YOU become a dinosaur rancher and the only hope the nation of Thalos, when the Karosseans sneak-attack your country with a sudden disease or toxin that makes everybody fall instantly into a deep sleep. Now that everybody’s asleep, this proud nation of warriors (uhm…) will have an easy run of the place. But for some reason you didn’t fall asleep, and it’s on you to figure out how to save everybody.
By the way, you’re a dinosaur rancher and ranching in this case means piloting 8-meter-tall mechs! Some of them even transform into airplanes.
Robots fighting dinosaurs!
Just like on that awesome cover!
Review and Opinion
Despite some very poor world-building, this one was a lot of fun.
For one, it has robots. Second, it has dinosaurs. Third, it has You The Hero in robots, some of them transforming, fighting dinosaurs.
Okay, so what do I mean about poor world-building? Let’s get my one complaint out of the way first. We live in a nation that has a name, and the people who are invading us have a name, but the cities are City of Knowledge, City of Industry, City of the Jungle, Capitol City, and so on. In the introduction, no explanation is given who the Karosseans are, why they covet our land or our people, and so on.
Anyway, on to the good parts!
Mechanically, the game is a hub design: you can revisit cities and locations within cities, though you probably don’t want to because the enemies are gaining ground and will probably be there the second time. This is refreshing, a big change from the usual funnel shape where you move inexorably forward.
When you change robots, you’re specifically instructed to make a note that you left your old robot at this location, so you could come back for it later. Again, able to backtrack and revisit and that’s great.
Speaking of the robots, that’s a second type of combat. Robots have combat modifiers, some of them require reading a manual or time in a flight sim before you get a combat bonus. Some can fly and others cannot. So that’s another dimension that I really enjoyed.
One of my favorite parts: multiple victories. On one of my early playthroughs I found the potion, then the weather forecast, then deployed the cure. I was a hero, having saved my people. But there are three victories and 400 is just another page. So that’s some good replayability there!
- Find the magic potion (no really, it’s called a potion) and disperse it, waking up your people for a fight.
- Infiltrate the enemy camp, and fight the big boss in his really tough mech.
- Infiltrate the enemy camp, and fight the big bosswith swords.
The first one is pretty easy. But I never could get the last two. They require a combination of knowing a passcode, knowing about Karossean traditions to call him out for a fight, and winning exceptionally tough combats against an opponent with 12 Skill. I’ll come back and try again some day.
The sci-fi FFs are usually lackluster, but this one is an exception.
Hints and Tips
When you encounter the Man Trap flower, you must pick the flower first. Otherwise, you’ll fight the plant and destroy the flower.
To enter the Capitol Building and get the Sword of State, you need the invisibility cloak. A stolen uniform won’t work, and you’ll lose the uniform if you try.
The Capitol City is sometimes called Capital City, e.g. on page 88.
Written by Steve Jackson
Illustrated by Gary Mayes
Book 22 in the series
Other Playthroughs and Links
- Seven Fourteen Seven plays Robot Commando
- Justin Parallax playthrough of Robot Commando
- MALthus Dire review of Robot Commando
- Fighting Dantasy plays Robot Commando
- Alison Cybe plays Robot Commando
- Champskees shows the best route over at FF Proboards
- Alison Cybe plays Robot Commando
Tags to Other Adventures1986 Dinosaurs Gary Mayes Kaorsseans Minos Robots Science Fiction Steve Jackson Thalos
First published May 15, 2023. Last updated July 13, 2023.