Amstrad Action


After Shock
By Interceptor Micros
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #14

After Shock

Interceptor has been on the verge of producing its latest game Earthquake for some months now. The company finally released it at the PCW show in September with a new name and - eek! - a fatal bug. Typing "PRESS", or other ill-fated commands, would instantly produce a screenful of garbage and prevent further progress in the game.

I'm glad to report that this mishap (due to an over-enthusiastic disk protection program) has now been cleared up. So you can buy the game with confidence as far as bugs are concerned.

But what about the adventure itself? Is it really worth £9.95? Seems a bit steep for a game these days, unless it's really hot.

After Shock

Well, the first thing is that I wasn't able to make much progress in the game due to the aforementioned bug, but I have managed to gather enough info and gain some first impressions that should give you something to go on - I'll print a follow-up review next month.

Interceptor's previous games have had a couple of major disadvantages and one big asset: lack of text, too easy and brilliant graphics respectively. After Shock, you'll be pleased to hear, has managed to a certain degree to correct the two failings and retain the pretty pics.

First, the location descriptions. These are considerably longer than earlier Interceptor offerings and give a good atmosphere to a game in which you must traverse a ruined city after an earthquake and fix a nuclear reactor before it blasts off into space with most of the surrounding countryside.

The only thing I felt was that the longer descriptions tempt you to be more ambitious in your commands, but in fact the vocabulary, though larger than previous titles, still isn't quite as good as the descriptions might suggest. A long description of a lift, for instance, might tempt you to examine the various parts mentioned, only to get "Try something else" or an equivalent rejection. After Shock doesn't tell you which word it's having difficulty with, which can make certain puzzles more difficult than they might otherwise need to be.

Which leads onto the question of difficulty. A couple of earlier Interceptor titles - Forest At The World's End in particular - I found far too easy. Interceptor claim that After Shock is far more difficult, but until I've had a chance to get further into an unbugged version of the game I can't comment. First impressions are that the game is a little more devious than Interceptor's earlier releases, which is of course good news.

After Shock was written by the same author as Jewels Of Babylon and Heroes Of Karn. The storyline looks good, and the pictures (some of which boasts animated bits, which are quite striking) are every bit as good as we've come to expect from this company. Unfortunately, there are only sixteen of them, but I suppose you can't have everything.

My feeling is that, with only 120 locations and a rather antiquated parser, this game is very slightly overpriced at £9.95. But stay tuned for next month's follow-up review for the final verdict.

Bob Wade

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