Darkman logo

Ocean £25.99

A crackingly silly movie, Darkman had the chance to be a first-rate superhero game. Unfortunately, it is anything but. You control a disfigured scientist who is tracking down his assailants. Luckily, this guy can make false faces to help him enter the villains hideouts.

The game uses two main styles: a horizontal scrolling platform game and Operation Wolf-style photography sections where he gathers data to build the face he needs. The arcade section is pitifully easy, laughably so, apart from the unavoidable fatal sections. A strangely unexciting and highly finishable game.

Darkman logo

Es gibt eben doch noch Dinge, auf die man sich verlassen kann: Auf einen erfolgreichen Actionfilm folgt eine Versoftung von Ocean - das ist so sicher, wie die Queen gerne lustige Hüte trägt!

Nun nimmt also Peyton Westlake auch am Amiga Rache an seinen Peinigern. Während alle bösen Gangster glauben, der Wissenschaftler wäre bei einer Explosion ums Leben gekommen, kehrt er als Darkman völlig erstellt zurück, um mal so richtig aufzuräumen.

Wie nichts anders zu erwarten darf Darky die Finsterlinge reihenweise umnieten - anfänglich geben manche schon nach einem Schlag bzw. Tritt auf, andere müssen gleich besser verprügelt werden, um den Weg in den zweiten Level freizumachen. Hier erschweren dann zusätzlich Gerätschaften wie lecke Gasleitungen oder gefährliche Stahlpressen die Säuberungsaktion. Auch in den noch folgenden vier Abschnitten, darunter eine 3D-Hubschrauber-jagt-Auto-Sequenz, hat es der Dunkelmann nicht leicht; seine fünf Leben sind schnell verbraten. Und das, obwohl er vor jeder Spielstufe in die Verkleidung eines Gangsters schlüpfen kann, wenn er in einem kurzen "Operation"-Zwischenspiel genügend Fotos schießt. Ein Glück, daß der Joystick ohne Murren auf alle Kommandos reagiert!

Die mittelprächtigen Hintergründe ändern sich mit jedem Szenario, allerdings sind die Sprites weder besonders hübsch noch groß oder aufregend animiert. Immerhin ist das Scrolling ebenso flink wie sauber, es gibt ein paar kleine Zwischenbilder und guten Sound (Musik und FX), aber leider keinen Zwei-Spieler-Modus. Darkman ist somit alles andere als originell - eine solide Movie-Umsetzung ohne nennenswerte Höhen und Tiefen. (rl)

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Yet another B-moview has its mediocrity captured on the Amiga...

In which Ocean, with a number of major licences due in the run-up to Christmas, bung out what's hopefully the last in their series of dodgy movie-related runaround things - a series which has included some of Ocean's poorest games in recent memory (Total Recall, Navy Seals, Nightbreed etc etc). Darkman takes the usual route, being composed of a number of sub-games all bearing some resemblance to a sequence from the movie, none great games in their own right, but hopefully all combining to make something reasonably entertaining. Of course, normally this approach fails miserably, but Ocean (particularly) have tried it so many times by now, they must be getting good at it, right?
Right! No, sorry, only joking.

Darkman surprises no-one very much by being yet another spectacularly mediocre collection of inconsequential little snippets of arcade action which could have been from any of a thousand games were it not for the main sprite being a movie character.

The biggest and most complex segments of the game involve, basically, running along the screen battering the fire button incessantly in order to punch and kick the swarm of enemies (two different sprites to choose from!) out of the way. Calling it a beat-'em-up though, would be an insult to even the poorest of beat-'em-ups, because as long as you keep pummeling away on the fire button, the bad guys simply cannot get near you. The only complicated strategy you have to master is to get all of them on one side of you as they appear on screen, then just stand still and biff away as they line up to come at you. No matter how many there are, all will fall prey to your lightning fists.

Things only get worse in the intervening stages, where you have to take pictures of your enemies at a window (via an Op Wolf-ish sub-game not unlike the ones in RoboCop), in order to gather enough information to make yourself a disguise for the runny-punchy levels. The disguise stops the baddies from trying to hit you (big deal), but runs out after about 10 seconds or so anyway, making it a complete waste of time.

Escaping from these first few levels (the second 'proper' level is lengthy and slightly tricky, and sends you all the way back to the start when you lose a life) brings you to the rooftop helicopter chase scene, where you are chased across some rooftops by a helicopter (so no surprises there).This calls for even less skill than the levels before, as all you can do is run along trying to avoid the huge bombs dropped by the chopper, the explosions of which blow you off the top of the building if you get even remotely close to them.

It was around this point that I got completely fed up with suffering such lazily-designed rubbish and consigned the game to the 'never-to-be-seen-again' drawer, but those of you with lots of time on your hands who can be bothered to play a bit further will find, largely, more of the same in the later levels, with the exception of a neat and imaginative 'driving' sequence, where Darkman hangs from a rope underneath a helicopter and has to dodge the oncoming traffic by swinging around. Neat though this is, it isn't worth putting up with the rest of this feeble mediocrity of a game for.

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Darkman is Ocean's latest film tie-in. We never did much like Toby Finlay, so we craftily dropped it into his in-tray while he wasn't looking.

As you may know, Darkman is the computerversion of the Sam Raimi film. Why Ocean should to adapt this box-office turkey is certainly mystifying, but one must not judge until one doth play, as they say. Sooo... the star of the game is Peyton Westlake, a scientist who lived his life happily minding his own business until the fateful day when a bunch of gangsters broke into his lab to steal something. Poor old Peyton happened to get in the way, so the gangsters blew him up.

Unfortunately, he didn't drift to that heavenly abode in the sky (Peyton Place. Ho ho. Ed.) because he hadn't actually died. Tragically, our Peyton had been hideously deformed by the explosion, but the gangsters weren't happy with just ruining his life. Oh no. They had to go the whole hog and kidnap his chick, Julie, as well. So Peyton, understandably a little peeved, abandons his mould cultures, puts on a mask and sets off to rescue Julie and fight for truth, justice and the American way. Um... can I go now? (Stop whinging and get on with your review. Ed.)

Amiga reviewToby: Ocean games, eh? They used to be brilliant - remember the Speccy versions of Miami Vice and the first Batman game, or the utterly classic Head Over Heels? Well, following the trend of most recent Ocean games, this is nothing like them. What it is similar to is every other horizontally scrolling beat 'em up with bonus rounds.

"Master the technology of the disguising system?" Er... no, I don't think so. "Click mouse wildly in direction of badly-drawn sprite" sounds better to me. Not that the disguises do anything at all, other than change your sprite. You're still attacked by everyone and the 'metamorphosis' wears off after one pico-second.

This brings me to my next gripe - the sprites. It looks to me as if only one enemy sprite has actually been drawn, and that this outline has just been reproduced and filled in with different colours (yes, filled in - not shaded). Rarely have such bland graphics been seen in a full price game.

But hold on, the game does have its good points, like, er... the intro screen - it's very nice (ahem). The animation of Darkman himself is rather neat,but the sound ranges from atmospheric to completely crap and the speech is diabolical.

The presentation isn't very good either. But on a more positive note, the game is quite playable in itself - the controls are easy to get to grips with. However - and this is a big 'however'- when you die on a stage, you're sent right back to the beginning! (Some of the language used in the ZERO office at this point in the game is most definitely not printable).

If it hadn't been for the distinctive Darkman sprite, this could have been any of an assortment of games - Navy Seals, NARC or one of about a billion different budget games. "Every soul has a dark side - this time it walks like a man," claims the box. How about "Every soul has a dark side - this time it writes games for Ocean." Come on, Ocean, you can do better than this! Let's just hope the forthcoming Head Over Heels is as good as I remember. Stop