Deathwake is a sort of Beach Head I/II type game which throws you in an ongoing war situation. Following the true 'war hero' storybooks you're completely outnumbered and have to take on the entire enemy force single handed.
The story goes like this: the enemy hold vast areas of the homeland in the north and west and are one step away from completing research which will give them the atomic bomb. Needless to say, if they make The Bomb, the war will not continue for very much longer... Allied attempts to destroy the research plant have failed, owing to the fact that it is built into the side of a mountain, deep inland along a narrow inlet, Air attacks have proved useless and there have been no survivors from the three commando raids. There's one hope remaining you, the Captain of the battleship Undaunted.
Research has shown that it is possible to enter the narrow inlet and destroy the plant by firing upwards under the protective shield of the mountain. However, this is a task of epic proportions and the odds are stacked against you as you prepare for the voyage...
The game is broken up into several different arcade sequences like Beach Head, and in between each arcade screen is an air attack phase. Here a map is shown of both the allied and enemy territory along with all the airfields, radar stations, ports and so on. What the player has to do is try to take out as many enemy emplacements as possible by allocating targets to his own airfields. Once the targets have been selected the aircraft can be scrambled and sent on their missions. The computer decides the damage caused, shows the results and then puts the player into an arcade sequence.
The first of these sequences is an attack from enemy aircraft. On this screen the Undaunted and her two escort ships have to thwart wave after wave of torpedo- dropping aircraft by shooting them down. The ships and planes are viewed from above and a Missile Command type cursor is used to target the shells from the ships. When an aircraft gets near to the ships it drops its torpedo, which has to be avoided otherwise the ship sustains damage. The two escort ships are dispensable and are lost if one torpedo hits them. The Undaunted, on the other hand, is vital to your mission, and can only be hit three times before she sinks.
If the player manages to get past this screen then another air attack phase follows. The next arcade sequence is a 3D view from the boat and puts you under fire from patrol boats. These move along the horizon, tum and sweep towards youbefore releasing their torpedoes. The only way to survive this screen is to sink the patrol boats before they launch their torpedoes. This is done by using your guns which can be moved up, down, left and right.
The third screen is another view From above, only this time the player has to guide the Undaunted through a minefield a collision with a mine and the game ends.
Finding the correct elevation is the key to the fourth screen, as you try to sink the three battleships blocking the entrance to the inlet. Whilst you're doing that they're busy pounding you with shells, so speed is again of the essence.
The final screen is very similar to that in Beach Head. Again getting the right elevation wins the day; this time the player has to get a shell through the doors of the research plant before they close not an easy task by any means, but then winning a war single handed never is.
Control keys: Definable
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Keyboard play: Not too bad
Use of colour: Simple on most screens
Graphics: Some nice 3D effects, overall pretty good
Sound: A couple of woo-woos, plips and plops
Skill levels: Gets harder as you get into the game
Screens: Five arcade and one air sequence screen
Although being very similar to Beach Head I think this is definitely the better of the two. For a start it is far more difficult, and it also has more depth to the game. The graphics are very good, avoiding attributes well and the rotating Quicksilva logo on the title screen is amazing. Deathwake is an excellent game, very addictive and gives a challenge which although not impossible will have players going for quite some time before completing their task.
Remember Beach Head, that sort of semi-strategy arcade game? Well, Death Wake is quite similar in format and content. This is all very well if you liked Beach Head, but by today's standards the game looks a bit dated. The graphics are neat but not very effective or impressive, neither is the sound. Death Wake is not very easy to get into, the first strategic stage is alright but the second, where your destroyer is under attack, proves to be very difficult to overcome. If you're willing to persevere with the game it may prove rewarding but for me, the later stages still seemed as dull as the earlier ones.
When I first saw this game I thought it was another Beach Head, but after a few games I realised that this was better than Beach Head and had that certain addictive quality. The game starts off with a very nice attack sequence, all driven by the cursor, which I thought was very neat. When I got into the game (which took quite a time) it turned out to be quite easy to play, with some very close pixel shaves in the torpedo sequence. All the stages are pretty simple in concept but are fairly difficult to get through without a bit of practice. One very nice touch is the Design Design style highscore board which is good to read after you've smashed and bashed the enemies into the ocean.