Commodore User

Army Moves
By Imagine
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #45

Army Moves

Imagine's latest tour-de-force is one of the most difficult arcade games it has ever been my misfortune to play.

Add to all that some excellent graphics, tasty animation and a barrage of tunes and sound effects, and you've got solid shoot-'em-up entertainment which will have you weeping with frustration as you play it again and again, determined to crack it.

Army Moves (What a naff title!) takes Commando games just about as far as they can go.

Army Moves

The mission is divided into seven sections, each of which would be a respectable game in its own right, and to play the last three you've got to load the second batch of program and then enter the code word given at the end of the first four section.

The first section has you driving a missile-equipped jeep along a mostly destroyed bailey bridge. Coming at you is an endless stream of bomb-laden helicopters and kamikaze trucks.

The game is played with joystick and space bar, and moving the stick to left and right provides deceleration and acceleration, while pushing it forward allows your vehicle to leap over gaps on its enormous tyres. The helicopters can be taken out with your air attack systems (fire button) and the trucks with your ground missiles (space bar).

Army Moves

The trouble is, most of these actions have to be performed simultaneously. As you're going to need one hand constantly pressing the space bar, and the other juggling the stick in three directions and pressing fire, it helps if you've got one of those joysticks with suckers and a fire button on the grip. Even then, you might do what I eventually did, and sellotape the space bar down permanently, thus releasing an incessant spray of ground missiles, whether they were needed or not!

Every enemy hit boosts your score, and ticking away in the righthandcorner is a petrol gauge which indicates just how far you've yet to travel. As it approached 0000 you're nearly there.

Let's suppose you make it (Ha!). You get a bonus score, ditch your jeep, and then take to the skies in a stolen helicopter for the next three stages.

Army Moves

Stage two sees you flying over a desert landscape, looking for the enemy fighters coming at you from all directions, and which turn in mid-air if they miss you on the first flypast.

Once again, you've got two lots of weaponry, missiles and bombs, so don't be too hasty in removing that sellotape. Hammering your joystick you bank, soar and weave your way around the planes, bombing the missile silos on the ground - which are also taking pot-shots at you.

Stages three and four feature further daring exploits with your chopper, piloting it over the submarine-infested sea and the jungle with its armed look-out posts. Keep an eye open for refuelling sites, otherwise an empty tank will bring your mission to a rather anti-climatic finish.

Army Moves

At this point lesser software companies would have called a halt. Not Imagine. Their programmers - Dinamic - have gone for broke by adding another three stages which you have to negotiate on foot.

You start off in the middle of a mangrove swamp, balanced precariously on a tuft of grass. As you pop from tuft to tuft, avoiding the stretches of quicksand between, gleaming eyeballs betray the presence of guerillas in the undergrowth, and they'll lob grenades at you with disturbing accuracy. Giant toucans flap towards you with rapacious beaks, and you'll have to frighten them away with funfire and then duck beneath them.

You're also armed with grenades, but save them for the barracks in stage six. You've now got nine lives instead of the five granted in the earlier stages, and you'll need the lot. The good news is that if you're killed now, you don't get sent back to the beginning, but only to certain determined spots behind you. Big deal.

Stage seven finally takes you inside the bunker stronghold, where you have to be careful when your grenades bounce off the furnishings. Then all you have to do is find the safe after killing lots of enemy soldiers. Easy!

Let's face it, no-one's going to get that far without cheating, so if you want to know the code for part two, just write my name on the back of a fiver and send it to [Cut! Spoilsport! - Ed]

Bill Scolding

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