IT'S a funny thing, but you can usually tell a program's country of origin after playing with it for about 20 seconds. Take French games, for example; nine times out of ten they have seriously weird graphics, Jean Michel Jarre-type music and a severe lack of gameplay.
German games have animated copper lists and more scrolling messages than Jolyon Ralph, whereas British games - if they're not just a coin-op conversion - concentrate primarily on functional graphics and horrid Top-of-the-Pops music. Then there are American games...
Americans have a great attitude to copy protection. They don't like it much. One of the reasons is that quite a few Stateside Amiga owners have hard drives, and will want to install the game to speed things up and get rid of all that tedious disc swapping. They demand that games are easy to use and techie friendly.
Like Colony for instance, which comes on two floppies, needs one megabyte of ram and will work in harmony with an A500. It also goes OTT in the way that interface mode and colours can be decided before play. More like running an art package than a game.
However, a game it claims to be.
And it comes with a plot that is mind staggering in its originality. It hasn't any. A colony far, far away on the very frontier of space has been overrun. All communications have ceased.
Guess what? Yup, you're the only Space Marshal nearby and you'll have to go and rescue everyone. If that doesn't sound like Aliens then I'm a mutating slime monster.
The author states he first had the idea for the game in 1983, and it ooks as though this is when it was written. Graphics are solid, 3D and dull. Detail is limited, meaning they move quite quickly, but the refresh rate can be increased still further by switching to vector graphics only. Very Battlezone.
Whenever you approach an objects such as a control panel or computer screen, the display changes to a 2D monochrome display. Yuck!
The graphics seem to have been ported from a mono Mac and are grim. Objects can be moved around, desk drawers opened and vital clues uncovered. Aha - right at the back of this drawer I do believe we have the Reactor start-up code.
Death comes quickly in Colony. Make one mistake, press the wrong button, and you're dead. Instantly. No questions asked, no reasons given. Just a quick scream, a flash of colours and the Game Over requester appears.
Some sort of reason for you demise is needed because constant, unexplained destruction tends to get on your wick after a while. To be honest, it gets on your wick from the very start.
Sound effects are limited. The title music consists of a two second passage sampled from Holst's Planet Suite. Mars, I believe. Obviously no expense spent in the sonics department. There are occasional little jokes, such as the sound produced when you bump into the toilet, but nothing to lift up to average.
Colony looks severely out of date. Back in the 8 bit days it might have been acceptable, state-of-
If you persevere, there is an adventure to be played, and a tough one at that. Finding it is the hardest part of all.