SOFTWARE REVIEW: TERRORPODS by Richard Karsmakers
Life had been very quiet for centuries on my home planet Zion
Beta. Since the government of Zion Beta has invented the
restocracy principle (what you people on earth would probably
call 'the sequel to democracy', the one perfect way to govern a
state) the concept of civilian warfare, terrorism and violence
had ceased to exist. An ever growing number of people was even
mentioning the possibility of deleting words like these from the
'XXVIst Zion Beta Official Restocratic Dictionary'.
I had my usual mid-summer poetic outbursts and was sitting on the
grass of a hill looking down upon Zionity (the state capital),
gazing at the sun setting as if it were melting into the city's
skyscrapers, a couple of miles away. Some clouds hung in the sky,
just above the sun, and were painted in miraculous colours of
grey, purple and red as the sun decided to shine this day's last
light upon them. Quickly, the sky above me turned dark blue and
black, and light eventually started fadeing away; here and there
it mirrored in some windows.
As the sun eventually disappeared completely and night fell upon
this peaceful land, a light breeze started coming up. I stood up
and closed the book in which I always wrote down my poetry.
Tonight's sunset had not inspired me sufficiently so that I had
not been able to extract a poem (or, for that matter, even a
piece of proze) from my mind. There was something in the air,
heavy and lurking, that I really couldn't describe. And the
oddest thing about it was that there was absolutely nothing
noticeably different. I suspected that it would probably be my
vivid imagination, still left from the period of my childhood
when I used to write war-stories at school. People didn't
appreciate them, and so I stopped writing them a long time ago
and devoted myself to the art of poetry. I opened my poetry book
again and looked at what I wrote the day before:
"You are like the sun
Dazzling, bright and majestuous
You are like the moon
Shiny in the midst of darkness
And the stars
look at you in jealousy
You're like everything
From behind the moon, a star seemed to fly accross the sky.
Remembering the fact that you were allowed to do a wish when you
saw one of those, I followed the star closely with my eyes and
thought of what I would wish. The star looked as if it were
growing, and the colour changed as well - it was more a kind of
orange-red. When it came closer and closer it soon became obvious
that it was no star but a space-craft: Large and shaped like a
disk, red from above and bright orange from below. I stood
stunned to the ground and could do nothing more but stareing at
the craft as it landed upon another hill, to the right of the
town. It didn't make a noise of any kind, and I suspected that I
was the only one witnessing this event. Everybody was looking at
the "Tracker" TV show at this time, whereas I usually preferred
to be poetic rather than just enjoying a young boy or girl to be
butchered on that TV show (For details of the "Tracker" TV show,
please refer to the previous issue of ST NEWS, ED).
The red part of the craft suddenly rose; the lower, orange, part
was left on the ground, and I detected a dozen gruesome machines
on it. They were like birds with humps on their metal backs,
looking extremely tyrannical to me. They seemed to stand upon
four legs with lots of hydraulics clustered all over them.
Actually, I found that my perception has deceived me - it were
bipedal fighting machines so it seemed, and they erected
themselves steadily and walked to the city. Now I could see them
in their full glory - huge metal machines that rose to over 100
feet above the ground, heading to the city to kill and destroy. I
decided to lie down behind some low plants hoping to escape from
the attention of these creatures as I witnessed the first houses
being vaporised and people running for their lives.
That was now over three years ago. These creatures, "Terrorpods"
as they were called, were the war machines of the Empire, an evil
and brute force that was there to conquer the universe. I had to
admit, it was nothing like those Egrons, but those had at least
had to decency not to come to this remote planet. Resistance soon
grew, but all rebels soon found out that those "Terrorpods" were
made of a kind of material called Aluma - virtually
indestructable it was.
The federation sent me to a mining planet called Colian some time
ago now. My mission: To find out what was the success behind
those "Terrorpods". The Empire had invaded this mining colony and
had started building their fighting machines there. Everything
went all right. Until the Empire Mothership discovered me. They
would now destroy the whole colony, so that the secret of the
"Terrorpods" was once more saved. I called back my drover vehicle
to my Defense Strategy Vehicle (DSV). I had to make sure this
colony would survive - and I had to make sure about myself
surviving as well...
Psygnosis' new release, "Terrorpods", selling at £24.95 is a game
behind which the previous story could be stashed in some way.
It's a thrilling space arcade strategy game with fantastic
graphics, impressive sound and an again brilliant plot. Packaged
in their now generic style of packaging together with the usual
splendid Roger Dean artwork, it's again one of those games of
high standard, worthy a place amongst the games that will be
remembered by generations to come.
When I opened the envelope I already knew that it had to be a
great game - one does not supply a stupid game with one of the
best drawing ever seen on a game package cover (a gruesome
Terrorpod head that's so bleedin' well drawn that I would simply
fail to describe it satisfactory). The package further contains a
guarantee card, a fold-out instruction manual, an (also
beautifully drawn - just lifelike!) picture of Terrorpods on an
Ice Flow and - of course - the two disks containing the game.
Just like usual with Psygnosis games, you have to press RESET
with the first game disk in the drive. After some turbo loading,
the gruesome cover package Terrorpod head appears on the screen
in amazing computer graphics, to be followed by a smoothly
animating intro sequence with some of the best thunder sound
effects I have ever heard (digitized, but what the heck). Disk B
can then be inserted and loading goes on after repeating the
intro sequence again.
In the actual game, one can choose of several language to be used
in the game (English, American, German, Norwegian and several
others - unfortunately no Dutch...), and then all hell starts
breakin' loose. You have been discovered on the Colian surface by
the Empire Mother Ship, just where I left off the story.
The graphics immediately struck me as being very good - in fact
about as good as those of "Barbarian" - and I didn't have much
time to look at them in mere amazement for a was being used as a
sitting duck for guided missiles. A quick glance through the
fold-out user manual learned me how to use my weaponry and I soon
was able to blast the rockets out of the sky before you could say
"Richard loves Willeke" (just a figure of speech - I apologize to
those fed up with my feelings for her).
Playing the game is very easy - but completing it requires a lot
of tactics. As Psygnosis doesn't fail to emphasize: It's a
strategy game and no ordinary shoot-'em'-up game. By means of
trade you have to get your hands on all parts to build your own
Terrorpod fighting machine.
I already mentioned the great graphics, the highly impressive
sounds and the great plot but, as you might guess, I didn't have
to look hard to find something in the game that I didn't quite
like: The scrolling (YES! I know I always say that scrollings are
bad, but that is because they simply ARE bad most of the time).
It is a bit blocky, but it can be clearly seen that the
programmer (Ian Hetherington) tried to make work of it: It's one
of those scrolling routines that makes the ground in the front
scroll faster than in the background (which, I suppose, takes a
lotta time). It's about the only 'bad' thing about this game that
I could come up with.
Overall rating: 9
Remark: Truly stunning 'game over'
The game can be obtained at:
1st Floor, Port of Liverpool Building
Thanks to Mr. Jonathan Ellis (and his charming assistant Angela,
who talks to nicely that it is always hard to hang up on her -
but rather necessary to make sure the phonebill stays within
limits) for sending it!
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.