- Please note- the Introductory explanation of Brains is on the Starting the Journey page
Brains have 2 goals-
- Shoot fast zig-zagging lightning bolts (cruise missiles) to keep you away
- Move toward humans. When they touch a human it will reprogram the human to become a fast moving missile with the intention of killing you.
With so much going on it will quickly put you in a defensive position where you can’t focus on killing off the brains.
- Their weakness is that Brains move very slowly without much regard for your position on the screen. They won’t realize when they are in groups that are easy to kill off quickly.
Here are some training strategies to build an intuitive skill set for turning a defensive brain situation into offense.
Identifying groups of brains – (Novice skill)
- At the start of the wave, try to identify groups of brains. Try to move toward them early and kill in groups before they can shoot out lightning bolts.
Neutralizing lightning bolts– (Advanced skill)
- The lightning bolts zigzag too fast for you to take direct aim.
- Therefore, constant firing in a straight horizontal or vertical path allows you to effectively remove lightning bolt swarm.
- As they zigzag toward you, it is a given that they will have to cross the horizontal or vertical path of your shots. Giving you the edge for survival.
- The panic button- If you become overwhelmed in a swarm of lightning bolts, immediately take an angled movement across the screen while shooting. The angle will give the player a movement advantage over the zig-zag shots and you may miraculously survive.
How to Practice
- Set the number of players to start at 20, (F2 on keyboard for Advance on Mame, Advance button inside coin door on real cabinet)
- Play to wave 5, kill off the grunts so there are only brains left
- Move to a corner of the screen, or border, and practice killing off the lightning bolts with horizontal and vertical firing.
- Become aware of situations where the occasional diagonal shot is wise, too
Play “Keep away”- (Master skill)
- Play down to 1 brain left on the screen
- Practice staying alive by hitting lightning bolts shot around the screen.
- Avoid killing the brain as long as you can.
- When 1 brain is mastered, leave 2 brains….3 brains, up to 5 or more.
- When you can survive a long time in the presence of 5 brains, you have just built a skill that will take you beyond wave 100 in the future.
- Wave 5 Brain practice- Click video HERE
Cheat!- (Advanced skill)
- According to Eugene Jarvis (June 2012), Wave 5 and 10, offer the only opportunity to cheat in Robotron.
- If you kill off everything except 1 Brain, you can trick him to walk into the right side wall and get stuck walking.
- If you fire continually vertically, the brain will try to shoot a bolt but your shots will immediately neutralize it.
- Your shot will miss the brain, so you can take a relaxing break indefinitely, as long as someone or something is keeping the firepower on full blast.
- The Brain cannot get stuck on the left side of the screen, the trick only works on the right side.
- Youtube example
Technical explanation of the Trap-a-Brain trick, by Larry DeMar Dec 2013
- How- If you can wedge the fire Joystick into the “down” position there is a way to take indefinite breaks without losing any (likely) and certainly not many (certain) lives.
- When discovered- It was probably beyond the production cycle of the game but it was very early. As a game developer there is always a fear of “infinite play”, over-exploitation of a feature and specifically higher-yielding ways to play the game which are less fun. Bugs, exploits and side-effects all contribute to the possibility of this. Eugene and I discovered this while playing the game and with separation I was able to tie up a game for hours before the unlucky wandering missile got me. Every time a new exploit is discovered, it adds some liability for the gain and time on device it adds but that’s offset by adding interest and personality for the player base where earnings can go up because people want to try out the new “feature”. The most notorious case of the phenomenon was the publishing of the Pacman patterns. While every operator braced for decimated Pacman earnings of 25
cents/day the earnings actually shot way up. The game was beyond the prime of its life cycle and most of these newly interested players didn’t have the skill to take the patterns that far. I remember talking about about Brain trick and with the recognition that there was little gain other than the filibuster factor so we took a deep breath and let it go.
- With regards to the left/right issue, it’s a side-effect of the Brain’s movement algorithm. It tries to move to match X and Y coordinates with the player. Not sure if it uses an offset for center (from upper left which is the position from which the figures are drawn). Probably not. Since the Brain is wider than the player, matching X coordinates would put the Brain partially off-screen. The “fix” would be to leave the X and update the Y position in this case but the code doesn’t move the Brain if its new position would not be on-screen. On the left it is able to align the X’s so it continues to move.
- After thinking about I would guess that it is comparing the X value of upper left and not adjusting for centers which would exactly cause it to happen on the right and not the left. If it adjusted for center it should get stuck on both sides. Someone with a game can shoot down to 1 Brain and probably see that it lines up its left edge.