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Astaroth logo

HEWSON £24.95 * Joystick and spacebar

I Astaroth n a series of catacombs, deep below ground, Astaroth, the Angel of Death, rules over a fetid underworld domain. Surrounded by the vile minions she has summoned up to protect her, she is free to satisfy her evil will. No-one has dared to face this she-devil. Until now. A single, lone man, Ozymandias, has decided to enter Astaroth’s forbidding lair to defeat the demoness.

The catacombs are represented by a series of interconnecting flick-screens, which are entered via left nad right, top and bottom. Ozymandias walks and can jump, but has no immediate defences save for ducking from flying bats and harpies which inhabit the carved tunnels. Only forward planning and quick reactions can save him from the variety of beasts which inhabit this world: contact with Astaroth’s underlings serves only to rid Ozymandias of his mind powers, shown by a shrivelling brain icon. As each brain disappears completely, so a life is lost. Five lives later, Astaroth has won.

As Ozzy makes his way through the labyrinth, he can collect up to nine mind powers which are stored in bell jars in different locations within the catacombs. The powers confer upon Ozymandias’ different abilities such as levitation (to float up to higher floors); pyrokinetics (creates fireballs); night vision (enable him to see in those rooms which are in darkness); and so on. Specific mind powers are needed to defeat Astaroth’s three Guardians – the Sphinx. The three headed Hydra and Marilith Demon – and only once all nine have been collected can Ozzy attempt to face the Angel of Death in combat.
Steve Jarratt

Amiga Format, Issue 03, October 1989, p.56

Pete Lyon’s morose graphics are undoubtedly very good, even though they have been unashamedly ripped off from HR Giger’s Necronomicon designs. Ignoring artistic plagiarism, however, it must be said that the phallic and vaginal symbolism is far from tastefully done – especially since it plays no part in the gamem and has obviously been included in an effort to increase sales through sensationalism. The accompanying soundtrack is pleasant enough, but is too up-beat to serve as an atmospheric accompaniment to the task at hand.

The Amiga is not being pushed very hard, technically: since Astaroth lacks any scrolling, the sprites are very small and the animation minimal. However, while the CPU sits there twiddling its electronic digits, the game still manages to provide poor collision detection and poor, slug-like movement for the main character. Not impressive.

This lack of speed makes avoiding the many obstacles initially tricky and ultimately infuriating; while the simple search ‘n’ collect gameplay is only marginally spiced up by the addition of progressive mind powers. Astaroth is a jaded old game concept tarted up with graphics of a sensationalist nature to add some much-needed interest. Bit of a sheep in wolf’s clothing, really.


Astaroth logo

Ansehnliche Grafiken und tolle Songs im Stile J.M. Jarres lassen Hewsons Todesengel aus dem üblichen Einerlei der Hüpf- und Laufspiele angenehm hervorstechen.

Astaroth Ozymandias (sieht ein bisschen aus wie Zorro) macht sich auf die Suche nach Astaroth, einem offenkundig weiblichen Wesen, das enge Verwandtschaftverhältnisse zu Spinnen/Krabben und Fledermäusen nicht verleugnen kann. Die unbekleidete Dame haust tief in den Katakomben ihres Reiches und verfügt über beachtliche PSI-Power (Energiestrahlen). Während unser Zorro-Verschnitt in den Höhlen umherirrt und unter Glasglocken verborgene Zusatz-Kräfte sucht, machen ihm die Diener Astaroths das Leben schwer. Hier gilt es, den zahlreichen Angreifern auszuweichen, oder erworbene Fähigkeiten sinnvoll einzusetzen (keine Ballerei!). ein eingebauter x,y- Koordinatenanzeiger und vier Kruzifixe (Leben) helfen, die Geheimkemenate der Horror-Lady zu finden, um sämtliche Bösewichte in einer letzten entscheidenden Geistesschlacht in die Ethereal-Ebene zu verbannen.

Bis zum großen Showdown ist es allerdings ein weiter Weg, der durch zahlreiche hübsch gestaltete Screens (Höhlen) Führt. Unterwegs gibt es viel exotische Weiblichkeit zu bewundern (nur nicht den Kopf verdrehen lassen!). Fans des Genres dürfen also getrost zugreifen: Sie erhalten ein sauber programmiertes Game samt dekorativem Poster (die Titelheldin in voller Grazie) fürs Geld. (wh)

Amiga Joker, November 1989, p.53

Amiga Joker
Grafik: 71%
Sound: 78%
Handhabung: 73%
Motivation: 74%

Gesamt: 74%
Für Fortgeschrittene
Preis: ca 64,- DM
Hersteller: Hewson
Bezug: CSJ Computersoft
Auf dem Schacht 17
3203 Sarstedt 4
Tel.: 0 50 66 / 40 31

Spezialität: Abgestaubte Spielidee, aber solide umgesetzt. Das zeigt schon die ausführliche mehrsprachige Anleitung. Erfolge werden im Barbarian-Stil in Prozenten angezeigt.

Astaroth logo

PRICE: £24.99

D Astaroth odgy cover artwork is always a bad sign. I get the feeling that when a company knows that the product they are working on is not all that special, they intentionally stick unusual artwork on the cover to disguise it. Does it work? Never.

Now, I am no expert in this field of mythology, but as far as I can make out, Astaroth is some sort of supreme evil being that has to be destroyed. There is only one thing in the universe that can kill it, and that is a normal mortal who is carrying the nine mystical talismans (talisman?) of Zargue. Astaroth knows this, and so has taken the nine talisman and hidden them deep within her caverns. Lucky you have been chosen to get in, find the nine talisman and utilise their powers to kill Astaroth.

Sounds a bit like a bad deal to me. You know what the worst things is? You are totally unarmed. The only thing you are able to do is dodge. Unfair or what? Still, as you travel through the flip screen maze, you find the nine talisman, each with its own special power. One allows you to fly upward, another bestows upon you the ability to breathe fire and so on. Believe me, without these, you are not going anywhere.

Graphically, it is not much. The backdrops and enemy sprites are nicely drawn, but very repetitive. The main sprite is a bit strange, and the animation is poor. He glitches when he walks and something tells me that the animation cycle is about five frames short. The worst thing of all is the fact that after all this time, Hewson are still bringing out flip screen games. After seeing how well Stormlord worked, you would have thought they might at least have tried it out on this.

Astaroth is a very dull game to play. The element of exploration is there, but because of the very limited nature of the backdrops you never really feel that you are getting anywhere. The challenge rapidly becomes very boring too, being limited to only four things: skulls and bats that swoop about, and raindrops and rocks that fall from the roof. I cannot see anybody wanting to get all the way through this.

Not the best game Hewson have ever released. Short on gameplay, short on graphics and short on variety. I would say this game is lacking a little, wouldn’t you?

Mike Pattenden
CU Amiga, September 1989, p.37

Astaroth logo Zzap! Sizzler
  • She's tough, she's mean, she even drives people mad, but she doesn't live at Number 10!

Hewson, Amiga £24.99

Astaroth A legend of long ago the Angel of Death has been little more than a myth used to scare children. But now dark rumours are surfacing of an evil presence within a hill in far and distant lands.
The spreading of a madness in animals around the hill and the turning of sane locals into gibbering idiots is one uncomfortably close bad omen. But it's the increasingly cold atmosphere around the hill that has confirmed what everyone didn't want to believe - Astaroth, the Angel of Death has awoken.
The darkest of clouds appear on the horizon and even the sun begins to dull as chaos takes a grip on the land. This time it seems, the Angel of Death desires a rich harvest of souls before ever returning to her sleep.

It is into this chaos that Ozymandias appears, a brigand of great reputation but a closely guarded past. With the world spiralling ever faster into a vision out of Dante's inferno Ozymandias takes on the mantle of saviour and enters Astaroth's crypt. This is not a simple burial chamber but a series of catacombs penetrating deep into the earth. At the very centre lies Astaroth herself but she's no fool, she's well protected by her many minions guarding each of the 256 rooms.

The missions are as varied as Astaroth is evil with bars, floating skulls, acid drops, boulders, harpies, water elementals and many more serving the Dark Angel. If Ozymandias touches any of these he gradually loses his mind (represented by a decaying brain), continued contact costing one of his five lives.

As well as nasty creatures some rooms contain bell jars. Within these reside Mind Powers, modern day spells and the means by which Astaroth can be defeated. By absorbing them into his mind Ozymandias can use the new powers to defeat creatures and pass obstacles barring the way to Astaroth. A transporter is to be found within each level providing a portal to the next set of chambers. Progress far enough and Oz's position is stored so upon death the can continue from the last teleporter used.

The most useful Mind Power to find at the start is the Levitation Power, without this Oz cannot get back out of the lower chambers. Similarly, without the Transmigration Power Oz cannot use the teleporters. But it's with the offensive Powers that Oz gets the chance to fight back, once these are gained Oz can then think about taking on the three Guardians - s Sphinx, a three-headed Hydra and the Merilith Demon.
When all nine Mind Powers are in Oz's possession he had best prepare himself for the final battle of all - against the Dark Angel Astaroth in all her dark fury.

Zzap! Issue 52, August 1989, p.p.68-69

Phil King At first sight Astaroth seems like a slow-moving, unoriginal arcade adventure of the simple type produced years ago. However, playing it for a while reveals an interesting game with plenty to see and do, the inclusion of Mind Powers adding a tactical aspect. Even with the useful save option, making progress requires plenty of skill and patience although the gorgeous backdrops are a real incentive to persevere, creating a surreal atmosphere. Nearly every screen has some new set piece of surreal design, making you gasp at the Pete Lyon's wealth of imagination, and encouraging you to get further into the catacombs. Although definitely NOT recommended for those who like their action fast and furious, Astaroth is a highly polished, thought-provoking adventure.

Stuart Wynne There's no use denying I can always be swayed a bit by good graphics, especially when those graphics are as good as these, with a strong HR Alien Giger look. Together with a quiet, haunting background tune the graphics create a wonderful sense of atmosphere, which really makes you want to play. Initially actual gameplay is a bit disappointing - run around, dodge baddies, etc - but once you start collecting the Mind Powers the game really picks up. Congratulations to Hewson then, for breathing new life into the arcade adventure format with this imaginative and beguiling 16-bit release.

Robin Hogg Graphics artist Pete Lyon has created a superbly dark and foreboding atmosphere for Astaroth. At times the backdrops are crammed with so many different graphics they look almost alive. The further Oz progresses the weirder the backdrops get with statues of alluring ladies, fearsome dragons and yukky bio-organisms enhancing the already surreal atmosphere. The offbeat soundtrack is slow-moving but it's certainly original - unlike the gameplay whose unoriginality is compensated for by the variety of Mind Powers. A good strategy develops through using them correctly and even when Oz has most of the Powers death is only a false step away. Beautiful but deadly - just like Astaroth herself.

Telekinetics - Move and dislodge objects using a ghostly hand
Pyrokinetics - Cast and throw fireballs to kill water creatures
Telepathy - Reveals what to do next and where to go
Shape Shifting - Change body shape to overcome obstacles
Levitation - Float up or down through portals
Transmigration - Move without walking in order to cross gaps without falling
Cryokinetics - Used to kill creatures made of fire
Night Vision - Use to see into the darkest rooms of all
Meditation - Be at one with yourself and restore lost mind energy.

A2 poster, informative and comprehensive instruction book with a novel parchment-style horror book included.
A disturbingly evil atmosphere created by some of the most haunting graphics ever seen.
An excellently crafted but very strange tune plays throughout. Above average spot effects elsewhere.
Quite tricky to start off but with a few Mind Powers 'under your belt' it becomes slightly easier.
Each of the 256 screens is very tricky.
An extremely challenging arcade adventure sporting incredibly detailed graphics.