Amstrad Computer User1st April 1989
Published in Amstrad Computer User #53
SAS Combat Simulator
CodeMasters have struck again with yet another simulator game. If it continues at this rate, by the end of the year, it will no doubt be releasing a game called "Simulator Simulator". I know these games cost only £2.99 but I get the feeling that the person who writes the inlay card never sees the game as I am afraid phrases like "Move quickly and quietly" and "absolutely brilliant gameplay" have very little to do with this uninspiring shoot-'em-up.
The SAS seems to have been misrepresented as well, as although it is well-known for its covert operations - sabotage, seige breaking and gun sighting - it never goes for all-out assaults, which is exactly what you have to do in the game.
The game consists of four top-down battle areas through which you must gun your way and try and kill anything and everything which moves with either your endless shot rifle or your replenishable stock of grenades. Against you are hordes of gun-firing but aimless wandering soldiers, fixed gun emplacements and even the odd paratrooper.
These can be dodged or shot as your real aim is the CodeMasters' symbols scattered around the screen. Collect one of them, and you climb into a jeep and become immune to enemy gunfire, although how an open vehicle like a jeep can give you total protection is beyond me! Either the bullets would hit or or the jeep, which would probably disable it!
Moving on, you will eventually reach a railway line but then, for some inexplicable reason, the scrolling swaps from right to left, to down to up the screen. There is the odd train to shoot as well, which tends to liven up the otherwise dull action. Other top-down landscapes - one even features a shark - are punctuated by sideways kung-fu screens which do little to raise the level of boredom.
Overall, this is definitely a game to miss. I know the usual arguments about budget software but surely CodeMasters can do better. Instead, check out Airborne Ranger which has the same ingredients but also offers 3D graphics, a selection of missions and gameplay which leaves this one out in the cold. It may be three times the price but it is ten times better.