Robot Arena 2: Design and Destroy (PC)
By: Matt C. on March 30, 2003
Most people build robots for a living to help humans with tedious and difficult tasks. For example, automobile companies use them to produce cars more quickly. That's great and all, but as the TV show Battlebots proves, building and destroying other robots is a lot more fun. Unfortunately, building a functioning robot in real-life is not easy to accomplish, but with Robot Arena 2: Design and Destroy for the PC, you can design your very own bot without taking an Electronics 101 course in college.
Designing and building your bot from scratch is obviously one of the biggest draws in Robot Arena 2. The entire creation process takes place in the Robot Workshop, which gives you access to all the tools needed to design the chassis in 3D, add components, wire the controls, paint your robot and test it out before entering tournaments. Creating the outline of your bot is simple although some fairly complex designs are possible if you practice with the grid screen. Once the chassis is done, the game prompts you to select an armor type -- ranging from lightweight stuff like plastic, to heavy-duty material like steel.
Designing the outline is easy; placing components is the hard part. In Robot Arena 2, you actually have to strategically place each one of your components inside the robot in order for it to work properly. For example, you cannot just place a wheel on the outside of the bot and expect it to automatically work. You must connect a motor to the wheel from the inside of the chassis. Of course, you need a battery to power the motor, which is then connected to the robot control board. To finalize your design, weapons and optional parts can be attached to your bot. All in all, there are more than 60 components available for you to use.
The last thing you need to finish before testing your robot is to wire the components. This assigns each function, such as forward movement, to a button of your choice on the keyboard. There are additional things that you will need to learn if you wish to build a successful robot, but the included tutorial does a good job at explaining everything for you. I found building my own robot to be really cool, but I wish some steps were left out, such as wiring the components.
Don't worry though -- building a robot is not required to actually battle in Robot Arena 2. There are plenty of pre-made bots available to use in the exhibition, tournament, and multiplayer modes. The exhibition mode allows you to set the match type, the rules, the arena, the number of opponents, and the weight class.
The tournament mode allows you to compete against other teams in nine different events. Once all nine events have been completed, a new season begins. As for the multiplayer mode, it is just like the exhibition mode, except with real opponents. The cool part is that you can show off your custom made robot to other people when playing over the Internet. There aren't a lot of people playing Robot Arena 2 online when compared to some other PC games, but finding a game to join shouldn't be too difficult. You need a broadband connection to participate, but if you don't have one, a LAN mode is available.
Robot Arena 2 is an average looking PC game, that offers 12 playable arenas to battle in. A few of the arenas are rather plain and boring, but most of them include obstacles (many of which appear on the Battlebots TV show) that keep things interesting. A mode where you could build your own arena would have been nice, but maybe I'm asking for too much.
In addition, during battles you'll notice that wheels and other parts will actually fly off when you dish out enough damage to opponents (or when they give you a beating as well).
In the end, I found Robot Arena 2: Design and Destroy to be a good game that should provide hours and hours of enjoyment. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of the Battlebots TV show or remote control robots in general, so there just wasn't enough to hold my interest. With that said, I still believe that bot fans will love this game to death with its excellent bot creation mode and the online gameplay. Of course, casual gamers might find Robot Arena 2 worth while as well -- especially when you can find this title at most stores for $30 or less.
Graphics: 5 Sound: 6 Music: 5 Replay Value: 8 Ingenuity: 7
Overall Score: 6.7
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