|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2010)|
European cover art
|Publisher(s)||Hewson Consultants, Jester Interactive Publishing|
|Genre(s)||Shoot 'em up/puzzle game|
Paradroid is a Commodore 64 computer game written by Andrew Braybrook and published by Hewson Consultants in 1985. It was also remade as Paradroid 90 for the Amiga and Atari ST home computers and as Paradroid 2000 for the Acorn Archimedes. There exist several fan-made remakes for modern PCs. In 2004 the Commodore 64 version was re-released as a built-in game on the C64 Direct-to-TV, and in 2008 for the Wii Virtual Console in Europe.
The game is set on a spaceship viewed from a top-down perspective. The ship consists of numerous rooms and levels, each one populated by hostile robots or "droids". The player, in control of a special droid called the "Influence Device", must destroy all the other droids on the ship. Each droid (including the player) is represented as a circle around a three-digit number. The numbers roughly correspond to the droid's "power" or "level", in that higher-numbered droids are tougher to destroy.
The Influence Device is numbered "001". The primary way in which the Influence Device destroys other droids is by "linking" with them, effectively taking them over. When the player takes over another droid, the previously-controlled droid is destroyed.
Taking over a droid is done via a mini-game involving basic circuit diagrams and logic gates. Each droid has one side of the screen, with a series of logic gates and circuits connected together. The droids have a number of "power supplies" that can apply power to one circuit. Higher-numbered droids have more power supplies. At the end of a short time period, the droid supplying the most power to the circuit "wins". The logic gates are the key to allowing lower-numbered droids to beat higher-numbered droids. There is also a strategy in timing when power is applied to a circuit (as two supplies of power to the same circuit result in the later supplier of power gaining control of the circuit).
In either case, the droid being controlled by the player is destroyed. If the player beats the droid in this mini-game, he takes control of that droid. If not, either the droid is destroyed and the player returned to the game as just the Influence Device (if he was previously controlling a different droid), or the player is killed, ending the game, if he was not already controlling another droid before the takeover attempt.
While in control of another droid, the player effectively acts as that droid, meaning the player has access to that droid's maneuverability, armor, weapons and "power supplies" (used during the droid-control mini-game). If the droid has weapons, the player can destroy other droids simply by shooting them, instead of taking them over (though higher-numbered droids can require several shots to destroy, and might actually fire back). The player only has control of a droid for a limited amount of time (which is inversely proportional to the droid's number). If that time elapses, the controlled droid is destroyed and the player reverts to the Influence Device (001).
The spaceship has several decks, and each deck can have several rooms. Doors and elevators connect the rooms and the decks. Many rooms have computer terminals that provide access to maps of the current deck and the entire ship as well as droid information. Each droid can access information about itself and all lower-numbered droids (this access is available to the player based on the droid being controlled).
Goals and challenges
As well as achieving a high score, Paradroid players also see certain achievements as worthy. Clearing one or more ships entirely of robots is one such goal. Another is a successful transfer from the 001 Influence Device to the unstable 999 droid.
Despite the instructions referring to a finite fleet, the Commodore 64 game never ends: when you clear the eighth ship called "Itsnotardenuff", you're just replaced back on the ship, with higher-ranking droids on each deck.
Andrew Braybrook's Graftgold partner, Steve Turner, wrote a version of Paradroid for the ZX Spectrum called Quazatron. It was also published by Hewson, and retained similar gameplay but on an isometric playing field. It is also based in a City rather than a Spacecraft. Additionally the name was likely changed as there was already a game called Paradroids on the Market (see World of Spectrum) although this Paradroid shared no story, graphics or any other features with the original Paradroid.
Other clones and games inspired by Paradroid
- Two free software clones of the game have been published:
- Freedroid RPG is a Diablo-style role-playing video game based on Freedroid Classic, inheriting only the main theme of fighting hostile robots, the takeover-game, and the robot models.
References in popular culture
The 2013 film Oblivion starring Tom Cruise carries an obvious reference to the droids of Paradroid. The droids in the film which protect the water extraction mining equipment and also guard the safe zone clearly bear numbers reminiscent of Paradroid and also have the exact font.
- Jester Interactive Publishing Ltd. – owners of all Graftgold products & licences
- Paradroid Review (Italian) at www.RetrogamingHistory.com
- Home of the Underdogs – SDL Paradroid review
- Paradroid Page with Numerous Screenshots
- Birth of a Paradroid – the original diary of the making of the game by Andrew Braybrook
- Longplay (Video) at www.c64-longplays.de
- Longplay (Video) at www.archive.org/details/C64GVA230-Paradroid