Power/Mega Bots
A really really bot game.

There are two versions of the game covered on this page. One was called "Mega Bots" and I owned it for my original Apple. The other is called "Power Bots" and is the exact same game except for one word in the title screen. The only ROM I've been able to find is for the Power Bots version. Was "Mega Bots" a rare beta game they had to change because the name was already copyrighted? Or was it just a copy from a pirate who thought he could legally sell it himself by changing one word? The truth may never be known.


The greatest thing about Power Bots is its title screen music, even if it makes it blatant that Apple's sound chip could only play one tone at a time. There's the music, and the graphics. All the art is big for its time, and your robot jumps up and down using at least five drawings. Seeing full-motion animation in a game from 1984 was just awesome, and it was the main reason why I kept setting myself up for punishment.

He can explain the situation better than I can.

"You finally made it down here, eh? Don't worry. You'll soon know your way around. I won't be able to talk to you with the helmet on, so listen up before we hit the grid. If you run my power down to nothing, it's lights out for me. So find the hidden power source on each level, pronto! And get the power credits up too, we'll need those later. Some of the droids are friendly, so don't be too trigger happy. We might live to regret it. And don't believe everything those blasted droids tell you! From here on out it's up to you, you're driving, dude! Hit a jump key and let's hit it!"

If it sounds complicated, it isn't. Power Bots is nothing more than a simple game of elimination, dressed up with fancy 80's graphics. You must inspect all the rooms on each level to find the power cell that will let you survive to the NEXT series of rooms, but good luck. I had this game for years and I never found that cell. I've been stuck on the first level my entire life.

In the first room, a dome-headed drone offers you the choice of two out of four weapons. Your options are actually more limited than that, because you HAVE to take the goo gun -- the only effective weapon against the dragon. Yeah, there's a dragon in here too. Blatant fantasy contradicting a world of otherwise pure sci-fi, but just accept it.


1: Primary weapon
2: Secondary weapon
3: Jump one room to the left
4: Jump one room to the right
5: Jump one room up
6: Jump one room down
7: Make a dorky waving maneuver (pictured)
8: Shield
9: Draw energy from a defeated enemy
0: Makes a noise; does nothing else I know of

You jump from room to room, and when you find a robot, you must wait to see what it'll do. If it just stands there making a weird jerking motion, you do the dorky arm wave to get a hint out of it. If it starts to draw a weapon instead, PUSH YOUR FIRE BUTTON FAST! If you put a stop to its attack, you can get some extra energy out of it and maybe survive for a few more rooms. If you don't, or if the bot is immune to the weapon you drew, you'll get this:

Your robot shuts off, making a pathetic defeated pose.

If the tips you get from other robots were intended to help you somewhat, then why were some of them programmed to lie? That makes all of their advice useless. Here, they've told me the power cell is not located in rooms C, D or E. Well, I've looked in every other room and found nothing, so they all lied. Every jump costs me energy, so I barely have enough to start looking in row C. Lovely.

It's not in 5? How dumb do you think I am? I've been everywhere else!

One would assume that, since the power cell is hidden in a random spot, if I played enough games I would eventually discover its location early. But that's never happened, which makes me wonder if it was even programmed into the game properly. I've never seen the power cell, and if it's invisible, I don't know how to reveal it. The game up above ended with two rooms unexplored. Maybe the cell was in one of them, and maybe it wasn't.

We may never see the final level. Or will we? Portions of Power Bots were programmed in BASIC instead of binary, and it's all open, making it easy for any schmuck to manipulate. Getting to the final level is as simple as loading the program file called "FINAL."

This is what the guts looks like. It appears on the last level, you face a trash-talking superbot immune to most of your weapons. Now all I have to is type "RUN" and I get.......

....this screen. It's not just the ROM; my own copy had the file like this. At least I found out the game has no final level the easy way, as opposed to searching for that cell for years. Neosoft was soft in the head.

UPDATE: After an endless search, I found the Mega Bots variant. This screenshot should prove I'm not crazy: