Alien Breed: Tower Assault logo Amiga Computing Gold

Team 17 bring us more blood, guts and gore in a game that once again pits you against the Alien Breed. Gareth Lofthause takes a stomach churning tour.

INTRODUCTION

This time it's war, which isn't much of a surprise really - things weren't too friendly in the other Alien Breed games either. That's right, Team 17 has made another sequel in the vastly popular Breed series. Once again we can expect enough violence and bloodshed to convince parents that Mary Whitehouse was right about computer games.

For many gamers, though, the excitement of battling against hordes of Giger-style aliens has been enough to entice them back to buy the follow-ups. Can this latest instalment maintain the same magnetic appeal?

STORYLINE

The inhabitants of a mining colony on Azarin 2E discover that they were not the first to set up shop on the planet, when hungry alien creatures that have been there for years decide the outpost will make a great banqueting hall.

Before they get chomped, the humans manage to get a mayday to your combat ship. You join a bunch of marines in an assault on the tower complex but - oh dear - everyone else gets killed, leaving you to sort the Breed out yourself. Sounds familiar?


 

FLASHBACK

This type of game, as I've suggested before, has its origins in an arcade game called Gauntlet. This had the same viewpoint, was multi-player and involved fighting monsters and finding keys in order to progress.

The first two Breed games took this very playable idea and dressed it up with the atmosphere of the Alien films. The general consensus seems to be that this is the best implementation of the idea yet.


 

SOUND

It doesn't matter how good a game like this looks if the sound effects aren't up to scratch. Pulverising aliens with streams of cannon fire wouldn't have quite the same appeal if it was accompanied by sorry little bleeps and pings.

Thankfully, Tower Assault resonates with high quality samples. Whether your strafing an alien legion with machine gun fire or annihilating a power generator with the tri-lazer, it sounds like serious damage is being done.

For those attracted by the more gruesome aspects of the game, you'll be pleased to come across aliens noisily gorging on human cadavers.

A female voice gives you computerized guidance throughout the game, thankfully all in an English accent that doesn't grate on the ears. Her warnings help to concentrate the urgency at particularly desperate moments.

Music accompanies the opening title screens creating a sense of apprehension, but during the game there doesn't seem to be any. That's not much of a criticism, though, since blaring tunes would not be in keeping with the style of the game.

87%

 

GRAPHICS

It has to be said that the visual approach of the game didn't much for me initially. An overhead view reminiscent of the old arcade hit 'Gaunlet' hardly seems ideal if you're trying to create the excitement of a claustrophobic conflict in the dark.

Despite the limitations of this approach, however, a closer looks shows how impressive it can be when used imaginatively. Check out the screenshots and you'll see for yourself how detailed and atmospheric they are.

Right from the start, Team 17 shows its commitment to a high standard in graphics. The shattered wreck of your drop ship at the crash site is beautifully drawn and as you set off, the smoothness of the scrolling promises fast, slick action.

The atmosphere in Breed games is of vital importance. There would be nothing special about this series of games if it were not for the well-drawn locations and the familiar fearsome-looking aliens. Team 17 appears to have made great efforts to include variety and detail into the look of Tower Assault. As a break from fighting his way through labyrinthine buildings, our hero travels between towers on the planet surface, avoiding meteor showers as he goes.

The extent of the massacre in the storyline soon becomes visually apparent. Some buildings are littered with bodies everywhere you turn, each of them gruesomely mutilated and splattered with blood.

New to Tower Assault is the inclusion of dark levels. Here, aliens attack with little warning, their presence only identifiable by the flow of their eyes. This is an exciting and overdue addition which makes for a frantic and often suicidal battle.

80%

 

OPINION50%

Not a game I found instantly appealing, Tower Assault took a while to win me over. Once I became obsessed with improving my fire-power, however, I became increasingly hooked.

I particularly like the two-player option. Playing with friends suddenly makes computer games less nerdy and more sociable. If you have no friends (and I don't) you might try hiring some stand-ins.

It would be good to see Team 17 applying its undeniable talents to a more original concept than this. The idea at the core of Tower Assault is very old indeed.

All the same, the formula is still working very well thanks to some very imaginative variations. Recommended for Breed fans everywhere, it's also a must for anyone who hasn't played this type of game before.



Alien Breed: Tower Assault logo

Tall Scots bloke Steve McGill bloodthirstilly guns down aliens in Team 17's latest in the Alien Breed series of games. And he discovers that it's not one for the squeamish.

Everyone in the world of Amiga games knows about Alien Breed. The Gauntlet clone that managed to better the original in terms of plot, playability and good fun.

The first version of this Amiga institution first appeared way back around Christmas time of 1991. Since then, it's seen many incarnations, notably Alien Breed Special Edition and Alien Breed 2.
There wasn't a great difference between one version and another, although Alien Breed 2 boasted a hardness that saw the average gamer throwing their arms up in surrender at the 90 degree difficulty curve.

Alan Bunker assured AF that Tower Assault was the last venture into Alien Breed that Team 17 would ever produce. Which, while assuming the mantle of retrogressively "no, don't go, don't go" weaned sentimentally, seems like a good thing.

As a glorious tribute and an excellent send off, Tower Assault boasts 55 levels and 275 different methods of completing the game; a feature more than welcome to those who found the linearity of the originals more than exasperating.


The game has extra gory parts which have earned it a 15 rating from ELSPA.

Alien Breed fans will appreciate the gesture and find that there's a lot of meat in here both in terms of difficulty rating and plot. They're going to be able to indulge in a gore fest while at the same time test their mental faculties like never before.

Run to the hills
There's also some new mechanics and ideas thrown in to add more variety, such as the use of a two-button joypad to activate a retreat mode which automatically faces your man backwards so that he can shoot as he runs away. This opens up the possibility of having two players venture through the corridors back to back, guns blazing as they go.

And speaking of two players, a toggle's been put in so that player's shots can hurt each other. Quite why they would want to is another matter. The game's difficulty enough as it is and peace through superior firepower is a maxim that can almost be reached with a duo of players.

Every level has its own separate mission to be fulfilled before it can be considered completed. To find out what it is, the player first has to jack in to one of the computer terminals dotted around the various complexes. Just like the original, weapons, ammo and other info are accessed from these handy devices.

To help navigate, a limited map can be accessed. Full maps of each level are stumbled upon from time to time, and these can prove invaluable. They help the player calculate which doors need to be opened and which don't. So, over-reliance on the map never happens. Use of memory is necessary in order to make efficient use of door and colourcoded key passes. Multiple exits from each level also add to the variety.

The game has extra gory parts which have earned it a 15 rating from ELSPA; mostly for mutilated corpses with loads of blood. An alien feeding from the body of a dead human is shocking. But in a good way - it adds extra impetus to wiping them out.

Tower Assault rates as the best Alien Breed yet. I didn't like it much as a one-player game - it was too hard. But as a two-player game, it's compulsive, fantastic to play and one of the best blasts seen this year.



Alien Breed: Tower Assault logo

Nach dem ersten Alienbraten, der Special Edition und der Zweitauflage hat Team 17 nun eine vierte Draufsicht-Schlacht im Ofen: Diesmal darf der Action-Koch die AUßerirdische Brut auf dem Planeten Azarin rösten.

Wie einst beim bald drei Jahre alten Original rennt man auch hier wieder allein bzw. Als Team über eine Obwerwelt und durch "Gauntlet"-Dungeons im Techno- oder Organolook.

Der gezückte Laser brutzelt dabei Aliens aller Rassen und Klassen, stärkere Waffen wie z.B. einen Flammenwerfer gibt's an Terminals und herumliegende Nützlichkeiten wie Schlüssel, Munition oder Energierationen werden natürlich eingesackt. Dabei sind diverse Aufträge zu absolvieren, also etwa Geiseln zu berfreien, alles Leben in einem Stockwerk zu vernichten oderr auch mal unter Zeitdruck explodierende Korridore zu durchhetzen.

Daß nun wieder deutlich mehr Spielspaß als im vergleichsweise etwas lauen Alien Breed II aufkommt, liegt im Detail: Wer 1,5 MB unter dem Haube hat, darf das Schlachtfest auf die Festplatte nageln und dabei zwischen Standard- und AGA-Version wählen - beide Fassungen finden sich auf ein und denselben Disketten, so daß man beim Austieg zum A1200 sofort in den Genuß von leicht verbesserter Präsentation kommt.

Besitzer eines CD32-Pads schalten zudem ohne Zuhilfenahme der Tastatur zwischen den Waffen um bzw. "Retreat" Mode ein, welcher den Helden beim Rückzug das Ballern nach hinten ermöglicht. Auch der seinerzeit übertrieben hohe Schwierigkeitsgrad wurde entschärft, wodurch nun selbst Solosöldner eine reele Chance haben, irgendwann der finalen Alienkönigin den Garaus zu machen.

Schnickschnack wie Zwischenbildchen oder Scoreen zur Charakterauswahl findet sich zwar kaum noch bzw. gar nicht mehr, ein abwechslungsreiches Gameplay aber sehr wohl: Die rund 50 durch Tunnel oder Aufzüge miteinander vernetzen Abschnitte unterscheiden sich in Design, Aufgabenstellung und Spieltempo stark voneinander.

Im Actiondreß versteckt sich hier also fast schon ein kleines Adventure, denn die ausgedehnten Gänge und weiten Hallen, die Geheimräume und verborgenen Türen wecken in der Tat der Forscherinstinkt! Dabei schützt das feine Automapping vor Irrwegen, ein haltbarer Schutzschild vor zu frühem Verlust eines der drei Anfangs-Leben und die überarbeitete Grafik vor optischer Langeweile.

Sicher, die in alle Himmelsrichtungen scrollenden Szenarien ähneln denen der Vorgänger, wurden aber mit mehr "Räumlichkeit", neuen Monstern sowie zusätzlichen Hintergrundanimationen ausgestattet.

Musik ertönt allerdings nach wie vor bloß im Titelbild, doch die hervorragend in den Spielverlauf integrierten Sound-FX und Sprachfetzen sorgen schon für die richtige Atmosphäre.

Klares Fazit: Die vierte Alienjagd ist bestimmt nicht die originellste, aber doch ganz klar die ausgereifteste - und mit 49 Märkern auch ein preiswertes Vergnügen! (rl)



Alien Breed: Tower Assault logo

First there was Alien Breed, and then there was another one of it. And now there is a sequel to the other one. Of that one.

Let us imagine for a moment that Tower Assault is being 'pitched' to a film company with a view to using the plot for a science-fiction picture. The besuited executive has been enticed with the 'pitch'. "It's Aliens meets Lethal Weapon 3" (deciphered in his reptilian mind as "Grimy, smoky SF buddy movie") and is awaiting a more detailed 'treatment' of the plot.

You lean forwards in the unpleasant virtual-leatherette chair, describing an ellipse with your pallid hands. "It is the future," you begin, using simple words in view of the executive's enfeebled mind. "A military outpost on a distant planet has been overrun by sanguinary aliens slightly modified cosmetically to avoid legal infringement. You are part of the taskforce dispatched to save the day. But with no one to instruct it differently, the automatic defence computer regards you as intruders and destroys all ships but your own."

"Crash-landing in the surrounding desert, you and the only other surviving soldier must fight through the minefields, first-stage aliens and auto-cannon to enter compound." You stifle an elaborate yawn. "Of course, the two soldiers are completely mismatched and loathe each other with a white heat." The executive's eyes shine at the ingenuity of the idea and you plunge on.

"Once inside, you discover that the defence computer has gone into full siege mode. Subsidiary systems have been damaged by the aliens, with the result that each of the six towers of the complex is misbehaving differently. With one, for example, you have to circuit its base and manually start the power generators before the doors will open; with another the generators are overloading the door seals and must be destroyed, But your objective is the same in each: set the self-destruct mechanism, and escape." The executive's mouth forms around the obvious question about nuking the site from orbit, but by pointing to a teacup and looking surprised, you distract his attention.

"Now obviously the odds are far too great for the pair to survive. So new weapons are available from the computer stations scattered around, if you have looted enough currency from the victims you find." You jiggle your hands as if moving a popular cocktail. "Bit of moral struggle there; one of the soldiers a hardened mercenary, the other baulking at robbing the dead. Anyway, a lot of looing as you also need keys and lift passes, and expensive maps. Why is this, you're asking?" The executive is closely examining the teacup, but you rap him in two and strike the executive across the head with a cushion and tear down the walls and crumple the room into a ball and throw it in the wastepaper basket and leave.


You die in the maze of burning corridors

AAARGHH
Consistency, chums, that's the key. Consistency begets atmosphere, begets suspension of disbelief, begets success. Tower Assault is exasperatingly inconsistent, and so fails. Great play is made of the towers built with deliberate dead ends? (So after playing carefully for 45 minutes to build up your powers, you trigger the self-destruct and lose everything in 30 seconds because unless you happen to pick exact the correct route you die in the maze of burning corridors?)

Why are there no floor signs to indicate exits? (There were in Alien Breed) Why can't you switch off the external defences? (So getting to a tower isn't made as ludicrously difficult a task as surviving inside one). Why can't your incredibly powerful guns shoot over stones or through wire-link fences, and why are all the major doors one-way? (So the process of maneuvering you where the designers want you to go is clever and discreet rather than obvious and infuriating?)

Why is the collision detection so amateurishly poor? (In the desert, rocks cast shadows these are counted as part of the rock, which means you can't go through a clearly wide enough gap because it's in the shade. You can get hit by an alien that gets slightly nearest, jammed in a corridor because the second player is standing off to one side, and blown up by a one-way door because you looked at it funny).

Why do aliens appear and vanish randomly if the screen scrolls away from them? What possibly is the justification for having radioactive areas? (Not only are you facing aliens and rogue security lasers that are indestructible, sadistically placed and wipe out a quarter of your energy with one shot but you now get hurt by standing in a room).

Why do painstakingly destroyed desert cannons regenerate? Why can't the second player join in halfway through? Why hasn't it been debugged? (You can get stuck in the graphic of an exploded generator - and - this one took quite a bit of working out - if you pause using a CD32 joypad in the mouse port, the game locks up). In short, how can a 1994 release from a consistently satisfying software house be so wretched?

NNYGGGGHHH
Look, I'm not joking here. You may think that I'm obviously stupid, and that practically everything I've whined about is a legitimate gaming device in the eyes of God, but it's not. The previous Alien Breed games were hard enough, and had their share of stupid problems (the collision detection, the smugly confusing self-destruct mazes) but this appears to have been solely to anger its players. How can you compete fairly with a game whose idea of a good time is to have a torch lit, maples level with no wall markings, or require you to run over mines to blow open doors (but hey, that's okay because there are medikits inside), or transport you to a sub-level where you clumsily have to blow yourself up to escape?

A whole week of playing (including two stoical seven-hour sessions) has done nothing to alter my opinion that Tower Assault is a horribly dishonest and utterly funless game.



Alien Breed: Tower Assault logo

Price: £29.99 Publisher: Team 17 0924 201846

Those colonist chompers are back once more in the final instalment of the Alien Breed saga. We sent in champion alien eater Rik Skews to kick some butt. And shoot some too.

If Team 17's Super Stardust is the Asteroids of the Nineties then Alien Breed must be Gauntlet. Released just over three years ago the classic space based blast 'em up put a then fledgling company on the games software map.

Set around a human colony desecrated by aliens the game cast the player and an optional chum as galactic marines set in to find out what had happened to a space colony and then to clear the place of the aliens discovered within.

The plot was corny and uninspired but the execution was superb. Alien Breed was put together by a team of seasoned PD coders who included renowned graphic artist Tobias Richter and the then largely unknown computer musician Alister Brimble.

Everything about the game reeked of polish, from the silky smooth scrolling, atmospheric music and FX down to the arty black box which has since become a Team 17 hallmark. Such was the success of the game that a 'remixed' budget version was released (another successful formula that Team 17 have since re-used on other top titles) which went on to become one of the best-selling Amiga budget titles of all time and a sequel, last year's Alien Breed 2.

Tower of power
Now Alien Breed Tower Assault is upon us the most obvious question is whether this is more of the same or something a little more original. Judging by the game's plot it looks like the former.

Picture the scene. It's far into the future and the place is Azarin 2E, a planet rich in Tellrinium, a vital element used in military spaceship hulls. A military research unit is based here but unfortunately so is something far more unfriendly. That's right, another horde of aliens who just love humans (especially between two slices of buttered bread) are also living there and, breeding like bunnies, they start munching their way through the populace once more.

Now the universe might be a large place but after three previous colonist wipeouts at the hands (claws?) of aliens which fit the description of those here, you'd have thought the inhabitants of Azarin 2E would have clicking something was afoot when they kept tripping over assorted limbs and entrails of their companions. But no, clearly these colonies are staffed by the sort of people who have the life expectancy of a red jumpered extra from Star Trek and consequently it was goodnight Azarin 2E for anything human.

This time round though, a few of the colonists managed to survive long enough to get off an SOS. The dreadnought Herona was the interceptor and after jotting up on previous breed encounters ten dropships of trained and prepared crews were launched. As the saying goes, though, military intelligence is a contradiction in terms and the dropships neglected to take into account the base's defences. With nine dropships destroyed things weren't looking good for the crew of the tenth but they got a whole lot worse when only the player's character survives the crash. Oh dear. So once more it's down to just one man to sort these aliens out for good.

Thankfully the game itself is far more satisfying than the plot. Although the scenario and much of the gameplay is similar to previous Breed titles (why change a winning formula after all?) the implementation is better. For a start the 50 new levels are a lot less linear than before with multiple exit points. This adds considerably to the lastability rating because as its now possible to come back to a level once completed and play it again through a different route.

And it tends to stop the frustration of being stuck for ages and performing the same tasks over and over as the different routes throughout the game tend to have an easy or difficult rating. If one particular zone is causing trouble then next time round other, hopefully easier paths open to the player can be tried. Team 17 claim there are over 250 ways to complete Tower Assault.

Pulp puzzles
A puzzle element has been introduced on some of the levels but don't fear shoot 'em up fans, this accounts for only a small percentage of the total game. For instance, one of the earlier routes requires all the auxiliary generators ina zone to be found and activated before a door later in the level will open. The other main new gameplay feature is the retreat mode which lets the player fire behind while running away. Although only a small point it helps avoid the frustration of say, trying to open a door while an alien sneaks up behind and attacks.

As well multiple exit points the levels themselves are much more variety packed than has often been the case. For instance some levels are set in the dark with only the aliens' eyes and a torch providing limited vision. The effect is similar to the night driving sequence in the old arcade game Spy Hunter, if anyone can remember that far back. There's new variets of alien too, including ones which burst from cocoons and others that are invisible.

Upon playing Tower Assault though, its improvements in the audiovisuals which are first apparent. There's far more graphical detail here than had been the case previously. Player sprites and backgrounds in particular deserve special praise, being both highly detailed and fluidly animated.

There is a definite downside to the detail though: some of the floor debris can look like collectible items. The yellow credits are particularly prone to this, which I found frustrating, especially after expending several keys trying to reach them. Sound too, has been suitably beefed up, even more so if playing on an A1200. If you don't have access to a stereo monitor this game is a suitable reason to consider a purchase.

Squeal like a pig!
Some of the squeals the aliens make after being hit are quite disgusting and feature a fine reverb effect. The best use of the sound though, is where the aliens are seen feeding off the humans. This is graphically depicted and the reason the game carries an 11+ rating. I'm not a great fan of ratings in games but the above scenes are some of the most gruesome I've seen in a 16-bit product and rank up there with Dreamweb so it's probably a good thing if it keeps parents happy.

Out of interest the mutilated bodies were supposed to appear in the original Alien Breed but Team 17 decided against it. After the furore surrounding the supposed violence in Mortal Kombat last year it would have been interesting to see whether Alien Breed would have sold better if it had been released with all that 'adverse' publicity.

Still the Breed series has done very comfortably well so far and Tower Assault should do the same. In my opinion it's the best of the titles and would have scored much more it wasn't a sequel. The multiple exit points and puzzle elements and of course far more levels will keep blasting fans involved for longer than the original title did, as well as breaking up the frantic blasting action that became a chore in Breed 2.

The difficulty curve has also been well judged, unlike Alien Breed which was too easy and Breed 2 which proved ridiculously tough. As it stands if you own the original Alien Breed this is still a worthy purchase. It contains much more variety and will no doubt prove to be a longer lasting gaming experience, as well as removing minor gripes like not being able to fire backwards.

If you haven't previously bought one of the series the same recommendation applies but if you've got Alien Breed 2 have a good look first as Tower Assault has a lot of similarities. It's definitely the best of the Breed bunch though and a very fitting finale to a classic Amiga games series.


Litterbugs

In order to avoid becoming the aliens' main course the colony inhabitants dropped everything upon encountering their not very friendly visitors. This has resulted in the grounds of each level being strewn with pick-ups, the most useful of which are detailed below.

  • AMMO PACKS: You can never have too many of these.
  • PERSONAL DATA CARDS: Scour these for any useful information.
  • KEYS: A far quicker way to open a door than filling it with lead!
  • MEDICINE: A quick dose of this will heal wounds a treat.
  • CREDITS: Buys better upgrades. Lower value green credits also available.


Alien Breed: Tower Assault CD32 logo CD32

Team 17 * 01924 201846 * £29.99

Two months ago friends, we reviewed the floppy version of the latest Alien Breed incarnation, Tower Assault, recommending it with a 83 % score. It returns, this time wearing the CD32 cap and priced some £10 more than its floppy pal. For the extra money, you receive, on the same CD, mind, the original Alien Breed 2 and a seven minute intro sequence which, if you can suspend belief for a brief moment, resembles the cast from Emmerdale remaking Star Wars.

If that sounds somewhat derisive, apologies, for it is most entertaining fare, in an odd sort of way. Former AF editor Marcus Dyson plays a starring role as the chap who decides whether the other chaps in the spaceships can shoot things. But, of course, you do not buy a computer game for its intro sequence, unless you bought Microcosm

So, the game. It's a viewed-from-above shoot-em-up. You are in possession of a gun, and you're invited to wander corridors and shoot the inhabitants. And with over 50 levels, there is many a corridor to walk.

New features include dark levels where you feel your way by torchlight and a retreat facility allowing you to walk backwards and still shoot (woooh) the fiends. Tower Assault is extremely difficult, particularly in one-player mode - aliens proliferate blasting you from all angles, and you kind of get the feeling that it's unfair.

Play with a friend and the difficulty level is rather less painful. Missions must be completed on every level - computer terminals contains the mission info, while maps offer limited assistance for navigation around the many rooms. But you often find yourself hopelessly lost, stumbling around searching for the exit from the level.

If you're a fan of the Breed series, then chances are, you will enjoy Tower Assault. Mere mortals though, may find it frustrating. The original Alien Breed 2 is excellent, but a bit tough to begin with, too.



Alien Breed: Tower Assault CD32 logo CD32

Welche Mühe sich Team 17 mit CD-Umsetzungen gibt, ist spätestens seit "Super Stardust" bekannt - und auch ihr actionreicher Alienbraten mundet vom Silberteller besser als eben noch aus der Diskettenschachtel!

Bereits die banale Hintergrundstory vom Überfall der Außerirdischen auf die Azarin-Kolonie und der anschließenden Verteidigingsschlacht wird in dieser Version zu einem ersten Höhepunkt des Games: Für das neunminütige (!) Intro wurde die Geschichte mit Hilfe des Raytracing-Programms "Real 3D" in derart packende Weltraumkämpfe, rasante Kamerafahrten und überwältigende Bilderstürme verwandelt, daß dem Betrachter die Kinnlade bis in die Kniekehle klappt.

Nach diesem Meilenstein in Sachen Amiga-Animation muß das eigentliche Spiel da natürlich abfallen, aber was soll's? Immerhin enthält die CD ja gleich auch noch den Vorgänger "Alien Breed II" also doppelter Alien-brutzelspaß zu einem absolut friedfertigen Preis!

Hier wie dort erinnert die Draufsicht-Action an den allerersten Alienbraten" und damit an das klassische "Gauntlet" Prinzip: Mit einer Handvoll Leben im Gepack läuft man über Planetenoberflächen oder durch die verwinkelten Gänge einer Raumstation und macht die massiv anstürmende Brut mit dem Laser bekannt.

Stärkere Waffen, Torschlüssel oder Infos zum Spielablauf sind an Terminals erhältlich, während Credits, frische Energie für den gebeutelten Schutzschild, Munitionskisten oder andere Nützlichkeiten (Automapping etc.) bloß aufgeklaubt werden müssen.

Tower Assault spielt sich also ähnlich, aber dank des ausgeklügelten Designs doch deutlich schöner als seine Vorgänger: Da gibt's nun etwa den praktischen "Retreat Mode" für gut gedeckte Rückzüge, und der immer fair Schwierigkeitsgrad gewährt auch Solosöldnern eine reele Chance auf das Tete-a-tete mit der finalen Alienqueen.

Schnickschnack wie etwa eingestreute Zwischenbildchen fehlt zwar auch auf derr Schillerscheibe noch, die altbekannten Qualitäten des Games blieben dafür vollzählic erhalten. Dazu gehört der missionsartige Aufbau der rund 50 mit Tunnels und Aufzügen untereinander verbundenen Abschnitte ebenso wie viel, viel Abwechslung - mal steht die Such nach einem Geheimlevel an, dann gilt es wiederr, einen Generator zu aktivieren, Geiseln zu befreien oder einfach nur unter Zeitdruck einem explodierenden Korridor zu entkommen.

Die gelungene Steuerung und einen Gutteil der Präsentation kennt man dabei bereits vom A1200, aber auch die neuen Monster und die zusätzlichen Hintergrund-Animationen in den soft scrollenden Levels können sich sehen lassen.

Und die aufwendige Soundkulisse (Titel-musik, FX und etwas Sprache) trägt gleichfalls zur fesselnden Atmosphäre bei.

Wer also ein CD32 oderr einen AGA-Amiga mit CD-ROM besitzt, darf unbesorgt zugreifen - auch wenn es Tower Assault schon wegen der Konkurrenz aus eigenem Hause ein wenig an Originalität mangelt und der Hit somit in der Schublade bleibt. (rl)



Alien Breed: Tower Assault CD32 logo CD32

Team 17/£30
AP45 46%

Tower Assault CD32's intro is everything an intro should be. Okay, so the window is rather small, but concentrate and after a few seconds you don't notice. And a few seconds out of a SEVEN-AND-A-HALF MINUTE intro isn't too much, is it? Yep, over seven minutes of rendered ships, pitched battles, lasers, explosions and even some lovely acting (I'm not a film critic, you know) which all rolls together to produce the best and most interesting intro I've ever seen. It's up there with some of the best PC CD-ROM titles money can buy.

Which makes it all the more embarrassing when the game finally appears. Jonathan Nash gave Tower Assault 46% last month, infuriated by a host of shortcomings, none of which have ben remedied on the CD release. By way of compensation you do get the original Alien Breed 2 (AP32 81%) on the CD as well, but then you're charged an extra £10 for it, and they haven't even taken out the tedious, pointless first level.



Alien Breed: Tower Assault CD32 logo CD32

Price: £29.99 Publisher: Team 17 0924 385 903

The CD32 has been under-used since it first went on sale. Bringing out games for it has largely been a process of porting Amiga or PC products across and tarting them up with some sound. No one has been bothered to really take advantage of its combination of CD-ROM drive and AGA chipset, until now it is.

Team 17 are many things, top partying geezers, purveyors of quality software to the masses and black sheep of the industry. They've gone their own successful way and remained faithful to their developer roots, but there's one thing they are not - actors.

Well, I suppose they are now, in a manner of speaking, because three of them star in the first real filmed CD32 intro sequence. The Alien Breed Tower Assault intro has been put together using live action footage and speech by producer John Allardice, combining Lightwave rendered space ships and cut scenes where the Marine Commander, played by Marcus Dyson, gives instructions in a deep Yorkshire accent to two Space Marines. It borrows from a wide range of sci-fi and action movies, most notably and predictably Aliens 2. What a coincidence.

That said it's actually a pretty good intro, if a bit corny and over long. The screen takes up about one fifth of the monitor and because of this it has an acceptable frame rate update rate. It's also shaped roughly like it would be on a wide cinema screen so after a few seconds you forget how small it is.

The intro movie does tend to go on a bit though. After you've seen it once or twice you'll want to skip past after the first minute or so, which contains some stunningly atmospheric music as well as a rendered planet and spaceship. Last month we mistakenly quoted the price for Tower Assault on floppy disk £29.99. We were wrong. It is in fact £19.99, but this version definitely costs £29.99. Why? Because it's not only got the rendered into it's also got Alien Breed 2.

But the primary reason for buying this CD still has to be Tower Assault, the last of the Breed series and in many ways the best. It falls in terms of difficulty between the first two: more so than Breed 1 and less so than Breed 2.

Once again it's a top down view shoot 'em up for one or two players. The graphics have become more detailed and gruesome with the addition of dead and mutilated bodies around the levels, hence a voluntary 15 rating. Other new features include none-linear progression through the game, with Team 17 claiming that there are over 270 different ways of completing it, and there's also a 'retreat' mode that allows you to back away from an object or breed while firing at it, it's a classic game and a fitting finale to the series. Need I say more? No. Get it.


Check this out...
Tower Assault will be famous and infamous in equal proportions for its cinematic intro. Either way it's still a ground breaking idea. Check out these stills...
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