WARP by Richard Karsmakers (intro by Stefan Posthuma)
"Please fill in form 3ER-ST. Write in capital letters and don't
forget to sign it sir".
The pretty young clerk handed Kelly a sheet of paper and
continued filing her fingernails. Studying the form, Kelly walked
towards a desk and sat down in order to answer the various
questions. While puzzling on the question 'Have you even been or
are you currently engaged in any relationship with a being from a
planet other than yours?', he was disturbed by the rustle of
chains and the smell of leather. Crashing in the seat next to him
was a large figure clad in black leather with all sorts of
insulting graffiti on it. Slowly, he removed his headphones and
immediately, the sounds of extremely loud and violent music
filled the room. He reached into his pocket, and the music was
cut off abruptly.
"So you want to be a hero huh?", he said in a perilous voice.
"Well er....yes.", Kelly replied in a somewhat shaking voice. "I
thought becoming a Space Pilot would be nice."
"HA! Space Pilot? Are you kidding me?" The mountainous man threw
back his head revealing some safety pins connecting the two sides
of a rather large cut in his neck. Laughing madly, he put an
enormous arm around the shoulders of Kelly. The pressure made him
feel extremely uncomfortable but he could not escape the tight
grip. The man leaned over until Kelly could smell the cheap booze
and noticed that one eye was really a small camera, constantly
moving in all directions. "I have something better for you", he
whispered. "Why not become a Warp Master?"
"Uhhhh....I don't think that is such a good idea. I really like
to be a Space Pilot. My father always said..."
"Shut up! Don't give me any stupid excuses. You're going into
the Warp whether you like it or not!"
Rising from his chair, he put his headphones back on and reached
into his pocket again. With one hand, he lifted Kelly and walked
out of the door. Kelly was struggling in the iron lock, and tried
"Sir....I really don't think you should do this. I came here to
be a Space Pilot...."
"NONSENSE", the man bellowed as he opened the door of a small
cubicle and dumped Kelly in it. The protests of Kelly were
reduced to a muffled mumbling as the door was closed. Suddenly,
someone seemed to turn off the lights...
Total darkness imprisoned him and he felt a tingling feeling all
over his body. Suddenly, the lights went on again, and he was
standing on a small plateau in a brilliantly lit room. A
staggeringly beautiful girl clad in a very tight suit which
revealed everything that Kelly ever dreamed of walked towards
"Ah, there you are sir. We have been expecting you for a long
"Where am I?", Kelly said in a trembling voice. Drops of sweat
appeared on his forehead as he intensely studied the gracious
"Surely you know sir, you have been preparing for the Warp all
your life, haven't you?"
"This must be some kind of mistake. I don't even know what a
Warp is!" The girl looked at him with an amazed look in her
fantastic eyes. "Please wait here. I will be back". She turned
around sharply and disappeared through a door. Stunned by such a
dazzling display of beauty, Kelly stood on his dwindling legs,
not able to speak at all.
"I think it are the Cenobytes again sir. We have a Warp Master
here who doesn't know he is a Warp Master!" The man sitting
behind the large desk uttered a soft curse and shook his head.
"I'm sorry for him, but we must continue. The Gal'Rhimm are in
serious trouble and we MUST provide them with a Warp Master.
Prepare him!" - "But sir. He is completely ignorant of what is
going to happen...."
"I'm sorry, but we HAVE to continue this project. Prepare him!"
"OK", the girl said reluctantly and walked out of the door.
Behind her the officer sighed and his eyes followed every
movement of her perfect locomotion. Kelly was shaken out of his
trance when she urged him to follow her. "Please come this way
sir...". They went through a small corridor which came out into a
very large hall, in which only one thing was recognisable: a very
slim and fast looking space ship. He followed her towards the
ship and she pressed a small button, just under the canopy. With
a slow hiss, the glass dome slid open revealing a small cockpit.
"Please enter this craft sir".
Enchanted by the tone of her voice, he climbed into the cockpit
and sat down into the chair. She handed him a large helmet.
"Well, I guess you're on your own from here. Good luck". She
kissed him softly on his lips. With his senses completely
obliterated, he put on the helmet; immediately after that, the
canopy closed itself above his head and he noticed a slight
tremble of the ship when the main engines were activated. He saw
the girl walking away, holding a small device in her hands. The
G-forces pressed him back in his chair when the ship was launched
into the unknown nothingness. A soft voice crackled in his
"By the way, my name is Alida"
It might be nice to know that, in fact, this entire review was
not even processed on my good old Atari ST but on one of my
recently acquired new gadgets: A Z88 laptop computer. This laptop
computer is a mere integral part of what Stefan and myself are
going to do in the summer of this year - something that we're not
yet willing to tell you because we want it to strike you like
thunder from clear sky (and don't you worry - it WILL!). So I
will not talk further about this miraculous piece of machinery,
since I want to do that in a separate review in this issue of ST
Where were we?
Ah. The "Warp" review.
When I received this new game from a relatively unknown software
company in Germany called Thalion, I already had an idea of how
impressive it was going to be. For I knew that some of the people
behind "To be on Top" had cooperated with this release - the
graphic artist and the music programmer, to be more precise.
"Warp" continues where 1987's "Space Pilot" left off. For
starters, it features PERFECTLY smooth scrolling in 16
directions! OK, only the middle section of the screen (let's say
over half of it) is used, but I had not seen a game featuring
this kind of scrolling quality before ANYWHERE. So one can say I
was quite impressed.
It all starts with the intro. After booting the first disk and
waiting a couple of seconds, a beautifully painted background
appears with droplets of some liquid sliding down over it. Mark
my words: It is hard to believe, but this can really be mistaken
for the REAL thing! I happen to know the graphic artist
personally and I know that rounded objects are his speciality,
but I was astounded by this presentation of sheer artists'
craftsmanship! And the astonished beholder has not yet seen the
best of it: A couple of seconds later, a logo of Thalion software
appears that is written over a stunningly realistic 3D piece of
metal-like shape. Its gleam is strikingly realistic, and I had
immediate problems holding my lower jaw attached to the rest of
my skull. Did I start to drool or was all that sudden humidity
pouring down my sweater from the corners of my mouth just my
imagination? No. It wasn't. I WAS drooling - quite violently, as
a matter of fact.
After a while - the while that was needed to fetch a towel - I
managed to smash a key on my keyboard - the game proceeded
After a nice intro picture and a very nice introductory screen
(with the credits, nice graphics tricks and digital music), I
pressed fire and a whole lotta rasters flew across the screen
with a drawn disk that bumped up and down - could I please insert
the second disk - disk B?
I could, so I did.
Another mass of coloury rasters flashed across my screen, a mere
couple of seconds after which I saw the start-up screen. Ready or
not; now I had to fight my way through all the levels (10, I
think it were).
Yeah. "Warp" is just like good old "Space Pilot" but with
infinitely better scrolling (in all directions, like I already
said before), excellent music (guess who did it...who else could
it have been than the best music programmer currently working on
the ST?), and simply breathtaking graphics in an enormous
variety. The enemies are far better drawn and are more varied,
and there are a number of static as well as a number of animating
objects on the ground that try to eat you, speed you up, turn you
around, supply you with an area map, give you extra points or
more such. There's a whole lotta unsuspected extras in this game,
and that I think increases its lasting appeal to heights never
before reached by a game like "Space Pilot" before (bear in mind
that I used to play this old game for hours!). In between the
levels, there are warp tunnels that are incredibly realistic
(although you have to get used to the pilot controls), and that
are featured in many, MANY colours. This creates a very
psychedelic effect, that I thought to be impossible on the ST.
Truly, these guys push the ST to its limits!
Of course, I finished the game that very evening. One only has
to destroy an enormous number of power stations on all the levels
(where you'll notice that each level is quite a complicated maze
as well!), which actually is a piece of cake when the programmers
explain you how to make trainer of the game (try pressing some
keys; they made me swear upon the Creatress of the Divine Dessert
not to tell you what it is).
Here we come upon the main disadvantage of "Warp": It's very
difficult (at least, it is for me). But I suppose this is to some
people only an advantage. The graphics are different on each
level and there are some pretty mindcompressingly impressive
backgrounds; this will keep you going for a long while.
And when you have eventually managed to finish it, you will be
treated to a very nice 'grand finale' screen, that might look a
teeny weeny bit familiar to you if you have ever completed the
magnificent game "Raid on Bungeling Bay" on the Commodore 64.
Concluding: "Warp" is, just like "To be on Top" (reviewed in ST
NEWS Volume 3 Issue 7), a game of premium excellence in its
class. I think the competition will need to program very hard to
equal this achievement - let alone beat it!
Again, I can only say that the guys behind this game (Michael
Bittner being the main codeing man) deserve to become
millionaires. They deserve to spend a couple of months a year
with their bums in the sun of Tahiti or the Bahamas - which is no
doubt where they'll end up if they continue programming like
"Warp" is superb! Get it! Buy it! And do not copy it illegally
(for my opinion about people that copy software illegally, please
refer to the article about software piracy in this issue of ST
Value for Money: 8.5
Overall Rating: 9
Price: DM 59,-
Remark: Simply perfect, but not
Hardware: Color only
For info, you should contact:
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.