ST SOFTWARE NEWS by Richard Karsmakers
Anybody got the "I'm the Man" single?
Do you know what that f.(Censored)..? Oops!
(Crowd going bananas)
Well, jo, we're gonna do our little version of "I'm the Man". I
hope you like it.
(Quite some noise made by the mosh)
Here we go...
Sorry. I got a bit carried away with a certain Anthrax CD. Never
mind. I noticed it just in time not to forget that we're here for
software (p)reviews. So let's get crackin'!
Where Time stood Still
When I saw the first advertisements of this game, it immediately
had my utterly devote attention. It contained A) A Dinosaur and
B) An attractive female displaying quite much the right
proportions. Since I am currently studying Biology in order to
become a palaeontologist (people that dig in Dinosaurs, to say it
quite bluntly) and since I have never ever been disinterested in
gorgeous females, my attention was quickly drawn. Ocean's new
game "Where Time Stood Still", that the advertisement was about,
was thus thought by yours truly to be the most perfect game
obtainable for his personal needs. A custom game, so to say. I
was waiting for a long time...days became weeks...weeks became
months...months became years...years became decennia...decennia
became centuries...centuries became...uh...you know what I mean.
It took quite a long time, and when I finally got a chance to
have a look at the game, I was quite, let's say enormously,
The intro pic was great. When I read that Steven Cain ("Star
Trek", "Black Lamp", "Star Goose"...) did the graphics, I
automatically anticipated a great GAME as well.
It was not to be so.
Having quite some resemblance to Mirrorsoft's "Bermuda Project",
"Where Time Stood Still" turned out to be an adventure-like game,
three-dimensional, with diagonal scrolling (very blocky). The
graphics were mainly done in all kinds of grey (black and white),
and the animation was alltogether something not to get very
excited about. The music's about the only thing decent about the
game (though it's very dull at the start).
In the game, the player controls a group of people that is
stranded back in time. They meet Pterodactyls, Dinosaurs (quite
small ones, resembling tiny juvenile Megalosaurs) and savage
tribes of pre-humans that have quite non-pacifist goals.
I don't think "Where Time Stood Still" can be regarded as one of
Ocean's best games. Some adventure-freaks might find it
attractive, but I really don't. If a rating would have to be
given, I couldn't give it more than a 7-.
A game that I do like, though, and that I have spent a good
many hour playing with good old Frank is Mirrorsoft's "Skychase".
It is principally a very simple game with but one objective:
Blast your opponent out of the sky!
"Skychase" is an extremely fast'n'furious 3D wire model flight
combat simulation program - and one of the best I've ever seen.
It's quite realistic, fast, and very, very playable. And it's got
a dual player mode with TWO screens as well!
At the start of the game, it is possible to select a player vs
player-, player vs computer-or computer vs computer game. But
it's also possible to specify your own plane (FA/18 Hornet, F14
Tomcat, F15 Eagle, F16 Eagle, MIG 31 Foxhound, MIG 27 Flogger or
even a paper plane), the ground grid size, ammunition
specifications and just about everything more.
Playing is big fun. It's all a matter of avoiding the other's
gunfire and rockets, and trying to kill the other one before he
kills you. It's just plain and simple flying fun, and the fact
that it's FAST makes it even better.
On the Commodore 64 you had some quite extensive games like
"Hellcat Ace", "Spitfire Ace" and "Mig Alley Ace", but I like
"Sky Chase" a good deal more. It's sheer flying addictiveness!
Addictiveness by simplicity and SPEED. Definitely worth an 8.5!
After the letdown of Logotron's "Quadralien", "Star Goose" is an
excellent attempt to restore faith in this English company once
more. "Star Goose" is a product by the people behind Firebird's
"Star Trek": Graham 'Kenny' Everett and graphic artist Steven
Cain. The latter surely did a great job, because "Star Goose"
offers some great graphics (with some nice palette changes while
playing), and very nicely animated enemy objects.
The game also contains some pretty brilliant music, which does
not appear to have been done by David Whittaker... It's really
great, and it enhances gameplay to significant extend.
"Star Goose" is a vertical scrolling shoot'em up with a third
dimension as far as hills and depths are concerned, whereas some
bonus levels are featured entirely in three dimensions. The
scrolling is not perfect (too large pixel jumps), but this is
somehow not really terrible and nicely compensated by all that
movement on the screen and the brilliant colors. An extra
dimension is added to the game by the fact that you sometimes
have to select the right way to go because of large holes in the
ground that you obviously cannot jump over.
Great. This one earns a 9-.
Nigel Mansell's Grand Prix
Recently I had the honour of receiving one of the new Martech
games through Barrington Harvey PR (thanks Nadia!): "Nigel
Mansell's Grand Prix". At first sight, my impression was quite
bad. What is the use of yet another blasted car-racing game? The
graphics weren't particularly mindblasting either, so I called
Frank to find out if he had had this same impression with the
game. He had.
I then re-read the manual. Apparently, Martech had even used
Nigel Mansell himself as well as Peter Windsor of Williams Grand
Prix Engineering as Technical Advisors. So I re-played the game
as well. With a positive attitude this time.
And I began to like it.
The accent in "Nigel Mansell's Grand Prix" is not only on pure
racing. No, there's a lot more to be done. You can even play a
FULL Grand Prix (there are 16 tracks - which unfortunately don't
include Zandvoort, Holland!!) with official points, you have to
perform pit stops, you have to classify, well....just about
everything you'd also have to do with the real thing.
Driving the Williams is not very complicated - just keep your
eyes on the revs and everything will be alright. The real
problems will occur once other cars arrive on the track;
something that is quite likely to happen now and again when
racing. Avoiding them is quite difficult at times, and you get
slowed down considerably when you hit them (during which a very
irritating sound is emitted from the monitor speaker). When
getting off the track (for instance when you enter a curve with
too high a speed), the car spins several times and loses speed
depending on the time spent spinning.
Although the graphics are quite average (I like the flames
coming from the exhaust pipes when changing gear - just like the
real thing), "Nigel Mansell's Grand Prix" is still a very nice
game. If the graphics would have been better and if the sound
effects would have been improved a bit as well, the game would
have been much better. The depth of the game is quite good, and
that makes it worth getting after all. I'd give it a 7.5.
Due to the short time that went between this issue of ST NEWS
and the previous one, I will have to call it a day with this
department. Next time more, in ST NEWS Volume 3 Issue 7...