Baal logo

Psyclapse, C64 £9.99 cassette, £12.99 disk; Amiga £19.99

A rchaeology could well replace Martial Arts as the favourite science of adventuring heroes. After Indiana Jones and Rick Dangerous looting a few temples in the 1930s we move to the future for a spectacular unlucky 'dig'.

It's 1999 and you've just unearthed what appears to be mass burial ground dominated by a stone engraved with the word 'Baal'. When you mention this to a colleague he turns white and warns you not to touch the stone. You rush back to the site, but too late...

A horde of demons led by the horrific Baal have been released. Their aim is the destruction of the earth, but due to it being 1999 they've decided not to use fire 'n' brimstone - instead they've nicked the Ultimate War Machine. To prevent them using it you've been dropped in their caverns.

Rather than a cross and holy water you've got a laser to deal with the demons, and there's three add-on cartridges to be found in the caverns. Basic gameplay is platforms-and-ladders with lots of shooting on the way. The Amiga game consists of three domains, or levels, two large and one small. Collect all the war machine parts in a domain and a transporter takes you to the next. With C64 there's an additional 'small' domain. In each domain the platforms-and-ladders are divided into sections by gaps too large to jump. Instead a jet pack must be used. Fuel is limited and if you run out before you find somewhere to land you blow up!

On the Amiga you can save the game at special locations, whereas on the C64 you have to make do with a password given when you complete a level.

Robin Hogg I personally found Baal great fun to play, mainly thanks to its simplicity - a 'software boundaries' breaking program this most certainly isn't. The 64 isn't pushed anything beyond average with dull backdrops and generally drab presentation all round, the Amiga game bettering it only slightly in terms of graphic detail, with subdued use of colour as well. A lack of graphic atmosphere is mirrored by the sonics, which are sparse with no in-game tune. To my mind the 64 game comes off best overall; Both versions may play the same but the 64 has a better all round 'feel' and pace compared with the unforgiving Amiga game.
Stuart Wynne After some mediocre 8-bit conversions by Melbourne House, Psygnosis/ Psyclapse has now taken direct control of converting the impressive 16-bit line up. Baal is the first of these games, and gives us an opportunity to look at the original Amiga game which missed a review. The basic platforms-and-ladders gameplay is virtually identical on both machines, each version suffering from being a touch too tough and repetitive. But presentation is slick, and the degree of challenge provides good value for money with lots to explore and map. C64 owners in particular should welcome this game, which makes better use of machine than the Amiga version, and bodes well for the Blood Money conversion.