Bob Drol doesn’t need this.
DEVELOPER: Broderbund (port by Sega)
RELEASE DATE: 1985
Drol, not droll. I know what the latter means – “curious or unusual in a way that provokes dry amusement.” Not sure about the former. You’re a robot and you rescue… sad girls with balloons? And rocket-powered lizards? Sounds like an indie film, sans the whimsy and “do you feel” soundtrack. But Drol is no film. Drol is a game and it does exist. Beyond that fact lies nothing.
Everything is as it should be, I guess.
But perhaps I’m looking less for Drol‘s meaning, than its purpose, its reason for being. In Drol, you control a generic-looking robot across a four story map layout. Each story is barren, save for the occasional Roman-Greco pillar and random enemies. The enemy design ranges from scorpions and goblins to flying swords and axes hurled from unseen hands. The robot levitates and is able to shoot multi-colored balls out of his chest to combat any threats. After you’ve littered the map with goblin corpses, a crying girl with a balloon will emerge from nowhere. You collect her. The level continues, more death, more mindless wandering, then a rocket-powered lizard appears. Collect it, and a curtain falls across the screen. You’ve just bore witness to an off-Broadway play in some drunken backalley, apparently. Oh, but then the curtain rises, and it’s another level, this time with more threats, similar outcomes. There are only three distinct levels, each with slight variables. All of them require the collecting of a small balloon-holding girl and a rocket-powered iguana to progress to the next stage. After these three levels have been completed, the game repeats and it’s more of the same. Not at all droll, but perhaps very Drol.
Snakes on loan from Super Mario Bros. 2
I fail to see why Drol exists. Is the fun derived from shooting enemies for copious amounts of points? Points are achieved easily enough by standing in the middle of any of the four stories and shooting back and forth. Enemies regenerate forever and there is no time limit. Have at it. Destroy! Consume! Drol! And why are you a robot? Beyond levitation, you don’t do any inherently robot-y “things”; I’m not sure I would equate levitation with robots, anyway. The balloon girl and the lizard are neat designs, but they’re just as random as the goblin gargoyles and scorpions that chase you around. You collect the girl and the lizard because the game tells you to, not for any particular reason. Nothing in Drol makes sense. Nothing made me care about what was happening at any given time, nor did I ever feel a desire to push forward. I could if I wanted to, I suppose: the game only starts to get hard after you’ve gone through the three levels a couple times. But why bother? Why, Drol? Why Drol, indeed.