I've seen a lot of games like Stormtrooper. In fact, the first game I ever saw on the ST was by Psygnosis and looked exactly like this. In summary: smoothish sort of parallel scrolling, graphics nicely detailed though not especially big and very conventional gameplay. The temptation is to say so what? But I think there is a bit more to say in Stormtrooper's favour than that. OK, so the plot (lone warrior does battle with assorted robots and guards) and the setting (it's urban decay chic again) done to death, nevertheless this is a hard game. In terms of sheer challenge I've seen little to beat it all year.
You don't need a plot. Played Cybernoid? That's near enough. Your man runs, jumps, squats and fires. His way is beset with various soldiers from the human, and therefore easily dispatched to the mechanical and indestructible. With some (mostly the human ones) you just have to keep blasting (but don't run out of bullets) with others (the nasty little droids in particular) all you can do is jump over them.
Did I say jump? It sounds so easy. The fact I almost gave up on this game half an hour in, total destruction in under a minute is more than any cyberwarrior can stand. The droids have to be jumped at exactly the right moment - we're talking Miner Miner exact here! This is an example of the fine-tuning that has gone into the game. The fact is, it is almost impossible to jump the droids by waiting until you see them and responding - you'll go mad with frustration. Instead, what I realised half an hour in was that, at the bottom of the screen a little scanner tells you when a droid is on its way - watch that and jump when that tells you and maybe you'll get away with it. Maybe.
So it goes on, the timing gets tighter and tighter, about two minutes into the game you get a problem which requires something like twenty separate moves to get right-climb this ladder, wait for that droid to go past, jump down, jump left, run right blast the first gate control, run back left... you get the picture.
It's a big game, divided into several levels each of which is several hours or even days challenge in itself. There are bullets to be picked up, gate opening routines to be learned, more powerful enemies to be avoided and jumps to be practised. As you get good at Stormtrooper you find you're actually watching the action less and less and concentrating far more on the scanner display - it becomes your lifeline. There is no other way of getting anywhere in this game.
Graphically Stormtrooper doesn't really do that much for me. I've seen all, or mostly all, of this before. Blade Runner has a lot to answer for. Sound is goodish, it's by David Whittaker and he never actually puts in a poor performance but let's just say this one feels more conveyor belt than most.
If you're looking for originality forget Stormtrooper but if you're attracted by fiendishly challenging gameplay this could be the game on which to test your arcade reflexes.
Looks and sounds fairly average, so no originality points. But Stormtrooper scores better on Playability. One for real arcade masochists.
All comments as Atari ST. Sound a little better.