Amstrad Action


Heartland
By Odin
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #16

Heartland

The Odin people have been very quiet since releasing the disappointing Nodes Of Yesod and it's not hard to tell why when you see their latest. It's got some very impressive graphics and lots of very fast and addictive action.

I'm afraid it's a multi-load game, but it's well worth waiting for the five different graphic levels to load - if you can get far enough in the game, that is.

The action revolves around your attempt to recover pages of a book - they are lost in five different zones. In each zone you must find two pages before you can venture on to the next.

Heartland

You lake the role of jolly little fellow in a red coat, clinging tenaciously to a red top-hat. In every zone he starts by his bed, and that is is where he has to return after collecting two pages.

The screens are all two-dimensional, viewed from the side. Most consist of a floor or platform, different in each zone. Some screens have gaps: fall into them and immediately end the game. There's a wide variety of scenery, including gardens and ornamental material in the first zone. As you explore, you'll notice that Mr Red-Hat passes in front of and behind scenery it's a very pleasing environment.

You can walk or jump left and right and also enter doorways or lifts. You have to turn to face doorways, which can take you 'into' or 'out of' a screen. Obviously you have to face in the right direction to use them - so you need to notice if you passed in front of or behind the door frame. You enter lifts in the same way, but they show a separate screen where you scroll to another floor.

Heartland

There's a time limit for completing the task; the game ends when time runs out, energy runs out or you fall down a hole.

Energy is drained by other characters in the game. They appear in pairs on nearly every screen. You can shoot them with three types of missile: hats, daggers and fireballs. Fireballs kill them instantly, daggers take two shots, and hats take three. You can pick up missiles when they appear floating around the screen.

A number of other objects also materialise on the screen, with a number of effects when you contact them: they can drain energy, replenish energy or give you limited immunity to energy loss. After a bit of practice you should find little trouble with energy - the real enemy will be the time limit and the complicated nature of the map.

Heartland

On the second level - if you get through you'll notice some dramatic changes. The scenery changes to a space base, the two other on-screen characters have changed from stooped old men to space-suited astronauts, and because of the low gravity you can leap way up into the air.

You'll really need a map too. Those evil programmers have varied the locations of the missing pages, so that there's always lots of exploring to do. It's so easy to get lost.

The graphics really are outstanding: lots of detail and colour, and five very different types of scenery for the five levels. Gameplay is also excellent: plenty of exploring to do, lots of blasting and things flying around screen. Getting through doorways can be tricky sometimes, but otherwise you move and jump well. There's also, a nice title tune, but unfortunately it doesn't play throughout the game.

This is a right little cracker that shows the Amstrad at its best.

Second Opinion

Heartland is a superb game with astounding graphics and animation. The gameplay is fantastic, and will keep you at it till you drop. The sheer size and complexity of the game will mean many sleepless nights, I'm afraid. If you buy nothing else for Christmas, at least get this!

First Day Target Score

Two pages.

Green Screen View

Perfect!

Good News

P. Five different levels and lots of screens.
P. Fast blasting action.
P. Superb use of colour graphics
P. A tough task, requiring speed and mapping.
P. Variety of weapons and characters.
P. Great features like the reduced-gravity jumping.

Bad News

N. The multi-load won't please cassette users!

Bob Wade

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