Tracers (Microillusions) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing

Zzap


Tracers
By Microillusions
Amiga 500

 
Published in Zzap #43

Tracers

In the 21st century every major city in the world is linked to one central computer-controlled system. Not surprisingly, police are already on the trail of hackers.

The Tracers' battle against the hackers is depicted on a grid of squares, each of which represents a node. They move across the grid leaving a trail of corrupted nodes which cannot be passed through until that hacker is taken off-line. Also on the grid, of course, is the Tracer, who similarly lays an impassable wall of nodes around the hackers, hoping to force them into a trap.

The hackers aren't stupid, though, and are just as keen to see you leave the system, so they employ the same entrapment strategies to get rid of you.

Because every user's mind is linked to the system, being thrown out can cause physical pain and terrible psychic damage - an experience nown as a 'burn'. Quite obviously, a person can only stand so many burns before signing for a one way ticket to Dr Julius' Laughing Academy, but a burn's effects can be overcome to a certain degree by picking up Hackerdust - a narcotic substance used by the hackers to allow easier entry into computer systems.

Your mission as a rookie Tracer starts with the selection of a piece of music designed to increase adrenalin flow in the 'pilot' and then choosing a tactic. The hackers in the net monitor these decisions all the time.

Once all the hackers in a sector have been destroyed, you move on to the next, tougher 'precinct'.

PG

I may be getting old, but I'm afraid Tracers' uncomplicated line-drawing action is just too old-fashioned for me. After that statement you're probably wondering why I liked this month's other Tron game, Atron 5000, so much.

With two players, the action in Atron gets really aggressive as items are picked up and activated with a malicious cackle as you make your opponent bring about his own demise.

With Tracers the feeling of kill-or-be-killed isn't really brought across as well, because winning is simply a matter of fencing your opponent in.

The turbo-charger doesn't really add any thrills because the fuel supply is so limited, and the different games don't seem to boost enjoyment either. In case you haven't guessed it yet, I would much rather spend £14.95 on Atron 5000 than £19.95 on Trackers.

ME

Tron-style games aren't the most usual thing to be seen on computers, so it's something of a coincidence that several should come in for review in the same issue.

Tracers follows the format set in games like Blind Alley on the Spectrum all those years ago. The layout is more grid-like and precise than the randomness of Atron 5000, which means that the game must be played in a different way - each has its own strengths.

The graphics aren't exactly state-of-the-art, but then a game like this doesn't call for incredible graphics.

The sound, on the other hand, could have been improved, as all it consists of is a few pings, crunches and annoying drum and didgeridoo bass-lines - although on winning a level you're treated to a nice mandolin riff which is reminiscent of Clannad's Legend, but you really should take a good look at both before buying either.

Verdict

Presentation 80%
Selection of several different types of game styles and musical accompaniments.

Graphics 42%
Very simple grid and squares layout, but the game doesn't demand fancy graphics.

Sound 59%
Consists mainly of nice jingles and incessant drum sequences.

Hookability 82%
Games of this type are always initially addictive.

Lastability 69%
Progress through the levels only brings increasingly cluttered, and hence more hazardous, screen layouts.

Overall 74%
A very good example of a Tron-style game with its share of strengths and weaknesses.