Grobda[a] is a 1984 multi-directional shooter arcade game developed and published by Namco. It is a spin-off from Xevious, as the player's tank (which is the eponymous "Grobda") first appeared in that game as an enemy. It runs on Namco Super Pac-Man hardware but with a video system like that used in Mappy and The Tower of Druaga, and it also uses a DAC for the "Get Ready" speech sample at the start of each round.

Grobda arcade flyer.png
Japanese promotional flyer
  • JP: Namco
  • NA: Magic Electronics
Designer(s)Masanobu Endō
Platform(s)Arcade, NEC PC-6001, NEC PC-8801, Sharp MZ, Sharp X1
  • JP: December 1984
  • NA: September 1985
Genre(s)Multidirectional shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
CabinetUpright, cocktail
Arcade systemNamco Super Pac-Man
CPUMotorola 6809 Edit this on Wikidata


The player avoiding collision from enemy projectiles.

Grobda is a multi-directional shooter similar to the classic Atari 2600 game Combat (1977).[1][2] The plot involves humans using powerful, laser-emitting vehicles in a dangerous competitive sport known as "battling", thousands of years in the future. In the game, the player assumes control of the Grobda, a screw-propelled tank capable of firing laser beams at enemies. The objective of each level, known in-game as "battlings", is to destroy all of the enemies while dodging their projectiles as quickly as possible.[3] There are 99 levels total, each becoming progressively more difficult.[4]

Grobda's laser weapon is capable of destroying most enemies in one hit, although some carry shields that require additional shots to destroy.[5] When an enemy is destroyed, it causes an explosion that will destroy any other enemies in its blast radius, including Grobda.[3] The remains of the enemy are left in its place, which cause the Grobda to slow down if they move over them. Grobda has its own shield that briefly protects them from enemy fire, indicated by the meter at the bottom of the screen.[3] The shield disappears if it is inflicted with enough damage, and does not refill until the next round.

Development and releaseEdit

The eponymous Grobda was originally an enemy in Xevious (1983), where it evaded the player's air-to-surface bombs.

Grobda was designed by Masanobu Endo and a small team of developers within Namco. Endo is best known as the creator of Xevious (1983) and The Tower of Druaga (1984), two widely-successful arcade games from the 1980's; most of the developers behind Grobda had worked on both titles.[6] The Grobda was originally a defenseless enemy in Xevious that attempted to evade the player's air-to-surface bombs. Endo believed that the idea of giving Grobda powerful weapons and attacks was a humorous idea, and made for an interesting game concept.[6] The game was planned and completed in three months, one of the shortest development times for a Namco game, and was developed on a small budget.[6] The soundtrack was composed by Yuriko Keino, known for her work on games such as Dig Dug (1982).[7] She envisioned the tempo for the background humming to become faster as the Grobda moved faster around the playfield. The current-sound hardware was unable to accomplish this, so Keino wrote a custom program that enabled it.[8]

Grobda was published in December 1984, running on the Namco Super Pac-Man arcade system board.[9] In promotional material, Namco used the tagline "Grobda has awakened its combat instinct." The game was distributed in North America by Magic Electronics in September 1985.[9] Grobda was ported to the PC-8801 home computer in Japan the same year, developed by Dempa Software.[10] Grobda has been included in multiple Namco Museum collections such as Namco Museum Vol. 2 (1996),[2] Namco Museum Battle Collection (2005),[11] Namco Museum Virtual Arcade (2008),[12] and Namco Museum Megamix (2010).[13] The latter also includes a minigame based on Grobda titled Grobda Remix, where players control Pac-Man as he must destroy as many enemies possible under a time limit. Grobda was added to the Wii Virtual Console in Japan on November 16, 2009, alongside dozens of other Namco arcade games.[14]


Review score
AllGame     [1]

According to the arcade game magazine Game Machine, Grobda was one of the top arcade games of December 1984 by revenue.[15][16]

In 1998, Allgame labeled Grobda as "A refreshing departure from slower, more methodical tank shooters such as Combat and Armor Ambush", praising its fast-paced gameplay but criticizing its high-difficulty level.[1]

In a 2014 retrospective review, Hardcore Gaming 101 said that the game was a lot simpler in gameplay compared to Xevious, and felt mixed towards the games difficulty level.[3]


  1. ^ Japanese: グロブダー Hepburn: Gurobudā


  1. ^ a b c Allan Weiss, Brett (1998). "Grobda - Review". Allgame. Allmedia. Archived from the original on 16 November 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Retroview - Namco Museum Volume 2" (32). Future Publishing. Edge. April 1996. p. 88. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Savorelli, Carlo (10 December 2014). "Grobda". Hardcore Gaming 101. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Namco Museum Vol. 2" (29). Future Publishing. Edge. February 1995. p. 89. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Special Oldies - Back to the Future" (in German). MegaFun. June 1996. pp. 93–92. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Microcomputer BASIC Editorial Department (December 1986). All About Namco (in Japanese). Dempa Shimbun. ISBN 978-4885541070.
  7. ^ "『ディグダグ』の音楽はBGMでなく歩行音。慶野由利子さんが語る80年代ナムコのゲームサウンド(動画あり) - ライブドアニュース". Livedoor News (in Japanese). 24 August 2011. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  8. ^ "シューティングゲームサイドvol.5 慶野由利子インタビュー" (in Japanese) (Volume 5). Micro Magazine. Shooting Gameside. 7 June 2012.
  9. ^ a b Akagi, Masumi (13 October 2006). アーケードTVゲームリスト国内•海外編(1971-2005) (First ed.). Japan: Amusement News Agency. ISBN 978-4990251215. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  10. ^ "Super Soft Corner: マイコンソフト - Grobda (グロブダー)". Micom BASIC (in Japanese). No. 75. The Dempa Shimbunsha Corporation. September 1988. p. 234.
  11. ^ Nix (25 August 2005). "Namco Museum Battle Collection". IGN. Archived from the original on 17 May 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  12. ^ Geddes, Ryan (6 November 2008). "Namco Museum: Virtual Arcade Review". IGN. Archived from the original on 16 June 2019. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  13. ^ Buchanan, Levi (22 November 2010). "Namco Museum Megamix Review". IGN. Archived from the original on 16 February 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  14. ^ "「バーチャルコンソール」「バーチャルコンソールアーケード」11月10日配信作品". Inside-Games (in Japanese). IID. 9 November 2009. Archived from the original on 7 December 2019. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  15. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25" (PDF) (in Japanese) (249). Amusement Press. Game Machine. 1 December 1984. p. 31. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 January 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  16. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games" (PDF) (in Japanese) (250). Amusement Press. Game Machine. 15 December 1984. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 December 2019. Retrieved 13 June 2020.

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