Bommerang bludgeonary galore with the....

Assassin logo

Team 17 * £? * 1/2 meg * Out now

A single pearly tear wells in the eye of a caring newscaster as yet another body of a ravaged child is pulled from the debris of a shellshocked building in war-torn Sarajevo. Angry defiant women converge on news cameras, asking in the name of God what kind of person would do this... and why? The camera pans around to reveal the remains of an army barracks on the Ulster border that still smoulders as the dead and wounded are rushed away by grim-faced paramedics.

While the Democrats and republicans continue to smear their respective parties, each one looking more stupid by the day, the inhabitants of a small suburban town in an unfashionable state of the USA mourn the relatives and friends lost by the deadly combination of a madman and a gun. Without a doubt there is a lot of violence on our planet, and the world of computer games is no exception. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to review an adventure promoting piece and harmony? Or a nice little program specifically designed to reunite the whole population?

Nah, it'd probably be dead boring - spend a good few hours finding your way through the various levels, earning bonus points for being polite and handing out food percels only to be confronted by the end-of-game boss who's doing everything in his power to avoid being presented with the bunch of flowers you brought them.

Team 17 think so too - that's why those kindly (and slightly mad) gentlemen who brought us Alien Breed and the stonking Project X have decided to let Sting and Bob Geldof concentrate on saving the world, while they get on with the task of producing murderous romps - this time in the form of Assassin.

You will be informed at the outset by the excellent sampled speech that the evil Midan, whoever he may be, lies deep in his underground lair, and that it's up to you to go in with, er... boomerang ablazing, destroying his cronies and finally taking out the chap himself. Coo, sounds a bit of a challenge.
Well, that doesn't bother you much - after all, you're an assassin. So in you go like any brainless hardcase should, hanging casually off the bottom of a chopper and chewing a match while tattooing yourself with a rusty spoon.

Once behind enemy lines you are alone with only the aforementioned boomerang to ward off hideous death by a hundred various methods. It's actually quite a good weapon- not like those crappy things rich relatives bring back from Australia that have a lower return rate than dirty books from a library.

Although quite weedy to begin with, plenty of power-ups are scattered around the levels that give it extra strength, speed, length of travel etc.

Beginning in the forest after dropping from the chopper, your assassin is met by gun-totting nasties who seem a little confused as to where the trigger on their weapon is. After approaching angrily and looking just about ready to use your leg as a toothpick, they lose all enthusiasm for their task and proceed to prod you meekly with the barrel of their guns.

It's a different story with the dogs though - they just won't let go and are absolutely determined to make your trouser leg their own. The sounds are dead realistic too - oud barks and nasty flesh-wrenching noises that made me want to go and hide behind my mum like I used to do when I saw a dog down our street.

Now that I'm on the subject I must say that all the sound effects are as indeed as the graphics - big bold-as-you-like sprites on colourful and detailed parallax backgrounds. The end of level bosses are awesome, using some of the best graphics you're likely to see in this type of game.

Assassin-dude is a pretty impressive guy too. He can run like the clappers, jump like a jack-in-the-box, hang from ceilings like a monster and stick to walls like a... like a... erm, thing that sticks to walls really well.

As well as the trusty boomerang, you can collect Mega Weapon power-ups throughout the whole game which allow you to wipe out hordes of gits at one go.

Each level is set progressively further into Midan's lair, until you eventually find yourself in the horrible labyrinth. People to watch out for in particular are the doctor who just wants to give you a little prick, the skeleton geezer and probably the last working miner in Britain.

You are probably aware by now that Assassin is far from an original concept in gaming, however, with top notch graphics, nice FX, difficulty settings and a choice of how many lives to begin with. It's an extremely appealing product nevertheless and should make fans of arcadey adventure-style shooty-uppies very happy for a good while.



Assassin logo

For most of us the word 'assassin' conjures up an image of a black-clad figure, silently creeping through the corridors of power in order to murder some unsuspecting politician. Team 17's latest release, though, puts you in charge of a boomerang-wielding maniac who's intent on making as loud an entrance as possible through the victim's front door.

Bulging with steroid-induced muscle, the Assassin has to seek out and destroy a 'tyrant of the highest order' called Midan. The game begins as the Assassin is dropped from a helicopter into the midst of Midan's guards, from which point he needs your help to fight his way into the villain's underground lair.

Here is where the fun starts. The programmers, Psionic Systems, have searched for a new approach to the platform game and come up with this questionable idea of boomerang tossing. Dispensing with firearms, they've given him a small, curved piece of sharp-edged steel (an 'ab-orginal' idea, I thought) which may seem insufficient for slaying Midan's armies. In fact, any soldier laughing at your Crocodile Dundee-like appearance is dispatched with a quick flick of the wrist once you've upgraded your weapons.

Boom-boom-a-bang
Rolf Harris jokes aside, the boomerang idea works well, once it's been beefed up. Difficult opponents, when they die, drop tokens which can be used to widen its flight and make it more powerful until eventually it's whizzing all over the place wreaking havoc.

However, the game's difficulty level is reminiscent of Team 17's last venture, Project X, which means you've got to work hard, or cheat, for your enjoyment. A few extra machineries of destruction are at your disposal if you can find them. These are called Megaweapons and include such destructive devices as heat seeking missiles and psychotic androids that you are expected to use mercilessly.

Midan's guards deserve pity. They're the first people you meet as you infiltrate the base and can be found in a variety of interesting positions. They're also very stupid, prodding you with things once or twice before walking away, which apparently constitutes death. Their dogs are far more annoying, having the sense to continue biting until you turn into an ashamed spirit (much like in First Samurai) ans ascend into heaven, or waggle them off.

A staggering 200 frames of animation create the main character alone (as the box raves) which becomes very obvious once you start playing. He skips fluidly all over the place, and scales obstacles in an equally lifelike manner, swinging from electrified cables and tree branches one minute, climbing ladders and piping the next - the variety of puzzling obstacles to negotiate is huge.

Wait until your billy boils
The themed stages are well complemented by mysterious sound effects. Few people, though, are going to see all of the 1,500 screens which make up the game, which is a shame since the artwork and sound are excellent throughout.

Several hours of fascinated play time with Assassin leaves you saying to Team 17 'Come one guys, we're only human!' Then again, hidden delights are scattered all over, which help you on your way, so the game becomes easier, and more enjoyable, with time. Boomerang throwing won't be behind the next generation of platform games, but it's certainly worth tying your Kangaroo down, sport, and going out and buying this.



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Bei "Alien Breed" waren sie noch unbekannte Newcomer, beim genialen Nachfolger "Project X" horchte man schon auf - nun präsentieren die Jungs von Team 17 bereits den dritten Action-Knaller in Serie!

Ja, mittlerweile wird die junge englische Company in einem Atemzug mit Psygnosis genannt, denn ihre Spiele nützen die technischen Möglichkeiten des Amigas gnadenlos aus. Kein Wunder, wenn sich die Programmierer in der Redaktion zu wahren Begeisterungsstürmen hinreißen lassen. Der Attentäter verwendet die volle 32 Farben-Palete, kann auf läppischen Zwei Disks mit 1.500 Screens aufwarten und verrichtet sein Tagwerk mit Hilfe von 200 einzelnen Animationsphasen.

Die Zocker dürften dagegen eher wegen der klassischen Bestandteile dieses bunten Action-Potpouris ins Schwärmen geraten: viel "Strider", dazu eine kräftige Prise "Turrican", abgeschmeckt mit ein bißchen "Ghosts 'n' Goblins" und einem Hauch von "R-Type". Gut durchgeschüttelt ergibt das fünf wohlschmeckende Level plus ein großes Showdown mit dem Oberbösewicht Midan.

Daß dazu neben kurzen Missionsbeschreibungen, einer witzigen Leistungsbewertung und vielen Bonusgegenständen auch ein ausgefeiltes Extrawaffensystem gehört, ist quasi selbstverständlich - das gilt schon weniger für die ungemein verzwickte, teilweise richtig labyrinthische Anlage der einzelnen Level.

Auch darf der Held durch die unterschiedlichsten Landschaften wetzen, die Bandbreite reicht dabei von Wald und Wiese über ein verzweigtes Höhlensystem bis hin zu einem futuristischen Techno-Park. Nicht minder illuster ist die Schar seiner Feinde, da gibt es Panzer, Roboter, Ekel-Würmer und vieles mehr.

Dennoch, die Grafik offenbart ihre Reize eher den Technikern als den Schöngeistern: Animationen und Scrolling sind tadellos, und die Lichteffekte in den dunklen Höhlen kommen atemberaubend, doch übermäßig detailfreudig ist die Geschichte nicht unbedingt. Ähnliches könnte man vom Sound behaupten, der mit Sprachausgabe und ausgezeichneten Effekten brilliert, doch die Marschmusik ist sicherlich nicht nach jedermanns Geschmack.

Die Sticksteuerung bietet enorm viele Möglichkeiten, so kann der Kerl beispielsweise in alle vier Himmelsrichtungen laufen, klettern, springen, Purzelbäume schlagen und sich an Ästen etc. entlanghangeln.

Leicht störend ist die mickrige Hauptwaffe, ein Bumerang mit ziemlich begrenzter Reichweite, der selbst nach Maximaler Aufrüstung immer noch weit von der Durchschlagkraf einer "Turrican"-Wumme entfertn ist. Zum Ausgleich darf man Smartbombs in sechs verschiedenen Versionen aufsammeln, die auf Dauer aber auch nicht die Wahnsinns-Abwechslung bringen.

Bemerkenswert ist auf alle Fälle der gesalzene Schwierigkeitsgrad, der weniger auf das Zeitlimit zurückzuführen ist als auf die oft hordenweise anrückenden Gegner, von denen einige sogar nur per Extrawaffe besiegbar sind. Also ganz ein Spiel von Action-Profis für Action-Profis! (mm)



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Had enough of all that daft ninja stuff? Fed up with all those commando daggers? Then why not use a boomerang?

There are many good fighters, but few top-ranking contenders. Many fall broken, battered and bruised by the wayside in their attempt to get to the top. But a small number do make it to the world arena - some through the amateur ranks, others on the streets, brawling and prizefighting. If you were to ask a member of the boxing fraternity about such fighters, they might well tell you of Sugar Ray Robinson and Marvin Hagler, both World Middleweight Champions. Both were in a class of their own, but at the top there was only room for one./p>

In the world of Amiga console-esque fight-'em-ups many, too, have come and gone. Some reach the Amiga from the sweat and bustle of the arcades, while others have been created solely for this, the most uncompromising of game machines. Like Hagler and Sugar Ray, they all have one goal - to be the best.

Leander and First Samurai were both 'able' contenders in the highly competitive field of wannabe Mega Drive games.

To survive such fierce competition, a game must have something special. Assassin's creators, Broadhurst and Dalton, brought you Dojo Dan, so they know the genre well. Team 17, publishers, see Assassin as their 'best creation to date'. But is that, in itself, good enough?

Assassin does have all the standard features of its genre - colouful, energetic graphics, multiple scrolling, lots of collectables, and an end-of-game baddie. And for inspiration, just for a change, we're not in a world of ninjas and samurai - Assassin looks to the Aborgines of Australia in several ways, not least the choice of an armoured boomerang as weaponry. (But don't ask what the others are. - Ed)

You are the assassin, living in a land torn apart by the abuse of the evil tyrant, Midas. He hides deep underground in a highly complex lair system. World security demands that his evil reign be ended. One man is needed to enter the lair and destroy him. A highly versatile and athletic hit man, you're dropped behind enemy lines. You must now end the reign and survive to tell the tale.


An unrelenting flow of evil in all shapes and sizes

The game is made up of five different levels, with an unrelenting flow of baddies and evil in all shapes and sizes. Your adversaries vary from snipers and mad construction welders to killer robots and pit bull terriers. The pit bulls introduce themselves at the beginning. They're bound to bring a tear to your eye as they use the elements of surprise and terror - you never know when or where they're going to attack you. It's almost as bad as the real thing, but you'll be damn glad it isn't when you see where they grab you. Blood spurts out between their vicious jaws and it takes some shaking to get them off. For an enemy to be so convincing in any game is some achievement. I defy anyone to be attacked by these vicious creatures and not cringe!

The strength of your enemy will depend on the skill level you've chose, which you'll find among the endless options at the start of the game. Each of the three skill levels, Rookie, Arcade and Ultimate, are designed for different player abilities. In Rookie level you can only see the first two levels, but this enables you to get used to the game structure within the confines of an easier time limit.

In Arcade mode you begin with three lives by default and play the complete game. Ultimate provides the toughest mode, rewarding you with the highest bonuses and strongest enemies.

Coming back to that Antipodean factor there's also a Boomerang selection mode, offering manual or automatic options. In manual mode you can select the effect of any boomerang power-up by firing at it with your boomerang. You'll earn such power by destroying an enemy and collecting the round capsule that remains. To change the effect of the power up capsule, you simply shoot it. Alternatively, in automatic mode it's impossible to change effects, but this does make a much faster game.

Even at the beginning of this game, then, you'll find that its variety and scope seem limitless. Another source of variety is the choice of lives on commencing the game - one, three or five. Greater bonuses are given for starting with one life, less for three and none if you start with five.

Assassin's energy system is very sensitive - you'll find that an uncontrolled fall will drain your energy just as much as a bad hit from enemy weaponry. Just as enemy strength varies, so too does the amount of boomerang power needed to kill them. Much destruction can be wreaked with your boomerang, but different enemies will require more hits than others, and in some cases a very precise strike will be needed to secure a kill.

Your aim is to get as far into the base as you can. You'll begin after being dropped by a helicopter in the woods. Fighting your way through the woods, you'll eventually reach a dome shaped building - the entrance to the lift shaft, level two. Make your way down the lift shaft to the construction zone. Here you must deactivate the crane to get into the third level, missile command. After reaching the launch computer enter into a mutation of flesh and evil doctors. If you manage to overcome the green putrid poisons and legless vomiting chimps, you're nearly there, but level five is no straightforward affair. Quite the opposite. It's Midan's labyrinth, and here you'll be treated to some Terminator-like beasts and weird chanting. Finally you'll get to meet Midan himself - you'll be both shocked and surprised. I promise. Assassin is nothing if not unpredictable.

As if the enemies and obstacles of each level weren't enough, there's a time limit too. Once a time limit is reached your assassin will really need a guardian angel over him, as reinforcements and stronger enemies attack him.


More than anything else, it's sheer size will hit you

Like any good console style fight-'em-up, Assassin offers you a wide variety of power-ups and collectables. Stars are just one example - there are loads to collect on every level. Get 99 and you'll be rewarded with a bonus life. There's so much to do in this game - at times it all seems too much.

Each level is packed with a variety of bonuses, and with so much going on it's possible to miss almost all of them (if you really try). You must search for these hidden extras. As you progress, power ups and collectables will enable you to gain more agile boomerangs, but that's not all. You'll score points bonuses, time bonuses and ultimately you'll build up special 'Mega-weapons'. You'll find these in the form of capsules in secret locations, which appear after you've destroyed a seriously BAD enemy. You can also find 'continue' bonuses, which enable you to continue the game from where you finished previously.

So that probably gives you some idea of the game's complex, but endlessly playable structure. Now you're probably wondering how the whole thing handles. My answer to that is simple - sweet asa nut (whatever that means). Everything is joystick operated, but within three modes.
Firstly without the fire button pressed down you control the assassin's movement around the scenery. He will interact with all scenery grabbing hold of anything to climb or swing from. It's this climbing and swinging action that will bring comparisons with Strider and First Samurai, but that's all there is to compare.

The movement is both smooth and powerful and the effort needed to control and activate the character's movements is minimal. General handling and controllability is very impressive - by pushing the joystick diagonally when your character hangs by his arms, a somersault can be performed resulting in a leap to the edge above. Holding the fire button down activates the boomerang in the direction you're facing. Boomerangs can be fired standing, crouching or hanging. If you've collected any of the pods press and hold the joystick button to access the impressive 'Mega weapons'. Look at the bottom of the screen to see which weapon is highlighted. Precise detonation can be achieved by holding the joystick up - this pauses the detonation. The handling and control are possibly the most satisfying aspects of Assassin.

With so much in there, it's impossible to cover it all, but the artwork and animation can't go unmentioned. Wild, innovative, brash and crude, they shock, impress and blend perfectly with Allister Brimble's sound effects. It all comes together to give Assassin a wonderfully tense atmosphere.

More than anything else, its sheer size and unpredictability will hit you. You never know what's going to get you next or where it's going to come from. Assassin performs with the arrogance and showmanship of Sugar Ray, but packs a punch like Marvelous Marvin. It's perhaps not as tight as, say First Samurai. But this is Team 17's finest moment yet.


MY BOOMERANG WON'T COME BACK
Boomerang power-up capsules. these are round and can be powered up more than once. Here's how you recognise them.
Assassin
This makes your boomerangs move in a wider arc when thrown.
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Gives your boomerang the power of multiplying to five.
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This increases the actual power of the boomerang - the weapon will take on a different graphical form.
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Boomerang speed is increased and the effect is thus improved.
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This will increase the distance your boomerangs are thrown.
ALWAYS TAKE THE WEAPONS WITH YOU!
Square 'Mega Weapon' power-up capsules are very useful, not only are they very destructive, but they produce some impressive visual effects too.
Assassin
With this you have the power to use the Robo-Walker mega-weapon. Two small robotic walkers are despatched damaging the first enemy in their path.
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Enables you to use a set of Proxim-Mines. These cause heavy damage to un-armoured enemies.
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This means you can active the flame-Storm mega-weapon. Huge bolts of fire leap from your soul (Yikes! - Ed), destroying all nearby enemies.
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This enables you to use the Flame-Path mega-weapon. A wall of fire which spreads outwards.

Assassin logo CU Amiga Screenstar

Following the success of their last game, Project X, Team 17 have decided to keep very much with an arcade theme. Mark Patterson aims his pen in their direction.

LOOKS CAN KILL
Assassin can be described in one word - Strider-esque. The similarity between the two games is noticeable right from the start. The main character looks similar to the one in Strider, he can also run real fast, hang off walls and ceilings and somersault through the air. Don't get me wrong though, although this game bears many similarities to Strider, it's actually a lot better.

The plot, or what there is of it, is the usual arcade excuse to go and kick some mad-man's behind. This time the villain is called Midan, and he's been targeted for assassination by the Allied Security forces as he has practically made himself the financial ruler of the world. Naturally, he's not going to go down without a fight, so he's had five gigantic, heavily defended levels put between him and the assassin, populated with all sorts of robots, tricks and traps.

The assassin is a very agile character indeed. First off, he can give many enemies the slip by employing his superfast running abilities. He can somersault onto platforms, climb and swing on background items, in addition to that he can also hang onto ceiling in true Spiderman style.

BOOMERANG BOY
Naturally, all these abilities don't mean squat to the enemy, who'll keep shooting regardless of acrobatics. So to defend himself the assassin is armed with a boomerang. We're not talking a Rolf Harris novelty product here, this boomerang is capable of taking apart armoured robots. It can be powered-up to make it faster, more damaging and so that it travels further when thrown.

In addition to the boomerang power-ups there are a number of mega-weapons to collect. These beauties range from heat seeking missiles, through proximity mines to a gigantic flame weapon. When found, these are activated by holding down the fire button a few seconds, then releasing.

The end room of each level contains a rather large boss, who naturally makes what you've just been through look like child's play. It's worth saving your mega-weapons for these sections, as the bosses each have a number of special attacks, which makes them very difficult to beat if you don't know what ordre they're coming in.

One of the most striking features about Assassin is its size. There are over 1500 screens spread across the five levels, so the onus is as much on exploration as in causing chaos. To help you out there's a really excellent collectable item which speaks the direction you've got to go in.

LEGLESS CHIMPS
Throughout the game the sprites have the same compact detailed look to them. Each level has its own set of bad guys, the best, to my mind, appearing in the genetic research lab where you're assailed by legless chimpanzees. Despite nice touches like these, the graphics are relatively simple throughout, on the other hand this does prevent the game from slowing down and leaves enough memory for the gigantic maps.

If you Amiga is connected to a stereo you're in for a real treat with this game. The sound effects are fantastic. Apart from the explosions, there are effects such as the wind blowing through the caverns, and the squelching foot-balls of the assassin as he runs across living-platforms.

Assassin is another sure-fire winner from Team 17, I wouldn't be surprised to see it take the Christmas number one slot. It deserves to.


WOULD-BE CONSOLE

Like many Amiga games nowadays, Assassin has borrowed several elements usually found in console games. There are three skill levels, starting at Rookie, where the enemies are more laid-back but you can only play two levels. The next level is Arcade where everything comes at you a lot faster, followed by Ultimate, which has ultra-hard enemies and minimal time limits. If that's not enough for you, the number of lives you start with can be set from one to five.
An extremely useful feature that first appeared in console platform games allows you to view what's residing just off the screen either below or above you. This is handy as you're often required to jump through gaps and off platforms where you wouldn't otherwise be able to see what was coming next.


Assassin Special Edition logo

Take a small man, any small man and drop him behind enemy lines from a helicopter, or perhaps an aeroplane, with a parachute of course, otherwise he'll die upon impact with the ground. Call him Assassin (politely, or he might kill you) and ask him to single-handedly take-on a vast force of evil hidden beneath the earth's soil. There, you've got the plot for a game.

Roger (that's what I call the little man) is armed with a deadly Pulse-Laser - an excellent device for dispatching the fiendish fools. In the original version, poor old Roger had nought but a boomerang so he's mightily pleased with Q for providing the new equipment.

Assassin Special Edition is a shoot-em-up on platforms (Roger wears silver boots though) and you roam underground collecting a variety of pick-ups and blowing away Robo Walkers and other bad dudes. Gold star collecting brings fruitful reward; get 50 and you can activate a Mega Weapon; collect 99 for an extra life.

The sprite moves fluidly, jumping around in a similar fashion to a breakfast show fitness host and with three difficulty levels you can gradually take on a tougher challenge. It's not wildly sophisticated action but it is incredibly playable - our beloved Ed removed me from the hot seat and assassinated merrily for two hours.

The original cost ß26 so an improved version at ß1 would seem on the face of it to be a good buy. And it is.



Für eine Handvoll Dollar weniger

Assassin Special Edition logo Amiga Joker Hit

Vor einem Jahr hat Team 17 schon mit der überarbeiteten Version von "Alien Breed" gezeigt, dass man ein Spiel zugleich billiger und besser machen kann - hier erleben wir die Steigerung dieses Konzepts!

Während sich das Gameplay des Originals eher an "Strider" anlehnte, tendiert die Neufassung stärker in Richtung "Turrican". Augenfällig wird das vor allem durch die neue Hauptwaffe, anstelle des mickrigen Bumerangs hat man dem Helden jetzt nämlich eine ausbaufähige Knarre spendiert. Dazu kann er immer noch so gut springen, klettern, Purzelbäume schlagen und sich an Ästen etc. entlanghangeln wie ehedem.

Bei den fünf Levels wurde der langweilige Abschnitt im Wald weggelassen, der verbliebene Rest von A bis Z überarbeitet und wesentlich durchdachter zusammengestellt als vorher.

Dadurch findet man in Großhandelsmengen vorrätigen Extras und Boni leichter, aber auch die Feinde haben inzwischen einen Benimmkurs absolviert und verhalten sich wesentlich fairer. Lediglich an der Hintergrundstory und den Obermotz Midan und den riesigen Endgegnern hat sich nichts geändert - das gilt natürlich auch für das (meuchel-) mörderische Spielprinzip.

Die grafischen und akustischen Verbesserungen sind weniger auffallend, aber doch spürbar; und über die tollen Animationen und das perfekte Scrolling konnte man eh noch nie motzen.

Also alles eitel Sonnenschein? Doch, so kann man es tatsächlich sehen. Ihr solltet Euch daher nicht daran stören, daß wir dem schon vor einem Jahr ausführlich getesteten Spiel diesmal nur eine halbe Seite gewidmet haben: Die Assassin Special Edition ist ein Action-Hit, wie ihn die Welt zu diesem Preis noch nicht gesehen hat! (mm)



Assassin Special Edition logo

Way back in AMIGA POWER 19 Matthew Squires (whatever happened to Matthew?) gave Assassin a massive 89% and said of it "Assassin performs with the arrogance and showmanship of Sugar Ray, but packs a punch like Marvellous Marvin... this is Team 17's finest moment". For Team 17 this was apparently not enough. In their admirable quest for perfection they have tinkered with the game before releasing it on budget so that we now have Assassin - Special Edition.

So what exactly have they changed? Well the first thing you notice is that level one has completely disappeared. Whereas before you started above ground and had to locate the secret entrance to the wicked overlord's base (by following the straight line the program allowed you, of course) you now start in the first level of the base immediately.

This sadly means no pit-bull terriers hanging onto your legs, a favourite feature of the original's first level. I realise that the government got tough on vicious dogs a while back, but I hadn't realised they'd been banned from games (dogs that is).

The second thing I noticed that had changed was the weapon our heroic assassin uses. Gone is the game's best gimmick, the boomerang, and in comes a very ordinary pulsey laser type thing that fires blue, er, spots. It just doesn't have the quirky feel of the original and that's a great shame.

Other changes are minor. The hero's hair has turned black (perhaps it's a disguise) and there are some barely noticeable changes in the way the character responds to your control.

So why bother changing things? I mean, Team 17 had an extremely good game, one that would have sold well on budget, and they've changed it. Probably due to some kind of internal misunderstanding. If this is an attempt to make people who own the original go out and buy it all over again then I hope that it fails, because those people are going to be unhappy when they get it home.

Having got that of my chest I have to report this is still an excellent game, full of fast action and 'beat the clock' fun. Assassin - Special Edition will keep anyone who hasn't played the original absorbed for ages. It just doesn't seem like the classic it sued to and that's a shame. There's a great motto - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. In this instance Team 17 would have done well to heed it.



Assassin Special Edition logo CU Amiga Screenstar

TEAM 17 CLASSIC OUT NOW £10.99

Even though Assassin was generally regarded of how to do a Strider clone on the Amiga, it didn't sell particularly well. However, because Team 17 are the software equivalent of the Midland Bank, they've listened to what the public didn't like about the original Assassin, tarted it up a bit and re-released it at a new easy-to-afford price.

As you may have guessed, the game's plot remains the same. Take control of the Assassin and make your way through four massive zones, with the ultimate goal being the destruction of Midan, a twisted, power-crazy being intent on causing havoc. On the way to Midan's base you'll encounter a range of crazed soldier-types which have to be take out before they manage to destroy you.

There are power-ups galore to be collected throughout your mission, which boost your firepower and make things just that little bit easier.

The most noticeable difference between this game and the original Assassin is that the main character now carries a more useful gun, as opposed to his boomerang.

This makes the game far more immediate - you no longer have to creep slowly through the levels if you don't want to (although you know what they say about fools rushing in) because your Assassin's newly-acquired weapon is so effective you can often take out adversaries before they even know you're there.

There can be no doubting that Assassin is an extremely polished platform game and at this price is well worth a look. But it's certainly not worth an extra tenner if you purchased the full-price version.