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Aquaventura Since the dawn of the 'Amiga era', Psygnosis have managed to impress time and time again with their innovation and quality game design. We now expect to receive an audio-visual treat whenever we pick up one of their glossy, black boxes. However, too many Psygnosis creations have fallen short of the mark due to poor playability. Shadow of the Beast is a prime example of this 'art-before-gameplay' syndrome; it looks great, but it's just too hard!
What, though, do we think about Aquaventura? Well it just falls short, not because of the naff graphics and sound, but because of a lack of variety.

Dare to be different
Aquaventura enemy For starters, it's got one of the oldest storylines on record! Yep, it's the 'post-holocaust invasion from space' story again (last man on the planet goes out for revenge, etc, etc): a bunch of nasty extra-terrestrials called the Spurcians have taken advantage of the Earth's predicament to launch an invasion. The eight remaining underwater colonies have been taken over and only a handful of people remain alive, aboard an orbiting freight vessel called Genesite (gosh, what an uncannily appropriate name!). In a last-ditch attempt to liberate the colonies, a lone warrior called Josh Aldrin (that's you, that is) is sent plant-side to send the Spurcian scum to meet their maker. Genesite, however, doesn't survive, making Josh the last human in existence; his mission is now one of revenge!

Polygon without a cause
Aquaventura enemy An incredibly good intro sequence leads up to the action (it fills the whole of disk one as per usual) and a nice, haunting tune begins as you reach the attractive main screen. All OK so far. However, the game itself is a rather odd mixture of game and graphic styles which only just seem to work together. You could call Aquaventura a flight sim for the most part, but there is no cockpit view available; you are given an external view from behind your craft at all times. This doesn't work very well at all, because objects can pass between the ship and your viewpoint, blinding you for a few seconds. A cockpit view (with exterior views available) would also have improved update speed because the computer would have had less to manipulate on screen. Anyway, there is so little to see of the craft from behind, that it seems pointless to have made the thing so detailed!

Aquaventura enemy Enemy vehicles meanwhile are made up of bobs, the scenery is made up of polygons, and the end-of-level alien of vectorballs! All movement and combat occurs above a flat, blue-striped surface which is obviously meant to be the sea, but you are in fact left with the impression that you're flying at low level above a twinkling deckchair!

Despite all this however, there is still much in Aquaventura's favor. Movement is, on the whole, very smooth, although sometimes the end-of-level guardian can slow things down a little. And then there's the tunnel section, which you must navigate in order to get from level to level. This is made up of line vectors(!), although your ship still remains a solid 3D image. Clearly, a polygon tunnel would have been impractical, and the mixed idea works very well. Extra weapons and fierce combat (which doesn't slow screen update – you're fighting bobs remember?) also add to the game's playability.

In the end, though, things just get more and more samey since the only real difference between levels is the amount which needs to be done for their completion. Ultimately there isn't much incentive to complete the game once you've died on level nine and have to start again from the beginning.
Paul Tyrell

Amiga Format, Issue 37, August 1992, p.98

Aquaventura
Psygnosis * £25.99
  • Excellent intro sequence; one of the best ever from Psygnosis.
  • Good music on the whole, although different music for each level would have been nice.
  • An interesting variety of graphic styles are employed throughout the game.
  • The bob-aliens work particularly well.
  • Too hard, too quickly; there's no real way of avoiding missiles!
  • A good game all in all, that doesn't live up to expectations.
verdict: 73%


Die Wasserschlacht

Aquaventura logo

Was kommt dabei heraus, wenn man „Stellar 7“ mit „Encounter“ kreuzt und eine Prise „Mercenary“ drüberstreut? Verwässerte Vektor-Action? Vektor stimmt, Action stimmt, und Wasser gibt’s hier auch - aber von verwässert kann beim neuen Psygnosis-Game dennoch keine Rede sein!

Aquaventura Die Jungs haben ja mittlerweile schon Erfahrung im dreidimensionalen Vektorraum gesammelt – das unsägliche „Matrix Marauders“ haben wir zwischenzeitlich verziehen und „Armour Geddon“ sah ja gar nicht übel aus. Damals wie heute wurzelt die Vorgeschichte im nuklearen Holocaust: Nach dem Atomkrieg gründen die wenigen Überlebenden acht Unterwasserkolonien, aber fiese Außerirdischen machen (mal) wieder all kaputt. Nur ein Rettungsraumer kann entkommen, zu dumm, daß die Besitzer das Stromaggregat auf der Erde vergessen haben! Tja, muß halt ein mutiger Held zurückkehren und die Batterie holen…

In der spielerischen Realität sieht das dann so aus: Man steuert einen Gleiter kreuz und quer über die Meeresoberfläche und röstet Alien-Schiffe bzw. feindliche Energie-Generatoren. Und zwar jeweils solange, bis der Schutzschild der (gut bewachten) Haupt-Pyramide zusammenfällt, wo der Endgegner haust. Nach dem finalen Schlachtfest geht’s durch einen rotierenden Tunnel in die nächste Kolonie, vorher wird bloß noch das eigene Schutzschild regeneriert bzw. der Vorrat an Zielsuchraketen ausgefüllt. Außerdem kann die Standard-Plasma-kanone mit einem Zielsuchsystem nachgerüstet oder gleich durch einen Laser ersetzt werden. Über das aktuelle Feindaufkommen informiert ein Scanner, der zwischen Nah- und Fernbereich unterscheidet; daneben sollte der Aqua-Pilot auch auf seinen Energievorrat achten – denn der schmilzt beständig dahin, und man hat nur ein Leben!

Aquaventura Trotzdem sind die acht teilweise sehr langen Level keine unlösbare Aufgabe, schließlich kann man eine Zeitlang unter Wasser kreuzen und so manchen Geschossen ausweichen. Zu entdecken gibt es jedoch relativ wenig, das Game ist eher was für Ballerpuristen, die sich mal wieder vor einer etwas ungewöhnlichen Kulisse austoben wollen. Schließlich hält sich die Auswahl an dreidimensionalen Knallereien ja in Grenzen, und mit den eingangs genannten kann Aquaventura allemal mithalten: Die Vektorgrafik ist flott genug und vermittelt ein gutes 3D-Feeling, die schön animierten Alien-Schiffe sind aus Vektor-Bobs aufgebaut und stellen sozusagen eine Premiere dar – bisher gab es solche Grafiktricks höchstens in den Top-Grafikdemos zu sehen! Die Ohren werden derweil mit vielen tollen Soundeffekten verwöhnt, wer mag, kann auch Musikbegleitung dazu schalten.

Ebenfalls gut aber gewöhnungsbedürftig ist die Steuerung, denn obwohl es zwei verschiedene Joystick-Modi gibt, muß man stets auf die Tastatur zurückgreifen, um die verschiedenen Waffensysteme zu aktivieren bzw. abzufeuern. Aber wenn man sich erstmalls zurechtfindet, macht’s auch eine Menge Spaß! (rl)

Amiga Joker, July 1992, p.18

Der Amiga Joker meint:
"Wer rasante 3D-Action liebt, der liebt auch Aquaventura!"

amiga joker
Aquaventura
Grafik: 77%
Sound: 79%
Handhabung: 64%
Spielidee: 61%
Dauerspass: 72%
Preis/Leistung: 66%

Red. Urteil:
Für Fortgeschrittene
72%
Preis: ca 89,- dm
Hersteller: Psygnosis
Genre: Action

Spezialität: Zwei Disks, eine nur fürs Intro, deutsche Anleitung.



Aquaventura logo

It has been in development for four years, but Tony Gill wonders whether Aquaventura was worth the wait...

Aquaventura SETTING THE SCENE
Aquaventura features one of the best intro sequences to a game that I've seen for a long time. In deep space, a lone fighter blasts off from a giant starship and narrowly escapes as the mothership is devastated in a nuclear explosion. Unfortunately, Psygnosis didn't have the good sense to quit while they were ahead...

A couple of years ago there was a flood of demo disks showing the fascinating things that could be done with a load of rotating balls – unfortunately, those demos were considerably more playable than this. The game involves flying a spacecraft above the surface of a watery planet in an attempt to destroy the power source which shields a mysterious pyramid. Various space invaders will annoyingly get in your way and you must blast them with your cannon and missiles.

Once the power source has been destroyed, the pyramid can be attacked and forced to disgorge the ferocious wobbly-ball monster which unaccountably lives inside. As the monster twists and turns, firing missiles at your ship, you must hit each one of the balls until it is finally destroyed. At this point you will be sucked down into a wire-frame Channel Tunnel through which you must fly without smashing your ship on the walls. During this manouvre, alien ships are coming the other way and must be dodged as they seem to be driven by French pilots who have failed to notice that we drive on the left. If you emerge safely on the other side you are deemed to have reached safety and your ship is rearmed.

NICE, BUT...
Aquaventura It would be fair to say that all of this is well done. The graphics are smooth, the music is exciting, the controls are responsive. The problem only appears when it becomes apparent that there are only eight levels to the game and, adding insult to injury, they are all virtually identical – the second level is the same as the first with more aliens to avoid! However, with the ship so easy to fly and the enemy easy to hit, the game might give satisfaction to younger players who won't notice that there's no depth to it. Once the purchaser has played the game for an evening and glimpsed the true nature of the beast, though, they'll realise that it is, like the end-of-level snake, just a load of balls...

CU Amiga, August 1992, p.81

buyers guide
release date:
genre:
team:
controls:
number of disks:
number of players:
hard disk installable:
memory:
 
Now
3D Shoot 'Em Up
Bill Pullen
Joystick
2
1
No
Any Machine

 

PSYGNOSIS £25.95
Initially interesting, but limited in variety...
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
75%
78%
40%
70%
OVERALL 60%