Side Arms (Go!) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User


Side Arms
By Go!
Commodore 64/128

 
Published in Commodore User #63

Side Arms

Surely we all remember when this was released on the C64, all those months ago. Then the mighty dwarf [Says the jolly green giant - Ed], Mark Patterson revealed to the world what a terrible piece of programming it was, giving it an overall mark of two. Now it has appeared on the Amiga and, thankfully, it is worthy of a higher mark, but not by much.

It's not that it's a bad conversion. It's not. In fact, Probe have done quite a splendid job in getting the look and sound of the game into a recognisable 16-bit format. The sad fact is, there's very little playability.

As before you play Lieutenant Henry foraging through caverns and computerised corridors on your way to do battle with the maniacal Bzon, who threatens to destroy the blue globe. No, it's not exactly 'War and Peace'.

The graphics are quite nicely converted from the original. Large, sharp sprites adorn the screen, and smooth scrolling and animation help the look along nicely. The problem is that the sprites are too large. Dodging the enemy becomes nigh on impossible, and at some points, there is just so much on screen that the game slows down uncontrollably and there's nothing you can do but die.

A tune plays continually, grinding away in the background though the explosions sound quite nicely on the ears. Each of the five different weapons (which are dropped by a specific sort of alien, incidentally) makes a different sound.

One major feature Probe have missed out in their conversion is the two player aspect. To all players of the original; this is where the game came into its own. With the two big guys, battling it out against hordes of screaming nasties. The best bit was that you were able to 'merge' the entities into one huge fighting destruction machine, capable of eight-way simultaneous fire and nigh-on invincible for a short time. This can be done on the Amiga version, but only by picking up a certain icon. When collected, the other guy suddenly appears entwined with you, limbs everywhere, sweat, blood, gravy and egg all over the place.

You can play by either mouse or joystick control, and for some reason I found it far easier by mouse, using the two buttons to choose the direction to face. Side Arms isn't a difficult game, it's just not a very playable one.

Tony Dillon

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