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CYBERDROME 1.2 by RHEA FX                                          standard ST

   Some time ago release  of this  update was  announced on DHS. As  games have
become really rare these days on  ST, I decided to give it a try. Actually this
isn't quite a new game but more an enhanced version of a game first released in
1992. Gosh, it doesn't make you feel any younger !

   Oddly the authors of the  game have decided to make it shareware as the full
version will cost you $10. Dunno if they  meant it seriously or if it was to be
taken as a joke, but I  just cannot imagine shareware games on  ST these days !
Anyway I visited their homepage (you can get the url from DHS news section) and
downloaded  the  shareware  trial  version, namely a 150 Kb  packed  file. Once
unpacked onto my harddrive, I switched to low resolution and ran the only PRG I
could find among the many unpacked files.

   Shortly after I was welcomed by a poor quality screen, made of blue polygons
and x8 font. The cover pic is of the same  low  quality  reminding of  early ST
games. Well sorry but in 92 there  were already nice  looking games. This looks
like amateur painting, surely a guy who knows nothing about antialiasing or had
no time to add some. Anyway let's keep going.

   The main menu, ugly as the rest of the game, is a messy combination of boxes
looking  like a  computer  interface, always  with the  same (system ???)  font
declined in red, green or blue. These  are presumably  the only  colors used...
Seeing some figures in the lower left  corner I  went for '1' and kept pressing
keys at random until something got started.

   Yeah I'm there ! I'm a pilot, ready to launch in his fierce and ugly looking
polygon ship. There's some  countdown and  there you go, wandering aimlessly in
blue corridors. The game is said to be inspired from world  famous movie *TRON*
but except for the palette excessive blue, comparison went no further. You have
to use keys of the  numeric pad of  your keyboard to control your ship and that
doesn't go really easy. To make you see it  by  yourself here comes  an excerpt
taken from the textfile enclosed in the archive :

HELM CONTROL                            HELM CONTROL
8       Forward Thrust                  (       Decrease Elevation
2       Reverse Thrust                  )       Increase Elevation
4       Turn Left 90 degrees            /       Activate Hyper-Jump
6       Turn Right 90 degrees           *       Configure Hoverjet
1       Slide Left                              Hyper Mode / Armor Mode
3       Slide Right
5       Stop All Thrusters              SHIELD CONTROL
                                        -       Decrease Polarity
VIEW DIRECTION                          +       Increase Polarity
7       Rotate View to Left                     Toggle Shield Polarity Settings
9       Rotate View to Right            (-)     Negative Shield ON
                                        Null Shield - No Shielding
MISCELLANEOUS SYSTEMS                   (+)     Positive Shield ON
0       (ZERO)  Weapon Trigger          (++)    Weapons & Target ACTIVE
        Fire Weapon (Weapons On)
        Gravity-Tow (Weapons off)       POWER TRANSFER SYSTEM (PTS)
ENT     (ENTER)                         .       (PERIOD) PTS Select
        Sub-Grid:  Gate-Access          (Toggle Fill / Drain / Off)
        Grid:  Mine Location

  Soon enough I felt bored, always wandering in empty corridors, turning left
or right and seeing no other thing to do... The game features no music and no
sound FX except for a few ones that sound like bugs...

   Bottom line : this game should have stayed sleeping on a harddrive. Maybe it
could have been fun and even good looking  back in '92 (who knows ?) but now in
the year 2002 it just  looks, sounds and  plays like  crap. Thinking of it as a
shareware almost makes me laugh to death ! Delete it right away.

ARTIC MOVES by Dinamic Software                                   standard ST

   What ? Another commercial game that  was never  released ? Hum I already had
enough with Cyberdrome but  let's see what  this Artic Moves  offers. The  game
comes on two disks, well once you've unpacked the two archives of course. Right
from the first gfx, not looking bad at all, I felt familiar  with the makers of
AM. Minutes laters, I shuffled thru the  many floppies I  preciously hold under
my ST and picked two games known as After the War and Astro Marine Corps (AMC).
These two games had similar graphics as well as gameplay : you're a muscled guy
who has to defeat  tons of  ennemies. In After  the war, it was more like a not
quite satisfiying Double  Dragon clone  and AMC was  another failed  attempt to
challenge Turrican  supremacy in  the gender. Then, what  about  Artic Moves, a
game finished in 92 but that never came out ?

   Needless to bore you with the storyline, I don't even remember it but it can
be summed up as follows : plenty of nasties, you only  good guy and  earth last
hope. stop. Kill the bastards. Stop. End of transmission. Oki  then I connected
my good old "speedking"  pad  and  clicked on 'mission 1'. Then  I was asked to
insert disk 2, damn how come you have to swap disk say 15 seconds after booting
the first one ? I'll never get that !

   Oki here we are  standing on  an iced ground, surely  somewhere in the Artic
(no  shit ?), ready to  intrude  some vilain's  secret base. Your character can
move, jump, crouch and shoot. It tends to react too slow  what makes you really
frustrated after a while when you get killed at the same place again and again.
There are  plenty  of  ennemies, too many  actually !! You will  have to  shoot
soldiers, guys in jetpacks, some automated riffles robots, blabla blabla.......
Graphics do look ok to me, nothing  more but pleasant  enough. Sound is  almost
reduced to  nothingness except  for a  few digitized effects. It all goes a bit
too slow especially  when  turning  back to  kill the  bastards behind  you and
jumps are unrealistic to the max (it seems like our guy has  something stuck up
in the ass !!). But above all, the game plays too fucking difficult !! Ammo and
life is limited of course  but  ennemies aren't and  whenever you  turn back to
pick up a missed item, you have to  face a  new wave of ennemies. After a while
you just get bored, now  remembering how frustrating  some games  used to be in
the early 90s.

   Bottom line : unlike  Cyberdrome, gfx are okay here and even show some style
still the game seems unfinished  with no music and very few  FX. Above all it's
completely spoiled by an unadequate difficulty level that will drive you insane
in the end ! If you're an hardcore coder who claims he's gone thru every little
ST game, then here's a new  challenge. If you are not, then  don't even try it,
it's just another waste of time.

MEM by Exocet of CREATORS                                    standard Ataris

   This game is the  COMPLETE  opposite of  the two ones  reviewed just above :
it's small (less than  40 Kb), cute and  fun ! Where Cyberdrome and Artic Moves
used at least 700Kb of space on  disk, Exocet  managed to put  all the fun in a
single file. Run that tiny prg and you'll soon be  welcomed by the intro screen
shown above. From then, things are pissed easy : press ESC to quit or any other
key to run a game. Controls are also very easy since you only need a mouse with
a working button :)

   The game, MEM, is based on  a wellknown  cards memory game : forty cards are
placed on screen, divided  in 5 lines of  8 cards each. To unveil  a card, just
click on it. Now you have to find the other card that shows the same motive. Of
course you can only  click on  another card, then if  motives don't match, both
cards motives are hidden again. After a while, and a few cards unveiled, you'll
have to remember what motive was hidding where and that's where this game rocks
so much : could it be  easier than that ?? I don't  think so. Btw here's a snap
of the set of cards.

   All motives look great, following  Exocet's now  usual cartoonlike style and
the whole thing really looks colorful. A discreet soundchip is played while you
struggle with your  memory, trying  to remember where the  hell you already saw
that pacman or piece of cheese. Once you have found all matches, your number of
tries and time  record are shown, thus giving you some points. My own record is
95 (about 50 tries and 120 seconds); try to beat this !

   Bottom line : small, cute and addictive are the three words you need to keep
in mind. I don't think that  working on a full game  for the ST is  still worth
these days (well  except for RG  games of course  but hey they're nuts :) but I
really love small  games like  MEM, Pie Bill  Gates and  others. You absolutely
need to get MEM : it  looks  great, sounds  cool, play  fine and  will get your
braincells overheated for sure ! One  regret tho : why can't we save highscores
and send them to CREATORS HQ so that the best of us can compete ? Too bad :(

----------------------------------------------------------------------- STS ---

Alive 4