ron, May-23 2008

Numerically increasing VC Friday

Three days after the European Wii Ware launch, Fridays still appear on our calendar relatively unshaken, and Nintendo seems to agree. Today is another round of one Virtual Console game, but if it's not so bad, that's not so bad, right? Err.

Paradroid

This C64 classic is half top-down "action adventure" where you explore the decks of a space station of sorts, and half hacking puzzle. You control a little humble class "001" robot with rather pity weaponry, but the hacking part allows you to take over progressively stronger robots, which just so happen to roam around the station. In the hacking mini-game you send "your" kind of electricity into a web of connected circuits while the opposing robot (which you try to take over) sends "its" kind of electricity. The winner is the side that has colored the majority of the nodes in that web at the end of a time limit.
There are some variations and puzzling activities in addition to that. Taking over enemy robots by evading their attacks but still bumping into them, hack-mode at the ready, and then progressively eliminating all those robots from the decks, is however the primary activity in Paradroid.


It is really worthwhile. The incessant bleep-blooping sounds might be a problem but one that's easy enough to solve. Otherwise Paradroid is an amazingly big, carefully designed game, that even manages to be sufficiently self-explanatory, which is not a given at all with games from the time. It's also quite easy to get into, while the steeper challenges do exist later into the game. It's also still mostly unique. Elements of it may be found in more modern games, but as far as I know there is no replacement for Paradroid per se.

Summary: masterpiece; recommended for everyone who cares about classic games at all.

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