Amstrad Action


Deactivators

Author: Bob Wade
Publisher: Reaktor
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #14

Deactivators

This first game on Ariolasoft's new arcade-action label looks like being their best so far on the Amstrad.

It's set in a building where terrorists have planted bombs on five different floors of increasing size and complexity. You have to get rid of them before they explode, To do that you use a team of androids within the building who (which?) not only have to cope with the bombs but a host of other problems as well.

The screen is split into two sections, the top part showing two rooms in the game and the bottom part presenting various pieces of information. Each room is shown in 3D perspective from one side and will be connected to others by doorways, transporter pads or fireman-style poles. The section below usually shows a map of the building with your droids and the bombs marked.

Deactivators

An icon menu can be activated by the fire button to replace the map, providing four possible actions: change droid, throw object, look around, and return to current droid. The five floors are of increasing size, complexity and number of bombs so the first floor may seem easy, but the fifth is a real monster.

On each door is a computer which has several circuit-boards missing. They have to be found by the droids and inserted into the computer. Inserting a board will cause one of several things to happen, making getting rid of the bombs possible or easier. It may reveal a doorway, put on the lights in a pitch-black room, remove a forcefield blocking a route, enable a transporter or do nothing at all.

Each floor has a single exit. Once a route to it has been cleared you've got to start getting the bombs out before their time-fuses run out and they explode. To move both bombs and circuit-boards you've got to pass them between droids, throwing them through holes in the walls which the droids can't pass through. This can be hazardous though because too many impacts by the bombs and ... kaboom! If one bomb explodes you can't pass on to the next floor, but you can restart on the floor you've reached.

Deactivators

The use of perspective in the rooms is important; a three-dimensional environment has been created very well. The droids and other objects get larger as they come into the foreground. Positioning is important when catching objects. They move around their environment by falling through holes in the chequered floor, using transporter pads that connect remote sections of the building, and by sliding down poles (also, unlike firemen, up poles).

The bombs fuses are lit at intervals so you must throw them out in the right order, which can only be learnt by trial and error. If one explodes, the room can't be entered and anything inside it is annihilated.

Droids can also be lost if they run into robot guards who try to follow them, or forcefields placed on some doorways, poles and transporters. Bonus droids are given for getting enough points; these can be positioned during a game, a bit like bringing on a substitute.

Deactivators

The most interesting feature of the game is that rooms are sometimes turned through 90 or 180 degrees to be on their sides or upside-down. This creates some knotty control problems that can cause a vital split-second's confusion. Rooms also have different levels of gravity - important when trying to throw things.

The graphics are the most disappointing part of the game because there's no attempt to use the Amstrad's excellent colour facilities. But the 3D is good, and the frenetic gameplay is excellent. You're constantly battling a tight time-limit and performing delicate manoeuvres where one slip and the game is blown.

Second Opinion

This one's got a marvellous combination of brain-taxing strategy and tough, nerve-racking action. The differing gravities, the dud circuit-boards and the enemy droids all pose challenging problems. But your real opponent is the clock. It's gripping, frustrating and very, very mean.

First Day Target Score

20,000

Green Screen View

No problems with playing in green.

Good News

P. Five levels of increasing difficulty.
P. A tough teat of time and reactions.
P. Well-designed buildings to make things complicated.
P. Gameplay requires great concentration and quick thinking.
P. Excellent features like twisted rooms, gravity changes and blacked-out rooms.

Bad News

N. Very bad use of colour.

Bob Wade

Other Amstrad CPC464 Game Reviews By Bob Wade


  • Tomahawk Front Cover
    Tomahawk
  • Trollie Wallie Front Cover
    Trollie Wallie
  • Hollywood Or Bust Front Cover
    Hollywood Or Bust
  • The Last V8 Front Cover
    The Last V8
  • 180 Front Cover
    180
  • Split Personalities Front Cover
    Split Personalities
  • Classic Invaders Front Cover
    Classic Invaders
  • Cauldron II: The Pumpkin Strikes Back Front Cover
    Cauldron II: The Pumpkin Strikes Back
  • Thing Bounces Back Front Cover
    Thing Bounces Back
  • Ninja Front Cover
    Ninja