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Chaos Engine 1 logo

Es gibt kurze Verspätungen, und es gibt lange. Es gibt solche, wo sich das Warten gelohnt hat, und andere, wo man gar nicht erst gewartet hat. Und dann gibt es noch die Chaos-Machinerie der Bitmap Brothers...

Chaos Engine 1 …wo mit der chaotischen Verspätung von über einem Jahr ein Spiel auftaucht, das so gelungen ist, dass man glatt noch ein paar Monate darauf warten würde, nur um es zocken zu dürfen!

Mit Zeit hat auch die Story zu tun, mit dem Roman "The Difference Machine" von William Gibson und Bruce Sterling trotz etlicher Ähnlichkeiten angeblich wenig: Im viktorianischen England durchbricht ein Wissenschaftler mit einer von ihm erdachten Maschine das Raum-Zeit-Gefüge, um die Menschheit in eine bestienbeladene Dimension zu verfrachten. Bevor man dem Chaoten nun das Handwerk legen kann, gilt es, am Charakterscreen ein digitales Alter Ego zu erwählen. Sechs Helden stellen sich zur Verfügung, wobei vom kampfgestählten Söldner bis zum grübellastigen Dottore jeder mit unterschiedlichen Waffen und Eigenschaften (Schnelligkeit, Ausdauer etc.) aufwartet. An ein Rollenspiel solltet Ihr jetzt aber dennoch nicht denken, schon eher an ein "Gauntlet" der Superlative...

Chaos Engine 1 Das Schlachtfeld umfaßt vier multidirektional scrollende und in Level unterteilte Welten: das Geschehen ist stets von oben zu sehen. Solospielern wird ein rechnergesteuerter Kumpan zur Seite gestellt, im Team ballert man sich ohnehin gemeinsam durch die Wälder, Industrieanlagen oder Kellergewölbe. Aufgabe ist es, jeweils eine bestimmte Anzahl von "Knotenpunkten" durch Berührung zu aktivieren, wobei an phantasievollen Kanonenfutter ebensowenig Mangel herrscht wie an hilfreichen Extras, die für mehr Waffenpower, Landkarten, Smartbombs oder Zusatzleben gut sind. Derlei Goodies hält freilich auch der Shop am Ende mancher Abschnitte bereit, bloß muß dort halt mit barer Münze bezahlt werden - wie gut, daß Leistung hier über das anfängliche Startkapital hinaus finanziell honoriert wird.

Amiga Joker Hit Soweit, so "Crack Down". Was den chaotischen Maschinisten trotz der bekannten Grundidee vom Durchschnitt abhebt, ist das grandiose Gameplay: Egal, ob man den kürzesten Weg durch die Landschaft wählt, alle Ecken genau auskundschaftet oder sich aufs Ballern konzentriert, stets gibt es versteckte Level-Ausgänge, Schlüssel zu geheimen Bonuskammern oder neue und interessante Gegnertaktiken zu entdecken. Sporadische Knobel-Einlagen sorgen dabei ebenso für Motivation wie die Bitmap-typische Grafik mit ihren perfekt animierten Sprites und den Pixelkunstwerken im Hintergrund. Fast noch beeindruckender ist die Begleitmusik, denn sie paßt sich in Tempo und Stil ständig der aktuellen Spielsituation an, so daß Gefechtspassagen von heißen Rhythmen und einsame Pfade von schmeichelnden Tönen beschallt werden.

Alles in allem haben die Bitmap Brothers mit Chaos Engine ihrer Sammlung an Klassikern wie "Xenon II", "Speedball" oder "Cadaver" ein weiteres Prunkstück hinzugefügt - was anderes hatten wir von den jungs auch gar nicht erwartet! (rl)

Amiga Joker, February 1993, p.20

THE CHAOS ENGINE
(RENEGADE/BITMAP BROS)
LABYRINTH - ACTION
85%
"MÖRDERISCH"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPAß
83%
86%
91%
80%
83%
86%
FÜR FORTGESCHRITTENE
PREIS DM 89,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
1 MB
2/JA
NEIN
SPIELST.: CODES
ANLEITUNG


Chaos Engine 1 logo

A Victorian steam-driven computer has run amok in the latest game from the Bitmap Brothers. Dan Slingsby gets all steamed up.

Chaos Engine 1 YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS
Remember Gauntlet, the arcade puzzle game were you had to run around a series of mazes, solving numerous puzzles, picking up a vast supply of keys and food, and blasting millions of nasties to smithereens? The Bitmap Brothers certainly do, as they've taken the aging coin-op classic as the basis for their new game, The Chaos Engine.

That's not to say it's a direct copy - no sireeee! What they've done, instead, is to revamp the gameplay, introduce a few new twists, incorporate some tasty-looking graphics, an excellent soundtrack and spot effects and generally beef things up all round. What's more, they've also been taking a look at blasters such as Core's Warzone and Team 17's Alien Breed and introduced a two-player option, a huge number of special weapons and power-ups and a maze of interconnecting screens stuffed to the gills with all manner of mutated nasties to blast. There's even a Speedball 2-style equipment screen for increasing the stats of your two on-screen characters and enough tricks and traps to keep even the most hardened puzzle-fanatic happy.

The game's scenario bristles with inventiveness, even though it does owe a big debt to William Gibson's sci-fi novel, The Difference Engine. Although the action is ostensibly set in the Victorian Age, it's an era unlike anything you've read about in history books. The steam engine's power has been harnessed and used to create the world's first ever supercomputer. Unfortunately, the new steam-driven machine has run amok, its creator has disappeared and the local populace have been transformed into malformed mutants. And, as if all that wasn't enough, you've been given the task of clearing the whole mess up!

YOUR FUN TO BE WITH FRIEND
Chaos Engine 1 The first thing to do is decide whether you want a one or two player blast. The single player option teams your character with a computer-controlled buddy, while the two-player choice gives you the chance to race around the levels with a friend, helping them out of dangerous situations or leaving them to meet a grisly fate by sitting back and doing nothing. After you've made your choice, it's then that you have to select your two men from a party of six battle-hardened mercenaries. Each character has their own special attributes and weapons, and it's only by experimenting with them all that you'll find the ones that best suit your playing style. For example, the Preacher is a bit lacking in the big gun department but is surprisingly quick on his feet. On the other hand, the Navvy is like a stampeding tortoise at the best of times, although he does pack a tremendous punch with one of the game's better weapons. The other four characters – the Brigand, Mercenary, Gentleman and Thug – also have their own stats. Although these can be increased as the game progresses, their different attributes and skills vary immensely at the start of the game and can only be increased within tightly defined limits.

Once you've chosen which characters you want in your party, it's straight into the action. In total, there are four stages to blast through, and each of these is made up of four levels. Each stage has its own specific graphics, nasties and in-game music, but the basic gameplay remains essentially the same. The idea is to shoot your way through each level, collecting as many different power-ups, keys, food, coins and special tokens as possible while blasting away the hordes of mutated nasties. Of course, it's not that simple, as each level is a maze of interconnecting pathways and the patrolling mutants warp onto the screen with little notice.

In order to escape the mayhem, there is always at least one exit per level, and these are opened by first finding, and then blasting, a specific number of nodes. These are scattered around each level and activated by shooting away their concrete casing. Once the required number have been activated, the exit will open and you'll be able to enter the next level. Watch out for any remaining nodes once an exit has been opened as this indicates there's another exit somewhere on the level. It's worth heading for the new exit once you've polished off the remaining nodes as this will take you to a more advantageous position on the next level.

A-MAZE-ING
Chaos Engine 1 To locate each node, you first have to find the right pathway. With each level resembling Spaghetti Junction, this isn't easy as it first seems. To make matters worse, many paths are merely dead-ends or take you back to where you started from. To help out, there are a number of silver keys scattered throughout each level, and collecting these will open up new routes and close off existing ones. For instance, a new bridge might appear so your player can cross a chasm or some steps unfold so that he can reach a subterranean passageway. There are also a number of gold keys to collect, and although these aren't essential to completing the level, they do reveal hidden areas positively stuffed with treasure.

There are various other goodies to pick up during the course of the game. These include health-boosting food icons, first aid kits, which fully restore a player’s lost energy, and special 'Death Zone' tokes that, once collected, act as restart points once you've lost a life. Best of all are the numerous special weapon icons, which can include anything from Molotov cocktails and screen-shaking bombs to dynamite and power-shots. Keep a look out for map icons, too, as these prove invaluable to finding your way around a level and also detail the exact location of the nodes.

The first stage is set in dense woodlands surrounding the mansion where the supercomputer is housed. Almost immediately you and your buddy will be surrounded by a welcoming committee of mutants that warp onto the screen. In no time you're facing an army of stone-like creatures, huge frog-shaped leapers, and lunging lizard men. The second stage takes in the surrounding grounds of the mansion and features another batch of nasties to take care of. The dilapidated Victorian architecture adds another dimension to the game and instils a real atmosphere to the proceedings.

GAME OVER MAN
Chaos Engine 1 Stage three is set inside the sprawling mansion complete with pitted and scarred floors, crumbing staircases and cracked walls. The mutated townsfolk also begin to take on a weirder aspect, too, with huge grabbing hands and spider-like bugs infesting the stage's many corridors and chambers. The final stage takes place in the mansion's basement where the mad computer is housed. Sewer rats, mechanoid droids and missile banks inhabit the area, which is made up of dripping sewer pipes, steam engines and other such artefacts. Once you've managed to battle through that lot, it's time for a final showdown with the supercomputer.

The game's many puzzle-elements help spice up the gameplay. Although most are fairly easy to solve, such as collecting certain keys or blasting objects to trigger specific events or functions, some are quite complex affairs. One involves a series of transporters and a clever mirror image of a level so that a player can quickly become disorientated, but is easy to work out once you realise what is going on. Fortunately, the puzzles don't detract from the action, but complement it.

Overall, The Chaos Engine is a competent, eight-way scrolling blaster with enough in it to keep you coming back for more. The graphics are up to the high standards we've come to expect from Dan Malone, as is the excellent in-game tunes which keep tempo with the pace of the action, slowing down to a more subdued sound when there's little to blast and speeding up to a thumping rave beat when the screen is flooded with nasties. If you liked Gauntlet or Alien Breed, then you'll also like this. It's by no means the best that the genre has to offer, but it's a frantic blast all the same.

CU Amiga, February 1993, p.p.47-48

POINTS MEAN PRIZES
Don't forget to collect as much cash and treasure as you can, as all the money you collect is poured into a central kitty and shared out at the end of every two levels. How much you get depends on how well you've performed. If you've done most of the shooting and collected more of the keys and specials, then you'll gain a greater share of the loot than your cowardly partner who has let you do all the running. But having mountains of cash isn't any good if you've nothing to spend it on. This is where the equip screen comes in. After the cash has been divided, you'll be offered the chance to spend some or all of it upgrading your character's skills and weapons. Extra lives, health, speed, power-ups and specials are now yours for the taking – at a price!

YOU'RE IN THE ARMOURY NOW
No blaster would be complete without a huge amount of power-ups and different kinds of weapon and The Chaos Engine is no different. The Bitmaps have included a vast array of special weapons with which to blow away the opposition. Each character begins the game with their own unique blaster. As the game progresses these weapons can be upgraded by collecting or purchasing power-ups. These can affect the number of shots fired, the damage they do, whether they travel through monsters and the spread of the fire. The best thing, though, is that once you've bought a power-up you can't lose it, even if you lose a life. By the end of the game, you should have built up a near invincible super-weapon for the final confrontation with the super computer.
As well as your main weapon, each player can also choose a number of special abilities. These can be either bought and held in reserve until needed or triggered during the game by walking into their on-screen icons. Specials include such wonderful maiming and killing devices as multi-shot dispersal bombs and huge screen-clearing fireballs.

MONSTER MASH
Each stage has its own specific collection of nasties and each one has its own intelligence routines to carry out specific tasks. For example, some monsters spit or shoot deadly projectiles with varying degrees of accuracy while others will pursue a character no matter how hard you try to throw them of your trail. Still others will doggedly protect keys and strategic locations, while many can soak up shots like a sponge before they keel over and die. Each different nasty has its own unique ability – for instance, frogs leap through the air and can cover huge distances while huge stone-men can warp into the screen in an instant.

buyers guide
release date:
genre:
team:
controls:
number of disks:
number of players:
hard disk:
memory:
 
February
Arcade blaster
Bitmap Brothers
Joystick
2
1/2
No
1Mb
 

RENEGADE £25.99
Well-crafted Gauntlet tribute with extra pazzaz
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
86%
88%
77%
82%
OVERALL 81%



Chaos Engine 1 AGA logo  AGA

A Chaos Engine 1 AGA lready established as one of the all-time classic shoot-em-ups, The Chaos Engine finally gets an AGA incarnation. 10 months after its initial release.

You play one of two street-fighting mercenaries sent in to destroy a crazed machine and the plethora of nasties it has unleashed. There are four worlds and 16 levels to explore, plenty of tricky puzzles to solve and the usual selection of power-ups and bonuses to collect or buy at the end of every other level.

What made the original game brilliant was its extreme playability. A wicked two-player option, the eight-way scrolling, baddies pouring out of the walls and the pace of the action made The Chaos Engine one of the most addictive and thrilling Amiga games ever.

This AGA version retains all the original game’s features and adds a 256-colour palette to the mix, so there has been quite a marked change in the way the backgrounds and sprites are coloured. The hulk monsters in World Two have swapped their orange glow for a healthy pink, for example, and there is a lot texturing and shading on virtually everything else. The rest is exactly the same as the standard version and, to be honest, you are only really going to need this if you are new to the A1200 or you have not got this fabulous game already.
Rob Mead

Amiga Format, Issue 55, January 1994, p.62

CHAOS ENGINE AGA
PROGRAMMERS
Bitmap Brothers
PUBLISHER
Renegade 071-481 9214
PRICE
£25.99
RELEASED
Out now

 

89%


Chaos Engine 1 AGA logo  AGA

Amiga Joker Hit Die berühmten Bitmap Brothers haben hier eine Art “Super-Gauntlet“ vorgelegt, das in alle Richtungen scrollt und auch einige Rolli-Elemente vorweisen kann. In den vier von oben gezeigten Levels wimmelt es von lästigen Gegnern, versteckten Hintertürchen und kleinen Knobeleien – da hilt nur schneller schießen!

Weder das ausgetüftelte Gamedesign noch die stimmige Präsentation haben sich merklich verändert, auch die Paßwörter sind im Preis von 69 Schrauben immer noch mit drin. Folglich sind auch wir bei unser Meinung geblieben: Die Chaos machine ist ein Hit und verdient ihre 85 Prozent. (ms)

Amiga Joker, January 1994, p.40


Chaos Engine 1 CD32 logo  CD32  CU Amiga Screen Star

RENEGADE, £29.99 OUT NOW
T Chaos Engine 1 CD32 he Bitmap Brothers have been around quite a bit of late, so too have Renegade, but it was not too lang ago that these two stable mates were the toast of the Amiga software world. When first released, Chaos Engine was one of the finest shoot ‘em ups around on any home system, and since then it has been converted to just about every other Commodore machine.

The Chaos Engine is a gigantic machine invented to explore time and space – and it has gone horribly berserk. The gigantic structure has begun to disrupt time so badly that human evolution has been altered and the human population has been mutated into various forms of monsters. The only solution is to gather together a team of men to find the machine and blow it to bits. Enter the mercenaries.

Players can choose between six hardened guns for hire. Each party must consist of two characters, one either computer controlled or manned by a second player. Each of the six warriors has his own specialist skills. The Thug is incredibly powerful, but a little stupid, the Preacher has all the smarts and the ability to heal, but he is not too good in a fight, while others, such as the Gentleman, are intelligent and the Mercenary is a good, all round fighter.

There are four monster-infested worlds to explore, each with four sub-levels. What makes Chaos Engine so intriguing though is its artificial intelligence. Each level is stuffed with different paths so that even when a world is completed you can go back and discover new avenues to follow. By picking up different coloured keys you can move parts of the scenery to find hidden rooms and weapons or by activating the various nodes in different order you can reveal other levels. When monsters are killed they throw up all kinds of surprises, like weapons or special gadgets of destruction, allowing each player to have his abilities beefed up.

With improved graphics, a cool intro and brilliant sampled CD sppech Chaos Engine more than stands tall on the CD32. In fact I would say it is one of the best games you can buy for the machine. A classic shoot ‘em up that is even better on the CD32. Definitely not one to be missed. Let us hope that the team are working on some spectacular CD32 specific products – they will be monstrous!
Steve Keen

88%

CU Amiga, June 1994, p.p.46-47