Predator (Superior/Acornsoft) Review | The Micro User - Everygamegoing

The Micro User


Predator
By Superior/Acornsoft
Acorn Electron

 
Published in The Micro User 7.05

Alien Attack

Predator has the distinction of being the only Schwarzenegger film I haven't seen, so I can't make any comparisons, but the plot involves an alien which is hunting Arnold and his pals for fun and killing them in unpleasant ways.

I'm reliably informed that during the film, the times when you see through the alien's eyes, the whole world turns blue. This also happens in the game and until I was told I wondered what was going on.

Basically what we have is a sideways shoot-'em-up with Schwarzenegger in the starring role. You move our hero from left to right past parallax scrolling scenery - the bushes in the foreground move faster than the trees at the back - and shoot soldiers coming in from the other direction or hiding in the ground.

The basic controls are standard Z or X for left and right plus * to jump and ? to crouch. But there's more: Holding down the direction controls and pressing * or ? moves the whole figure diagonally up and down the screen. Pressing Return fires Arnold's gun either forwards or diagonally, again dependent on the up and down keys. This gives you a great deal of control over what is, essentially, a simple game.

You can drop the gun you're using and pick up a new one, but so far I've not come across one that's loaded. If you're not carrying a gun you can resort to punches and kicks in true Conan-style, but that doesn't work too well against gunslinging soldiers. Your final weapons are three grenades. I didn't use them because you have to be very accurate and, in this time-limited game it's not worth the effort. The other usual controls are there: Sound on/off, pause and restart.

The soldiers are quite stupid and you have to actually get in their way before they shoot you. And, at long last, if they get in each other's way their bullets have a similar effect on their pals. I've been waiting along time for a game that does that.

Some soldiers pop out of the ground, fire and then duck down again - must be in trenches - but as long as you hit the right area you can knock them out even if they're not visible.

However the birds that fly across from time to time are more lethal - these geese are best avoided. Of the three or four groups that appear on the first level most can be dodged while one or two can be, ahem, ducked.

At intervals the screen turns blue and the sights of the alien's weapon slowly move across the screen towards you. One hit and you're dead. There is away to escape - but let's not spoil your fun.

The graphics are quite effective given the limitations of the four-colour Mode 5 screen. Apart from a preponderance of green - what do you expect in the jungle - everything was clearly outlined and looked good. Not only that, but when our hero was hiding behind a bush or running behind a foreground mesh you still see him through the gaps.

Sound? Gun shots, a noise to indicate Scharzenegger has been hit, another for the alien and an end of game tune that really wasn't worth the effort. However, as this was a pre-release version it may improve.

All in all this is a fun game having a lot of the feel of a Schwarzenegger film - loadsaviolence - and the fact that this is another Peter Scott work, coming hard on the heels of Barbarian II, guarantees that it's as good a rendition on the BBC Micros could be achieved.

Lazarus

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