F ascist dictators, who needs them? Probably the worst of the lot is Fernandez, a ruthless, mindless killer who has stolen and secured a large strip of land and called it his. He did not ask for it or anything; he just walked right in, looked around, said ‘this is nice, property is theft, this is mine’, and that was that. He does not fool around though. The only reason that the land has not been snatched back is because it is now patrolled by large forces of enemy soldiers, tanks, gun emplacements, gunboats, traffic wardens and Salvation Army recruits – a formidable opponent indeed.
Set along this strip of land are eight enemy bases, each of which contains an official personage, there to oversee his own little bit of entrusted land. The scene is set; cue Harman – crack commando and all-round hard person, who acts as the seven samurai, all rolled up into one.
Though the games have the same title and plot, Fernandez Must Die on the Amiga is almost a totally different game to the 64 version. Granted it is a vertically scrolling Commando variant and has the option of riding in a jeep, and has four large boats and tanks, but it is different, honestly. For a start the game is arranged as one long strip, rather than eight short interconnected ones. The total playing area is 256 screens long (!) and should take at least 40 minutes to complete.
You are armed with a variety of weapons ranging from a standard rifle, for taking out the enemy soldiers that randomly wander about the place, to a missile launcher, for the biggies, such as tanks and boats. You also carry a limited supply of dynamite, for blasting open the doors of the buildings that are scattered about the luxuriously green landscape, such as armouries, houses with safes in them (which can also be blown open with dynamite – rewarding you with an extra life). To activate the dynamite, just touch a door, and then run away from it.
The other weapon in your arsenal, and probably the most important one, is your jeep. Playing the role of the tank in Ikari Warriors, it provides invincibility for a limited period, as well as the capability of being able to mow down the enemy soldiers. Plus, of course, it is a lot quicker to get around. Unfortunately, it is only temporary; take too many hits and your bonnet goes up in flames. It is best advised to get to the nearest garage (of which there are a few dotted about) and drive through the handy carwash to extinguish the flames, as well as giving you a full weapons refill.
The graphics are pretty nice, though maybe a little on the small side. Detailed and colourful, there is no trouble distinguishing between objects. The best bit graphically that I could find is when your man gets shot, he spins and falls to the floor, blood pumping from his wounds. Sound is not too bad either: lots of the usual machine gun type noises, coupled with an ‘argh’ or two emitted by the guards as you introduce the front of your jeep to their head. Playability is where this game falters slightly. It is very hard to get the jeep to about face, and on top of that, you can walk through the edges of the buildings, drive your jeep under closed barriers and walk through the enemy. But that is just being picky.
Fernandez Must Die is a good little game, but it does not really add anything to the mounting pile of Amiga innovations. The Amiga is a young machine and its limits have not even begun to be reached. Shouldn’t programmers be going for something new?
CU Amiga, November 1988, p.56