This game was published by Hewson Consultants and was written by the "well known amongst C64 fans" programmer, Andrew Braybrook. When I first saw this game being played by a few friends I had no idea what was going on, but once I became familiar with the game I was hooked. I had played some other games by Andrew Braybrook (such as Uridium) and I soon realised that Paradroid was a real masterpiece!
The game is played by moving through a fleet of Robo-Freighters which are drifting out of control into the darkest regions of space. The robot inhabitants of these ships have been affected by powerful radionic beams which came from an uncharted asteroid field. This radiation has caused the robots to behave dangerously out of control. The human crew members have all been eradicated by the psychotic robots, and it's now up to you to destroy them before they fall into enemy hands.
You control a prototype Droid known as the Influence Device and the game begins when you are beamed aboard the first ship (called the Paradroid). Your initial starting Droid has minimal weapons and power, but it has the ability to take over any other Droid for a limited time. If the 'transfer' to another Droid is successful you will then have access to the new host's weapons and power. You can only possess an enemy Droid for a short time though, so you need to regularly transfer to different Droids as you try to clear all the decks aboard each ship.
To take over an enemy Droid, you play a small 'battle of the brains' sub-game which involves you trying to take control of the opposing Droid's microcircuits. If you are unsuccessful during the transfer, the current Droid you are controlling is destroyed and you are left with the basic Influence Device which you started the game with. If the Influence Device itself fails to take over a Droid during a transfer attempt, it is destroyed and the game is over.
Before attempting to take over a Droid, you should check its class and make sure that it is not too great a match for you. There are several classes of Droids in the game, which range from basic cleaning robots, to the faster, heavily armed security Droids.
If you attempt to transfer from a low class Droid straight up to one of the battle Droids, you are likely to be destroyed during the process (unless you are very skilled at playing the transfer sub-game). Instead, it is wiser to slowly move up through the different classes of Droids. You can tell the class of a Droid by its number (every Droid in the game has a number representing it). The influence device is class number 001 (slow with minimal weapons). The best class of Droids are numbered from 700 upwards.
There is one Command Cyborg on each ship, which is the highest ranked Droid (number 999), and its weapon will cut through the poor lower class Droids with ease. Unfortunately it drains power very quickly so you need to work fast before it 'burns out'. ..That's if you can manage to get control of this 'Mother of all Droids'!
You can clear the Droids throughout the levels by transferring to them, or destroying them with your weapons. You can even ram into them, but you need to be sure that the Droid you are controlling is well armoured, otherwise it will be you that is destroyed.
Other features in the game include lifts to move you through the decks of the current ship, and computer consoles where you can log on and view information such as a plan of the deck you are patrolling, the amount of enemy robots remaining on the deck, and some technical information about the robots aboard the ship. There are energy stations dotted around the various decks, where you can recharge valuable power lost in battle, and sliding doors which take you into the different rooms and areas that make up each deck.
It's amazing how many different functions Andrew Braybrook has managed to get out of the standard C64 'one button' joystick. The single button is used to fire at the enemy, as well as go into transfer mode, or use deck lifts and computer consoles. It all works very well.
The difficulty level is just about right to have you coming back for more. I have been playing this game for over 10 years now (on and off of course!) and still find myself coming back to it again. It is highly original, and there has been nothing like this game as far as I know on any other platform (apart from a very good remake for the Amiga computer called Paradroid 90).
Many C64 games fans have this game amongst their top 10 of all time, and I for one would definitely say it was the best game ever written for the C64. I can give it no higher accolade than that.
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|GRAPHICS - 9/10|
|There are different versions of the game available each sporting different graphics. All of the versions use the C64 graphic capabilities and colours well.|
|SOUND - 9/10|
|There is no music, but the sound effects make up for this. There is an atmospheric hum as you scour the levels in search of the enemy, and a range of strange robotic effects heard throughout the game all add to creating great atmosphere.|
|PLAYABILITY - 10/10|
|Very original and hugely playable. Lots of different strategies can be used to clear a ship of Droids, and with 8 ships to beat overall it's not a game that can be completed easily. Excellent use of a standard C64 joystick.|
|OVERALL - 10/10|
|A classic, absorbing game written by the great C64 programmer Andrew Braybrook, who has used his skills and attention to detail to create without doubt one of the greatest games available for the C64. This game received a Gold Medal in Zzap64 (a popular C64 magazine).|