Developer: Robot Riot UG
Publisher: Robot Riot
Platforms: Xbox One, Steam, Switch (reviewed), PS4
Price: £16.99 // $19.99
If you’re under the age of 25 then it’s highly unlikely that you’ve heard of the classic platformer GODS. Originally released in 1991 for the Amiga, it was created by the Bitmap Brothers who were one of the most renowned game developers in the late
“Overall, a cracker of a game, and one that carries on the Bitmap’s tradition ofComputer + Video Games, 114 (May 1991), pp 82-84
excellentproduct. Go forth and grab this now, or the Gods will not be too happy!”
Let’s fast forward to 2019. On the one hand, we find ourselves on the verge of a new console era while on the other, the popularity for retro gaming and remasters of older games doesn’t seem to be waning. Robot Riot
If you’re unfamiliar with GODS let me briefly bring you up to speed. You play as Hercules and your main objective is to defeat the four guardians who have taken over the citadel of the Gods. Your reward for defeating them will be immortality and a place among the Gods themselves. Who wouldn’t want that?
Re-living Fond Memories
GODS is still well-loved by fans to this day and has been ported to other consoles over the years including the Mega Drive/Genesis and Super Nintendo. However what makes this re-release stand out from the rest is that it has been given the ‘remastered’ treatment. Robot Riot claims to have preserved the original gameplay but have revamped the aesthetics, which would appeal to potential newcomers to the game as well as bringing a fresh approach for returning gamers.
There’s a clear visual improvement when comparing screenshots of the original and that of the remastered version. It certainly looks a whole lot better, not that the original looked bad but it certainly brings the game up to the standards we see in other modern platformers.
The levels have been brought to life by the 3D models used compared to the traditional flat 2D visuals. New light effects give the environment more depth and are nice additions to the visual style. What’s great about the two styles is that you can seamlessly switch between the two as you’re playing. I have to admit, there are certain parts where I prefer to play the remastered version because the frame rate has been improved to 60FPS compared to the mere 17FPS of the original.
The soundtrack has also been renewed, although due to licensing issues the original music couldn’t be included. It may not be exactly the same but the developers have tried retain as much as the original atmosphere as possible. A lot of hard work has been invested in making the remaster look and sound the part, but how does it play?
Difficulty Options: Hard or Harder
The enemy AI system, highly praised in the original release as it adapts to the players playing style, has been left intact. Just as you think you’re getting good the game puts you back in your place and reminds you that it’s going to be a challenge to beat. The enemy AI gets increasing difficult the further you get into the game.
There are puzzles to solve in order to progress through the levels. These consist of finding objects within the level and pulling switches to unlock trapdoors and such. However pulling a switch isn’t always guaranteed to produce a positive result and some need to be activated in a specific order. It goes back to the methodology of older platformers of replaying the game until you know it inside out. Knowing what switches do what, where enemies might appear from, timing your jumps, that sort of thing.
I used to think I was good at this game. Either I was deluded, or I’ve gotten so used to modern games being a lot easier to complete, that replaying GODS is a reminder of how games used to be: really, really hard. At the end of the level you have a final boss to defeat which will definitely test your gaming skill to the max, and your patience!
Preserving What Made GODS A Classic
Despite the graphical overhaul, it still manages to retain the charm of the original classic as everything else has remained intact. The gameplay remains the same as the original, and when you play it definitely feels like an ‘older’ game. The movement can be more on the clunky side and you’ve got to be precise with jumping. A ledge that may appear too far out of your jumping reach, might be possible if you time your jump differently.
Some might question why some of the gameplay mechanics weren’t tinkered with to bring them up to modern day standards. However, I can understand Robot Riot’s decision to only revamp the aesthetics and to preserve as much of the core game as possible. For me, it reminds me of how games used to be. Of course, older titles play completely differently to what gamers expect from games now. GODS Remastered isn’t supposed to be a ‘new’ game but rather a celebration of one of the most critically acclaimed platformers from yesteryear. Warts and all.
Take a look at the trailer below:
This game was provided by Robot Riot for the purpose of this review.