Commodore User


Armalyte

Author: Steve Jarratt
Publisher: Thalamus
Machine: Commodore 64/128

 
Published in Commodore User #61

Armalyte

Billed as the follow-up to Delta, Armalyte has been coded by a group of youngsters from Exeter, called Cyberdyne Systems. This is their first game - and it's a goodie too.

Taking the form of a Nemesis/Salamander variant, Armalyte offers eight levels of simultaneous two-player blasting action, set after the Delta mission, when the alien H'Siffan force were routed by a lone Tarran pilot. In their haste to leg it back home, the H'Siffans left a load of valuable alien artifacts behind. On hearing this, an unscrupulous Terran Corporation chairman has hired two mercenaries to infiltrate the area in question, and retrieve the priceless items. With this in mind, the main aim is simply to progress as far as possible while slaughtering as many of the remaining H'Siffan forces as you can.

One or two players may embark upon the mission, the solo player having the second ship to act as a Nemesis-style multiple, firing in unison with the first. This ship can also be positioned at one place on the screen by tapping the space bar at the required moment; the drone vessel separates from the mothership to give covering fire from its static location.

Armalyte

In two-player mode, the two ships can make contact, shoving each other out of the way. This can cause problems at various points throughout the landscape where gaps in the architecture are only one ship big. The more unethical of partners can, of course, help to reduce their comrade's stock of hardware too!

Each ship's armoury can be augmented by collection of additional equipment, provided by changeable icons. Blasting the icons causes them to cycle through the available add-ons, from a simple munitions pod to vertically firing lasers, and temporary shields. Repeated collection of the same icon progressively improves that equipment, and once gained is not lost on destruction of the ship. In addition, there is a generator and battery for increasing the efficiency of the current super weapon. Three such devices can be selected from keyboard, and in play, holding down the fire button sends a high-powered beam flying across the screen, liquidating all in its path. The weapon can only then be re-used once its energy pack has recharged; the battery and recharger are collected to speed up this process.

The C64 has really been pushed to its limits here: there are huge amounts of aliens, and the action can become breathtakingly hectic - real adrenalin-pumping stuff. And there's not a glitch in sight.

The graphics too are exceptional, from the small but beautifully animated walkers to the variety of gorgeous backdrops and the huge end-of-level meanies.

Yes, it is another horizontal scroller - but it's also one of the best.

Tech Data

  1. Armalyte runs a full-screen scrolling routine, updating every 1/50th of a second. Ace programmers Andrew Braybrook once said that was impossible on the C64...
  2. In the heat of battle, there can be up to 34 sprites on-screen (including eight which make up the lower border display).
  3. The large, end-of-level motherships are made up of around 16 sprites each.
  4. With both ships blasting away, there are up to 160 bullets on-screen at once.
  5. Each level consists of 32 screens - with eight levels, this makes a total of around 256 screens.
  6. All the alien ships are individually sequenced; although they fly in formation, each ship follows its own flight path.

Steve Jarratt

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