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Alive 13

                O U T L I N E      R E L E A S E      R E V I E W


                 C A R D B A T T L E   E X   P L U S   A L P H A

                                  BY SH3

    Have you ever fancied being one of these video games heroes ? Well Paranoid
already has tons of fans who make him for Mario :) But for  the rest of us it's
an unreachable dream... Is it ?? Not anymore !! At Outline, lone rider SH3 from
Reservoir Gods presented a game he's * fully * responsible for (in all meanings
that may be implied :)

    Would I have been given the choice, I would have liked to be Dante in Devil
May Cray or  maybe some  character from  Casttlevania... instead most of us, ie
Atariscne visitors have been turned into.... Pokemons ! OH NOOOOOOOO

    Once the shock absorded I stongly suggest you read the textfile included a
few times before you  get into "action". I have never been fond of these cards
games kinds keep playing at school but this time it's truly fun.

    Oki get the prg started ! It's crealy stated in the instructions that the
game isn't completed and you can clearly see it from the menu or some screens
being made of a poor font and nothing else. But SH3 promises that  a polished
version will be available in some months. In other words  let's not complaing
about the  low quality of  these few  screens, rather focus on what's already

    After a short  but nice  looking presentation (except for what has been
stated above) you reach the main menu from which you can set difficulty. In
this cardbattle game  you will  have to  win all cards from the CPU player.
Difficulty levels only affect the amount of cards needed to defeat the CPU.

    The "fighting  arena" presents like a double  arcade cabinet. By the way
yours is on the left, it took me some time to find it out, call me dumb :) A
first Atariscener card is picked up for each player. It  displays 4 features,
namely "productivity", "irc  iddleness", "oldschool  flavour"  and  "physical
presence". Each  feature will  be given  between 1 and 10 points. The name of
your scener is nicely sampled in a very Mortal Kombat way :) Indeed there are
tons of samples, naming each opponent but also shouting the result of a fight.

    How to win ? With one finger :) While you see  the values given to the four
features, you can only guess what your opponent is up to since only 4 '?' signs
are shown on his card. Press either 1, 2, 3 or 4 and see who has got the higher
number. If you do, you've won the CPU card and on the next turn you'll have the
right to  choose a number. Otherwise you'll have to wait  until the CPU chooses
among one of your features. I hope this sounds clear enough :)

   The cabinets are nicely designed in  spite of that system font already used
in other screens and that will  hopefully  vanish from  the final version. All
sceners, 36 in all, are identified from digitized pictures of various quality,
mostly poor quality I'm afraid :( Maybe that point will be improved too. Every
fight is announced by a cool sample  but you'll have to pump up the volume and
then the nice chip will blast your ears. Hope this will be fixed too.

    Is it worth then ?

    Well you do not have  much to  do but  pick up a value at  random. Well not
quite at random and that's where that crazy game rocks. First it's a loony idea
and I love it tho I won't play it for hours :) Then since  we know each others,
it's funny too see  Baggio opposed to  Felice for instance. Then you can easily
go for '4' (physical  presence) and you are pretty  sure to win :) The textfile
reads that values have been given at  random, but I'm not  so sure. On one hand
they seem to cling to reality, say for instance with  Evil who couldn't but get
a  very  high  score  for  productivity. On the  other  hand  more than  decent
productivity (or other features) points are  given to people who  don't fit the

    Still as the author states and everyone will understand, this is nothing
more than comedy and I doubt anyone will feel offended. Maybe I deserve more
than a mediocre 5 for productivity but who gives a shit ? :))


    From its very special nature it's impossible to put a label on this game,
as far as I know we have never had such  kind of game before ! Though clearly
incomplete (as announced in the textfile) it already  shows its potential and
fun factor ! You don't have  much to  do but grab a beer  and try your chance,
using all your knowledge about our Atari fellows :) I love the crazy idea, it
brings fresh hair and shows  imho the typical  great Bristish sense of humour
(we're just missing a herring and a  shrubbery and Monthy Python  lovers will
surely agree here :) In other words, this UFO-like release is really cool and
deserves a try !

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Alive 13