Amstrad Computer User1st March 1989
Published in Amstrad Computer User #52
Once upon a time amusement arcades were places that you went to on a wet Sunday at Margate. They were filled with mysterious machines of gothic design in battered wooden cases that sent metal balls whirling and spinning at the flick of a lever and dispensed bubble gum to the lucky winners.
These machines were operated by a swarm of grubby faced, lovable cockney urchins in baggy shorts and Fairisle pullovers who accosted unwary adults with their traditional cry of "Gi's a tanner, mister". The arcades were places of innocent, unsophisticated entertainment.
These days you need a PhD in computer science before you set foot in one. Brightly lit machines crammed with more technical wizardry than your average space shuttle dispense noisy death and destruction at all angles with ruthless efficiency.
Youngsters with more kills to their names than Von Richtofen play keypads with the skill and dexterity of a concert pianist, while anyone over the age of 21 feels more out of place than Ouasimodo in a Mr Universe contest. Which is a shame because a lot of the games are jolly good fun.
The recent trend for porting the best of the arcade games on to home computers is therefore a good thing, enabling kids of a more advanced age to make complete idiots of themselves in the safety and comfort of their own homes.
Some of the best of the arcade games are produced by Konami. Now Imagine Software has produced a home version of Typhoon, a Konami favourite. This is an air-sea combat simulation which puts you in control of either a jet fighter or a well armoured helicopter gunship.
The action takes place on a number of levels against an ever-increasing array of enemy fighters and ship and ground-based missiles. Points are scored for enemy fighters and anti-aircraft turrets destroyed and for the completion of each stage.
The range of weapons available to you also varies with the level. In addition you possess one smart missile in each of your six lives. This is capable of destroying everything on the screen, including enemy bullets, and so is useful in tight situations.
Initial impressions are likely to be misleading. The first level action is mundane to say the least, However, it is worth persevering because the pace soon hots up and should prove difficult enough to stretch even the most practised of players.
The graphics are detailed, although the single colour presentation does tend to become a bit monotonous. The sound effects are nothing special either.
On the 464 and 664 Typhoon is a multi-load game. This does tend to break up the action, particularly if you get wiped out quickly and are constantly reloading level one. Each level, however, is soon taken aboard so the delays have been kept within acceptable limits.