Amstrad Computer User1st May 1986
Published in Amstrad Computer User #18
The first thing that struck me about N.O.M.A.D. from Ocean was the size of the box it came in, Why, I wonder, have they used a double cassette sized box? Perhaps a job lot left over from a previous title?
One of the other great unsolved mysteries of life the universe and everything is why Ocean attempt to ruin all their titles, both good and bad, by using a dreadful loader that doesn't always work even on the 464 and virtually guarantees that anyone with a 664 or 6128 will never see one of their games working.
It's all very well using speed loaders, but this particular one doesn't seem to give much speed advantage anyway. I eventually got the game to load into a 6128 after the fourth attempt with the second tape recorder. Could I suggest that if there must be a quick loading version, there should also be a firmware loading version on the other side.
If the idea is to protect tapes from being copied, then I'm afraid it's a sad fact that we have yet to find a tape that cannot be copied by a tape to tape machine,
Anyway, I did eventually get the tape to load, so what was it like? The predictably daft and boring spiel on the inlay tells us that your task is to guide your Nomad space craft to the centre of a rogue asteroid where you can deal, single handedly, with the heinous baddy responsible for all the ills of the world,
The craft you control to attempt the mission is a bit “asteroidesque", control being rotate left/right and forward/ backwards thrust. There are a couple of guns that fire alternately (ensuring that you are never able to aim exactly because you've forgotten which gun fired last time).
Among the "playing features" listed on the inlay are inertia/momentum. This means that your craft takes a bit of time to get up to speed and is equally ponderous when slowing down. It also means that controlling the craft isn't as easy as it could be.
Most of the other "features" are actually a list of the various obstacles that are likely to deter you. There are multicoloured globes that shoot bullets out in random directions which can be removed by shooting at them. There are also guns set into the walls that fire shells across your path - usually at just the most annoying time. These are best dealt with by shooting diagonally to destroy them before crossing the path.
Perhaps the most annoying thing about the game is that every time your current ship is written off you are sent right back to square one until you get through quite a few screens. It took almost an hour's play before I got beyond the eighth or ninth screen, which appears to be the one at which your point of reincarnation moves on.
This could be a feature - if the rest of the game is as difficult then it'll give you many hours of play- but I think most people might have given up before they ever reach the end.
Graphically the game is quite good, it uses the multicoloured Mode 0 to some effect, but this does rather mean that the defi nition of the ship, particularly when travelling diagonally, is not brilliant. Diagonal travel seems to be far slower than one would expect, which is very useful for accurate manoeuvring.
The sound will appeal to anyone interested in acoustic research - it consists almost entirely of white noise, a bit of a shame that the firing of the bullets or the explosions on impact couldn't have been given more life with a better thought-out sound effect. I wonder if there is more melodious accompaniment later in the game, as the list of credits for the game makes reference to music by Fred Grey the genius who programmed the music for Never Ending Story.
Overall I have to say that this game wasn't too impressive, the idea it is based on seems rather close to one originally used in a game called The Prize and it hasn't improved much since that appeared.