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Battle Valley logo

Price: 19.99

Battle Valley O n first impressions, Battle Valley looks an awful lot like that CU fave shoot-'em-up Silkworm; on closer inspection, however, the game itself is nothing of the sort. For a start, there's no two player mode, you choose between 'copter and tank. The game then directs you to embark on your mission to destroy one of the two missile bases which apparently lie at the end of the craggy, Scramble-style backdrop.

There are a number of broken bridges that the tank can't traverse unless the 'copter collects a pontoon and drops it into place. So, off we go in the bulky square to reek havoc upon the enemy. Unfortunately, this is not a nippy flying machine by anyone's standards - in fact, it's more of an armour plated autogyro.
Almost inevitably you find yourself blasted out of the sky, but that seems to be part of the gameplan in Battle Valley. If you don't get blown up, you don't get to use the tank, which is essential for removing some of the trickier obstacles. As the armoured vehicle lumbers from its garage like an F-Reg Skoda on a February morning, one thing becomes immediately transparent - if you are any good at this game at all, you will have destroyed a large number of obstacles and be left with a drive over a desolate, empty and very, very boring landscape. You can remedy this in part by hitting the F1 key, but keyboard commands can be very tricky when it comes to slowing down in time when the enemy do decide to appear.

Battle Valley is a strange sort of collaborative game. Two steps forward with the 'copter, then one step with the tank. What develops is a mild pace campaign with only a small amount of skill involved. Don't buy this expecting the usual visual blitzkrieg of a Hewson shoot- 'em-up. The game does have a few definite virtues, however, a different - if not entirely successful gameplay which is nice to see and keeps the interest up for a reasonable amount of time. Fine graphics and a detailed scoring system. The refuelling stations along the way are a nice touch too, with the 'copter having to lower its winch to pick up supplies and ammo.

Overall, I can't help feeling that the grey installations and the slow speed of play make it a dour game to look at. An impression only compounded by the end screen - a mushroom cloud. All a bit depressing really. After an hour or two of Battle Valley, with it's phallo-centric armageddon overload, a game like New Zealand Story comes as a very welcome relief indeed.
Mark Heley

CU Amiga, October 1989, p.43