Coin-op Classroom

Robotron: World-saving Made Easy

by Bill Heineman

The year is 2072. Man has finally perfected the Robotron class android. After serving faithfully for five years, the Robotrons decide that man is inferior and must be eliminated before the humans discover their weakness and destroy the robots. In the years that followed, man lost many battles and won only a few. The metal men killed most of the world’s population and forced survivors into slavery. A small rebel group decides that the only way to destroy the Robotrons and save the human race is to create a warrior with superhuman powers and send him to save mankind.

You are that person. Armed with a robot blaster, you set forth to destroy each and every robot that you possibly can and free the humanoids that are held captive. This is the story of Robotron.

The Robotron game is similar to Berzerk, except that the walls are replaced with barriers that you can shoot away, but which are deadly to the touch. Also, in this game, the arcader must fight as many as 200 robots at the same time.

The Gaunt or Sentry Robotrons are so stupid that they make Berzerk robots look like super geniuses. The Sentry Robots simply follow you wherever you go. They’ll even walk into your line of fire if that’s the shortest way to get to you. If you are standing behind a barrier and a Sentry is on the other side, then the Sentry will kill himself on the barrier giving you 100 points for his death (shooting him nets the same score but why waste the ammo?) This type of robot will not shoot at all but will try to kill you with its touch if it gets half the chance. They also rely heavily on their sheer numbers in their quest for your carcass.


The Hulk Robotron will attempt to kill any human and destroy all barriers in its way. Shoot it if you like, but nothing will kill this robot so just stay out of its way. Your shots only halt its march for a second, so if your path is blocked by this thing, try to push it out of the way with your blaster.

The Brain Robotrons are the only robots with the ability to turn ordinary people into the deadly Progs by simply taking over the human’s mind. The Brains can also shoot deadly Cruise Missiles which are elusive targets. The Brains are worth 500 points, and the Missiles are worth only 25 points. Putting a Prog out of its misery is worth 100 points.


There are also two types of mobile manufacturing plants that build more robots to destroy you. The Sphereoids make Enforcer class Robotrons, which can fire people-seeking projectiles that follow the walls along the playfield’s border to seek you. The best way to destroy the Enforcer is to shoot the Sphereoid as soon as possible, so that the Enforcers won’t appear. If the little creeps get out of hand, stay away from the walls so that if the people projectiles miss you, they will not turn and kill you from the side. Killing an Enforcer is worth 150 points, a Sphereoid counts 1000 points, and People Seeking Missiles are worth 25 points.

The Quarks are the other robot-makers that are determined to give you a hard time. The Quarks stamp out new Tank Robotrons so fast that it will make your head spin. The bad thing about the Tanks is the Bounce Bombs they fire. Bounce Bombs get their name because they will bounce off the play screen border and hit you from behind. Shooting down the bombs is vital to survival. If you keep shooting down the bombs, the tanks eventually run out of ammo and are then at your mercy. Keep in mind that they can still run you over with their tractor wheels. The Tanks are worth 200 points each and Bounce Bombs are worth 25.


The best way to rack up the points is to save the humanoids. (Did you forget already that this is why you’re fighting these weirdos in the first place?) To save a humanoid, all you do is touch the person. A good thing about the blaster is that if you shoot a humanoid by mistake, the bullet passes through the person and hits whatever is behind it. The first human gives you 1000 points for its rescue, the second is worth 2000 and so on until the point value reaches 5000. The point value will stay at 5000 for all remaining humanoids in the same round. When any round is completed, or you have been slaughtered, the value of a saved human is reset to 1000.

Now that you know the rules of the game, how about some strategy? The first round is very simple: charge, attack, shoot and kill. Destroy all robots except one. Then pick up the humans and waste the last robot. The second round has the Hulks and a Sphereoid as well as some Sentrys on your tail. For the first few seconds, kill some Sentry robots and collect a few humans while watching where the Sphereoid is headed. Once you know the general direction, follow the Sphereoid and shoot it at the earliest opportunity. By now, the Sentry robots have formed a line and are coming straight at you. Just aim your gun and turn them into expensive junk. It’s not hard.


Repeat this process for every time there are barriers and up to 50 Sentrys in the round. Remember this hint: The Sentrys are destroyed if they hit a barrier, so don’t shoot barriers if there are Sentrys on the other side: concentrate on Sentrys that have a clear path to you. Brain attacks are the most difficult ones to survive, if a large number of Cruise Missiles are stalking the on-screen hero.

The way to live through a Cruise Missile attack is to shoot in the general direction of the missiles. Also, shoot as many brains as possible so that they can’t fire more Cruise Missiles. If some poor sod has gotten turned into a Prog, put him out of his misery, but try hard to rescue the humans so you can receive the megapoints instead of 100 points for a Prog.


In the Quark attack, simply shoot in all directions and try to target all the Quarks before they can release the Tanks. If you see a Tank growing up out of the ground, then you better waste him before he gets a chance to throw a few Bounce Bombs at you. If the Tanks become too numerous, retreat to the middle of the right or left wall and fire into the center of the field until the Tanks are destroyed.


Sooner or later, you are going to get the Robots very angry. That’s when they’ll call in so many Sentrys you won’t be able to count them all. This special round can be recognized by the fact that there are no barriers to stop the Sentrys and the sheer number of those little red robots. The way to escape is to shoot straight down and clear a path through the robots so you can run toward the lower wall. Upon reaching the wall, fire the gun to the right and walk along the wall to the corner as fast as you can while shooting in an upward diagonal pattern.

When you reach the corner, run straight up while firing into the crowd of robots. By this time the Sphereoids will have made their Enforcer robots and dispatched them toward you. You’re really going to have your hands full in this spot, so shoot a burst of bullets at the Enforcers, a volley at the Sentrys, and then again at the Enforcers until all robots are dead.

That’s all there is, other than quick thinking and reflexes. Use these hints and you should improve your scores drastically. And remember: save the humanoids!

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