Deep Core logo

Who remembers James Cameron's special effects extravaganza The Abyss? Well for those who do not, get it out on video, and for your information it was set in a research station that was on the bed of the Pacific. Surprisingly, this is much the same setting that Deep Core uses, along with a liberal helping of a style that is reminiscent of the Bitmap Brothers' Gods. But Gods is not the only game which springs to mind when playing Deep Core - the introduction is stylish and smacks of Psygnosis on a good day.

In ICE's latest platformer the plot is the usual fare - aliens have invaded and it is up to you, Captain Dawnrazor, to clear them out. Deep Core requires all the usual jumping around from you, collecting the occasional power-up and shooting anything that moves. The game is divided into three different sections, and these are then subdivided into three, so there are nine large levels to explore. Each section has a different graphical style and as you get further into the game new elements are introduced. These include lifts to aid you in your exploration of the platforms and bigger, nastier, altogether tougher aliens. Finding your way round each level is easy, it is just a case of finding the right keys to open the locked doors which block your route. So if you do not have the correct key for a particular door then you have to traipse around until you find it. Occasionally doors can be shot at and blown up, but this is fairly rare.

Deep Core looks and sounds good; it is professionally drawn and has some sleek little touches - puddles of water at the bottom of the screen reflect the action at 180 degrees, and ripples like... well water really. There are some neat mechanical samples for the machine-like aliens, and the water dripping is a constant background reminder of where you are.

Dotted around the levels are stacks of enemies of all shapes and sizes, and this is what helps maintain your interest in the game - wondering what the next alien will look like. What is disappointing about the aliens is their apparent lack of intelligence - they just walk (or fly) forwards and backwards along set paths. This makes killing them easy because you know what they are going to do next, unlike in Gods, for example, where the enemies are far less predictable.

Playing the game is fun. The control of Captain Dawnrazor is flexible - he runs and jumps as you would expect. Also useful is the ability to fire and change direction in mid-air. Doors are used by pushing up and fire together when you are standing directly in front of them. But this causes the only complaint we have about the control system. When you are standing in front of a door it is not possible to duck or jump. So, quite often, as you come out of a doorway you are stuck in the line of fire. Not an ideal situation if your last sliver of energy disappears in a hail of unavoidable fire! As per normal three lives are provided, so there is always the chance it was not your last life (although, if Sod's Law has anything to do with it, it usually is).

The difficulty level of Deep Core is pitched quite high and you will not finish this game in a week. But passwords are provided at the end of each section which save you from having to trudge through all the early levels again. However, although this game takes some time to complete, it does not have an addictive enough edge to keep you coming back for more, which sadly is Deep Core's only real downfall.

Wäßrige Action

Deep Core logo

Weihnachten ist gut (fürs Geschäft), die Jungs von Ice sind gut - was also sollte an ihrem weihnachtlichen Actionspielchen schlecht sein? Nun, diese Unterwasserschlacht ist nun mal ein Schlag ins Wasser!

Dabei hat man bei Ice das Intro noch eiskalt hingekriegt: Eine außerirdische Kapsel plumpst in den indischen Ozean und dringt dort in eine Tiefsee-Forschungsstation ein.

Also taucht der Spieler ab, um in drei paßwortgesicherten Levels nach dem Rechten zu sehen. Was er in der submarinen Kuppel findet, sind massenhaft ausgerastete Wachroboter und überdrehte Aliens, aber auch jede Menge herumliegende Waffen.

Rennend und springend macht sich sein Alter ego nun daran, die Knallkörper aufzulesen, zudem hinterlassen getötete Feinde noch Schlüssel, Energiepillen und vor allem Sauerstoff. Und Atemluft ist unter Wasser natürlich nicht ganz unwichtig; sollte die entsprechende Anzeige auf Null sinken, kann man sich von einem der vier Bildschirmleben verabschieden.

Auch Lebensenergie ist wichtig, und an der knabbern wiederum die Gegner - leider kommt es hier aber oft vor, daß man den Feind terminiert, ehe er ganz im Bild ist, wodurch Pillen, Schlüssel und Sauerstoff erst gar nicht auftauchen. Läßt man die wild um sich ballernden Gegner hingegen rankommen, stellt man schnell fest, daß die Decke für einen Ausweichsprung etwas zu niedrig geraten ist...

Kurzum, das Gameplay ist alles andere als wasserdicht. Schade, denn die hübsche Grafik scrollt anstandslos nach rechts bzw. Links und hat einige nette Effekte zu bieten. Auch die Titelmelodie und die knackigen Sound-FX könnten überzeugen, bloß das eigentliche Spiel nicht - so unfair darf Balleraction einfach nicht sein! (rf)

Deep Core logo

What the? It is a platform game that really does something new. Hmm.

Well, at long last, it looks as if the software houses have decided to pull their collective socks up and offer us a game as exciting as it is original. Deep Core offers us an electrically emetic eclectic mix of plot, atmosphere, gameplay, power-ups and prodigious weapons. Not only that, we are presented with a well-muscled hero (Captain Dawnrazor) from the He-Man, no job's-big-hard-or-challenging-enough-unless-you're-saving-the-earth-from-the-imminent-threat-of-poor-plot-clichés Academy. Sounds good so far? Yeah, thought so.

So just what is it that earns the elusive praise 'excitingly original'? Well for a start, it bears absolutely no resemblance to Gods. no siree Bob. Although there were rumours, allegedly, that the original game title was to be Deep Core And The Unfeasibly Large Central Protagonist Who Doesn't Bear Any Resemblance Whatsoever To Gods' Unfeasibly Large Central Protagonist. Apparently that title fell through at the last moment. Someone else had copyrighted it in America.

The game! What is this telling us about the game? Okay, it is telling us nothing. It is a stalling trick. A trick that does not quite work on the printed page. When something is really good, it is quite a useful device to make people wait. Build them up to a crescendo of frustrated expectation. Put them on hold while you check the word count on your Mac to see if you are near the amount of words required for a single page review. They know that you are going to let them know what you know about what they don't know. What they don't know is just exactly when you are going to let them know about what they don't know. So while I pick up my P45 from the inter-office ballistic postal infrastructure, I will let you know what you don't know.

Yes, Deep Core uses a cunningly imaginative system of rostrums which you can negotiate and traverse by jumping up and down. You can use these podiums (Ah, I get it. You mean 'platforms', don't you? Fiendish. - Ed) to reach specific locations crucial to the completion of the game. Lifts and teleports take you to other sections of an incredibly large level. In fact, as I played this benchmark game against which nothing will be compared, it struck me how incredibly large it all is. In fact, it is larger than a large thing which translated into videogame-speak means that there are three sections of the game, each divided into nine levels with small sub-levels branching out from some of these.

There are even little puzzles to be worked out

Not content with this milestone in gamedesign, there are also arbitrary mechanical denizens who try to do your unfeasibly large character fatal harm. Miraculously, the innovation does not end here. Your hero is armed with a large gun which, stupendously, can be upgraded by jumping or travelling through small icons. Apparently these fabulous little devices act as 'power-ups' to your gun. They can be particularly effective by making it easier to kill the abundant aliens.

There is more. Loads more. The scrolling from side to side and up and down is incredibly smooth. There are even little puzzles to be worked out, such as collectable letter icons which let you gain access through certain doors. It is just awesomely gobsmacking how programmers could have thought this up. Where did their inspiration come from?

Who knows then, eh? But let me tell you this. A multi-level platform game. It is just what the games market needs to kick some life into it.

Deep Core CD32 logo CD32

ICE * £25.99 * Out now

When the main protagonist in a game goes by the name of Captain Dawnrazor, confidence is immediately inspired. How can the aliens defeat such an obvious leader, such a warrior, such a... kaboom!

All right, so that's the way it's going to be. Deep Core is a very purple affair, but the publishers obviously decided that calling it Deep Purple might confuse gameplaying folk. Still, you'd have to laugh watching a long-haired geezer trying to play this on his Technics CD player.

The first level involves wading through water while blasting baddies and collecting keys which enable the good Captain to open various doors. But when an alien shoots a Fireball, there's plenty of Smoke on the Water (obscure Deep Purple joke no.27).

One way of getting about is using the elevators (I still call them lifts) which give you access to different platforms. But Dawnrazor has Energy and Oxygen bars which constantly require replenishing and this you achieve by collecting icons. Unfortunately, occasionally get caught short and after much traipsing about, you lose a life due to a dearth of said icons.

Dawnrazor is a big, clumsy bloke, who is quite difficult to control at times, but the aliens tend to wander around in set patterns so once you get to know their moves, they're easy to polish off. Not that Deep Core is easy - you won't finish it in a week (there are three levels, each subdivided into three large sections) but the hook is not quite large enough.

Deep Core CD32 logo CD32

Während es mit den "richtigen" Neuerscheinungen für Commos CD-Konsole immer noch recht zäh vorangeht, können wir Euch hier schon vier brandneue CD32-Versionen von älteren Amiga-Titeln (Arabian Nights, Deep Core, John Barnes European Football & Nigel Mansell's World Championship) präsentieren!

Neun aufreibende Unterwasserlevels erwarten den als Cyborg auftretenden Spieler bei diesen actionreichen Plattformen von Ice. Die gehobene Härte kommt durch massenhaft auftretende Aliens und unmöglich plazierte Sammel-Schlüssel ins Spiel - trotz diverser Waffensysteme machen die Monsterflut und die verwinkelte Sackgassen-Architektur der trübsinnig wirkenden Levels das Game genauso unfair wie eh und je!

Nachdem dafür auch noch satte 69 Tonnen Münzstahl fällig werden, rücken wir zur Strafe bloß 50 Prozent heraus. (md)