Wednesday, 8 June 2011

James Pond II - Codename RoboCod (Amiga)

GOOD RETRO GAME WEEK, day 3.

Today I'm taking a look at another game I remember being pretty good, James Pond 2: RoboCod aka. Super James Pond aka. Super James Pond II. Yep apparently on the SNES the game is its own sequel. Unlike the slightly obscure James Pond 1, this was released on practically everything from Commodore 64 to Nintendo DS, though I'm playing the original Amiga version.

Wow, the theme tune is blatantly a happier version of RoboCop theme. Well not exactly, but it's close enough. Now I'm curious about whether the first game has a James Bond style theme tune.

(It does, plus it has a more... interesting looking title screen.)


Apparently Dr Maybe has captured the toys! And also kidnapped some of the penguins. Only RoboCod can save the day.

But first he's going to release some balloons and dance around with the penguins for a bit.

Wow, I'd forgotten the product placement was so... not subtle. This intro is just a set up for a Penguin bar advert.

The game starts outside Santa's castle in the Arctic. This serves as a level select for the game, though I can only really choose which of two levels I want to play first.

It'd also serve as an opportunity for me to pick up a cake, a hammer, the Earth, an apple and a tap... if I was playing the original A500 version. They took the cheat out for the AGA version that I'm playing now.

Level 1... starts at the exit. Unfortunately it's inactive. Exits only work when I've found and collected all the penguins on the level.

The music's somewhere in the middle ground between catchy and unbearable. It's likeable enough for now though.

Found them all! But now I'm at a dead end, where do I... oh right, the exit's at the start.

Fortunately there's a present up here with a car inside. I didn't see anyone else's name on it so it must be for me.

Pond even has a little driving cap when he's in the car. Though the car has eyes, which is a little off-putting. I can't take it through the exit though anyway.

These backgrounds are getting worse. They've got all these colours available, and they're wasting them on messing up my eyes.

Plus they've used the old 'evil pick up' trick I see. 90% of what I can collect is good for me, and I should run into it without hesitation. But every now and again they'll throw in a poison bottle just to make sure I'm paying attention. Collecting that would take away one of my hit point batteries. Or maybe they're hit point Penguin bars, I was never able to tell.

Hey, another present for me! Oh shit, it's a snake... I don't want a snake! I'd better get out of the way of the damn thing before it lands on me and I take damage.

Another vehicle with eyes, only this time it's a bus and it's firing tiny women with handbags at me. I think I'll just go around it, no sense in bothering the thing while it's busy.

The last penguin is hiding up on here, fortunately I've collected some wings so I can fly up there and grab him.

James can stomp on enemies just fine, but ducking can double the damage he inflicts and kill these little flying gits with only one hit.

Look at how far right I am on screen by the way. I have to edge forward slowly to avoid being surprised by enemies because I haven't got much space to react. Also, a blind jump. I just have to hope there's something down there.

Today I learned that cards facing away from the screen aren't solid platforms like the other cards, despite being otherwise identical, and that attempting to land on them is a BAD IDEA. Not that I even knew they were there when I jumped.

I also found this thing, which I'm guessing is a checkpoint, but I've never seen one before in any of the other levels.

Vehicles can land on enemies to kill them, but if I try flying up into them then I'll fall out. Then I'll have to go chase the thing down and climb back in, because I'll probably need it to finish the level.

Pond's picture in the bottom left isn't looking too healthy at the moment.

James Pond has the cyborg ability to stretch the top half of his body out upwards, and he can keep going up until he runs out of level. So I can stretch up to grab onto these creepy floating teddy bear heads, then drop onto the platform.

Then I can jump across from platform to platform, miss my landing, fall all the way back down to the bottom of the level, then repeat it all again and again until I learn how to land my jumps.

I'm just grateful it's not an instakill bottomless pit down there.

Nope, I can't figure out how the hell I get into there. I just hope it's a bonus exit or else I'm going to be here a while.

Another RoboCop reference! Along with the cyborg outfit and the theme tune that makes... three so far. It'd probably be fair to say this game is not a RoboCop spoof.

Right after doing this I learned that there IS a way to pull the camera down to check what's down pits.

But they only took a hit point off and bounced me right back out, so it's alright.

Despite being codenamed RoboCod and looking like RoboCop on the box, James Pond isn't actually even slightly bulletproof. Hiding in the armour like this doesn't provide any defence.

Stretching the armour on the other hand makes him entirely invulnerable! Though if I get hit, he shrinks back down again.


But I'm not going anywhere until I manage to grab that star and get an extra hit point. Oh crap I glanced at the bears in the top left. I shouldn't do that.

Boss fight! A huge teddy bear with spikes on his ass, falling on me from above the level.

He exploded real nice after I beat the stuffing out of him.

The seems to be a bit of a scale mismatch there between the fighter jet and the cars.

This level takes place on a continuously scrolling train, so I've got to make sure I don't get stuck between an object and the left side of the screen or else I'll immediately fail.

Well... I've failed. There's no way I'll get over that second object before the screen scrolls over.

Back to the start of the level then.

And then when I finally make it past the train, I'm killed by falling girders.

Though they did play fair, and make the falling girders look slightly different. It's my own damn fault.

Dr Maybe will rule the world... with toys and penguins? Never mind, at least the penguins have got a cyborg fish to eat tonight.

Is RoboCod as good as I remember? To be honest, not really. Compared to the other platformers I had at the time, it's not a bad game. It's very slick, colourful and it controls well. But being pressed up against the edge of the screen, searching the levels for penguins isn't so great.

Well it's okay. Good enough for my shiny star.

The real question is... are Penguin bars as good as I remember?

Meh, they're alright.

4 comments:

  1. > Hiding in the armour like this doesn't provide any defence.

    Actually it does... hold Down+Left or Down+Right and you'll turn to face that direction whilst crouched down.

    This is dead handy on the scrolling train levels, because the left edge of the screen pushes you towards the enemies on the right - so holding Down+Right causes enemies to die as you're pushed into them.

    On an unrelated note, the Megadrive version is not as good as the Amiga version. Most notably, the collision detection seems to be worse, so jumping on enemies will sometimes injure YOU instead of them.

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  2. ohhh i remember this game so well! couldn't remember the name of it until now though...

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  3. A well-made 'Overview' (mostly visual)!
    I remember with pleasure this game ... many moments spent having fun!
    greetings
    by Goulstin

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  4. Wow, the nostalgia nearly killed me XD

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