Apidya logo

Everybody's talking about greenish shoes at the moment. Or maybe that's green issues. It's hard to tell. But never slow to jump on a bandwagon (as long as it's running on unleaded), the software people have adopted the eco-stance with alacrity.

Apidya gives you a wasp to fly. And fly it you must, through five levels of heavily populated microcosmic blasting action. Yes, it's a horizontal shoot-em-up. Everything you'd expect to see in such a game is here. You start off with a single forward-firing stream of, presumably, poisonous wasp-spit. It's enough to kill the bees, midges, mosquitoes and sub-coptic mange-mites which swarm onto the screen.

Greenfly-related nightmare
As you buzz along, wiping out hordes of nasties, you are given flowers (once you've killed the right amount). Collecting these is not only a rather sweet tribute to the tiny lives you've snuffed during your fit of insectile genocide, but they also give you extra powers.

As in so many other shoot-em-ups, the collectables make you tougher and more resistant to the occasional contact with a nasty, and they give you three-way fire, huge bullets (or lumps of flob, whichever you choose) and a little drone (also pun-worthy) which orbits you, firing blindly into the oncoming bugs.

Of course, the payoff for all this pokiness is that you get to see some terrifyingly hard beasts. Quake in your shoes at the mere mention f the butterfly. Squeal in terror whilst trying not to think of the column of ants. Howl with ill-timed derision at the lethal snail.

This is the beauty of Apidya. Ordinary household pets such as bees, grasshoppers and pond-skaters are suddenly blown up to 50 times their actual size, and are doing their best to spray you with plasma-based laser death.

The game resembles a 'David Attenborough investigates the world of very small things' TV programme, but plays like X-Out. Storming playability combines with completely suckworthy graphics to make it an unmissable experience. And you can quote me on that.

Waterboatman massacre
The only thing that counts against the game is that it might be too tough for all but the most callous-fingered gamesplayer. Admittedly, whenever you lose a life, you do start within a few screens of where you died, but you lose all your extra power and weapons. This means that you could be stripped of about 80 per cent of your killing effectiveness. Not good when you're faced with a herd of suicidal fleas.

Time, though, will tell. The first level at least is easy to get on with, and you don't have to wait long before the completely gorgeous graphics start to manifest themselves in all their squidgy, squirmy glory.

Apidya is an excellent game. It deserves a Format Gold because, although it's a style we've seen a 100 times before, it looks so good, it plays beautifully and it's polished until it shines.

Apidya logo Amiga Joker Hit

Kennt ihr Kaiko, die Deutsche Programmiertruppe mit dem japanischen Namen? Solltet ihr eigentlich, denn bereits deren Erstlingswerk Gem'X war ein Erfolg auf ganzer Linie. Aber was die Jungs hier abgeliefert haben, ist nicht weniger als eine Sensation!

Was Neuabonnenten anhand eines Drei-Level-Demos schon vermuten dürften, wird mit der Verkaufsversion zur Gewissheit: Apidya ist das Actiongame am Amiga! Die horizontal scrollende Mega-Ballerrei degradiert noch den heissesten Konsolen-Knaller zum lauwurmen Spatzunder...

Dabei bieten die Zwei Disks erstmal nur ein hochst durchschnittliches Intro, in dem eine ebenso überflussige wie nichtssagende Vorgeschichte erzählt wird.

Aber bereits beim Optionsscreen beginnen die Auglein zu glanzen: Hier lasst sich unter anderem der Schwierigkeitsgrad, die Anzahl der Leben (drei bis fünf) und der verwendete Joystick einstellen, sollte also ein zweiter Feuerknopf vorhanden sein, kann er auch genützt werden.

Hat man sich schließlich noch entscheiden, ob man allein oder zu zweit (wahlweise abwechselnd oder im Team, wobei Spieler Nummer Zwo einen Satelliten steuert) antreten will, geht's ins eigentliche Spiel. Und spätestens hier fallt jedem Actionfreak die Kinnlade in den Schoß!

Gesteuert wird ausnahmsweise mahl kein Räumer, sondern ein wehrhaftes Bienchen. Mehrfach- bzw. Megaschuß hat der Baller-Insekt von Anfang an eingebaut, durch aufsämmeln von Blutensymbolen läßt sich der Feuerkraft noch erheblich steigern - Mit Kreiselschüß, begrenzter Unverwundbarkeit, Satelliten bzw. Schützdronen etc.

Die Waffenzahl kann man dabei selber unternehmen oder dem Computer überlassen. Letzteres ist ratsam, denn schon im ersten Level kommen die Gegner derart hektisch und zahlreich auf den Screen, daß man praktisch pausenlos mit ausweichen und feuern beschäftigt ist. Von Mini-Mücken über Hornissen bis hin zu Maulwürfen attackiert so ziemlich alles, was man sich an Wiesengetier vorstellen kann.

Im zweiten Level geht es unter Wasser weiter, hier liefert man Piranhas, Riesenkrabben und Wasserschlangen heiße gefechte. Die folgende drei Level sind nicht weniger umfang- und abwechslungsreich, in diversen Bonusstages lässen sich außerdem ohne Gefahr für Leib und Leben Zusatzpunkte ergättern.

Was sich hier so trocken liest, muß man selbst gesehen bzw. Gespielt haben: Nie zuvor gab es ausserhalb der Spielhalle so große und bunte End- plus Zwischengegner, nie waren die Angriffsformationen so phantasievoll ausgetüftelt, nie waren Gags (die Screen steht Kopf, Gegner mutieren, unglaubliche Lichtbrechungseffekte, etc.) so zahlreich zu bestaunen.

Dazu gesellen sich eine ausgefeilte Steuerung, Parallaxscrolling in Topqualitat sowie FX und Musikstucke vom allerfeinsten. Anders gesagt: Apidya ist absolut konkurrenzlos! (rl)

Apidya logo

No, we'd never heard of it before either! But with this new blaster will come fame and, indeed, fortune for newies Play Byte, we guarantee it. This is the best shoot-'em up-ever.

Creepy crawlies - I hate them. What would really make my day then, is for somebody to produce a game where you get to kill them. Lots of them. Something like - and this is just off the top of my head, you understand - a scrolling R-Type influenced shoot-'em-up, say, but with all that space age guff mutated into a daft insect-squashing scenario instead.

Y'know, replace the alien waves with spiders, water boatmen and the like, perhaps give the player a wasp or something to control, and - hey! - how about putting a few insect-munching mammals in place of end-of-level motherships? Now that would be my sort of game!

Of course, you have probably had a good look at these pages by now and realised that this is exactly what we are talking about here. From out of nowhere (well, from out of a subdivision of Blue Byte in Germany actually, the developers of games like Battle Isle), comes the wonderfully titled Apidya (latin for insect so I am reliably informed) and whadyaknow, but it manages to rescue the tired-looking horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-up genre almost single-handedly. Watch out insects, here I come!

I think most people would agree that the R-Type-style horizontal blaster has been a bit of a dead duck as far as full price releases are concerned in recent years. With a couple of honourable exceptions - SWIV and maybe R-Type II (though that is not a favourite of mine) - they have been small scale, uninspired and just plain weak.

It is not that I do not enjoy blasters - Defender is still one of my favourite games for instance - but without originality, a shoot-'em-up is nothing. That is why we were sceptical when Apidya cam into the office - but level after level has proved us wrong. It may at first appear largely cosmetic, but this game is a real breath of fresh air.

So how does it work? Well, against a complicated backdrop that scrolls constantly from right to left (with parallax used sparingly on some levels) the player's wasp character appears to be a small, fast moving and suitably 'buzzy' character.

The wasp begins the game with a lowly forward firing sting, but it is soon possible to amass a small army of drone wasps, assorted diagonally-firing missile-things, and a selection of other goodies.

Losing a life does not get rid of all the power-ups you have collected either - a nice touch, especially considering the toughness of the enemies thrown against you. Luckily there is always the super-sting missile for use in times of extreme trouble - just hold the fire button down for about a second, R-Type style, and away it goes.

The game also includes a two-player mode of sorts giving the second player the chance to control one of the near-indestructible drone wasps. It is a weird but neat compromise, which works surprisingly well.

More playability than any other shoot-'em-up

The baddies are quite simply excellent. Looking like nothing you have ever seen before in a computer game and with superbly-crafted attack patterns, it is almost a shame to blast some of them (particularly the cuddly mole in the garden world - it is soooo cute).

And just when you think that one world is getting a bit samey, it is onto the next one - new landscape layouts to learn and baddies to face. The use of above-and-below water scenery and insects in the pond world is inspired, for instance (though I am not quite sure how the player's wasp manages to fly underwater).

Each world, in fact, requires a new approach - it is the constantly shifting scenarios and subtle changes in game style which keep Apidya fresh - something which usually defeats even the best computer and arcade shoot-'em-ups.

And the praise goes on. I am afraid. Even the pre-game screen is a tale of user-friendly slickness - very MegaDrive-like, so Stuart tells me. And jolly comprehensive it is too. There are options for singly and simultaneous or alternating two-player games, plus all kinds of power-up, control and extra life setups. The configuration defined, it can then be saved - user-friendly or what?

Manages to rescue the genre almost single-handedly

Okay, so you reckon maybe the scenario is a bit single-minded? That once you have got over the Honey I Shrunk The Kids-style scale of it all, things will get as samey as they do with other shoot-'em-ups? Well, fear not, 'cos each level requires a playing style and strategy of its own.

And later on things really do get weird. From the garden, to the pond, to the sewer, things start to get techno in more ways than one. The player's little wasp character gets transformed into a bio-insect, for instance, and the monsters and backgrounds go accordingly metallic, too. World four is just awesome - with cogs and pistons grinding away in the background - real Metropolis stuff!

And then there is the music. How could I forget that? The entire soundtrack is context-sensitive - every major situation in the game has its own theme - and as touched on before, it too can all be heard from the pre-game screen. And not only do the graphics go techno on world four so does the music! A pulsating, danceable techno/hardcore/rave soundtrack thumps away in the background. It is a startling change from the near-lullaby tunes of the earlier levels - and were it to be released as a dance track, I would not be surprised to hear in the charts. This is, quite simply, the best Amiga game music in years.

Complaints? Get out of the pond! I guess it can get sick at times - the dead rat as an end-of-level baddies in the sewer level (maggots spout from its corpse once the flesh has disintegrated) is particularly gruesome and might not go down with too many old fogies. Personally, though, I find this gross-out stuff pretty funny (but then I am a sick kind of guy).

Nope, I am sorry I have not got any complaints. I am simply not going to pick faults with Apidya. it does what it sets out to do supremely well, and with more flair, more originality and more out-and-out playability than any other shoot-'em-up on the market.

The only thing I do hate is the fact that I cannot complete the bloody things. Curses. I would have got away with it if it was not for you pesky insects...


Before our hero can become an insect himself and go off in search of revenge, we need a sad tale of love and good versus evil. Here is one now...

Apidya: Intro
Here's the baddie. You can tell by looking at him, can't you?
Apidya: Intro
Look out! The cute babe is about to get insectised.
Apidya: Intro
Look mum, no filling! Our hero gets all emotional on us.
Apidya: Intro
The babe's gone all lumpy and pustulous. Time for revenge!

Apidya logo

Blue Byte bite back with a bug-infested shoot 'em up extravaganza. Dan Slingsby takes the lid off this particularly dangerous Hornet's nest.

The company behind such varied releases as Battle Isle and Atomino have now turned their attentions to a Japanese-inspired shoot 'em up. And it's weird.

The game's intro begins with an evil warlock casting a spell which sends thousands of insects rampaging across the country he unjustly rules. As the swam sweeps over the land, inflicting death and misery in their wake, two innocent cottage dwellers come under attack. Ikuro survives, but his wife is badly bitten and, as her life slowly ebbs away, her young lover swears revenge on the Dark Lord. All of this is rendered in Jap-style graphics and is quite superb.

The action takes place across five levels, each of which is made up of three stages. Each level has a theme and related nasties, with bonus points accrued for each completed stage and special bonus stages for successfully capturing special sprites. The first of these levels is set in a meadow crawling with bugs, insects and other creepy crawlies.

There are both air and ground-based nasties to avoid and all are capable of spitting nasty venom in the air. Starting with five lives, an additional life is granted at a set number of points, out just one hit is fatal to your small wasp. Various power-ups are available in the form of small red flowers which are released after certain nasties have been destroyed. Once collected, these can give a variety of weapon enhancements, including bombs, quick fire, deadly 'stinger' missiles and triple-shot. There's also a drone fighter add-on which hovers about your main sprite and give you some much-needed extra fire power.

Next, it's straight into an underwater sequence which takes place in a gigantic pond. Aquatic animals of all shapes and sizes inhabit the gloomy depths but, if things become too hectic, it's possible to fly back above the surface. Although this might get you out of trouble, there are also airborne opponents to counter as well as rocks and boulders.

Be careful, or you just might end up piling into a rock-face, your splattered remains reminiscent of all those squashed insects that collect on a biker's teeth after a long ride.

The sewer section comes next, complete with empty bottles and cigarette cartons as well as deadly toxins and skeletal piranhas. Come into contact with any of the poisonous vapour clouds down here and the screen flips, reversing the controls and making things twice as difficult.

Inexplicably, by the fourth level , your tiny wasp sprite has gained some metallic armour and is now pitted against a swarm of robo-bugs and laser defense turrets. It's very reminiscent of R-Type, which is no bad thing, but it comes as a complete contrast to the rest of the game.
It's undoubtedly the best level, made up of a number of maze-like tunnels, and incorporates some excellently rendered cybermutants and android opponents.

The final level pits you against the most dangerous creature the evil lord Hexaa ever created. Negotiating their nesting grounds, your final task involves their bloody destruction and the successful retrieval of the antidote for your ill girly.

Apidya is a competent blast, rightly enough, and some of the 32 colour graphics are very inventive, but it's not really in the top ranks of the genre. There are the usual end-of-level Bosses to take care of and there's a weirdo bonus stage which involves a mad scramble to collect as many bonus angles as possible whilst avoiding the stage's deadly devils.

At the start of the game it's possible to choose from four degrees of difficulty, a two-player simultaneous mode, and when an extra life should be awarded.

Two years in development, Apidya is an engrossing blast. Its intriguing design means you're actually getting five mini games in one, which can't be bad. It's not going to set the world on fire, but it's no damp squib either.


German-based Blue Byte, founded in 1988, have deliberately kept a low profile since their inception, preferring to have their games distributed by several European publishers such as UBISoft and Psygnosis. All that's about to change, though, thanks to an aggressive new marketing policy. From now on, Blue Byte games will be distributed in the UK by Kompart UK Ltd., run by industry veteran, Duncan Lowthian.
Apidya is just one of several new Blue Byte games scheduled to appear over the coming months. Other offerings include Battle Isle II, the sequel to one of the major popular strategy games of recent months, Ugh!, a two-player platform game set in the Prehistoric times, and Starflight One, a 3D space-trading game.

Apidya logo Zero Hero

The origin of the word 'Apidya' is not known. 'Toby Finlay' can be translated as 'lazy bast' in Serbo-Croat, so who better to review Play Byte's new shoot 'em up?

Apidya. It sounds vaguely rude, doesn't it? And with the publisher being called Pla Byte, I was hopin... er... worried that it was going to translate into some obscenity, and that the game would be full of scantily-clad girlies. This is (unfortunately) not the case. But what it loses on the soft porn side, it makes up for by being quite excellently violent - Apidya, whatever it may mean, is, you'll have learnt from the intro, a shoot 'em up.

The plot's as laughably thin as ever. This time, there's a geez called Ikuro whose chick's been attacked by a swarm of mutant killer run beans. (They're insects, actually. Ed). Well, they look like beans on the intro sequence. Anyway, Ikuro takes offence at this gesture (he evidently prefers carrots) and turns himself into a Venus-esque fly-thing to avenge his fallen female friend. Actually, if you can get another person to play, he brings a mate as a much more shandyish aphid which is about as much use as the jeep was in Silkworm (i.e. not much).

As well as yer standard gun, you can hold down Fire to make your fly let go with something which (rather worryingly) resembles a rocket-powered, um, 'gentleman'. But no shooter would he a shooter without a bag of bountiful bonuses, and Apidya is no exception. They're pretty standard really - speed-ups, lasers, droids and the like - but they do their jobs all the same. Let's face it, when it comes to battle it doesn't matter whether it's 'Super Nashwan Turbo Bitmap Brothers Power' or the enigmatically-entitled 'Spread Shot' as long as it blows things up.

Amiga reviewToby: Apidya? Oh well, I suppose it's a somewhat more inspiring title than Project X. You may have just read the Project X review and might be thinking that it's the new benchmark to which others will be compared. It ain't. You may also be thinking that Project X surpasses Apidya graphically, and, erm... you'd be right, but you should never judge a book by its cover (unless it says 'By Jeffrey Archer' on it, in which case it's bound to be crap). The unfortunate thing about the Apidya screens is that they tend to be so convoluted; it's easy to lose track of your fly (an experience not wholly unfamiliar to the male members of the ZERO team) and crash straight into something. However, this is only a minor flaw when one considers the merits of the game.

Apidya doesn't have Project X's speech, but it's got over twenty brilliant scores which play throughout. You can also listen to them via an option screen which enables you to put the game in Rosehip Tea mode (among many other things). The music reflects the frenetic nature of the game extremely well - although the screen scrolls at a fairly sedate pace, everything else moves at a blinding speed. When the action dies down, you find yourself waiting for a trap - that final attack which no-one spots until it's too late.

Play Byte have plenty of experience (the Tennis Tours (Pro tennis tour 1 & 2) and Battle Isle) and it really shows in this. It's a masterpiece. The nearest anyone's come to putting an arcade quality game on the Amiga for a long, long time. Buy it. Alternatively, change your name to Emelda Thimblebottom and move to Guernsey.Stop