The Fifth Axis (Activision/Loriciels) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

The Fifth Axis
By Activision
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #9

The Fifth Axis

The fifth axis supposedly governs the probability of events happening within the universe, but don't let that worry you because the heavy background information that comes with the game isn't essential to the action. The game itself is surprisingly easy to get playing but has plenty of difficulty to keep you going.

Once you've had fun trying to work out what on earth the instructions are about you can get started with the game and be delighted by its simplicity and animation. The main character you control is wonderfully animated and can walk, run and jump in a tremendous style which would even do justice to the long awaited and much postponed Impossible Mission. His task, put simply, is to retrieve artifacts from a multi-level, wraparound building and then retrieve "anachronons" from various time zones.

The building in which the mission starts is a laboratory full of dangerous cyborgs and holes in the floor. The cyborgs will attack you and have to be fought while the holes in the floor restrict your movement. Lying around the building are artifacts and geometric keys which you need to pick up. The artifacts will add to your score until enough have been collected to visit a time zone.

The holes in the floor can be negotiated by jumping or using the keys to levitate across them. Lifts will also take you up a floor. The cyborgs that patrol the lab come in many weird varieties but are all marvellously drawn. They can be fought using kicks and punches until they explode, accompanied by one of the funniest sound effects we've heard. Some float while others can be shoved down holes in the floor to their death.

Falls and fights can also be hazardous to your health though. There are three strength gauges for life, agility and force. Life is diminished by robot hits and long falls, agility determines how easily you get around and force diminishes with every blow in a fight. If the life gauge reaches zero then the game ends.

The time zones are where the anachronons are recovered and consist of a single scrolling level where you face many hazards. The first zone merely has spears being thrown at you that have to be blocked or avoided but later zones get harder. There are greater numbers of weapons thrown at you, obstacles on the ground and even missiles from the air. The anachronon has to be reached within a time limit which decreases every time the man gets hit by something.

The character animation is excellent with good fight action, although the backgrounds are a little weak. The music and sound effects are also of high quality, particularly the death screams of cyborg and human alike. The gameplay is all action with little strategy involved but the time zones get very difficult and present a lot of challenge.

Second Opinion

Superb animation, great action and silly sound effects are all very well, but where's the lasting interest? Once you've mangled a few cyborgs and dashed through a few time zones, you've seen pretty much all the game has to offer. There's still plenty to do, of course, bur it tends to be just more of the same.

Good News

P. Terrific animation.
P. Great music and sound effects.
P. All action gameplay with jumping, fighting and running.
P. Difficult time zones that present a lasting challenge.

Bad News

N. Gameplay in lab may become repetitive.

Green Screen View

Some of the cyborgs are a bit hard to see, but it's generally okay.

Bob Wade