When Capcom released Resident Evil for the Sony Playstation everyone was cheering this new “survival horror” genre that was just created. The problem is, this genre was older than most people remember it just didn’t have the name survival horror at the time. Sure, there were other horror games prior to Robowarrior but they were not survival horror in the style we know it today. Those earlier titles relied more on jump scares than they did surviving anything. No, Robowarrior took it to a new level and beat out Capcom’s Resident Evil by more than a few years. Hell, Robowarrior even beat out Capcom’s spiritual descendent to Resident Evil, Sweet Home, by two years and a few months.
First, let’s establish some ground rules for what constitutes a “survival horror” title. There must be some sense of urgency that is more than just beating your opponent till their life bar is depleted- this negates all fighting games. There should be multiple paths around an obstacle, items to collect that impact your chances of getting farther and there shouldn’t be a jump button. That should take care of calling the Super Mario games survival horror. There should be life replenishment of some sort. There should be limited ammunition. That should take care of just about everything else that could be construed a survival horror title without earning it.
With those ground rules in mind you will see that Robowarrior is more survival horror than Resident Evil. You don’t see that decision yet? Read on and you will.
You may be saying that Robowarrior doesn’t meet any of the requirements to be considered a survival horror title. Sure it does, it meets more than Resident Evil does. There is limited bombs available, without them you are simply not progressing in Robowarrior. The meaningful weapons and items are all available in super scarce quantities, again without them you are eventually not going to progress. Simple as that. This is true for every item in Robowarrior- you cannot skip getting certain ones and still progress like you can in Resident Evil (there are people that knife their ways through at least the first few of them- no guns).
There are places in Robowarrior that you will be stuck without bombs: that is guaranteed- hell you won’t get past the first screen area without bombs. Bombs are a lot like bullets for your current weapon in Resident Evil, though in Robowarrior your main gun, while weak, comes with unlimited ammunition (this is your “knife”). There is one thing about Robowarrior that will help propel it above Resident Evil as far as getting into your psyche.
Since you are an android/robot type creature in Robowarrior, you require energy. Energy is replenished through collecting a certain item, which is hidden in the levels that require bombs to expose. This is where things get hairy and downright scary as you are hearing the beep notifying you that you are about to die because your batteries ran out of juice. Unlike Resident Evil, just standing around can kill you, eventually, as that life meter is continuously going down. Don’t have any energy tanks to use? You better find one and not take any damage doing so because it is only a matter of time before your game ends. Not so in Resident Evil.
One item that is super rare is the one that allows you to walk on water (you are metal and will sink without it after all). Couple the lack of that particular item with a low energy bar and no bombs and enemies “just” out of reach of your main weapon and you can see that it can be quite a scary moment watching those last couple of energy bars tick off with the beeps.
As you can see, Robowarrior is a survival horror game. You are constantly searching out items to replenish health, bombs and other items to get through the levels. While Resident Evil is more graphical, it is not more survival or horror. Robowarrior has plenty of scare moments.