Shoot-'Em-Up Construction Kit (GBH Gold) Review | Amiga Power - Everygamegoing

Amiga Power


Shoot-'Em-Up Construction Kit
By GBH Gold
Amiga 500

 
Published in Amiga Power #18

Shoot-'Em-Up Construction Kit

So... you're convinced you're a bit of a Bitmap Brother? Reckon you could give the author of SWIV a fun for his money? Then tonight, may I recommend the Shoot-'Em-Up Construction Kit from the menu at the GBH Gold range. Buy this item and before you know it, you could have Amiga-owning shoot-'em-up fans around the globe eating out of your hand.

Such is like that with any type of Amiga-based construction kit there are going to be limitations. The stumbling block here is that things, scrollingly speaking, can only go vertically, so any R-Type or Defender clones you might have had in mind get knocked instantly for six. Fortuitously, the scrolling can either be continuous, push-type or stationary - perfect for Sidewinder, Commando and Space Invader-cum-Asteroids rip-offs respectively which, strangely enough, are what you'll find lurking on the second disk as the demonstration games. A quick play through each (using the cheat option, of course) and you should be suitably motivated to dive on in there, desperate to write your own.

Even with a construction kit at your disposal, writing a game is still going to take some time as basically you are still faced with some of the problems a 'real' programmer has, only you are presented with them in an intractably user-friendly way. First, there are all the objects to design and colour on a 24 x 24 grid, along with up to 18 sprites of animation for each, with copy, mirror and slide options available to speed things up.

You'll have to do your own character and all the different types of baddies you want, not forgetting that objects can be joined and moved together for large tanks or swirly snakes and such. Don't forget you'll have to design sprites for each object moving, shooting and dying as well - as you can see, this is going to take some time although, in my opinion at least, time enjoyable spent.

Then there are all the statistics to set - how many hits each baddy takes to die, where they start, and what pattern they follow. I like the way this is set - you place the baddy on the screen and move him through your chosen route with the joystick. Very effective, and you can concoct some dastardly attack waves creating, if you think about it, vastly different types of gameplay.

Creating levels boils down to designing the backgrounds (again using individual hand-drawn blocks) and sticking them all together, and strategically placing the baddies. At this point, we almost have a game on our hands, all we need now is the sound - and this bit is great. Three directories full of IFF sampled sounds are supplied with which you can tinker at will. You want Mickey Mouse shrieking "Die, sucker" every time you fire? You got it. You want the enemies to burp when they are shot? Pah - easy as pie.

Finding something else to say about SEUCK could be a little trickier though, and a mark has elluded me completely. Its main flaw is, that if you write a game on this and show it to someone else, they'll know that you've used SEUCK to do it.

Sure, some of the concepts you could adopt would be hilarious, but as for real gameplay, you can't have any special bonuses or any element of real surprise or originality and so, to be brutally honest, your game won't be very much fun to play.

But, then again, you can't really give a score high enough to justify the feeling of satisfaction of having actually written a game of your very own (or even just modified the ones supplied). I loved SEUCK, and haven't had so much fun since penning the infamous Attack Of The Inter-Galactic Killer Green Triangles back in '84 on Game Designer on the Spectrum.

The Bottom Line

A bit of an ambiguous score, this. The end result may be a little boring to play, but getting there is fun beyond belief. SEUCK is fun, a gem to use and understand and, let's not forget it, now very cheap.

Rich Pelley

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