WELCOME ALL TO THE TWELFTH ISSUE OF THE NEFARIOUS
WHERE WE'LL HAVE A LOOK AT THE GREATEST ANNIHILATOR OF THEM ALL
Silently the alien spaceship approached the Earth. Aboard:
equipment of all kinds, traps around every corner and in every
corridor. Aliens armed with lasers, breeders giving birth to the
nastiest creatures. Also on board: enough means of destruction to
annihilate the earth - the non-allied's revenge on the Federa-
The Earth's defence? Its only hope: one man. One man of
superior training and exraordinary endurance. One man to locate
and manipulate the gargantuan alien ship's main weapons and
defense systems and thereby save the earth.
One mission. One man.
The last Obliterator.
Hi there all you adventurers, welcome to what may be
considered the present epitome of arcade adventuring,
Obliterator by PSYGNOSIS.
Better still than its fantasy predecessor Barbarian (also by
Psygnosis), Obliterator is another challenge in the field of
precise graphic action & timing, effectively combined with
"puzzles". Featuring astonishing sound and graphics (if you
considered the "Dragon" picture in Barbarian a treat, you'll be
amazed by the Disk B introduction picture they've come up with
this time), near-perfect animation and a delightful design, it is
unnecessary to say I started, played and finished Obliterator in
one day - and had time to spare for a drink or two in order to
get the aliens out of my head.
There are several reasons that have led me to the conclusion
that Obliterator is better than Barbarian. The first one is: your
character's life expectation is no longer defined as "three
lives" minus one for each hit scored by an opponent. Obliterator
works with "hit points" on Drak's personal shield: anytime an
enemy hits you (and depending on the "level" of the enemy) the
shield's value, indicated by a blinking red histogram, decreases.
When you reach less than zero hit points before you enter a save
& heal position, you're dead; game over, end of story, too bad
but you screwed up and the earth will pay for your stupid
Yes, you heard right: save positions. This is another improve-
ment over Barbarian; there are something like nine points in the
game where you can save the exact state of the game to disk. Only
one game can be saved to disk so you'd better make sure that you
can survive (i.e. reach the next Shield Regenerator, there are
four of these and they coincide with save points - the other save
points are the spots where the alien spaceship's main systems
Another difference from Barbarian: although the basic route is
always the same, there are more complex and deceiving (and
rewarding) sideways, which means that you may want to draw a
There are some other goodies in Obliterator that Barbarian
lacked, but I won't spoil your pleasure by satisfying all
curiosity. Buy and see.
As always, people interested in other Crimson's Column
articles are referred to the section of ST NEWS where the making
of back issues is explained.
Now where did the Oblitbitter go?
Entered the alien ship at delta minus 42 and found out what a
matter transporter has in common with two quarts of Bourbon - an
amazing hangover. Took a quick look around, inspected my equip
ment - flare pistol and 25 ammo - and took the first lift going
up. Was in for an immediate surprise as I encountered two aliens
that weren't impressed by flares. I ducked, rolling to a doorway,
but while the metal clamp-like hovering structure missed me
completely the static mass got me in the back and badly damaged
my suit. Before its second discharge I'd entered the portal and
found myself facing another kind of enemy; an ugly alien slave
creature hoovering in a gunshuttle - but this one was susceptible
to flares, as demonstrated by a beautiful explosion marking the
end of its metal existence.
I found some ammo in a corner, returned to the hall where the
fragmented remains of the hoover should be but soon established
that slaves and hoovers were easily replaced. With my back
against the hull I evaded two shots, then got off two shots fast
- one for the oncoming flare, another for its much too generous
I went straight ahead and found my way obstructed by another
"clamp", with a quick step and a roll I passed it and took what
it had been guarding - 10 rounds of something that looked like
.64 special ammo. All I needed now was a matching rifle.
I walked around some in the ship and shot a robogun here and a
hoovering slave there (for some of these guys I needed a really
good aim; firing straight ahead is no good if the surprise is way
up there) and collected all the flares and .64 I could get my
hands on. I soon noticed there were all kinds of guards,
protectors, defenders and sentries and seeing how too much
chaperonage makes a guy like me nervous I must admit to a certain
trigger-happiness. You know how it is; the more you decimate the
enemy the more playroom you finally get.
My sightseeing tour was quick and informative; I checked all
corridors and decks before continuing my way to the head of the
ship. After doing the part before the first midsection I had all
the ammo I could carry - and right after the midsection, guarded
by a static and two hidden autoguns, I went down some decks and
got the alien equivalent to the army .64 AP Automatic. This
increased my firepower and made it easy to get roboguns and their
After gathering some more ammo, I passed a Breeder (also known
as incubators but their purpose is different); an egg-laying
device that dropped shells which immediately cracked and gave
birth to vicious landcrabs. This particular specimen made a rip
in my suit (and leg) and although the damage was not fatal I knew
it was time to get some repairs done.
Skipping sideways and shunning unnecessary encounters I
managed to pass some power tubes and take a quick dive through a
portal; I ended up in a passage that featured just what I'd been
looking for: a Shield Regenerator.
I was back to normal there and ready to continue where I'd
left off. So I went back past the power tubes and entered the one
portal I hadn't explored.
Some easy prey there, but also some very unpleasant surprises
and by the time I came at the bottom and was able deactivate the
plasma engines my condition was far from healthy. Bleeding,
bruised and barely able to run I managed to return to the
Having located and removed that first component made me feel
good and confident. Too confident, perhaps - as I descended to
the lower deck I noticed that suddenly slaves were no longer in
the running as I stood eye to (upside down) eye with one of the
higher alien lifeforms.
I had a hard time there with the slime dripping creature on
account of the fact that once you're down, it's hell to get up
again. The creep didn't let go and finally my only way out was a
quick step, a roll, an immediate turn and a fast shot.
And back to the SR for a quick treatment.
Further down I found some interesting creatures, phase-
beasties seems to be the right term because they kept playing
now-you-see-me and now-you-don't. I got them right between the
lidless eyes and found some bazooka-type ammo in the form of
Back up and further progress meant some more nasties, some
breeders giving birth to legbrains that in turn let go of the
most horrible electric discharges; also some other aliens, too
much to mention but I did find another component (battle shields
deactivated and disabled from there on) and even managed to get
back to the Regenerator in time.
On my way up I first killed one of the irritating spacelung
spots (I hate small creatures, they make me nervous and lose my
aim) then entered a large machine room. The first occupant seemed
impervious to flare hits; by the time I got off an AP special the
guardian near the ceiling had dropped an egg - which sprouted yet
another species of the small & daring.
The thing bit me and disappeared; I plodded on, got some ammo,
took a turn back and a lift up, right, and up again, then decided
I might as well check the ship's entire upper deck structure
while I was at it.
More and heavier aliens, some of them seated on or driving
machinery. I found another weapon (damned if it wasn't a rocket-
launching bazooka) and used it to get past a mobile gun. Quick
roll, stand up and get one off fast - gotcha! Found some more
ammo but by this time a number of creeps had had their teeth in
me so it was time for a treat back at the good old Regenerator.
Not to far from this spot I'd come to the point where a second
Shield Regenerator ensured lasting progress. Apart from a pillar
that needed heavy ammo to blow and some interesting heavy
roboguns I had little problem locating a particularly valuable
component (to me anyway): the shuttle pack. I proceeded steadily
and, unperturbed by a particularly dangerous master race clone,
soon found the third Regenerator and plodded on.
And then the fun started. Between the current level and the
"cockpit", a hundred yards of simulated gravity in "free fall".
Get your jets straight; I passed five spacemines and each one of
them looked like it could have blown me to a thousand pieces if
I'd only so much as breathed on it. This passage confirmed what
I'd suspected all along: space travel is bad for your nerves.
But I made it, and back to the old ship's corridors it was.
Alien races, although no serious threat with their bounce-guns,
seriously depleted my ammo supply. I soon spotted what would turn
out to be the fourth and last SR, used it, and continued my way.
Nearby I managed to get my hands on lots of ammo and a special,
unfamiliar weapon that could have been called a scattergun - it
destroyed every single creature I encountered.
Further up, beyond the creeps that spewed live monsters and
proved totally unsusceptible to either flares or AP hits (but
didn't like to get "scattered"), I finally ran into one of the
superior Master Races. Cool, blue, giant aliens that would have
scared me shitless if it hadn't been for my psychological
indoctrination and endless hypnotic treatments. As it was, the
sight of them turned me into a mean, cool fighting machine. No
emotion, I killed three Masters with and equal number of
scattergun shots. And thus found the fourth component in the main
Now all I needed to find was the fifth and last component, the
computer datapack. Behind a basically dull and easy-to-destroy
set of security beams I finally located. I destroyed its
guardian, and set off the federation attack-time countdown
mechanism. No trouble at all; only now I had to get the hell out
of this spaceship before I became part of its fate. Which should
be a piece of cake, if it hadn't been for all those aliens
And, by the way, didn't I miss something on the briefing?
Like, perhaps, the location of an exit?
Sometimes I really hate this job.
Too bad, Drak. But you made a choice, and you had your chance.
And so have you, beloved readers, to get out, buy this game, and
A game like Obliterator has only one obvious shortcoming - the
same shortcoming J.R.R. Tolkien admitted to be applicable to The
Lord of the Rings: it is too short.
While it is possible to explore and complete Obliterator in
one single day, this does not mean that you'll lay it aside. When
I play a game like Dungeon Master (FTL) or the Bard's Tale
(Electronic Arts) I'm busy for weeks, and when I'm done I won't
look at it for a long time. But a relatively uncomplicated game
like Obliterator is addictive in its own way; I've played it a
couple of times and I can't say I'm bored.
Of course, for those who are primarily interested in role-
playing, alternatives like the ones I mentioned above may be a
better choice - Obliterater is and remains primarily a game of
action, combined with superb graphics and sound.
You think anyone at Psygnosis could be persuaded to bring on
the market a construction kit for this kind of game? Where you
can design not only your own images (monsters, props, background)
but also put together an entire surrounding, be it dungeon,
spaceship or wild west countryside?
When Barbarian first appeared, I said to my friends: "As far
as I'm concerned, they can make a hundred of these, and I'll buy
them all." Now Obliterator has appeared, and all I can say is I'm
anxious for the other ninety-eight releases.
So I suppose they'll keep their construction kit (if that's
how they do it) to themselves and amaze us with their own,
seemingly unending fantasy.
Send all reactions minus all reactions of an unpleasant nature
(leaving, of course, virtually no reactions whatsoever) to
Lucas van den Berg
6511 RL Nijmegen
-- The Netherlands --
Please include reply postage and a self-adressed envelope.
People who fail to comply to either request (i.e. unpleasant
reactions, and I'm very critical so watch your mouth; or absence
of acceptable postage) are subject to the Columnist's Wrath. Yes,
I'm talking about Pterry the Pterrible, my infamous pet
Pterodactyl. No longer restricted to precise instructions given
by her master, Pterry is now guided by the misschievous Sprite
Quink (a leftover from the Phantasie trilogy) and they are both
ruthless. Be forewarned.
Ah, yes. By the way. I must apologise to those who have been
eaten before 16 Januari '88; a minor technicality had slipped my
mind. From now on, all those encountered are, completely in
accordance with international law, first read their rights - and
consumed immediately afterwards.
I hope this will put you all at ease.
What did you say?
Oh! it is excellent
To have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.
Measure for Measure
Why, of course, but remember then, that
Mercy is not itself, that oft looks so;
Pardon is still the nurse of second woe.
Measure for Measure
Drak the Obliterator will praise your common sense.