The spectre of Ultimate rears its head again in this new budget release from Mastertronic. Not quite as stylish as their last biggie, Feud, but reasonably playable to say the least!
Amaurote uses 3D isometric graphics to depict a vast futuristic city. The object of the game is to destroy twenty five insect colonies. At least 60% of the city must remain intact on the destruction of each colony for the player to continue to the next district.
The player is equipped with an Arachnus 4 armoured car, (a mechanical device with legs instead of wheels) and a small supply of "anti-everything" bombs. The bomb can be fired from the car at a variable angle and will continue to bounce until they hit either an insect or a building (the latter are extremely fragile so the bombs must be aimed carefully). The car can only carry a limited number of bombs so the player must return periodically to the city gates for fresh supplies, and, if necessary, repairs to the Arachnus.
The 25 districts of Amaurote are Ranelorn, Gotham, Heliopolis, Palatine, Vilmir, Ur, Capitoline, Agrippa, Canaan, Kaneloon, Traal, Dhakos, Esquiline, Offerton, Aventine, Valeron, Garathorm, Plato, Caelian, Ionia, Quirinal, Golam, Klant, Imrryr and Viminal.
Each district covers the equivalent of one hundred screens - although the play area is continuous so there are no such divisions.
The layout of each district is unique (there are no repeated screens) and different building are more prominent in different parts of the city.
On the destruction of an insect colony the player may progress to any adjacent district (making careful route-planning essential).
There are four basic types of insect, each with its own characteristics and purpose in life, they are: The Queen, Drones, Scouts and Rogues.
The Queen is the most important insect in the colony. If the Queen is destroyed then the whole colony is thrown into chaos. The Queen is the only insect in the colony which cannot be replaced, the Queen should be the player's main target.
The Queen has two roles to play in the colony. Firstly, she gives orders to the Drones acting on information provided by the Scouts: these could be to collect food or to attack an intruder (the player).
The Queen's other role is to breed; whenever an insect is killed, the Queen will create a replacement.
The Queen will usually be found near the centre of the colony and, as she is immobile and therefore vulnerable, but she will always be heavily guarded.
The Drones are the most common and least intelligent of the insects. They take their orders directly from the Queen, rarely making decisions for themselves. Their job is to collect food for the Queen and to defend the colony from outsiders. If you move too close to a Drone it will attack and continue to attack until either it or you is destroyed. Drones are the strongest of the insects, it may take two or three direct shots to kill them.
Scouts are the only insects with the ability to fly. They are the Queen's information gatherers, they fly around the city searching for potential food supplies.
Scouts will not attack the player but they must be avoided as they will tell the Queen of the player's whereabouts. If attacked, a Scout will retaliate but they are the weakest of the insects and are easily destroyed. Killing a Scout also means that any information it carries will be lost.
Amaurote is an absorbing game, if you're into taking time and trouble to get through to the end. It's a bit short on frantic action though - and the graphics, although well drawn, get a bit repetitive after the first few districts.
A game for players with time on their hands and an attention span longer than half an hour.