More of an explorative shooter than the standard blasting affairs, Atomic Robo-Kid Special takes all the elements from the arcade version and jiggles around with them a bit for the PC Engine. The control method takes a little getting used to - pressing button I selects from one of four weapons collected along the way, whereas holding down button I will lock you to the direction you are facing, making backing-away and firing easier. It can be fiddly at first, but it's essential that you master it.
The four weapons available are variable in quality. The forward shot and diagonal shot are both only useful when you've lost the other weapons, as the missile and full-fire are the ones that you will utilise most often. The missile is particularly useful as in some levels you are required to blast away areas of wall to progress. Levels are varied - some are horizontal, some are more like mazes and there are also two types of boss area: one with a small enemy over the opposite side of the screen protected by a barrier you have to destroy, and another with a huge mechanical monster that follows you relentlessly around an arena.