Heavy Metal

Publisher: Access
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #64

Heavy Metal

General E.E. 'Bud' Dink is a mean old coot, and he means to see you sweat blood as you make your way up through the ranks from trainee to five star general. But first you must qualify, earning at least 5,000 points on each of the 'combat sims'.

There are three arcade games, each based on a piece of hi-tech military hardware. The Fast Attack Vehicle is a beach buggy with guns and missiles strapped on. Sadly, your buggy lacks brakes or a throttle: all you can do is move left or right and press fire. Apart from dodging the various obstacles, you'll have to take out helicopters and tanks.

With the Air Defence Anti-Tank (ADAT), you control the turret as zillions of MiG fighters and TR-80 tanks swarm towards your position. Aircraft can be totalled with both missiles and cannons, while tanks can only be destroyed by cannon fire. Missiles are fired by pressing Space when brackets appear around a target indicating lock-on. The joystick is used to control a cursor aiming the cannon.

Heavy Metal

The most expensive weapon is the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT). You're in sole command with plenty of sensors above the small window showing the battlefield with its vector graphic enemy vehicles. All these targets are as animated sprites in the periscope view. You can either turn the tank to face them, or just the gun turret. Then you can set the gun elevation to match the laser range-finder's suggestion. You can also dispense smoke to break the lock of an enemy rangefinder.

Once you've scored enough points on these arcade games you qualify as a military commander, going to the Tactical Command Centre. This shows a map view of the battlefield. You can order your FAV, MBT and ADAT units to Engage (enemy unit), Move and Resupply. But however good you are at strategy, defeat is virtually inevitable unless you participate. This takes you back into one of the three arcade games, with enemy forces calculated from the TACC game.


The strategy here is fairly simple, which leaves us with the three arcade games. FAV is simply left/right fire and soon becomes monotonous, as does the ADAT air defence game.

Heavy Metal

The tank game is the most complex, but it's pretty dull anyway with crude graphics. Once all the controls are mastered, it's fine for a while, but the repetitiveness soon becomes irritating.

Ironically, the game supplied free with C64 Heavy Metal is superior, Beach Head having an intelligently organized multi-load and superior sub-games.


I'll get the worst bit over with first and say that the multi-load (notably on tape) is just diabolical. After this, things get better but not by much, there's a nice parallax scroll on the ADAT level and the FAV scene can be thrilling at first (until you realise how repetitive it quickly becomes). The tank scene sports nice close-up sprites but it's all in the Echelon mould for speed.

Heavy Metal

The Amiga game isn't particularly special, looking very much like the C64 game, but what really wound me up was the delay when you lose a life. There's some nice use of colour in the ADAT sub-game but it lacks major depth, the FAV lacks atmosphere or realism and the tank game is horribly simplistic.

It would be alright if the wargame was great but it's so very, very simple. Save that £25 and get some *real* Heavy Metal, a touch of Faith No More perhaps.


Presentation 85%
Multi-load is very bad on cassette, but Beach Head is free and pretty good.

Graphics 70%
Impressive parallax scroll on ADAT, speedy FAV and not bad MBT section provide a good overall impression.

Sound 60%
Standard spot FX.

Hookability 65%
Three arcade sections are fun to begin with...

Lastability 53%
...but they're not that good.

Overall 57%
A dated game-style which lacks depth.


Presentation 77%
Okay animated intro, demo, some nice presentation screens, ten save positions for service records.

Graphics 60%
All three arcade games are quite attractive to look at, with nicely detailed graphics (except on the MBT) and fast movement.

Sound 59%
Okay intro tune but dull spot FX.

Hookability 60%
Again the sub-games are initially enjoyable to play...

Lastability 47%
...but the sub-games lack depth and the strategy is poor.

Overall 50%
A disappointing and dated mix of sub-games.