Agent Orange (Quicksilva) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing

Zzap


Agent Orange
By Argus Press
Commodore 64

 
Published in Zzap #23

Agent Orange

A race of aliens are moving from planet to planet, planting a strange weed that chokes the populace. Eight planets have been affected so far, and the only thing capable of stopping them is your squadron of five fighters and their cargo of defoliant - Agent Orange.

A mothership is used to take the squadron from one planet to the next, and as soon as it arrives the alien plants begin to grow. Launching a fighter, you have to fight off the alien fighters which guard the deadly crop, then try to plan and harvest your own safe crops whilst burning down the enemy weeds.

The action is viewed from above, and scrolls horizontally. Pressing the fire button releases a trail of plants which begin to grow as soon as they hit the ground. When an alien ship is destroyed, a seed pod is left behind which can be picked up and used to boost the fighter's seed supply.

The crops are collected by moving over them - however, the fighter can only hold a limited harvest, and exceeding this load causes it to crash.

There are two types of weed: alien and indigenous. The former can be burnt, but the indigenous weed is more difficult to destroy and eventually chokes everything. When this happens, you have no option but to return to the mother ship and leave for home, although the mother ship cannot take off with more than 500 units of cargo on board.

The cargo is off-loaded at your home planet and money is automatically added to your total, allowing you to buy a new, more powerful ship. Each time this is done, the price of the ships goes up, but their shields become more powerful.

JR

I'm sick to death with crummy two-way scrolling shoot-'em-ups - why do companies keep churning them out onto the market? There's no disguising them, and they can be sniffed out at a hundred yards.

This one has a pretty front end, but it's like gift wrapping an empty cardboard box. The gameplay lacks all the essential elements of an exciting shoot-'em-up, and the whole thing gets predictably boring soon after the first encounter. As for the tenner price tag slapped onto it... well, you could have Uridium Plus/Paradroid for the same price.

PS

Beneath the superficial gloss is a very simple and unchallenging shoot-'em-up. Most people will just trade up to get a few really good ships, then blast the hell out of everything in sight.

The trouble is, the money you get for a full hold is the same as the trade in price of the original seeds! The scrolling background has some reasonable features, but the screen judders as it scrolls.

With a little more thorough testing of the design, this might have been a good little game.

Verdict

Presentation 76%
Sufficient instructions and a load/save facility, but the program lacks polish and options.

Graphics 41%
Bland sprites and unimaginative backdrops which lack colour.

Sound 36%
Dire title tune, and equally poor spot effects.

Hookability 46%
Easy enough to get into, but there's not much to stimulate.

Lastability 31%
Eight repetitive levels combined with simplistic shoot-'em-up action.

Value For Money 29%
Expensive for such an unprofessional and lacklustre product.

Overall 37%
A bland shoot-'em-up which lacks excitement, depth and playability.