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Walker logo

Unser Preview zu dieser Robbi-Ballerei ist endlos lange her, dazu war sie schon auf so vielen Messen zu sehen, dass wir eigentlich nicht mehr recht an eine Veröffentlichung glauben wollten. So kann man sich täuschen...

Walker Jetzt ist das Ding sogar so schnell gekommen, dass es glatt unseren Bericht von der CES in Las Vegas recht überholt hat - Künstlerpech. Andererseits hat das dem Vorteil, dass ihr neben "Lemmings 2" noch ein weiteres Spiel von DMA Design im selben Heft findet, wodurch die ganze Bandbreite des Schaffens dieser schottischen Programmiertruppe offenbar wird: Einmal putzige kleine Wühler und dann wieder knallharte Brutalo-Aktion!

Hier geht es nämlich um einen Krieg in verschiedenen Zeitzonen, genauer gesagt, sind es vier Zeitzonen, die jeweils aus zwei Leveln bestehen. Der Spieler steuert einen Walker à la Star Wars über den horizontal scrollenden Screen und ballert auf alles, was sich bewegt. Trotzdem kein Baller-Business as usual, denn hier arbeitet man sich ungewöhnlicherweise mal per Maus und Joystick oder Tastatur durchs Gebüsch. Mit dem Cursortasten bzw. dem Stick wird gelatscht, und der kleine Nager bedient das Fadenkreuz des Todes. Dabei steht das linke Mausohr für den Abzug, während das rechte der Zielerfassung dient. Nicht unkompliziert, zudem gibt es weder Passwörter noch abspeicherbare Spielstände oder zumindest Continues, sondern nur drei Walker-Leben und die dürften selbst geübte Scharfschützen anfangs recht schnell verheizt haben.

Walker Ein gerüttelt Maß an Schuld daran tragen selbstverständlich auch die bösen Feinde, die ständig von überallher und in rauhen massen angreifen. Flugzeuge, Hubschrauber, Panzer, Kanonen, riesige Kampfroboter und diverse Soldaten bedrängen unseren einsamen Fußgänger mit Blei und Sprengstoff in allen handelsüblichen Ausführungen. Lustigerweise trägt das Verhalten einiger Gegner sogar "Lemmings" ähnliche Züge, denn wie manche Trooper sich anschleichen und an den Walker-Beinchen hochklettern, hat schon was verdächtig Vertrautes. Auch sonst kommt der Humor nicht zu kurz, etwa in einer Szene eine Eisenbahn durchs Bild rast und ballert, bis sich das Blech biegt.

Da die einzelnen Szenaristen in unterschiedlichen Zeitepochen (Weltkrieg, Post-atomar, Zkukunft, etc.) mit jeweils anderen Feinden angesiedelt sind, ist für genügend grafische Abwechslung gesorgt; das Scrolling ist sauber und flüssig. Am linken bzw. rechten Bildrand befinden sich Anzeigen für Temperatur und die aktuelle Schutzschild-Lage des Blechhelden - wenn er sich (zu) heiß geballert hat, muß er eine kleine Zwangpause einlegen, wenn er zuviele Treffer kassiert hat, eine unendlich lange. Musik und Sound-FX passen gut zur Atmosphäre, wobei die bedrohlich echt wirkenden Todesschreie natürlich Geschmackssache sind. Freilich, auch die Steuerung ist letztlich in den Griff zu kriegen, aber trotzdem eignet sich Walker nicht unbedingt für den schnellsten Schuß zwischendurch. Doch Actionfans sind ja bekanntlich sehr besonnene Zeitgenossen... (C. Borgmeier)

Amiga Joker, March 1993, p.34

WALKER
(DMA/PSYGNOSIS)
ROBOT - ACTION
72%
"BRUTAL"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPAß
72%
78%
70%
72%
61%
74%
FÜR KÖNNER
PREIS DM 79,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
1 MB
2/JA
NEIN
SPIELSTÄNDE
NEIN


Walker logo

DMA return to their shoot 'em up roots with their latest blaster. Our glorious leader and all-round psychopath, Dan Slingsby, kills maims and squashes everyone who gets in his way... but that's another story.

L Walker et's face it, good shoot 'em ups on the Amiga are a rarity these days. Activision's conversion of R-Type 2 was a competent enough blast, but moved at a snail's pace when the screen got too crowded. Then there was SWIV, which was fun while it lasted, but the difficulty level wasn't nearly tough enough. Only Team 17's Project X, with its arcade quality graphics and gameplay, really cut the mustard in recent times, and then it was so incredibly difficult that I bet few of you have progressed past level two even now! So it's encouraging to see no lesser talent than DMA, the people who brought you Lemmings, getting back to their roots and having a bash at coding a new blaster.

The result of their endeavours is Walker, a fast-paced shoot 'em up which puts you in control of a 30-foot human killing machine code-named the AG-9. Looking like a cross between ED-209 from Robocop and the huge mechanical transports seen in the Return of the Jedi movie, the towering machine is capable of spewing out an endless torrent of death from its twin machine guns mounted beneath its swiveling head.

The dodgy sci-fit plot involved some nonsense about two warring factions attempting to destroy each other by travelling through time and wiping out each other's civilisations. Leaving logic and the Space-Time continuum aside, it's not the most stunning excuse for a bit of blasting I've ever read, but does give some variety to the proceedings as you blast your way through four different time zones.

EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE
The aim of the game is simple: guide your Walker assault vehicle across a horizontally scrolling landscape blasting as much military hardware out of the skies as possible, while also taking care of the assorted ground battalions, mortar emplacements, tanks and other such obstacles. While not sounding very innovative, it's the pace of the action that makes the game such a winner – it just doesn't stop for a second. As soon as you've cleared one screen you're right back in the thick of things as another legion of enemy sprites charge at you.

Walker The Walker pod and the innovative control method are probably the game's most impressive features. More than 80 frames of animation have been used to depict the Walker, an impressive mechanical behemoth with two huge gun turrets mounted underneath its swiveling head. The high-tech beast is controlled by a combination of mouse and keyboard controls which might sound complicated but, in practice, they work a treat. Two keys control the backward and forward movements of the Walker as it moves about the screen while the mouse controls an on-screen crosshair. A click on the left mouse button unleashes a volley of shots in the direction of the crosshair, while holding down the right button locks the targetting system on anything that is near at the time. This is a much-needed option, as manually tracking some of the faster-moving enemy sprites is damn near impossible.

It's not just a fire-and-forget type game, though, as the machine guns can overheat and close down if you use the continuously, so short rapid bursts are the best way to make progress. There's also an energy level which decreases depending on the amount of enemy fire you soak up. This starts at maximum strength, but quickly takes a nosedive, so you can't just wade into the enemy and try and stomp them underneath your huge mechanical feet. It's best to try and keep your distance and pick off the enemy sprites as soon as they rush onto the screen.

FOUR-WAY FIRE
In all, there are four levels to complete, each made up of two stages. These were to include a blasting stage and then lead into a Prince of Persia-style runabout where you'd dismount from the Walker and pick up new ammo supplies and energy pods. Unfortunately, the latter elements of the game have been dropped in favour of cramming in more blasting action, so the second stage of each level is just more of the same. Good though it is, it can get quite monotonous at times and the runabout stages would have helped break up the action quite nicely as well as presenting more of a tactical challenge.

Another quibble is the lack of any kind of power-ups or add-on armaments. It's alright having an endless supply of small arms fire but where are the triple-way fire, smart bombs and bolt-on lasers? Merely slugging it out through each stage from a showdown with an end-of-level guardian gets a bit boring after a while, especially as the opposition possesses far greater firepower than your trumped up pea-shooters. I'd also question the difficulty level in places, especially when the screen is flooded with airborne-gliders - it's almost impossible not to sustain crippling damage under such an attack. Thankfully, you begin the game with four lives and each stage has a number of restart points, but even so it's a bit on the hard side.

Walker is a curious game in many respects, but the weirdest thing about the game is that it actually works better on a bogstandard A500 than it does on the A1200. The faster processor of the latter machine makes everything move just a little too fast. The ground troops rush onto the screen at warp factor nine and the airborne vehicles swoop down onto the Walker like some sort of bird of prey. On the A500 things quieten down a bit. Don't get me wrong, it's still fast and furious, but it all seems a little bit more realistic. The A1200 plays like one of those black and white movies that's been speeded up with the cops and robber charging about the screen like there's no tomorrow.

SONIC SCREAMS
The in-game sound effects are just brilliant. The mechanical clunking noises as the Walker stomps across the screen are excellent, as is the rattle of the twin machine guns as they rake the landscape. Then there are the screams of the snipers as they fall to their death and the droning sounds of a squadron of bombers passing overhead. The first level helicopters fly onto the screen with Little Richard's 'Long Tall Sally' blaring from the speakers in a tribute to Arnie's Predator movie. A lot of effort has gone into the samples used in the game and it adds significantly to the on-screen action.

The game's graphics are also a bit darned good. Although the miniature foot soldiers resemble Spectrum sprites at times and are even tinier than those use in Lemmings, they move realistically about the screen as they check their positions and run for cover once you left off a volley of shots in their direction. The war-ravaged scenery is quite spectacular, although the difference between levels isn't that noticeable – one partially destroyed tower block looks suspiciously like the next, no matter which time zone you're in. Where the graphics truly excel is in the depiction of all the various bits of military hardware, from the mortar emplacements and motorbike riders through to the armour-plated tanks and troop carriers to the absolutely huge Zeppelin that hovers ominously in the sky. The attention to detail is staggering and the copper effects used to illuminate the sky help lend an eerie look to the proceedings.

All in all, Walker is a more-than-competent blaster with a novel control system and some fast and frantic gameplay. A few tricks have been missed that could have dramatically improved the game, but you're still left with one of the best shoot 'em ups we've seen in a long, long time.

CU Amiga, March 1993, p.p.48-50

PROJECT: WALKER AG-9
STATUS: TOP SECRET
OBJECTIVE: ULTIMATE KILLING MACHINE

Walker

1. ENERGY SHIELD: Able to withstand multiple strikes from all manner of weapons. Built-in low-level indicator warns pilot of imminent shield collapse.
2. POD CONTROL MODULE: Reinforced titanium alloy shell with impact resistant glass and rip-cord ejection seat for use in emergencies.
3. ALL-TERRAIN C.L.A.W. MOBILITY SYSTEM: Specially designed to enable the Walker to move over any kind of terrain. Powerful enough to crush an armoured vehicle beneath them.
4. POWER-POD: Small fission-reactor capable of running for an indefinite period. Vulnerable to sneak attacks from infantry men.
5. TWIN-BARRELLED MACHINE GUNS: Capable of pumping out 600 rounds a minute at maximum power but subject to severe overheating. Automatic cut-off activated if overheating occurs.

TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE

There are four levels to blast through, with each one sub-divided into two distinct stages. Each level is set in a particular time zone, which is reflected in the kind of enemy hardware you'll encounter. Here's a quick rundown of what to expect in each zone.

WORLD WAR TWO
The Walker first materialises during the course of the Second World War and immediately encounters a parachute regiment and horse cavalry. Next up is a couple of low-flying USAF bombers which unleash their deadly cargo of bombs and then some heavy mortar fire kicks in. Watch out for the steam train loaded up with supplies – it cant actually cause you any damage but it can obscure the enemy troops hiding behind its wagons. There's also a huge Zeppelin which makes an appearance and whose firepower can be quite overwhelming. Thankfully, a couple of rounds fired into its hydrogen-filled underbelly will end its threat. The end-of-level guardian takes the form of a V2 rocket launcher. Fail to stop it from launching its rocket and you lose a life and have to go back to the last restart point.

URBAN WARFARE
The next destination for the Walker resembles war-torn Beirut and is a much more up-to-date scenario. Here, the enemy are kitted out with flamethrowers and motorised hang-gliders and are adept at laying mines and careering around in Mad Max-style cars which have built-in rocket launchers. There's also a very annoying guy who uses a grappling hook to shimmy up the side of the Walker vehicle and plant a bomb. To get him off, you have to rock the Walker from side to side and then blast the critter once he swings into the sights of your gun. Sniper fire is another hazard on this level, as are assault 'copters which zoom in for a quick kill. To take out the latter menace, blast away their rotor blades and they'll crash to the ground.

INDUSTRIAL LEVEL
The third time zone is exactly the same as the one we gave away on our January coverdisk, except even longer. If you missed it, tough, as I'm not about to tell you something almost everyone else already knows.

FUTURE WORLD
In the final level the troops are kitted out with their own personal jetpacks and fly in formation teams a la Moonraker. There are also all sorts of Terminator-style assault craft with laser barrages coming from almost every direction. Some of these expand once they've been unleashed and can fill almost the entire screen if you fail to take them out. The ultimate objective if you manage to get this far, is to trigger a nuclear explosion at the end of the second stage and thus win the war.

PSYGNOSIS £29.99
A500
A1500
A500+
A2000
A600
A3000
A1200
A4000
PSYGNOSIS, ROOM 2, SOUTH HARRINGTON BUILDING, 182 SEFTON STREET, LIVERPOOL, L4 4BQ. TEL: 051 709 5755
 
RELEASE DATE:
GENRE:
TEAM:
CONTROLS:
NUMBER OF DISKS:
NUMBER OF PLAYERS:
HARD DISK INSTALLABLE:
MEMORY:
 
LATE FEBRUARY
SHOOT 'EM UP
DMA
MOUSE/KEYBOARD
2
1/2
N/A
1Mb
 
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
80%
80%
80%
80%
A fast and frantic blast that won't disappoint.
OVERALL: 82%