The Killing Cloud

Publisher: Image Works
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #73

The Killing Cloud

21st century San Francisco has come under siege from a mysterious smog which has earned the name "Killing Cloud" by poisoning thousands. With the smog has come the Black Angel gang and rumours are rife that the two are connected. It's the responsibility of the police to find the connection and provide a solution. But as the department's newest recruit, you're only too aware of how limited its resources are. A handful of hoverbikes provide law and order only for those rooftops that break through the smog.

With the confidence of youth, it's your determination to free the whole city, a task which involves ten missions. Once you go into the smog infra-red goggles are vital to see in the darkness, and for aiming your machine guns and cannon. Suspects wander the myriad of city streets and do their best to evade the Police; which is where nets (for capturing the perp) and Pick-Up Pods (PUPs - automated police wagons) come in handy.

After scanning the map for the criminal's location your position nets and PUPs in the area. You then fly in, pick up the nets and, if all goes to play, capture the suspect and call a nearby POP to take him back to the station. The problem arises when you land to arrest the suspect: your time limit in the smog is limited to twenty minutes with a life support suit (20 seconds without!) and it's all too easy to lose your hoverbike in the smog, or see it destroyed by the Black Angels. Another worry is that fuel, nets and PUPs are limited - run out and you're out of the force.

The Killing Cloud

The first of the ten assignments serves as an introduction to the game - interrogation room where you can extract information in exchange for a few years off the prison sentence. Extract enough information within the time limit and it's off to the next assignment, leading you further into the Killing Cloud and its mysteries.


Vektor's graphics just get better and better, but this time there's a novel concept too. The idea of exploring a devastated city is a strong one and looks stunning with all the buildings turned on (albeit at the cost of a dramatic reduction in speed).

Intelligent adversaries provide a good challenge with plenty of mission variety - watch out for the perp who sneakily leads you towards buildings in the murk; check out the all-out arcade action in Assignment Four with four heavily armed hoverbikes!

The Killing Cloud

The interrogation is admittedly a sideshow to all the 3D action but it's thoughtfully done, connecting each Assignment and keeping the overall story moving along.

For the atmosphere alone, this game is great!


Cloud draws obvious inspiration from Blade Runner with its cyberpunk static screens and flying police vehicles. So far, so good... but the densely detailed heart of a city provides a tough challenge for anyone's 3D and Cloud's urban setting is a bit barren with the detail turned off for speed.

The Killing Cloud

Nevertheless, the hoverbike itself is superb, as are the other vehicles which behave with real intelligence. Pursuing the perps recalls Resolution 101, but Cloud is far superior in graphics and gameplay. Ambitious, innovative and intriguing Cloud has its flaws, but for anyone interested in the theme it provides an utterly compulsive challenge.

C64 Update

No plans as yet.


Presentation 86%
Manual includes novella and 26-page comic, good password system and craft lift off scene. Superb external views but only above average presentation screens including crime file showing off 3D images.

The Killing Cloud

Graphics 92%
Good variety in the buildings below the cloud and the external views are stunning.

Sound 81%
Main tune in the Total Recall style but not quite as moody - brilliant effects.

Hookability 85%
Takes a few goes of Assignment 1 to work out what to do but the atmosphere draws you in.

Lastability 87%
Variety and good use of the Password System keeps you playing - alongside the Assignments there's a strong secondary challenge to be as efficient as possible with the nets and PUPs.

Overall 86%
Great 3D, a good plot and plenty of action. Atmospheric stuff!