Amstrad Computer User

The Story So Far Volume 2
By Elite
Amstrad CPC464/664/6128

Published in Amstrad Computer User #59

A compilation giving you the best known Elite hits from the last two years.

The Story So Far Volume 2

Although it sounds like a children's fairytale, The Story So Far is nothing less than the history of Elite Systems in software form. It is a compilation but it sounds a little more grandiose that way and gives you the opportunity to relive some of the best-known Elite hits from the last two years.

As compilations go there are not many games here, the rest of the catalogue doubtless being saved for The Story So Far So Good.

What you get for your money are Live And Let Die, Overlander, Beyond The Ice Palace, Space Harrier and Hopping Mad, with all but the last being reasonably well-known. Live And Let Die was the first Bond game of a film which was a good game. It might be called Buggy Boy on water but it certainly was not written as a Bond game. Rather, with its speedboat-based action, it resembled one memorable sequence from the film and thus was retitled and appropriately licensed. The object is now to penetrate the defences of some Mr Big somewhere - all 007 films have an evil Mr Big - and destroy some drug crop.

What this amounts to is racing down a narrow strip of water which does not have a bank per se, thus giving the impression of bobbing up and down a blue road.

Mines and rocks litter the way, while supplies must be collected to further the high-speed 3D chase. You are armed with a gun, something a little faster and heavier than a Browning pistol, to fend off the attack from aircraft and defence bunkers.

The only other hazard is the locks, where narrow passages, rocks and mined doors block the pursuit of the clock. Although a little on the difficult side to progress too far, the graphics are good and sliding over the embankments is great fun.

Beyond The Ice Palace is a basic arcade adventure with vertical and horizontal screen action, three types of weapons, attractive graphics and far too difficult gameplay. Good, but too difficult to appeal to anyone except a masochist.

Space Harrier is the famous 3D flying and shooting-at-the-monsters game, avoiding the ground-based scenery and the impressive end-of-level aliens. It is all done in blocky, unsatisfactory style. Even the arcade game was shallow.

Overlander is one of the gems of this collection, being a great Roadblaster-style, 3D racing and shooting game. Select those extra weapons, choose that mission and prepare for a great action-based racer, with heaving hills and lurching scenery. An excellent game which justifiably put noses out of joint at U.S. Gold because it was much better than Roadblasters.

If Overlander was great, Hopping Mad counters it by being dreadful. Graphics converted straight from a Spectrum, plenty of bouncing balloon action and insipid sonics truly hopeless.

With three quality games, one mediocre and one very poor this is not particularly good value but then if you do not possess any of the three good ones it is worth the money.

Mark Luckham