A taste of what is to come...
You read the review in Issue One of Amiga Power. Now you can experience the future of arcade adventures for real with this exclusive playable preview - a mini-adventure specially prepared for your delectation and delight by none other than Exile's authors. This isn't a section of what will be the commercially available version of Exile - that's approximately 20 times larger, with a full RAM and disk load and save option, dozens of weapons, equipment and strange creatures, and hundreds of puzzles not found here. This playable preview of Exile takes the authors in full knowledge of all its secrets ten minutes to play right through and complete, compared to six whole hours for the Real Thing.
The real Exile is available from your local software store as of the 25th June. The price? A most agreeable £25.99.
Here then, is the taste of what's to come...
This adventure takes place some time before the Triax caper that is the real Exile. Our hero's cute pet alien, Fluffy, has been kidnapped by mischievous monkey-like imps. Having landed on the small planet inhabited by these beings, your task is to seek out Fluffy and rescue it. Take it away, Rodrigo...
The hero is capable of performing many function, though not all of them are present in this preview (for example, you cannot transfer energy from one piece of equipment to another). Control of this versatile character is either exclusively via the keyboard or primarily with a joystick (plugged into Port Two) - or a suitable combination of both. The use of the keyboard is your best bet for a fuller flavour during play. It does take a little while to get used to the layout, particularly with the quantity of keys involved, but they are in fact sensibly positioned, and the time and effort spent mastering them will be rewarded.
Thrusting causes a pressurised stream of air (or water where appropriate) particles to be blasted from the hero's jetpack. Note that the jetpack uses small amounts of energy (shown on the panel directly beneath the playfield).
When it comes to shooting and throwing, the trajectory a projectile will follow is easily altered. Bullets can be shot and objects thrown in any forward direction, thus affecting the horizontal and vertical distances travelled. Using the joystick system, the trajectory is altered by holding down the fire button and moving the joystick. Using the joystick system also deactivates the use of the SPACE BAR as a fire button.
An object is picked up if the relevant key is depressed beforehand. When using the joystick control system, hold down the fire button until you walk into the desired object. With an object in your possession it can be dropped, thrown or (size permitting) stored away (see Using Your Pockets). Note that Exile's level of realism extends to the fact that the lighter an object, the further it can be thrown. This is worth bearing in mind when it comes to solving some of the problems encountered.
You have four pockets into which objects of suitable size can be stored. If an object seems small enough to be stored but won't, all four pockets are occupied. But don't drop the object in question - cycle through those stored in the pockets and drop one of those instead. The desired object is automatically stored in the remaining pocket. Note that the last object stored is the first object removed. Note also that stored objects do not affect your weight. When using the joystick system, releasing the fire button returns you to standard thrust control.
This is one of the most important functions available. By registering your co-ordinates (aural acknowledgement is given) you can teleport there at any time. Only four teleport co-ordinates can be stored at any one time, plus a default set of co-ordinates for your spaceship - a last resort if all else fails. Two points worth bearing in mind: each teleportation causes the destination co-ordinates to be lost, and the fifth set of co-ordinates remembered replaces the first. Note that you don't actually die in Exile - instead you are teleported to the previously remembered position and points are lost.
You cannot teleport when you are holding an object in your hands. If the teleportation is involuntary through loss of energy, the object is dropped. It can even fall out of your pocket, so it's wise to teleport before this happens. If you arrive at your destination with a substantial energy loss, you won't be able to access any function for a couple of seconds. When your energy is very low, the EXILE logo in the status panel will flash.
The progress of your on-screen alter-ego is seen through the window which follows the scrolling landscape. You can alter the positioning of the window relative to your character by approximately half a screen in any direction, which also allows you to look around corners, so to speak. When using the joystick system, holding down the fire button allows you to move the joystick and scroll the window. Release the fire button to return to the standard thrust control.
For every second which passes, a point is removed from your score. Points are given for performing such tasks as solving puzzles and killing creatures or robots.
Some things can be shot, others have to be blown up, and there are a few which can be picked up and even stored for good measure.
Door: There are five different types of door found in Exile (but only three in this preview). The least prohibitive door simply slides open on contact. Others are locked and are only opened when the relevant switch is pressed, or are so sturdy that it takes an explosion of grenade-generated proportions to open them for good. Just for the record, the two types of door that don't feature in this preview are those which only open with the correct pass, and those which are so hard that it takes more than a grenade to blow them open.
Fire: As a fitting tribute to Arthur Brown and his crazy world, Exile (and this preview for that matter) has pits of fire all over the shop. Needless to say, it burns - you, and other animals and objects to boot. The fire has many uses and causes all sorts of problems - examples of which are found within this preview.
Frog: It seems so harmless - and it is. But it also comes in handy for overcoming certain situations.
Grenade: A high(ish) explosive with a reasonable range - so watch out! When a grenade is thrown or dropped it becomes live and, if left in this state, explodes after a brief countdown. A grenade can also be activate by tapping the fire button (or key) and deactivated in the same way. Players smart enough to think on their feet can grab live grenades and deactivate them before storing them away for later use.
Transporter: You won't know where it will take you until it does. It could transport you to a corresponding transporter, or even somewhere in the middle of nowhere. It all depends on the co-ordinates programmed into it, and they cannot be altered. Just remember that anything pushed into the transporter's beam will be transported - bullets, grenades, animals, and other objects. In some instances, it's possible to turn off the beam and deactivate the transporter.
Turret: Spotting one of these is easy - it shoots at anything that moves. Most turrets are too sturdy to be destroyed by gunfire (the first slow one you encounter can - there's a tip!). Turrets are however temporarily stunned by repeated shots, in which state they flash. A well-placed grenade will now do the job of removing the turret from the scene. The turret gives up a power pack on its demise.
Q - Walk/Thrust Left, W - Walk/Thrust Right, P - Thrust Up, L - Thrust Down, SPACE - Activate Weapon In Hand
I - Set Projectile Trajectory To 90 Degrees, O/K - Increase/Decrease Angle of Projectile Trajectory
< - Pick Up Object, M - Drop Object, > - Throw Object In Hand
G - Get Object From Pocket, S - Store Object In Pocket
R - Remember Teleport Co-ordinates, T - Teleport To Remembered Co-ordinates
TAB - About Face (180 Degrees), CTRL - Duck!
DELETE - Toggle Pause, HELP - Restart, F8 - Toggle Scroll Fix To Spaceman
The Cursor keys will scroll the window up/down/left/right as appropriate.
Before you do anything, turn off that auto-fire feature. Now you can use the joystick to thrust and fire and even - if the mood takes you - activate the many other functions. You can resort to using the keyboard exclusively at absolutely any time, so there's no need to feel put upon.
Two sets of icons are used to select functions or actions when using the joystick control system. To access the icons, you do actually need to use the keyboard - but only briefly. A press of the SPACE BAR calls up the first set of icons in the status panel below the play area. A second press of the SPACE BAR calls up a second set of icons. A third press of the SPACE BAR returns to normal thrust control.
To choose a function or action, simply move the joystick in the direction of the desired icon and it will be highlighted. Pressing the fire button will now activate the chosen function (Note that some functions require the fire buton to be held down while the joystick is moved - releasing the fire button then returns to standard thrust control).
When this preview is completed, the hour digits of the clock on the status panel will be set to show a special verification code for the score and time. If you do manage to get this far, make a note of the code and any relevant details (i.e. a map and playing tips which are as extensive as possible) and send them to I Rescued Fluffy From Exile, c/o Amiga Power. We may well be able to persuade Mr. Bielby to dish out some software-related prizes of some description.