Battlestorm logo

TITUS * £24.99 joystick

When it comes to bolshy little space-fighters blasting around the universe there has never really been the freedom to operate outside anything other than a horizontal or vertical corridor. But not anymore. In Battlestorm, thanks to some innovative multi-directional scrolling, you can loop-the-loop, zigzag and somersault just about anywhere you want.

Each level is laid out as a square, with gun emplacements set into the ground which spit bullets, while enemy fighters bombard you in droves. Once the last fighter of an attacking group is destroyed you collect extra lives by picking up the dainty pink pods they leave behind.

Every so often the speed, fire-power and all-round pluck of both you and your opponents is increased by the arrival of a mothership on the grid. An arrow signals her whereabouts so that you can go and do the business (look out, she leaves mines in her path) and pick up more pink pods.

Eventually the battle gets so fierce and an even bigger, badder battleship cruises in. Shortly you will either be dead or will have reached the second half of the level. Played over the same territory, but vertically scrolling, it sends you up screen to attack an end-of-level gun emplacement.

The initial problem with Battlestorm is its multi-directional scrolling and henceforth the odd joystick control systems. There are two types to choose from. The first, and most natural, is where 'down' corresponds to your fighter moving down the screen, while the second simulates how you'd be pushing and pulling the stick if you were actually sitting in the cockpit - nasty when you think about it, because pressing 'up' can make your ship do the exact opposite.

Get down ship
Once you've cracked the controls, though, the game comes to alive. The overhead view zips around with beautiful smoothness and clarity. There are three difficulty modes, but even the easiest is pitched at a demandingly high level, which ensures Battlestorm is always a challenge.

It's best not to dash around; take out the gun emplacements in one area and stay there. Then you don't have to put up with so much fire power being aimed at you and there's more time for thought in-between enemy attacks.

Extra dimensions
It may not have the breadth and grandeur of a game like SWIV - it remains a rather plain game to look at despite its silky scroll, and there could have been a bit more to it - but it does make up for this with the dimensions of its playing area. In fact, it may be setting a standard that other programmers could well be emulating in the not-too-distant future.

If you want the kind of relentless shoot-em-up that will have your stick clutched in a sweaty palm while you dart around the monitor then Battlestorm just about takes the biscuit.

Battlestorm logo

Hier kommt zur Abwechslung mal nicht der tausendste "R-Type" clone oder das soundsovielte "Xenon II" Plagiat - hier kommt ein richtig eigenständiges Ballerspiel mit vorzüglicher Spielbarkeit!

Eine Sache hat Titus' Action-Sturm aber doch mit jedem 08/15-Ballerspiel gemeinsam, nämlich die haarsträubende Hintergrundgeschichte: Ein Weltraumarchäologe ist gerade von einem Ausflug zum Ende des Sonnensystems zurückgekehrt und stellt entsetzt fest, daß böse Aliens seinen Heimatplaneten restlos verwüstet haben. Wonach schreit das? Nach Rache, wonach denn sonst!

Ehe man aber in seinen turboschnellen Abfangjäger klettern und sich für diese Unverschämtheit revanchieren darf, muß erst noch der Schwierigkeitsgrad bestimmt werden: Im Practice-Modus sind die Angreifer ziemlich harmlos und der eigene Flieger unzerstörbar, dafür kommt man hier nur bis zum Ende des ersten Levels, dann geht's automatisch zurück ins Hauptmenü.

Wer alle acht Level kennenlernen will, muß entweder Rock, Ape-, Average- oder Master-Modus wählen, wobei letzterer selbst für den abgebrühtesten Ballerveteranen eine echte Herausforderung ist.

Im Spiel greifen als erstes flinke Alien-Formationen an; wer einen ganzen Verband wegputzt, erhält seine Belohnung in Form einer Energiekapsel zum Aufsammeln (Energie kosten vor allem die tückischen Bodengeshütze!).

Nach einer Weile erscheint dann ein Pfeil am Screen, der den Rächer der Enterbten zum gegnerischen Mutterschiff leitet, das unter Zeitdruck zerstört werden muß. Ein paar Treffer später ist auch dieses Problem erledigt, und es darf wieder gesammelt werden - diesmal gibt's Energie und Extras (zwei verschiedene Laserarten, Plasmageschosse, treffsichere Raketen und Turbo-Power).

Irgendwann erscheint dann endlich eines der großen Battlestorm-Schiffe; diese Biester sind besonders zäh und geben erst klein bei, wenn sie an zwei bestimmten Punkten mehrfach getroffen wurden. Ist auch das geschafft, kommt ein vertikal scrollender Zwischenlevel, anschließend geht's im nächsten Abschnitt mit einer andren Hintergrundgrafik weiter.

Battlestorm ist rasant, sauber programmiert und spielerisch sehr ausgefeilt. Das eigene Raumschiff läßt sich exakt steuern, man kann es drehen und in alle Richtungen damit fliegen, die Landschaft scrollt dabei immer flüßig mit - und zwar multi-direktional! Es stehen sogar zwei unterschiedliche Joystickbelegungen zur Wahl, aber der automatisch eingestellte Modus reicht eigentlich völlig aus.

Auch die Präsentation der Weltraum-Hatz geht in Ordnung; Sprites und Animationen sind gefällig, der Sound besteht aus den üblichen Schuß- und Explosionsgeräuschen plus unaufdringlichen Begleitmusik.

Zu bemängeln sind eigentlich bloß die teilweise etwas lieblos gestalteten Hintergrundgrafiken, besonders die Wüstenlandschaften sehen traurig aus. Ein verzeihlicher Schwachpunkt, handelt es sich doch bei Battlestorm schlicht und ergreifend um eines der besten Ballergames auf dem Markt! (C. Borgmeier)

Battlestorm logo

From the boxed-copy blurb, Titus would have you believe that Battlestorm is a state-of-the-art game set to revolutionise the genre. 'The Ultimate shoot 'em up featuring 50 images per second, multi-directional scrolling, hyper speed and acceleration!' scream the cover-lines. It's a pity that the game fails to live up to such hyped-up expectations.

It's not a bad game, but most of its features have been seen before and now look decidedly stale. If a new shoot 'em up wants to cut the mustard with today's game-hardened punters, it's got to offer something new and innovative. With Battlestorm it's just more of the same old tired formula.

The plot is as tired as the gameplay: Your home planet has been forcefully occupied by an invading army of warrior-like aliens and the populace put to death. It's up to you to exact a bloody revenge by blasting them into so much space dust. Piloting an Airbone Atttack Craft you have to locate and destroy four enemy headquarters and finally liberate your planet. Original, eh?

Featuring a bird's-eye view of the action, the game is made up of four different levels with two sections apiece. The first section in each level is a multi-directional blaster whilst the second is a vertically scrolling section. By creaming an attack wave of fighters, pods are revealed which, when collected, protect your craft from one hit by an enemy missile.

Run out of pods and your ship takes a one way trip to oblivion. Certain pods add different weapons to the standard shot. Pulsars increase the speed of your shot while there's also the opportunity to collect twin-fire, homing missiles, plasma bolts, speed ups and invincibility shields depending on the current level.

There are a variety of enemy ships to take out. Most follow simple attack paths and are somewhat predictable. An Enemy Mother ship lays a trail of mines to make blowing it up a bit more difficut. However, by manoeuvring to one side it's possible to dodge anything it spews out. More of a challenge are the Battlestorm Starships, big muthers with port and starboard gun turrets, which hunt you down relentlessly.

A number of ground defenses also cause problems muli-directional, tracking guns fill the sky with fire and trapdoor gun emplacements suddenly spring to life as you fly past.

Battlestorm is a competent shoot 'em up but nothing else. The graphics are not exceptional and the sonics are hardly credible. There's a lot to do in each level, but even set at the hardest skill level it's a tad easy. As a full price game it can't hack it with the likes of SWIV. Wait for this game's debut at a budget price.

Battlestorm logo CDTV

£29.99 Titus

Surprise, surprise, it's an Amiga arcade game. Yet more massive use of the potential of CD-ROM - I don't think. This is simply an omni-directional kind of shoot-em-up that is in the mould of something like Psygnosis' recent Amnios. It's not even a particular good one, and with absolutely no concessions at all to the medium of CD it has to remain a disappointment.

Should we even bother describing the gameplay? Well, you whiz around the screen shooting things and collecting other things. The graphics are rather nice, there's two different control methods and a bunch of levels. And that's about yer lot. Mind you, it comes on a a very pretty pictyre CD.

Battlestorm logo CDTV

TITUS * £29.99

An average shoot-'em-up transferred direct from the Amiga. You control a spaceship and attempt to destroy bases on a large multi-directional scrolling map with many enemies making life difficult. It's not a great game and has no enhancements for the CD version.

Battlestorm logo CDTV

Was soll man sagen: Die Baller-Orgie im Weltraum gleicht der herkömmlichen gleicht der Amigaversion wie ein Ei dem anderen (vom besseren Sound mal abgesehen). Nach wie vor gibt's acht Level mit reichlich Gegnern, vielen Extras, ansprechender Grafik und einstellbarem Schwierigkeitsgrad. Lest einfach den Test im März-Joker, addiert 20 Prozent beim Sound, zieht dafür (wegen der Infrarot-Joypads) 10 Punkte bei der Handhabung ab, und Ihr wißt, was Sache ist.