GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Now here is a Sega Saturn videogame that hardly anybody ever mentions, even the stubborn diehards like me: Robotica. This first-person shooter was created by Micronet in Japan (where it was published under the name Deadalus) and published by Acclaim in the US. It was met with decidedly mixed reviews upon its 1995 release and has all but disappeared since. This is understandable, as the genre was dominated by the likes of Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem, Goldeneye, Turok and our dearly beloved Powerslave.
I really like the idea put forth that Robotica is really a Roguelike RPG, citing elements like randomly generated level designs, hidden pathways and moody atmosphere. In that sense, any direct comparisons to Doom are unfair, where a better comparison would be Baroque. Indeed, Robotica really could benefit from a little bit of Baroque's creepy, unsettling nature.
My own experience with this game comes from renting it back in '95 and playing it for a solid week. I enjoyed its visual style, especially the CG cutscenes, but found the levels extremely repetitive, as though you were playing through randomized variations on the same stage over and over and over. To its credit, the metallic atmosphere is impressive and everything looks very nice. We even get some transparencies when enemy robots explode, and the choice of atmospheric sound effects over loud music is a very nice choice. By 1995 standards, this isn't too bad. It's not anywhere near the top of the genre, but it surely could be worse (cough, ahem, Ghen War). In other words, Robotica is perfectly average.
Kudos, as always, to SaturnDave making this great stream video. I hope he'll make more of these, which feel like enhanced podcasts and are highly entertaining. You've got me hooked on a 90-minute video of Robotica and made it all fun and entertaining. How was that possible?