Amstrad Action1st December 1986
Published in Amstrad Action #15
"Everyone has heard of the Abraxas Corporation - Arms for Anyone, Anywhere, Any Reason, Any Quantity," says the packaging. They are a mean bunch, hiding away on their plastic island, EoOs, somewhere in the mid-Pacific. Producing and selling weapons is their game.
Paethon is your codename: you're a member of the SBD task force - silent but deadly. With your mark-5 glider (colla-psible), E37 motorbike and nine hand-grenades, you are ready to take on the world - well, EoOs at least.
Your mission is to destroy the heavily defended nuclear reactors on EoOs. These provide energy for the plastic island with its nylon grass and polythene trees (no doubt tupperware birds as well). Of course any self-respecting island with nuclear re-actors would also have a decent ground to-air laser defence system. ... I think they have gone over the top with this.
Once you land on the island, the liveliest music I have ever heard on an Amstrad comes to your ears; it is so very appropriate, continuing throughout the game. You find yourself cruising a motorbike around the island. All the reactors, laser turrets, even tanks (stationary), are highly detailed, making very pleasant viewing - even if everything is one colour: it obviously wasn't possible to dye the plastic. However, you are here to cause destruction, not to admire the scenery.
'Objective: destroy external reactors.' That's a good one; I have spent hours trying to carry out the order, with no success. The idea is to disable the lasers by bumping into what appear to be pylons - this causes the lasers to go haywire and shoot straight up in the air.
Rush to a slope and lift off. To do this, press all your directional keys. If you are lucky your bike will transform into a glider and you'll be soaring high in the sky ; if not, try again. Once in the air, you should come down low, and while the lasers are distracted, bomb the reactor. (These are spherical and have tiny slot-like windows.)
That is the theory at least. Putting it into practice is. well, nothing short of impossible. Either the laser will spot you immediately and 'Oops, you seem to have been frazzled,' or you land in the sea and 'Oops, you hove been eaten by sharks.'
Barring that, the reactors seem to be impregnable. I bombed them a hundred times, and nothing happened. At some stages I was virtually sitting on a reactor and chucking grenades hell for leather... frustrating, very frustrating.
I ended up flying or even riding around the island, admiring its beautiful landscape. One discovery was that more grenades could be obtained from stores on land. And time is a limiting factor: only 30 minutes to complete the task - aargh. Lovely to look at, even listen to, but where is the destruction, mayhem and chaos that was promised?
It looks and sounds stunning, superb 3D graphics, a driving beat for the motorcycle and light airy tune for gliding what more could you ask?
A playable game with a lot more action, that's what. It's delightful as far as it goes but if only they'd put in some easier tasks and gratuitous violence, it would have been so much better.
First Day Target Score
Bomb a reactor (we couldn't)
Green Screen View
There wasn't much colour to start with, but everything is clear.
P. Fabulous music track.
P. Superb 3D graphics.
P. Wonderful animation on the glider.
P. Great idea of changing the bike to a glider and back.
N. Spoilt by impossibility of the tasks.
N. Occasional bug will require restarting (not reloading).