Amstrad Computer User1st January 1991
Published in Amstrad Computer User #74
A Drop In The Ocean
Andrew Banner heads up North to see what Ocean has got up its sleeves on the console front, with spectacular results.
Since Amstrad announced the cartridge-based GX4000 and new CPC Plus ranges, software houses have been eager to write new games to utilise the extended facilities of the new machines. One of the highest contributing factors towards the success of the new range is it's cartridge port — after all it's instant, it's small and compact, it's difficult to damage it and you can't copy it.
Ocean were one of the first software houses to jump on the bandwagon, and why not.
This Christmas will see more console sales than the early eighties, and a large portion of these will be one of the three new Amstrad machines.
Ocean have a torrent of cartridges for the coming months including the conversion of arcade games, Pang, Special Criminal Investigation (Chase HQ 2) and Toki.
Further games include the infamous Robocop II. Anyone who has seen the film will know the plot and will also know just how appalling it is. Anyway, a ruthless drug baron has designed a narcotic that's in greater demand than the electricity shares; nuke. Simply inject this stuff into your bloodstream for instant paradise. The guy behind the warhead sounding pleasure drug is Cane, a person who wants to see "made in America mean something again". Anyway, without giving too much away, Cane's brain ends up in Omni Consumer Products' (OCP) new baby, Robocop 2.
This thing's got more firepower than Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone put together and is as ugly and unhumanlike as Margaret Thatcher. Come to think of it, its policing policies are similar as well. So what has Robocop 2 got going for it? Well, if we're talking film, absolutely nothing except Action man armoured cars. Talk about the game and it's a different matter. Robocop was the best-selling computer game of all time with a success story of 32 weeks at the top of the all-formats charts. Not bad.
Robocop 2 is much of the same thing though. I doubt whether it will do as well, but it is a hard act to follow. Platform games rarely hold my interest for long, but I have to admit that Robocop 2 is addictive in a "I wonder what comes next" way. In a graphical sense, Robocop 2 is great. Good, vibrant colours, realistic movement and scrolling.
Well, the scrolling isn't that good. Technically it's alright, it's just that the screen doesn't scroll with your sprite. Instead, it scrolls when it needs to and stops the action at that point until it's finished. This if fine once you've got used to it, but it does throw you off a bit at the beginning. Bonus levels have you trying to reconnect your memory banks in order to remember your former wife; this ain't too easy considering you're physically dead! And once again, Robocop is in the firing range, re-adjusting his sights. This is damned difficult if you're using a controller pad.
Robocop 2 has all the makings of a hit though, especially if the first is anything to go by.
Plotting is an appropriate name for a game such as this. Your next move is vital to the completion of the level and so plotting it is highly important. The objective is simple; lots of bricks (of which there are four types) are jumbled up in a pile, all you have to do is eliminate them - a piece of cake!
Oh, you want to know how? Well, ok... you'll need your furry friend to help - we'll call him fluffy. Fluffy throws bricks at the pile of bricks. Simply aim a brick at another in the pile and provided it's of the same type, both disappear and the brick directly behind the one that was previously in the pile is thrown back at you for your next move. The trick is to plan ahead and so you don't get caught out.
What's really special though is the two player option. Simultaneous play using a split-screen display puts an end to those long boring periods between player's turns. Another feature of the game is the screen designer which you can use to create impossible levels or ones that are so easy that you don't even need to think about it.
Whether you've got a brain or not though, Plotting is damned addictive.