Edition One (Virgin) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action


Edition One
By Virgin Games
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #67

Edition One

The link between these four games is a pretty simple one - mindless violence and destruction! The compilation as a whole isn't too bad, but only two of the games are outstanding, and one, Xenon, isn't far short of dire. The underlying sentiment of remorseless mindless violence is admirable, though. Not bad.

Xenon

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Xenon was a smash hit on the 16-bit machines, and was the first title to really show off the capabilities of the (then) new machines. The Bitmap Brothers were the wild hombres responsible for the game, and it takes the form of a vertical scroller with one big difference - you can swap vehicles at tho press of a button.

Switching between a tank and a spacecraft, you simply fly or drive up the screen, destroying anything you come across. Kill, maim, eradicate... we've seen it all before, and for it to work, it needs to be done with either originality or extreme style. The question is, does the Amstrad version fall into either of those categories? Sadly, no.

The graphics are quite bland, and the scrolling is painfully slow. Sprites are not bad, but lack both colour and character. The control response is poor, bordering on dreadful, and the game lacks the essential drive of this genre. Sound isn't too bad but, in terms of playability, this title, unfortunately, is a bit on the rough side.

The real problem, is that converting a game which relied heavily on awesome graphics and sound, even on the 16-bit machines, is really a bit foolish. The poor old 8-bit Amstrad just isn't up to the job. The original Atari ST and Amiga versions were beautiful to look at, but actually quite dull to play.

Xenon is also very easy to complete. The aliens are the only thing that move slower than you, and their bullets bimble about aimlessly, are very easy to spot, and even easier to avoid. Too easy, too dull, and lacking in both variety and originality.

Double Dragon

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You're strolling casually down the street, with your best girl on your arm. The sun is shining. The birds are singing and then, all of a sudden, you are surrounded. The swarthiest gang of cut-throat, razor-wielding thugs in the city decide that they fancy your bird! Wham! The filthy scum bop her in the stomach, and drag your squeeze off to their lair.

Understandably miffed, you and your pal pull on your special kung-fu trousers, and head off into the darkest depths of the city's underworld.

What follows is a kicking, punching, head-butting, stabbing, clubbing, shooting bloodbath of extreme violence. Hit anyone who strays across your path... thugs, drug-dealers. little old ladies, it's all the same.

Graphics are very nice, and echo the feel of the arcade original quite nicely. Sound is little more than average, though, but the biffs and pows are quite suited to the game. In terms of playability, beat-'em-up fans couldn't ask for more, with plenty of vicious baddies to deal with and the added bonus of being able to use any weapon that the enemy drop. Knocking sense into particularly big dudes with a baseball bat is a pleasure that should be experienced by everyone, and normally peaceful peeps will find themselves giggling with hysterical glee as they lob a razor-sharp knife at some girl with a whip.

Double Dragon is double cool, and totally playable. Obviously a great deal of time was spent trying to get this one as close to the arcade version as possible. It contains all of the features of the original, the only real difference being the control method. Bearing in mind that the Tecmo's coin-op had three fire buttons, the programmers have succeeded admirably in including most of the original combat moves. An excellent conversion and a polished game to boot.

Gemini Wing

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Now there is really nothing better than jumping into a spaceship and murdering unpleasant, slimy aliens, is there? Especially when they are as ugly as this lot. What do you need to visit destruction upon these hapless alien scum? Extra weapons, that's what. Not just ordinary weapons either - how about "The Windscreen Wiper of Death"? Or perhaps the "Spiralling Circle Of Death"?

Unashamedly xenophobic, this simple vertical shoot-'em-up has you flying over an alien landscape killing absolutely everything. Weapons are gained by collecting the pods that dead aliens leave behind, usual end-of-level guardians make an appearance, and what we have here is a standard arcade conversion.

The graphics are not really bad, but very garish, and it is often quite hard to tell just what exactly is going on. Enemy bullets are hard to spot, and the end-of-level critters are very dangerous indeed. Fortunately, smart bomb-type weapons make a frequent appearance, and boy, will you need them.

Possibly a little too difficult for the novice player, but not impossible, and certainly hardened blasters will find this one just the challenge to see them through the long nights.

We gave this one a Rave when it first came out, but in retrospect, and bearing in mind the standard of current software, this doesn't really stand up too well. Still, fans of the coin-op original will be very happy with this conversion.

Silkworm

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Two-player mayhem is the order of the day in this conversion of the excellent Tecmo coin-op. A novel feature of this game is that, when in two-player mode, each player controls an entirely different vehicle, one a jeep, the other a helicopter. Both are armed to the teeth, and extremely dangerous.

The action scrolls horizontally across a war-torn landscape, the chopper controlling the skies, and the jeep taking care of any land-bound obstacles. Extra weapons can be picked up at various stages, with the jeep having to perform an improbable jump to reach them.

The helicopter is controlled in much the way you might expect, and the jeep has a machine gun which can be rotated through 180 degrees. A push up on the stick, and the jeep leaps gracefully through the air. Teamwork is very important in this game, and it is teamwork which makes this stand out from the crowd. You will alternatively curse and praise the efforts of your teammate, and no advantage is gained through being selfish.

The graphics are superb, and really capture the feel of the arcade version.

Sound is noisy and raucous, and suits the game to a tee. All in all, this is more fun than a guy should have, and is easily the best game on the compilation.

Silkworm is one of the finest shoot-'em-ups ever to appear on the CPC, and if it isn't already in your collection, then it flipping well should be... and, with two players on the case, we are talking total laugh-o-rama.