|One Must Fall 2097 Title Screen|
|Rise of the Robots SVGA Title Screen|
|OMF Main Menu|
OMF takes its inspiration from Japanese anime. Realism is not particularly prized. This approach was uncommon during the mid-90s, when DOS games were generally striving for better realism. RotR shows a more Western sci-fi influence, where realistic shapes and models are used. Robot animation seems a bit choppier with RotR than with OMF.
Both games run very well on a mid-range 486, even RotR in its SVGA version.
|RotR Main Menu|
|OMF Combat Screen|
RotR only officially supports Sound Blaster cards. It does not allow the user to determine the type of card, original, Pro, 16, in the setup program.
|RotR Combat Screen|
The "music" for RotR was done by Brian May, the guitarist of the band Queen, however in the DOS versions it consists of 15 seconds of guitar riffs, even with the CD version. The rest is ambient audio, even in the fight scenes. The 3DO version has his soundtrack in addition to the Mirage soundtrack.
Both games support the use of the keyboard or joystick. Gravis gamepads, which are digital, are highly recommended. Only the first two buttons on a joystick are supported. Gemini of Ancient DOS Games indicates a preference for the keyboard because it is easier to pull off special moves.
Both games use the Up, Up-Left and Up-Right joystick positions to jump. OMF uses one button for "punching" and one button for "kicking". RotR uses one button for attacking and one button for blocking. In both games blocking can be done by holding the directional away from the attacker. In RotR, blocking an attack will still result in damage being taken, OMF only allows special attacks to take away health if successfully blocked.
RotR requires you to hold down the button to determine the strength of the attack. This is very strange for a fighting game. Ordinary fighting games give an instant response to a button push. If you press the punch button, your fighter punches. The strength of the attack is usually determined by the button pressed. In RotR, if you want to make an attack any more powerful, you must hold down the button until the power meter is at the level sought, then release the button to make the attack. Needless to say this scheme throws timing completely off and makes jump attacks much more difficult to pull off than they should be.
OMF has a much more fluid control scheme like Street Fighter II. It uses the combination of direction with the punch and kick buttons to determine the type and strength of the attack. The push of a button, even without a direction, will still result in an attack.
Another oddity for RotR is that you cannot jump over your opponent and will always face the same direction.
With a special move list, I was able to perform special moves for the Jaguar robot reasonably well with OMF, but could not execute the special moves for RotR's Cyborg at all.
|OMF Pilot Select|
|OMF Robot Select|
|RotR Enemy Robot Introduction (Originally Animated)|
OMF was strictly a DOS game. RotR was released for a wide variety of platforms, including the IBM PC Compatibles, the 3DO, Commodore Amiga (separate 32-color and 256-color disk releases), Amiga CD32, Phillips CD-i, Sega Game Gear, Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. The Super Nintendo version has more animation and music than the PC floppy versions, although it weighs in at only 4MB compared to the 29.7MB install of the SVGA PC floppy version.
|OMF Combat Aftermath|
|RotR Combat Aftermath (you will see this screen alot if you play this game)|
OMF supports remote multiplayer as of version 2.0 through a null-modem serial link, a modem or over an IPX network. It also will let you record your gameplay and play it back later. There are a number of secrets, codes, robots and settings. There is a hyper mode that makes for faster gameplay and more intense special moves.
RotR has a few special codes, but generally what you see is what you get.
One Must Fall 2097 was one of the best fighting games for DOS. I would say this is as controversial an opinion as "Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest Presidents of the United States." This is not saying too much, as most fighting games released for the PC before Street Fighter II have not aged well at all and most of the games released after Street Fighter II are ports of arcade machines of varying quality. Still, given the limitations of the controllers available to OMF, it still manages to be a game of surprising depth and yet easy to pick up and play today. The robots have varying abilities and while the balance is not necessarily perfect, all have their interesting points. Moreover, it is surprising today to learn that this game was realized mainly by four people (according to the credits). It is a testament to the talent and dedication of a few individuals who wanted to make a fun and enjoyable fighting game and succeeded tremendously.
As for Rise of the Robots, virtually every negative comment I have heard about the game prior to my own investigation of it is justified. "Style over substance" and "graphics over gameplay" are two accusations that are entirely supported. Interestingly, RotR had over a dozen people working on it and a budget large enough to port it to eight very different platforms. It seems that whatever resources were left over after modeling the robots in 3D Studio Max was spent on ports. However, all those resources resulted in a game that was about as complex as the original Street Fighter arcade game. The moves are so simple, the too-few robots have very similar moves and there are only limited match ups available. The music, sound effects, animation and moves are too limited to keep anyone playing for long. Unless you are playing in the two player mode, your one robot will fight the same five robots in the same order over and over again until you get sick of the game. The game quickly becomes boring and between the awful control scheme and the cheap computer opponents there is no reason why I would want to play this game ever again after this blog entry. The PC version feels especially rushed, the console versions are more playable.
One Must Fall 2097 is freeware and deserves a spot on every DOS gamer's hard drive. Virtually every version of it, 1.0, 1.1, 2.0 and 2.1 can be found at RGB Classic Games : http://www.classicdosgames.com/. Ancient DOS Games' review of the game is an excellent point to start the new player with acquainting himself or herself with the game modes and play : http://www.pixelships.com/adg/ep0019.html
Rise of the Robots deserves only to sit on a collector's shelf.