Computer Gamer1st December 1985
Published in Computer Gamer #9
The adventures of Beyond's E-Team continue in Shadowfire's sequel. Eric Doyle investigates
Beyond Shadowfire lies a mission more deadly, more challenging and more sophisticated. Its name: Enigma Force.
For those who missed the prequel to this game here is a resume of the story so far. Ambassador Kryxix had been captured by the evil General Malthadius Zoff and held captive on the heavily guarded spacecraft Zoff-5. Under the name of Enigma Team, a motley crew of villains were sent on a suicide mission to free the ambassador and bring Zoff back for his day of reckoning.
Led by the heroic figure of Zark Montor, the Enigma Team were successful in achieving the principal aims of mission Shadowfire. The new problems started when five of the original Enigma Team were given the task of escorting of Zoff to face the Emperor's wrath, knowing that he had already set his great war machine into motion. On the border between Zoff's republic and the Empire, the Enigma Craft is thrown off course when it collides with a republican gravity mine. The ship pummets through the atmosphere of an unknown planet and crashes smouldering onto the surface.
When consciousness returns, the stunned crew find that Zoff has disappeared from the wreck of the ship, and anther race against time begins. This is the beginning of Enigma Force and, as one of the crew, you control the other four members in the search for General Zoff.
Your team consists of Zark Montor, Syylk, Sevrina Maris and a combat droid called Maul.
Zark is still the tough and resourceful team leader whose quick wits and bravery have led him through many a battle, leaving him with a cybernetic arm and many plastoid organs.
His second-in-command is Syylk, an insectoid alien. High in stamina and heavily armoured, his loyalty is beyond doubt because of his pathological hatred of Zoff.
Sevrina Maris' lack of stamina is more than made up for by her skills as a markswoman and locksmith. With the aid of a toolkit there are few doors in the universe which this mistress of mayhem cannot unlock.
Maul is the slowest mover in the team but being a combat droid, its strength is immense, giving the capability to be the most heavily armed member of the team and a formidable foe.After the crash occurs the computer issues one last message before it fails. "...Planet identified as team member Syylk's homeworld. Our location is an underground complex beneath the captial city. Syllk's people, the insectoids are locked in battle with reptiloid storm troopers loyal to Zoff. Communication scan reveals republican destructor tugs are due off planet at indeterminate time. Their arrival will signal this planet's elimination. My recommended course of action:
1. Locate insectoid leader and convert to ally.
2. Only spaceworthy craft located in reptiloid area. Find it.3. General Zoff heading for ths spacecraft. Apprehend in the name of the Emperor.
4. Insectoid alarm system will signal approach of destructor tugs and your elimination."
The screen display uses icon symbols which look similar to those used in Shadowfire but here the resemblance ends. The screen is horizontally bisected, the top half being a superb 3D animated action screen, while the bottom section is a laterally scrolling command screen with the icons laid out in sections. The two screens are separated by a row of character selection icons.The command screen icons are grouped into the following areas:
Movement Icons: these are arrow symbols which point to all four compass points. Moving the crosshair cursor onto any of these icons and pressing the fire button moves the selected character if a door is located in that direction. This portion of the screen also displays the current character's strength.
Objects In Location: if any objects are to be found in the current location their presence is shown on the action screen a a coloured square and their actual identity is revealed by an icon in this section of the command screen.Object carried: this section changes as each character is selected, revealing what the chosen team member if carrying.
Command Icons: this is the heart of the game with icon commands for picking up, dropping and using objects, engaging in battle, loading weapons, mind control and erasing the last command.
Next to the command icons is a section which shows the other characters who are in the same location as the current character.
Deft use of the command screen is essential for success. A command is given by moving the cursor onto the icon representing the desired character and pressing the fire button. The upper screen changes to reveal the character's location. Movement simply requires the corresponding icon to be chosen but for any action such as picking an object up, a sequence must be followed. This is like giving a command in an adventure game. First select your character, then the pick up symbol and then the object to be taken.
The opening screen of the game reveals the Enigma Team standing by the wreckage of their ship. All around is debris from which useful items must be taken and distributed amongst the team. This is the point at which your first major decision must be taken. Do all of the team members stay together and, if not, how should they be divided into teams. I found it easier at first to try to map the area by sending each of the team on their own mission.
A good map allows you to use the screen area to the right of the character icons. This is where up to eight commands can be stacked on the Commodore 64 version (five on the Spectrum) so by using your map you can 'program' a team member to go to a particular location whilst turning your attention to the needs of another character.
Mind control is made possible because the Enigma Team can wilfully disobey your wishes. In battle they may decide to run and fight another day but mind control gives you Svengali-like powers which will give total joystic control over their actions. This enables you to join in battle more effectively and readily pursue your enemy if they decide to flee.
Soldiers come in various guises, each denoted by colour. The insectoids seem willing to tolerate your presence but the reptiloids are cunning and vicious, always willing to attack and swarm around your team whenever any of them are discovered. Talk about shades of V.
Apart from mind control combat there are the two autobattle modes of attack or defend and hold. In attack mode the team member will hound the enemy in the current location and, if the enemy retreats, follow until commanded otherwise. Defend and hold will just make the team fight until the location is cleared of enemy troops.
During any of these battle modes, a careful watch must be kept on both the character's strength and ammunition. If necessary, a strategic retreat can be attempted while another team member gives covering fire. If all else fails, a pack of explosives can be detonated but make sure that your fighter remembers to drop the explosives before they go off. Smoking fuses can seriously damage your health.
Once the insectoid commander has been contacted, Zoff captured and the spacecraft located, you can escape if you have the escape ticket.