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Blood Money logo  Format Gold

PSYGNOSIS

Amiga – Joystick. £19.95 reviewed
ST – Available May. £19.95

W hisk one bored kid away on holiday before suffering his final exams in Venusian Accountancy, toss in an exciting safari where you either become very rich or die and what do you get? Another game from DMA Design, they of Menace fame. You won’t be surprised to discover that Blood Money is a shoot-em-up with hordes of aliens drooling for lead and plenty of bolt-on weapons to assist the blasting.

AIM
Blood Money Greed is the driving force behind this game, but then it has always been high on the cast list in a game where the rewards of success are fortune and incompetence brings only death. There are four planets to conquer, each one boasting an entry fee from $100 to $400. Choosing the second planet at a cost of $200 (your initial starting salary) is possible, but you won’t be left with any cash to purchase vital extra weaponry.

Cash is obtained by shooting hostile planetary inhabitants and collecting the coins they drop. Miss the coins and you lose out on the money. Some aliens are worth more than others but take more shots to destroy.

STRATEGY
You will encounter five basic types of monsters: blastables, money munchers, stationary and massive invulnerable creatures. The blastables are in greatest abundance and come in a multitude of shapes and sizes. Money munchers won’t kill you but steal your money instead so should be quickly blasted. Stationary aliens are at a fixed point on the screen, but usually spin around and cause instant death should you touch them.

Other monsters include the landscape guys who lurk in the scenery and are infinitely tricky to spot. Then there are the invulnerable creatures who come out of the edges of the screen and have to be avoided if you are not a death addict.
A host of hazards reign too: gates that open and close, other gates which must be opened with the assistance of laser power and blocks that must be shot out of your way.

Periodically you will encounter supply lockers where extras can be purchased to improve your fire power. Here, the display changes to a selection screen where you can buy any of eight different weapons. Earth and sky bound missiles increase your firing shots and cover a wider area which dramatically increase your destructive powers. Bombs kill off the enemy quickly, but send gates spinning around like a Catherine wheel, making it impossible for you to pass.
Rear firing missiles help protect your back and long range missiles let you knock enemies out of the sky from a safer distance. Speed-up gives you the necessary speed to get you out of tight spots, but you do lose out in situations where precise manoeuvrability is required. A force-field purchase gives you short-lived invulnerability.

One more thing that needs mentioning is the end of level guardian, a tradition carried over from Menace. There is one to deal with as the final enemy on each planet. Many hits are needed to eradicate them and they are armed with enough fire power to tear you apart. Get past the guardian and you get a healthy cash bonus and return to select another planet.
Gary Barrett

Amiga/ST Format, Issue 11, May 1989, p.p.72-73

GRAPHICS AND SOUND
The loading screen is a wonderful piece of artwork followed by a sequence featuring excellent digitised speech and music as you watch a ship navigate its way through an asteroid belt and then approach a planet.
The game lets you a have a choice between sound effects and music – the former is the better deal. Music is ok, but the Amiga is capable of a wider repertoire. Sound effects are better, but not as good as those in Menace. If you want to know why then read all about it in the programmer’s profile.
Graphically it is in a class of its own with loads of sprites, all of which are beautifully animated. The green amoeba creatures on the watery planet of Grone are particularly well done. Scrolling in Blood Money takes place across an impressive four directions proving that DMA certainly know what they are doing when it comes to quality graphics and addictive gameplay.
SMITH ‘N’ JONES
David Jones (programmer) and Tony Smith (graphics designer), who have spent the last eight months writing Blood Money. The one thing that is holding David back on the Amiga is lack of memory. Games have to be written for the bottom of the line machine and there is just not enough memory on the basic Amiga. Do not tell anyone else, but DMA’s next game promises to be a hack and slay which might have an unusual cheat option, one that adds more blood and guts to the graphics for those not of a sensitive disposition.

CONCLUSION
It may not be an original concept and boiled to basics it is just another shoot-em-up, but that does not stop it from being a hugely addictive game that will keep you blasting for months. The two player option offers simultaneous play which keeps two people happy at once. This game is so visually brilliant and possesses those classic addictive qualities that once you have picked up your joystick you just won’t want to put it back down again! This is arguably the best shoot-em-up on the Amiga to date.

STILLS
4 out of 5
ANIMATION
4.5 out of 5
SOUNDTRACK
3.5 out of 5
LASTING INTEREST
4.5 out of 5
OVERALL 92%


Blood Money logo

Psygnosis
Price: £24.99

P Blood Money rogrammer David Jones (who wrote Menace) is currently studying Microsystems at the Dundee Institute of Technology. I hope he fails because the mind that could construct something this warped could do a good deal of damage in the real world.
Blood Money makes some pretty extravagant claims. Its boldest is to assert that it is ‘the ultimate arcade game’. It is not, it is an above average shoot-em-up that is frustrating and unrewarding in the extreme.

The idea is simple enough. You participate in an alien safari. The stakes are high: riches and excitement if you win, death if you do not. There are four worlds, each of which contains an unpleasant variety of creatures and defences all of which are hostile. Killing them is rewarded with hard cash, which materialises as the aliens die. Catching them it enables you to drop in to the local equipment shop for a few chocolate bars, a can of 7 Up and some added weaponry.

Blood Money The problem with Blood Money is that it is frustratingly hard. It does not have the right blend of challenge and reward. Space for manoeuvre is at a premium, so having to collect cash as it falls after destroying the aliens increases the difficulty. To lose all the weapons you have purchased each time you die (your original firepower if pitiful) is tremendously irritating. Add to that gates which require opening, gaps which need careful timing to pass through, sections where the joystick reverses, and obstacles which are nigh on impossible to surmount without losing a life (and all that precious weaponry you have spent your hard earned cash on) and you begin to understand why the game is so annoying.

Blood Money claims to have allotted a megabyte for the graphics and 250K for the sound, but whilst there are some well animated aliens – the jellyfish are particularly good – and a Dave Whittaker soundtrack, it fails to leave any lasting impression. Most of the sonic and graphic frills have been lavished on the intro sequence with its impressive asteroid shower and samples (Loadsamoney?). The in-game sound however is a poor tune and some average effects, whilst the graphics lack any real depth.

Blood Money is neat, but it builds itself up too much. It is simply not as good as it thinks it is. I just hope David Jones does not come up with anything on me, he seems to be a malevolent sort of character.
Mike Pattenden

CU Amiga, June 1989, p.p.54-55

SOUND
GRAPHICS
PLAYABILITY
LASTABILITY
72%
77%
74%
78%
76%


Blood Money logo  Zzap! Sizzler

Psygnosis, Amiga £24.99
Blood Money Holidaying on the planet Thanatopia is pleasant enough, but young Spondulix wants real excitement! You know the kind - blasting aliens on the notorious Alien Safari where life expectancy is a minute at most. The Safari includes four different worlds, with prices ranging from $100 to $400. A few ribs to your parents earns $200 and you're ready to begin, with a choice of the first two planets - complete one of them and you'll have enough cash to 'party' on planets three and four.

The first planet, which you explore in a helicopter, is a metallic world heavily populated by walkers, alien spaceships and all manner of weird drones. Shoot them and coins are dropped, ranging in value from $10 to $25. But watch out for gun turrets, radio beacons which reverse your controls and when the scrolling switches to vertical! Planet two is an undersea one which you take on in a submarine. Baddies include superbly animated jellyfish, torpedo firing submarines and giant crab claws. Further into the game there's rock formations that you must blast your way through, pick the wrong route here and you'll end up trapped. The next planet is a beautifully drawn ice world which you fly over in a spacesuit and jetpack. Flying lizards, digitised asteroids and huge, vicious ice columns are some of the baddies here. And finally there's the 'gore zone' of planet four with you in a spaceship facing floating eyes and squirming caterpillars. Needless to say there's some pretty neat end-of-level guardians as well.

Each planet can be visited alone or with a friend (particularly useful for planet one). The game's no different according to the number of players, but you can earn a lot more money on your own. And cash can buy everything from rearward firing missiles to an extra life (see box). However, there is only one of each weapon at most equipment stores, so make sure you partner doesn't get there first, and if a life is lost so is all your extra equipment.

Zzap! Issue 51, July 1989, pp.68-69

Stuart Wynne Psygnosis has something of a reputation for producing brilliantly presented games, although playability hasn't always matched looks. Blood Money kicks off with a dazzling demo, matched by excellent in-game graphics and sonix - Psygnosis have never done better. The game is simply a treat to watch, with all manner of weird and wonderful alien creatures, but more importantly it's also superb to play. If the disks hadn't been locked away it's doubtful this issue of ZZAP! would ever have been finished. You can't miss this game!

Robin Hogg Money makes the world go around, and 25 quid is a fair sum to pay for a shoot-'em-up, but Blood Money is well worth it. All four of its worlds contain some of the most stunning baddies, ranging from pulsating jellyfish to spinning rooks. The animation is incredibly smooth and the scenery is simply beautiful (reminds me of the valleys, boyo!). Gameplay measures up to the game's brilliant looks and each world requires a totally different set of tactics in order to succeed. So you're really getting four games in one. Another bonus is the two player option which is hilarious as the 'partners' make a mad dash for the cash. And although the game is extremely challenging, most lives are lost through sheer greed! Great to play alone or with so-called 'friends' Blood Money is one of the most addictive blasts I've played in ages.

Phil King I wasn't too surprised to discover that Blood Money was programmed by the brilliant David Jones, the man behind that ace shoot-'em-up, Menace. The sprites are all beautifully animated - the large, Star Wars style Walkers on Planet One use 18 frames of animation! The soundtrack is also impressive, especially the amazing sampled Blood Money song when the game is first loaded. The four planets each have their own set of aliens, and gameplay is genuinely different for each world. There's always the desire to get just that bit further in the game to see new baddies, and eventually, the terrifying end-of- level guardians. The two-player game is even more fun - it's great to nick all the dosh from the aliens which your partner has just shot! I just can't help myself - I'm dead greedy and the sight of all those coins is just too much of a temptation.

SURVIVAL SYSTEMS

$100 - Support missile, skybound
$100 - Support missile, earthbound
$150 - Neuron Bomb
$150 - Support rear-fire missile
$200 - Long range missile capability
$200 - 'Kleen Heels Supa-Drive' (increases your speed)
$250 - 'Norton Thunder-Thru' (restores your shield to maximum)
$250 - 'Dr Marten's Aero-Soul Mk VI (an extra life!)

64
The great news for 64 owners is that they won't have long to wait for Blood Money, the C64 version is due for a July release, retailing £9.99 cass/ £12.99 disk.
u p d a t e

PRESENTATION 96%
An amazing intro sequence and great two-player option.
GRAPHICS 94%
Each world has its own unique scenery and smoothly-animated aliens.
SOUND 95%
The sampled song is astounding and there's also a great in-game tune which can be swapped for effects.
HOOKABILITY 94%
The idea of 'shoot and collect' is simple enough to make for instant playability.
LASTABILITY 93%
The high difficulty level doesn't deter you from persevering to see more stunning baddies.
OVERALL
94%
Shoot a few aliens and collect the 25 quid to buy Blood Money. It's brill!