Developed by Brooklyn Multimedia
Published by Byron Preiss Multimedia Company, Inc.
Published in 1995
Based on Isaac Asimov's Robot City Books I & II by Michael P. Kube-McDowell and Mike McQuay and illustrated by Paul Rivoche
This is a title to which time has been kind. When it was first released in 1995, it played too slowly to sustain interest. Now, with much faster systems, getting around Robot City is much easier, creating a strong sense of momentum as the clues needed to solve the mystery are collected.
The story at the heart of Robot City is appealing. There are three people in Robot City and one of them has been murdered. Since robots are incapable of murder, that leaves only two suspects. As one of the suspects, your mission is to clear your name by proving that someone else is the murderer.
You will be assisted in this effort by a robot named Alpha. Alpha also has an interest in solving the crime since the man who built him is the murder victim. While Alpha is helpful, more than a few of the Robot City robots are not, insisting that you remain in your apartment under house arrest. Others will slow your investigation by forcefully returning you to your apartment when they find you at large in the city.
Once you talk your way past the robots guarding you and before one of the hunters brings you home, you and Alpha will inspect the crime scene, collect vital clues and uncover the plot that may spell the end of Robot City. Only by conclusively proving your innocence will you gain access to the area in which you can determine the city's fate.
The look and sound of Robot City will remind players of the work of Haruhiko Shono, the man behind L-Zone and Gadget. In one sense, Robot City offers the interaction that many players feel Shono's work lacks. Robot City offers actual conversations, clues and puzzles.
The one glaring annoyance in Robot City is the CD swapping. Shipped on two CDs, Robot City must always be started from the first CD. That's a minor annoyance compared to some of the situations in the game where it takes several swaps to get from street level to a bridge and then into a building. Swapping a CD to go just a few virtual steps and then being required to swap it again to take a few more steps gets old fast. Especially old when the building that demands this is one that must be visited repeatedly.
Annoyances aside, Robot City spins an intriguing tale. By the end of the journey, you may find that you've grown fond of Alpha and that the idea of leaving Robot City is not as appealing as it was when you first arrived.