Oh man, I have waited too long to use that image.
A.J. Rosa is a man of many talents – and a man of many games. I mean, hey; if he lacked games, My Life With SEGA wouldn’t still be running to this day! A short while ago, some of you may remember A.J. held a competition in conjunction with this very site, in celebration of the 3rd Anniversary of SEGAbits. The winner would receive A.J.’s personal SEGA Genesis Model 2, and the copy of Technocop he reviewed for My Life With SEGA.
Lo and behold, I ended up winning said contest – and so despite being one of the few staff members of SEGAbits from the UK, I don’t have to watch Genesis Month pass by whilst I cradle my beloved Mega Drive – and hey, I’d promised A.J. I’d post up my impressions of Technocop, so now’s as good a time as any.
Now, I could have been a lazy git, and just stuck the game in my Mega Drive to avoid having to hook up the Genesis, which I was keeping on my desk due to space constraints in my main gaming room. This is because Technocop was never actually released in Europe, and so its developers never implemented region lock. But no – it’s Genesis month, and so a Genesis it was played on!
Technocop boots up to a title screen featuring what appears to be a poorly drawn guy and some admittedly rad Genesis music. Also of note is that the voice sampling is pretty impressive and clear here, particularly for Genesis sound – many games I’ve played on the 16-bit wonder seemed to struggle with forming words other than chants like “yeah” and “cool” without it sounding awful, so the clear formation of “Technocop… busted.” here is quite nifty to see.
So, we hit start and boom, I’m in what appears to be a shitty OutRun clone. The controls suffer the moment you start – I tried every button to get the car to move, and at one point reset the system, thinking my 6-Button pad was suddenly busted. It then turned out you’re supposed to press up on the D-Pad to accelerate. This, however, makes steering a pain in the arse, as you try and lean your finger slightly left or right to turn, without releasing up on the D-Pad – it’s not as bad as it could be, as thankfully the Genesis D-Pad is wonderful, but it’s far from ideal. There’s also a fire button, that lets you shoot… tomatoes. They at least look like tomatoes, and look incredibly daft given the ‘realistic, gritty’ nature the game seems to want to go for. Also, only one button is used for firing – which leaves two other buttons open for use on the basic 3-Button pad! Why the fuck could those not have been mapped to the acceleration, was it really that hard? I mean, if the buttons were used for a turbo or something, then fine, but they are literally used for nothing in the driving segment, so it makes such little sense. The car section gives you a decent sense of speed, especially later on in the game when you actually get an engine upgrade, but the collision with other cars is extremely off, and if you so much as graze one of them, you’re off to the other side of the screen in a spin-out.
Eventually a message box displays at the bottom of the screen, giving you an assignment… like “Granny held hostage.”
Again, this game is trying to go for a ‘serious’ theme. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s okay taking the elderly hostage, but can you imagine a gritty 80’s action movie where the good guys are out to get… their granny back? Doesn’t sound terribly enthralling, does it?
Once you reach the scene of the crime, you’re let out of the car into a 2D sidescrolling section. The first thing you see whilst walking right is some kid. So, you tap buttons. The A button jumps – however, you have a stamina bar at the bottom, and jumping too much depletes this. Even worse, the jump is basically a means to just move faster, as you cannot perform it without moving horizontally – meaning dodging enemies with it is a pain in the dick. Even worse, it’s extremely unresponsive, meaning if you manage to set up a dodge, you’ll have been attacked by the time the ‘technocop’ actually hauls arse anyway, even if you press the jump button as early as you can.
The other option is the fire button – which, if you decide to use, will reduce the kid I mentioned to a pile of bloody goo. Oh yes, this game is incredibly violent – in fact apparently the box for the game was actually slapped with a warning message mentioning its violent content (I lack the box, so I cannot confirm this)! As with the jump, it also takes our daft looking hero a second to pull out his gun and fire it, meaning it feels incredibly unresponsive – by the time you’ve killed an enemy, they’ll have taken half of your health anyway.
So, you awkwardly haul yourself through the bad guy ridden building you’ve been sent to, trying to find a wanted criminal who acts as the boss. Eventually you find him, and… more than likely he’ll attack you from off screen and kill you in one hit, after which he ‘escapes’ and you are left to piss off back to your car. Fun times. From this point, the game just repeats – sure, the boss changes, but the core gameplay is the same, play the OutRun rip off and go and try to shoot stuff in the criminal’s apartment. Strangely, the second boss is far easier than the first – he warps to you, rather than spawning off screen, and so you can immediately pump him full of lead and finish him off in about three shots. Actually managing to beat a boss increases your rank in law enforcement, and also grants a bonus, such as a turbo charger for the OutRun section. Actually, for all I know that could be all you get for beating the bosses, as frankly I played to the second level before realising I was wasting away precious minutes of my life playing a terrible game.
Oh A.J. Of all the game to have sent along with the Genesis, why this one? I mean hell, I appreciate the fact I got any game at all, but on a system boasting hits such as Ristar, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Dynamite Headdy, why oh why must I be stuck with this shitstain on the Genesis’ legacy as my single Genesis title?
…I digress. In short, Technocop is an awful game, played by awful controls and repetitive gameplay. The music is good – but then, the only musical piece is on the title screen, so that’s hardly a saving grace. I will also admit that part of me loves the hyper-violence, as it’s almost comically graphic, but these factors cannot really save it from the overall judgement – don’t contaminate your Genesis collection with this. If you want a technological cop game for the Genny, go with Robocop VS Terminator.
- For what little there is, the music’s pretty good
- The graphic detail isn’t too shabby
- Controls are unresponsive
- Bosses are frustrating and unfair
- Repetitive gameplay
- No music for most of the game
One response to “Retro Review: Technocop”
It’s interesting that it wasn’t released in Europe, since it is clearly a Euro (well, U.K.)-developed game. It has that signature 90s European feature: a heads-up display that takes up very nearly a half of the screen. The attention to detail on the hand is nice, though, so I guess it wasn’t all in… vein.