own shower cap. Santa rides in a
sleigh and wears a red stocking cap, and Robocod rides in a flying
bathtub while wearing a shower cap to keep his hair dry (hair not
A fancy suit and a couple of schnazzy rides would make you think that
Robocod has the full backing of his penguin allies, right? Wrong.
right, if you lose all your lives, the penguins will EAT YOU!!!
That's pretty gruesome, even for Christmas! Even worse, with that
suit's stretching power, they'll be able to feast on his
ever-lengthening corpse well into the new year.
All the enemies appear to be toys themselves, even the bosses, so I
guess the toys are crying out about some kind of civil way going on
within Santa's toy factory. The only exception is the final boss, a
snowman that fires his own head at you like a snowy superball. If you
can bounce off of his head and prod his shoulders with your tailfins
enough times, though, you'll unmask the true culprit:
scientist, I guess. He kidnapped Santa, or reprogrammed his toys for
evil, or something. It's not really clear what he's doing, but he has
to be evil. He was hiding inside a giant, head-tossing snowman, and
just look at that monocle! He makes a break for it after your big
fight, but luckily, the man in red has it all under control.
you saved Christmas! Santa helped, too, but I think we've come to
expect at least that much from him. The man only works one day a year,
for crying out loud. It shouldn't take that long for him to crush a
man's spine with his sack of toys. Fish, on the other hand, have
things to do. Like school.
And that's it for Robocod. The game manages to take James Bond,
Robocop, and Christmas itself, and mash them all together for some
inexplicable reason to give you a strange platform adventure. I'm not
really sure why they threw the Robocop parody into the mix (along with
a parody version of the Robocop theme), but it's something new, I
guess. Say what you want about Robocod, he's still a better oceanic
superhero than Aquaman.
Dr. Boogie thanks any readers who laughed at the joke about fish and
school, even if it was just weak pity laughter.
Questions or Comments about this piece?
email Dr. Boogie
*** You too can play James Pond II - Codename: Robocod ***
[CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD JAMES POND II - CODENAME: ROBOCOD!]
(you'll need to get a
Sega Genesis emulator to play it)
Want to see some more
video game related content?
Then check out Dr. Boogie's feature on:
RESCUE: THE EMBASSY MISSION!