The assault on those confounding consoles continues with the re-release of Gremlin's follow-up to its Core Design-ed hit Switchblade. The game received high critical appraisal when first published in May last year, being one of the first of a new breed of slick and flashy platform games that have appeared on the Amiga with increasing regularity ever since. But does it stand the test of time and the competition of newer games like Zool and Robocod?
Right from the start it's obvious that the designers set out to create a Japanese-style scrolling shoot-'em-up, and they've succeeded. The main sprite would not look out of place in Akira and the rest of the visuals are similarly futuristic, with all manner of flying drone ships, supersonic jets and beefy robots zipping about - exactly the type of commuters you'd expect to see travelling to work in a futuristic, post-Apocalyptic city.
The gameplay is finely tuned as well, with the overall player control fairly straightforward. Running, jumping, climbing and squatting are all easily executable and the "Super Jump" becomes second nature after a few minutes. It's also a fairly tough game with large levels and a wealth of bonus rooms to explore so there isn't really any chance of a quick completion unless you're some form of gaming super-breed (a bit like us, actually).
Overall, there isn't much wrong with Switchblade II. It's just that now, since things have progressed on a-pace, it doesn't seem to be the Amiga's 'Console Beater' that most people said it was initially. It's hard to find fault, or indeed highly praise, the game, it's between average and good really. If you buy this game I'm sure you'll not be disappointed, but I feel that had it not been so highly appreciated in the first place I would be happier giving it the slightly unimpressive rating it's going to receive, which is 70%.