Beads of sweat roll down your body, trepidation delays each step you take, and terror grips your heart in its icy grasp. Killer droids and beasts of voracious appetite stalk the cramped, dimly lit corridors of this desolate cargo freighter; the invasion force of an alien race committed to the extermination of humanity. Strewn through the dark halls is evidence of the beasts’ passage; corpses litter the grated deck and the sweet smell of blood is strong in the air."
This is how Angst is introduced in the manual – now why do I feel an anticlimax coming on?
This is a bit better. True, the gunfire is thoroughly unsatisfying, but at least there’s some sampled speech and the doorways open with a suitable noise. When you’re being attacked by the pods there’s a passable electric sizzling and the dinosaur monsters let loose a strangulated roar when killed.
However, you needn’t expect any in-game music to increase the tension as you wander from dead end to dead end.36%
Set on a spaceship designed using Lightwave and featuring aliens developed in Imagine, the graphics for Angst could have benefited from two of the Amiga’s finest creative packages. Why then, does it look only slightly more colourful than your average database program? Why are those Lightwave-rendered walls generally so black and featureless?
There are only five critters (sic) to fight within the game, and the ones I’ve seen are none too impressive. The first level features the pathetic pods with pincers, while later there are dinosaur monsters that could make the creatures in Deathmask look threatening.
Considering the lack of detail in the game, you’d think you could at least view the action through a decent sized window, but in Angst, three quarters of the screen is taken up by the control panel. There’s not much excuse for this, because some of the icons are just space wasters.
A lot of time is spent wandering around mazes, so the inclusion of a mapping device is a perfectly good idea. Unfortunately, this is so tiny as to be almost useless. It also updates very slowly, a problem Rave software say arises from the ‘primitive radio wave technology’ your character is using – hands up who’s convinced.30%
Visually unimpressive games can sometimes conceal gameplay of a surprisingly high calibre – just look at Tetris, for example. Sadly, there’s no redemption for Angst in this department either.
Fighting aliens in claustrophobic corridors could be great, but there’s zero skill involved and the whole experience is completely unconvincing. Add to that the tragic nature of the graphics and you should get a picture of how unsatisfying it all is. There are supposed to be puzzle levels included as a break from the action, but my only experience of this was wandering around empty corridors, opening door after door and finding the odd key pass. I daresay there’s more to it later on, but I think I did well to persevere for a couple of hours.
Unbelievably, Angst won’t work with a 1Mb Amiga because the program requires another 512k of RAM to run. Other peculiarities include the cat that it can multitask, the benefits of which are unclear to me.
This game has been previewed elsewhere as some kind of Doom variant, but you only have to look at the screen shots to see how ridiculous that comparison is. If anything, it’s more like the ancient Dungeon Master, only with inferior graphics and gameplay.
I’m sorry to stick the boot in on a game that has probably taken a lot of work, but it should not have been put out as a full priced commercial release. Angst means anxiety – presumably for the makers, because this game’s about as exciting as a walk in a multi-storey car park.