[Review] James Pond II: Codename RoboCod


james-pond-ii-codename-robocod

REVIEW # 00000000 00111101

Something fishy is afoot in the arctic

My heart says…

80%

This game for me has always be the only one in the James Pond trilogy and is for sure one of the platformer I like the most, even now. It’s on eof the earliest gamnes I’ve got even though, unfortunately, it was inside one of the compilation of doubtful origin, most likely illegal and, for this reason, some features were missing, like the sound, that I discovered only a few years ago. However I’ve always loved this game and I still find it very challenging. I tried only the MS-DOS version but, since it has been ported almost everywhere I would like to try soon another version. For these and for other reasons, RoboCod has a special place in my heart and it’s a shame for me in these years I haven’t found anyone who love it as much as I do…:(

Splash screen

60%

The thing that upset me the most in RoboCod is that there’s no main menu. No possibility to set your personal options, to define keys, to regulate the music volume. Nothing. On the other side we can see an intro sequence in 16-bit style that partially rewards you for the absence of a menu.

Graphics

70%

I’m talking about the MS-DOS version, the only one I’ve played so far. It looks like a 16-bit games and in fact it found a house in SNES where it was ported by Ocean Software. RobooCod has wonderful background patterns, very colourful and with interesting effects; the pace of the game is very high and, most important, this doesn’t affect the system with slow down moments. It’s interesting how different shades of coulors, if well placed can give an intense an particulat atmosphere to a particular level. This is a think to b praised even because RoboCod is a huge game and the developers had the possibility to indulge with th brigh palette available.

Narrative

70%

The game takes place just after the end of first chapter and the evil Dr. Maybe flew to North Pole where he’s holding Santa’s workers as hostages, turning some of thems in evild enemies for James Ponds. He has to free all of them with the help of a robotic suid that gives him his codename, RoboCod.

The decision to base the game character on two of the most famous movie characters, James Bond and Robocop, it could seem awful, but so far so good. he problems sars in he UK version, where Santa’s elves are replaced by McVities’ penguins, in a product placement operation that remind the ones on Cool Spot and Pushover.

Gameplay

80%

RoboCod is a rather straightforward platformer. The protagonist, a muskipper, is one of the many animalesque mascots that can be found in late 80s-early 90s platformer (along with Sonic, Zool, Superfrog, Jazz Jackrabit, Bubsy etc…) and have to wander in Santa’s workshop defeating all his once-goodies helpers and other more “classic” enemies, such as snakes. The only way to do it for James Pond is to jump on them an his only ability is the possibility to extend his body thanks to the robotic suit and stay hanged up to the ceiling. There are no power-ups but a pair of wing every so often but ans, sometimes, some hidden 1-up. During his journey RobCod will face a lot of different enemies and bosses and will collect poins by getting the most diverse items (hearts, soda cans, fruits and even street lamps).

The game is basically easy but luckily is long enough not to be stupid. A good compromise.

Sound

60%

As I said, I discovered the sound only a few years ago and even if it’s funny it has nothing to do with the game. It’s like watching Shining listening to London bridge is falling down. And this is a shame because during all the years I’ve passed playing the game I’ve imagined a totally divverent soundtrack, even because the visuals somehow let you think about a specific music. So 6/10 it’s just because this is a light game, better yet a shameless product placement.

Longevity

80%

Maybe I’m stupud, maybe I’m lazy or maybe I didn’t put all my efforts on this game but I’ve never beat RoboCod. All the times I’ve played it, wandering in the scenario to try to count all the levels, my thought was always the same: this game is inslanely long, 50 levels!

I played countless levels but all the times I was depressed by how many stages I still had to clear to complete the game. I think one day I will beat RoboCod, I’m sure of this but I know it will be far in the future!

Final Score 74/100

75%


Year: 1991

Developer: Vectordean Ltd., Millennium Interactive

Publisher: Electronic Arts, Millennium Interactive

Genre: Platform

Game Mode: Single Player

Original Platform: Amiga, Atari ST, Mega Drive, later ported on C64, MS-DOS, Amiga CD-32, SNES, Master System

From same developers:

  • Thunder Strike (Millennium Interactive, 1990)
  • Bad Company (Vectordean, 1990)
  • Fire and Brimstone (Vectordean, 1990)
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (Millennium Interactive, 1991)
  • Rome: Pathway to Power (Millennium Interactive, 1992)
  • Diggers (Millennium Interactive, 1993)
  • Defcon 5 (Millennium Interactive, 1995)
  • Frogger (Millennium Interactive, 1997)

From same publishers:

Inspired to:

If you liked it you can also try:

  • Zool (1992)
  • Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind (1993) and sequels
  • Jazz Jackrabbit (1994) and sequels

Other chapters of the saga:

  • James Pond: Underwater Agent (1990)
  • James Pond III: Operation Starfish (1993)

Follow I ❤ Old Games on Facebook!

Advertisements

10 Comments Add yours

  1. GamingPicks says:

    I played Amiga version when I was young and loved it. Thanks for bringing James Pond memories back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      You’re very welcome! While I was writeing the review I installed it again and during these days I’m playing it again. Maybe this time I will beat it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. hungrygoriya says:

    The concept of these games are so hilarious! I think I played another James Pond game on an emulator one time and found myself really enjoying it, but I can’t remember its name. I can understand why 50 levels feels daunting! I hope you end up getting through it some day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      I played it only on PC and Amiga (another thing I would like to collect, along with those great vintage home computers from 70s and 80s). However I think I will beat it when my beard will turn blue…and I don’t have a beard at the moment…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mr. Panda says:

    Great review! James Pond actually looks like a fun platformer. The visuals look good too. I’d heard of it because of the silly name, but I never really looked into it., Thanks for educating us about these old games that are oft overlooked!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      You should play…it’s fun and so long that you won’t see the end…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a game called James Pond: Codename Robocod for the Game Boy Advance. You wrote about James Pond II: Codename Robocod, so I wonder if it’s actually the same game just released many years later? I remember picking it up because it was cheap and had a really funny name! I never did beat it, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      It’s possible. RoboCod has been released for various platforms even years later after the original release and in 2005 even for the GBA. Try to have a look at this http://www.mobygames.com/game/gameboy-advance/james-pond-2-codename-robocod

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, awesome, thanks for the link! So I do have the same game. So interesting that it was released across so many systems!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. benez256 says:

        Yes it has been quite successful. And catchy too…

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s