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Necronom logo

Publisher: Linel Price: £24.95

GAMEPLAY

Impossible yet addictive, the aim of all shoot em ups. It gets so hard that even a gaming supreme like me is hard pushed to make it past the later levels. There is enough here to keep you going for a fair old while I should imagine.

SOUND

A bit lame really. A definite sense of "I have heard it all before".

GRAPHICS

While not as outstanding as some of their older releases the smooth scrolling and interesting sprites are well done. The backdrops are a bit poor.

Necronom WELL, the interesting thing here is that apparently sideways scrolling shoot em ups are beloved of all nearly intelligent races. You are at one side of a latticework of levels, the premier bad mother (TM) is on the final level on the other side. If you complete the first level, you have a choice of three levels and two directions to go in, so even if you cannot get any further, at least you will be able to play four levels.
The levels around the edges tend to be easier than those straight up the middle, but as you would have to play one or two more to actually get to the other side, and as they are all horribly difficult, the value of taking the roundabout route becomes a moot point.

Anyway, off to level one, and it is arm your ship time, to the accompaniment of a simple yet menacing tune. You get five points to spend on: Ship speed, bullet spray directions, bullet strength, bouncing bombs/missiles, the disruptor, shields and score multiplier. Since it is nice to have lots of everything there obviously is not enough to go round. If you finish the first level you get an extra two points, but sorting out your original five is tricky. What you need is a bit more speed, lots more bullet power, and once bouncing bomb. At the end of this level you need to be able to change your fire pattern so a point has to go on that.

Right, on with the action. A smallish screen scrolls pretty smoothly from right to left. Sprites are reasonably good, but the scenery does not match even Menace, never mind Blood Money. There are two real bottlenecks on the first level, where the scenery closes in, and killer berserker sprites gallop madly at your ship. Manic jabbing of the fire button is required in places, while careful manoeuvring is called for in others.

If you finish a level you get a password, but you are only allowed up to three passwords so you need to be able to complete two or three levels per game in order to get to the end. Personally, I find it impossible to believe anyone could do this. If I, as naturally gifted as I am, find the going nose bitingly difficult then I am sure you lot certainly will. You do have to learn the patterns, know what is coming up next, and you do have five lives to help, but it is still fiendish. And that is only the start. Out of the next three possible levels, one is virtually impossible, on is almost impossible, and the other is merely very hard.

While not really matching the releases from recent years in terms of outstanding graphics and sound, Necronom is passable to good in all departments, and offers the severest challenge to joystick hotshots since... um, since the last one.

"Game Zone", Amiga Computing, Issue 31, December 1990, p.51



Necronom logo

W Necronom hy does anyone write horizontally-scrolling shoot-em-ups these days? They are all the same: they have all got a little ship that goes from the left to the right side of the screen (without ever getting there), shooting at other little ships that go from the right side of the screen to the left of the screen shooting back. All the little ships that shoot back take three hits to kill, but such is the superiority of their ordnance that they only ever have to hit you once.

They are ll have an end-of-level guardian who never actually guards anything except the start of the next level, which is always like the last one, except the green things that you are not meant to run into are no longer green, they are red This is not to say that shoot-em-ups cannot be good, in fact they can even be great, but why would anyone bother writing one that was destined, from its inception, to be absolutely crap.

A good shoot-em-up...
And Necronom is crap, no two ways about it, and there is no excuse for it either. It is not as if the programmers have set out to do something new and innovative and failed through no fault of their own. They have set out to imitate first rate games like R-Type 2 and Z-Out, and make a quick buck into the bargain. The only way they will make that buck is if there are enough fools out there ready to be easily parted with their money.

Rather than look at what Necronom is, let us consider what it is that makes a good shoot-em-up good! Firstly, lastly and middlely it is gameplay, 16 levels of parallax scrolling, interactive HAM backgrounds and a full stereo soundtrack may add a little to a game’s perceived value, but if the gameplay is not there, then the game is a lemon. If it is any good it should start so easily that you think it is a doddle really, and it then turns nasty without you even noticing. A good shoot-em-up makes you feel that when you lose a life you were just got the better of, even though you played well, and next time you know what to do, and how to beat the bit that just relieved you of your last life.

A good shoot-em-up will leave you hanging on for the loading sequence to finish so you can get blasting again, it keeps you coming back! It is one f the most accessible forms of computer game known to man. A good shoot-em-up can have you addicted for life before you even finish your first game. After 10 minutes with Necronom you probably won’t ever want to play this game again, and after several determined hours, you will probably want to throw your Amiga in the bin and take up train spotting.

Strange icons
This game has none of the elements that constitute a good shoot-em-up, NONE! As with many of its peers, the first thing you do in Necronom is equip your vessel, and you then distribute a finite reserve of energy around the ship’s attributes by means of a control panel with indecipherable icons. This only sets the relative strengths, so as you pick up ‘global energy bonuses’ throughout the game, your powers are upped in the ratios that were originally chosen. So to ensure a comprehensive spread of powers later on, you start the game with a little energy spread very thin, making your shots, shields and smart bombs almost ineffectively weak to begin with. This is coupled with an array of aliens so fast, frequent and fireproof that you stand little chance of ever making it to more than one or two of the power-ups.

To worry about the lack of finishing touches, like the fact that the ship has little inertia, and has no feel, is rather redundant in a game which is so adrift in the basics. The intro sequence is gorgeous, featuring two sets of attractively rendered lettering drifting ghostly in opposite directions across a CAD display of your fighter ship, eventually spelling out the name of the game. But this cannot make up for the fact that Necronom just starts too difficult and is too unappealing and unoriginal to persuade you to pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and bother starting all over again.

I should say this is a game for die-hard shoot-em-up fans, but unless you have every single example of the genre ever written for the Amiga and you really need this one to make up your set, you should steer well clear.
Marcus Dyson

Amiga Format, Issue 30, January 1992, p.117

Necronom
Linel * £25.99
  • Not a particularly original gamestyle, and no twists to make up for that.
  • Joystick response, and lack of inertia make the ship feel dodgy.
  • ’Equip the Ship’ routine is dull and difficult to understand.
  • Graphics and sound are run-of-the-mill.
  • The gameplay is... wait a minute, what gameplay?
Verdict: 23%


Necronom logo

Na, wenn das nichts ist: Eine waschechte Weltpremiere im Joker! Auf dem ganzen Globus seid Ihr die ersten, die erfahrten, was von Linels neuem Action-Streich zu halten ist. Passionierte Alien-Killer dürfen schonmal den Joystick wetzen...

Necronom Was gab es im Vorfeld nicht für ein Gerangel um dieses Spiel: Zuerst wollte man einen Nachfolger von "Insanity Fight" machen, dann war man sich über den Namen nicht im klaren, aber nu’ isses endlich fertig. Zwar mußten wir noch ohne reguläre Verpackung und die dazugehörigen Beilagen (in Planung ist z.B. ein Logbuch mit allerlei technischen Daten) auskommen, und die Vorgeschichte steht auch noch nicht so genau fest, aber wer braucht bei einer zünftigen Weltraum-Ballerei schon eine Vorgeschichte?

Necronom beginnt mit einem schönen Intro samt fetziger Titelmusik (übrigens auch vom Grafiker Michael Tschögl), dann gelangt man auch schon in ein Auswahlmenü, wo man seine Credits in feine Extras, wie mehr Speed oder höhere Firepower investieren kann. Außerdem darf man sich auf einem verschachtelten Plan den Weg zum Ziel aussuchen: In der Regel hat man die Wahl zwischen zwei bis drei Leveln. So kann der Pilot also entweder zu einer "Besichtigungstur" starten, oder versuchen, das Game auf möglichst direkten Weg durchzuspielen. Je nachdem welche Spielstufe man ansteuert, gibt es noch ein Bonus-Extra auf den Weg, dann ist Ballerzeit!

Das tropfenförmige Schiff erinnert ein wenig an "R-Type", die Gestaltung der verschiedenen Spielstufen ist jedoch durchaus eigenständig: Da gibt es die sattsam bekannten Techno-Landschaften mit ihren diversen Verteidigungsanlagen, vorzeitliche Urwaldplaneten, ziemlich ausgeflippte Alien-Welten, den Kampf im freien Raum oder einen gefährlichen Flug durch einen dichten Asteroidegürtel. Alles ist sehr detailfreudig und in schönen Farben gezeichnet, auch die Animationen und das Horizontal-Scrolling sind ohne Fehl und Tadel. Soundmäßig hat man die Wahl zwischen Musik und/oder gelungenen FX.

Und wo bleiben die versprochenen Aliens? Keine Sorge: Kanonenfutter ist reichlich vorhanden, so richtig schön werden die Gegner allerdings erst in den höheren Leveln; zu Beginn machen einem vorwiegend abstrakte Feinde das Leben schwer. Aber die tollen Zwischen- und Schlußmonster (allen voran natürlich das Cover-Alien im letzten Level!) entschadigen für vieles!

Einzig die etwas unschöne Kombination aus einem reichlich hohen Schwierigkeitsgrad und einer leicht trägen Stick-Steuerung birgt Frust-Potential. Echte Baller-Artisten sollten sich dadurch jedoch nicht abschrecken lassen, zumal die Möglichkeit, verschiedene Routen einzuschlagen, und eine Paßwortausgabe (um nicht immer wieder bei Adam und Eva anfangen zu müssen) die Motivation durchaus am Kochen halten. Necronom ist nicht ganz so gut wie "R-Type", "Xenon 2" oder "X-Out", spielt jedoch in der selben Klasse mit und wird sicher bald eine eigene Fan-Gemeinde haben! (ml)

Amiga Joker, May 1990, p.33

Der Amiga Joker meint:
Feuer frei für Necronom: Linels neue Baller-Action mischt in der Oberliga mit!

Amiga Joker
Necronom
Grafik: 79%
Sound: 78%
Handhabung: 70%
Spielidee: 62%
Dauerspaß: 81%

Red. Urteil: 77%
Für Experten
Preis: noch offen
Hersteller: Linel
Bezug: noch offen

Spezialität: Nach jedem bestanden Level darf man wieder Extras kaufen, während des Spiels mit Space die Bewaffnung gewechselt und Return fördert (begrenzt) ein Schutzschild zutage. Highscores werden gesaved.



Necronom logo

Publisher: Linel
Price: £25.99
Authors: Martin Hall, James Thomas, Michael Schoegl (sound)
Release: Out now

Necronom 32 Action-packed Levels! 11 Different Scenarios! 48 Colours On Screen! 25 End Level Guardians! 3000 Frames Of Animation! 50 Frames Per Second! 300 Different Aliens! Totally Naff Load Of Nobby Old Trainspotter Waffle On The Back Of The Box Covering Up For Frighteningly Crap And Tedious Game!
We Thought!

So when this Armalyte-style horizontally-scrolling shoot-em-up actually turned out to be a seriously nippy and atmospheric blasterama with stylish graphics, quite a bit of imagination, a neat line in customised power-ups (similar to the coin-op and Mega Drive game Hellfire, if you are interested), reasonably groovy (albeit in a Jean-Michel Jarre kind of way) in-game music and sound, and a seriously demanding but not unfair level of difficulty, well, you can just imagine how surprised we all were.

Necronom initially looks totally uninspiring, and the next-to-useless manual does not help a bit when it comes to deciphering the moderately-complex system of weapon customising, but switch the auto-fire on, give it a couple of plays, and it sneakily hooks you. (If you have not got an auto-fire on your joystick, ignore this review entirely – you have got no chance).

It is very tricky, but perseverance pays dividends (unlike in Armalyte), and the later levels are different and pretty enough to make it worth keeping at. If you have finished R-Type II, this is your ideal next purchase.
STUART CAMPBELL

Amiga Power, Issue 09, January 1992, p.92

THE BOTTOM LINE
Actually pretty damn good blaster with a nice line in presentation and a challenge to tax even zapping experts. Auto-firing joysticks compulsory, though.
78

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