The geneing of life, it's...

D/Generation logo

MINDSCAPE * £19.99 * 1/2 meg * Joystick * Out now

We've not had a puzzle game in Gamer for ages and ages. Well, at least not for two issues. I bet you puzzle freaks are just thirsting for a bit of a brain drain.

Puzzle games are alright with me, but what if you had a puzzle game and turned it into a 3D isometric puzzle game with lots of shooting of lasers and things that you would never see in a normal puzzle game? If only there was one like that. Hark, what do I see bounding over the hills like a breath of fresh air, but a puzzle game with the odd title of D/Generation and, look, it's got loads of lasers and stuff you wouldn't normally see in a puzzle game.

D/Generation is a NeoGen. I bet you're really confused now, so I'd better start from the beginning. You play the part of a man, a male, a bloke, a non-woman, got it? The poor little chap hasn't got a name and personally I think he should have one, so I will christen him Eric.

Eric isn't a muscle bound hero with a super weapon and neither is he a normal hero with a super weapon. Eric is just a delivery boy armed with only a simple package, but - and this is a but that will alter Eric's whole life - the package contains something that could save the whole wide world and more likely will make Eric the president or something.

Eric has to deliver the package to Singapore to a place called the Genoq Biolabs. The Genoq Biolabs produce NeoGen organisms and these NeoGens have escaped. The NeoGens haven't worked out how to get out of the labs - yet! Prior to the outbreak, some recon satellites spotted an explosion near the top of the building. This is where Derrida, the head scientist is creating the next NeoGen prototype, the D/Generation.

There are three other generations of NeoGens. The A/Generation is a bouncing red ball that smothers its target and can cloak itself by going transparent. There is the B/Generation that is a bouncing blue cylinder that crushes its target. It's extremely fast and can hide in the floor. The C/Generation is a humanoid that can disguise itself as anything, animate or inanimate. This NeoGen decapitates its targets (gulp!).

Finally there is the D/Generation. The good news is that there is only one D/Generation in existence; the bad news is that it's equipped with sophisticated neuro-holographic camouflaging. So it can disguise itself as anything. It also has a super-hardened dermal layer that acts like a sheet of armour, making it virtually indestructible.

If the D/Generation were to escape from the labs out into the real world it would threaten the life of every single person on the planet (double gulp and even a slight gasp!).

Unfortunate Eric has unknowingly walked into the building to hand in his package and the door has closed behind him. Eric finds the receptionist hiding behind her desk. She tells Eric that Derrida has been demanding the package and it is extremely important to Derrida. Eric's mission is that he must take the package to Derrida and if possible rescue any survivors that he finds along the way.

Well I suppose after all that waffle you're probably wondering whether it's any good. Well personally - and this is only my opinion - I think it is good.

D/Generation is a nice refreshing change. If you're fed up shooting wave upon wave of aliens and bored stiff of beating the hell out of enemy upon enemy, then D/Generation could well be worth a look.

The puzzles range from easy to hard. Some are obvious, some are not so obvious. As well as using your head to solve the puzzles, you have to be pretty good at waggling your joystick. There are plenty of A/B/C/Generations all looking to squash and mangle you to death. D/Generation takes a while to get into, but once you're in there you might find yourself trapped and unable to get out. The game is massive with about 20 levels of puzzling that'll keep you entertained for ages and ages.

D/Generation doesn't have that certain something that makes it stand out from loads of other games, but it's a really good and very enjoyable puzzle-'em-up.

D/Generation logo

The old software house myth states that a good game will always shine through, and it doesn't really matter about the graphics and sound: they're just the king on the cake. We're not saying that Mindscape believe this, but a close look at D-Generation reveals that the cake in question, although good enough to eat in large amounts, is probably a scone, and thus doesn't qualify for any icing at all.

Generation XS
The basic idea behind D-Generation is nothing particularly new, but it does make for a fun game. You're a courier, and you've arrived at the offices of a giant genetic research establishment with a package for the big boss. On your arrival, you discover that the building has been overrun by escaped genetic mutations, and the staff are holed up and hiding.

Pretty soon you realise that the package you're holding has something to do with getting rid of the mutants - but you've got to find the head honcho to make it happen. So, you have to negotiate ten floors of twisting corridors and guarded rooms in your search for the chief, and on your way you score extra lives for rescuing cowering staff. Sounds simple, but it's one of those game plots that constantly has you dipping in for 'just one more go'.

But that's where the fun begins and ends; the rest of the game has little appeal. The intro music is one of those unfortunate tunes that begins impressively, building up to the point where the other instruments come in, and then suddenly has you reaching to cover your ears when the main melody (which sounds like it's being played on a rat) arrives with gusto.

The Generation Gap
D-Generation's only saving grave is its gameplay. On the face of it, even this isn't that brilliant, but after only a few minutes playing, you'll be hooked. Each room you enter contains a number of problems to crack, be they simple 'shoot the nasty mutant and stop them re-generating' or more complex 'open the doors and avoid making the hostage stand on the electric floor' type situations.

The puzzle aspect of D-Generation has obviously been the subject of some detailed planning and brainstorming, and it shows. Once you've solved a room, there's usually a pay-off: either a new object to use or an extra life gained from the rescued hostage.

This means that there's always a good supply of lives to keep you going for a long while. There's a save-game option which means you don't have to play it all at one sitting, though this save out to the original game disk, which is a tad worrying.

PC emulation?
If you can tolerate all the limitations with D-Generation, then you can be sure of a good game that will keep you occupied for many a sleepless night. But if you bought your Amiga because you knew it was the creme-de-la-creme as far as graphics and sound goes, you'll be asking yourself why Mindscape left you out in the cold with what is basically a PC-Conversion.

Graphics are distinctly PC-quality: very blocky, with flat colours that do nothing to make your Amiga shine. The animation is passable, and the backgrounds are OK, but there's nothing to write home about, and much to be dissatisfied with. Dig into your pockets only if Impossible Mission in 3D is what your life needs to make it complete.

D/Generation logo

Im April gab es Tage, da war im Joker-Palazzo keine MS-Dose zu finden, an der gearbeitet wurde - Redakteure und Sekretärinnen zockten lieber dieses Action-Adventure von Mindscape. Ob die neue Amigaversion auch so ein Chef-Schreck ist?

Die Story hat sich gegenüber der PC-Fassung schonmal nicht geändert: Der Genoq Corporation ist eines ihrer gentechnischen Experimente in die Hose gegangen, was zur Folge hat, daß sich nun einerseits allerlei mutierte Organismen durchs Hochhaus meucheln und andererseits sämtliche Verteidigungsanlagen auf Hochtouren arbeiten.

Nun könnte uns das ziemlich schnuppe sein, wenn wir nicht ein Kurier wären, der ein wichtiges Paket vom 80. Stockwerk rauf in die 90. Etage befördern muß. Dort hält sich nämlich ein Forscher verschanzt, der als einziger in der Lage ist, die außer Kontrolle geratenen "NeoGens" wieder ins Reagenzglas zurückzuverfrachten...

Der Horrortrip führt durch mehr als 120 Räume, in denen es von Schaltern, Selbstschlußanlagen, Elektro-Fallen, Laser-Sperren und Türen, zu denen erst der Schlüssel gefunden werden muß, nur so wimmelt - um die ausgeklügelten Sicherheitseinrichtungen zu überwinden, bedarf es viel Geschick, List, Tücke und einer Extraportion Grübelei.

Dabei haben wir die Gegner noch gar nicht erwähnt! Vier Sorten NeoGene gibt es: Die A/Generation sieht aus wie ein roter Ball, hüpft eher unbeteiligt umher und startet nur selten zur Verfolgungsjagd auf den Spieler. Gefährlicher ist bereits die B/Generation, jene flinken blauen Flummis, die sich im Boden verstecken können. Die C/Generation tritt gar schon in humanoider Gestalt auf, und der D/Generation ist wegen ihrer schier unendlichen Tarnfähigkeit fast gar nicht mehr beizukommen.

Freilich findet man gelegentlich Waffen wie Laser, Bomben oder auch Schutzschilde, man kann Computerterminals nach Infos anzapfen oder die gefangenen Angestellten befragen, und pro befreitem Bürohengst gibt es sogar ein Extraleben - nur leicht darf man sich die Sache dennoch nicht vorstellen, da hilft selbst die Save-Option nix.

Kurz und sehr gut, spielerisch ist bei der Umsetzung nichts von der Genialität verlorengegangen, das Prinzip vermag immer noch zu fesseln. Auch die Steuerung ist über jeden Zweifel erhaben, aber in puncto Präsentation wäre sicher mehr möglich gewesen: Die isometrische 3D-Grafik sah schon am PC etwas antiquiert aus, am Amiga hat sie nochmals an Farbe eingebüßt.

Gescrollt wird nach wie vor nicht, dafür schaltet das Game jetzt in den Ruckelmodus sobald sich mehr als zwei der überwiegend nett animierten Sprites am Screen tummeln. Musik gibt es nur im Titelbild, die Soundeffekte sind kaum überragend und Besitzer von nur einer Floppy dürfen vor Spielbeginn des offener zwischen beiden Disks wechseln.

Wegen dieser Patzer in der Pflicht mußten wir der Amigaversion wohl oder übel den Hit der PC-Fassung aberkennen - was die Kür betrifft, ist D/Generation immer noch eine der unterhaltsamsten Action-Knobeleien überhaupt! (rl).

D/Generation logo

You've already had a crack at level two on our coverdisk, now find out what we really think of it...

I hope the idea doesn't take off, or I'm out of a job, but it seems to me that with some games there's no need for a long review, with lots of waffle about graphics and plot. Two or three sentences will often do. Sometimes even two or three words. And very occasionally in the case of games like this one, I'd even go so far as to say they could be summed up in just one word. And what's that one single word I reckon says everything there is to be said about D/Generation? It's 'elusive'.

What a great word, eh? But with 'elusive' games you've got to be careful. A quick glance at those screenshots could be all it takes to send many readers scurrying off in search of something with fluffy, pink rabbits and things in. They're a bit weedy looking, aren't they?

It's not likely to help much if I reveal that the object of the game is to walk through lots of rooms opening doors, shooting baddies and rescuing people. In all honestly, it sounds like a recipe for an inconspicuous run-on slot at the back of the mag, so what's it doing emblazoned across this prime two-page spread?

The fact of the matter is, I really like it. A lot. (And so does the rest of the office, before you nod your head knowingly).

My suspicions were first alerted when a closer look at those 'weedy' graphics revealed them to be actually pretty smart. Nicely animated and full of character, getting the job done with the minimum of fuss and a certain 'elusive' flair. And when I actually came to knuckling down and having it crack at the thing. I discovered that there's a lot more to it than initially meets the eye. As well as having a solid sense of direction (for negotiating the maze of passages and rooms) you'll need to be pretty quick with a laser pistol and - most importantly - have a rather large brain.

To make any sort of progress you'll soon have to start solving puzzles. These are all constructed from the basic principles of switches that open doors, laser bolts that bounce off things and a couple of other simple building blocks, but the ingenuity required to solve them is astonishing.

Early problems are relatively straightforward (at one point you rescue a bloke who says something along the lines of: "I don't know how you're going to get through that door over there - I haven't got the password. By the way, perhaps you can find some use for this package marked 'Explosive' I found lying around", but they quickly develop into serious tests of mental - and physical - dexterity. Like standing on a door to make sure it doesn't close whilst attempting to bounce a laser bolt off a filing cabinet so it hits a switch and simultaneously... you probably get the picture.

As if you didn't have enough on your plate dodging monsters and unlocking doors, there's a mystery to be solved too. All you know is that you're carrying a package that's to be delivered toa Mr Derrida on the 90th floor of Genoq's headquarters (you start on the 80th), and that the whole place is crawling with baddies.

You've also got a faint inkling that there's been some sort of genetic accident. (Genoq is, after all, a genetic engineering company), and that you might at some point come face to face with the D/Generation, a super-baddy that can disguise itself as anything. Other than that you're in the dark, and unless you can find out more you won't have a clue what to do when you reach the top floor.

A lot more to it than initially meets the eye

Information can be gleaned from two sources: computers that are dotted around the buildings, and the people you rescue who will occasionally divulge information upon interrogation. I haven't managed to get much actual gleaning done yet, so I'm not really in a position to tell you more. I'd watch your step, though.

What's really great about D/Generation is its learning curve - the way it gently eases you into itself (if you catch my drift). The first level is a walkover, the second level is quite a bit trickier, the third level is blimming difficult and the fourth level is erm, very, very hard indeed. Probably. (He's still stuck on Level 3 - Ed).
You get ever so slightly further each time you play, and that makes it incredibly addictive. Elusively addictive, in fact.

And on top of all that there's the underlying problem of trying to put together a picture of what's going on and what you ought to be doing about it. There's a kind of mystery attached, you see - it's up to you to work out exactly what your objective is and how to achieve it. A tall order indeed, and it gives the game a degree of depth that promotes it from.

Nice touches around, too. The range of animated greetings your rescuees bestow upon you, for example. And the way you're only set back to the start of the level when you lose all your lives, rather than the beginning of the game. And the degree of interaction between the objects in each screen - guns occasionally shoot each other by mistake, and moving baddies neutralise force fields if they bash into them.

There are one or two nasty touches as well, though, most notably the 'save game' function which whizzes you back to the start of the level when you reload. I suppose the game would be a bit easy, otherwise, but it does rather defeat the object. I wasn't 100% happy with the way my little bloke responded to the controls at moments of extreme crisis, either. He often needs to be positioned at exactly the right pixel to avoid disaster, and it's all too easy to miss a crucial joystick diagonal and send him lumbering off into a force field or something.

Apart from these little grumbles though, we're looking at a pretty special game. It actually reminded me of Knight Lore, that old Spectrum title. And not merely because of the 3D perspective either. Each room contains a challenge, and once you've thwarted it, whether through brain-power or joystick-waggling skills, you'll never forget how. So when you next return, with a full set of lives and renewed determination, you'll be able to sail through and get stuck at the next one instead. That's my kind of game.

I can't see D/Generation rocketing to the top of the charts, being voted Game of the Decade or anything like that, but its certainly a game that'll keep you up for night after night before you manage to shake it off.

And even then it'll lurk in the depths of your software collection ready to pounce when you least expect it. "What's this?" You'll wonder. "Oh no! It's got me again!". So be careful.

You're in a deserted skyscraper. Computers are trying to kill you. Genetic creations are chasing you. This is not a good day.
D/Generation: Intro
What you thought was another day in the life of a jet-powered delivery boy begins to go strangely wrong...
D/Generation: Intro
...and once inside the Genoq building, things become seriously ominous.
D/Generation: Intro
Hey, who left that body lying there? Only one delivery boy and save the day. And guess who that is.

D/Generation logo

In a world of genetic engineering, Mindscape's latest casts the player as a courier. Tony Dillon bodily goes where no man has gone before...

Synthetically created mutations are a common sight on the secretive top floors of the Genoq company building. First came the A/Generation, a group of intelligent bouncing balls, and then came the springy poles known as the B/Generation. The C/Generation were a little cleverer. Humanoid in initial state, they could evolve into any shape they wished.

No one knows very much about the D/Generation. However, as the hero of the piece, you have been summoned to get a very urgent parcel to the man responsible for the NeoGen breedings, and from what you can tell, things have gone awry.

On arriving at the building, you are greeted with the news that nobody knows what is going on, what the parcel is for, or why the entire building is in disarray. The hardened courier that you are, nothing is going to stop you getting your parcel to its rightful recipient, so into the game you go - and what a game!

D/Generation is an arcade/puzzle crossover, viewed in the same sort of forced 3D isometric view originated by Ultimate all those years ago. Split over 120 rooms, the aim of the game is to get through all ten floors and reach the guy your package is designated for: one Jean-Paul Derrida, a Russian expert in the NeoGen field.

Along the way, though, your delivery mission entails sealing each room, destroying the genetic mutations which have overrun them, whilst also rescuing the trapped office workers and avoiding being killed by the advanced, but faulty, security system. The latter takes the form of anything from an electrified floor tile to laser cannons.

At first glance, D/Generation looks like an out-and-out blaster, where your mission is simply to shoot all the aliens and progress to the next room. Before long, though, you realise that there's a lot of strategy involved when plotting your course through each room.

The offices are semi open plan, with dividers breaking up the expansive areas, some of which contain electronic doors, which are opened by pressing the relevant switch. However, the switches are rarely near the door they relate to, and opening the wrong one at the wrong time can have disastrous results - switching on a security device or letting a mutation into the room where an office worker is trapped, for instance.

Initially, the rooms are deceptively easy to complete, and you'll find yourself working up a couple of floors in no time. But then things start to get really difficult. Some doors need a special key, and the mutations have a habit of hitting switches, too.

Visually, the game is very basic, with a simple black of background offsetting a primarily monochrome display. The animation is excellent, though, with stacks of nice touches. Some office workers will give you a little wave before dashing to safety whilst others shake your hand when you meet them. One slight gripe, though, is the pause between screens. Whenever you enter a new screen, the game freezes for a moment, which proves a little irritating.

That aside though, D/Generation is one hell of a game. There's enough challenge, both for the trigger-happy and the intellectual, to make you want to play it to the end. However, that means a lot of lost sleep.

USING YOUR BRAIN The later rooms are a lot harder to work through than you would first think. A lot of them involve firing a laser bolt through a gap in the wall, where it will rebound onto a switch, hopefully opening a door in front of you. The only real problem with bouncing laser bolts off walls is the risk of hitting things you don't want them to - switches that cut off your escape route, for example, or the hostages you are supposed to be rescuing. Thankfully though, you can't be hurt by your own bolts.

D/Generation AGA logo AGA

Da die Spezialversionen für Commos Junior inzwischen oft schon parallel zur Normal-ausführung kommen, wird auch diese Rubrik immer dünner: Drei Nachzügler (Alfred Chicken, D/Generation & Simon the Sorcerer) können wir diesmal noch anbieten!

Fast anderthalb Jahre ließ sich Mindscape mit der Spezialversion dieses actionreichen Knobel-Abenteuers Zeit. Es schildert die haarsträubenden Erlebnisse eines pflichtbewußten Kuriers, der unversehens mit den Folgen eines gentechnologischen Super-GAUs fertig werden muß.

Das aus allerlei verzwickten Puzzles, Geschicklichkeits- und Actionszenen zusammengesetzte Spielprinzip hat bis heute nichts von seinem Reiz verloren, die isometrische 3D-Grafik wirkte schon bei der Erst-veröffentlichung ein wenig angestaubt.

In Sachen Präsentation ist auch mehr oder weniger alles beim alten geblieben - es gibt ein schöneres Intro, die Farben leuchten vielleicht ein bißchen intensiver, und die Begleitmusik mag eine Spur peppiger klingen. Am besten klingt freilich der Preis von 59 Märkern, den man ins Softwarelabor schleppen muß; wir verteilen daher zum Ausklang klangvolle 77 Prozent. (ms)

D/Generation CD32 logo CD32

D/Generation * Mindscape £25.99

About a year or so ago, D/Generation hit your Amiga with a puzzle come blaster thud. Well, now the plazzta (new word for puzzle come action concept - like it?) is back with enhanced colour and chunkier sound. You play the part of a postman come delivery boy, who has the gross misfortune of handling a package for a certain Mr Derrida. Now, Mr Derrida is a top boffin working for Genoq, an organismic specialising in artificial Neogen organisms - genetically engineered lifeforms.

Unfortunately for some unknown reason the Neogen lifeforms have gone haywire and are destroying all life within the building. It's all this point that you enter the scenario. After a long jet pack journey across Finland, the Urals and the entire length of Asia you arrive on the top of the office complex in Singapore - you've got a bloody good road map.

Landing on the roof of the building, you are surprised to find that nobody from the company is there to greet you. Entering the building your concern deepens when the security system tries to kill you and you find the receptionist cowering behind her desk.

She tells you that the package you've been carrying is of grave importance to Derrida and that it could be of grave importance to the whole of mankind's future - pretty important job on delivery boy's wages.

The main reason for this is the D/Generation. The A, B and C generations are far simpler Neogens. However, the D/Generation project is an extremely advanced form of artificial life. It's capable of disguising itself as anything and has a hard dermal layer which renders it practically indestructible.

Beginning with five lives it's your humble task to work your way from the 80th level up to floor 90, where Derrida is waiting. On your travels you encounter various forms of the generation which go together with such things as security doors to compose the puzzle aspect. En route to find the professor you also find frightened employees who you must attempt to rescue.

D/Generation is a large and interesting title. The puzzles have a good mix to them so that you never become bored and because the logic involves using a laser, it'll keep frenzy addicts happy too.

As far as the CD32 enhancements are concerned, graphically the whole game has more clarity and looks brighter. The sound definitely benefits from compact disc quality and gives the whole scenario a real mood.

D/Generation doesn't push the barriers of the CD32 that far, but at the end of the day it's a fairly polished playable product.

D/Generation CD32 logo CD32

The year is 2021 and you are a courier delivering a package to Genoq's genetic research lab. So much for your career aspirations. Having jet-packed your way from Finland clutching an important parcel you discover the building's security systems have cone completely haywire and the staff are trapped, cowering in corners.

You guessed it, a puzzle-packed arcade game lies ahead as you try to deliver your package to the head scientist. Along with the security system you have the Neogens to deal with, genetically engineered organisms that look silly but are fatal.

D/Generation is a isometric 3D effort. You guide yourself, in the form of a little sprite chap, around a series of rooms figuring out in which order to press the buttons and how to get past the nasties. Complete one of the 10 levels, and you can save your position to the CD32. Rescue a Genoq-worker, and you are rewarded with an extra life.

It does not look like much, the graphics are pretty plain with a distinctly cartoony feel, but the death scenes are a hoot, well the first couple of times anyway.

The game has been tweaked for CD32, but not much. Do not invite all your mates round, sit them in front of your shiny new CD32 and try to impress them with D/Generation. Things get better when you start playing. It is easy to get into and once you start battling through the building you uncover a very playable game. The puzzles are not mind numbing, making it all the more frustrating when you do get stuck, but your reflexes get a work-out with plenty of zapping.

A round of applause to Mindscape for supporting the CD32 so early, at this stage it needs all the games it can get. It is just a pity D/Generation looks so ordinary. There is a pretty screen or two in the introduction but the CD32 is never put through its paces, and D/Generation is a fairly straightforward copy of the original disk.

There is room on the disk for a squillion more levels and funky sound at least. There has been a lot of hype about the potential of CD-based games for graphical and sonic excellence and worries about possibly weak gameplay. D/Generation is the other way around.

D/Generation CD32 logo CD32

Das Gameplay von Mindscapes Action-Puzzelei konnte ja bereits anno Computer begeistern, am CD32 fallen die Ladezeiten flach, und die Padsteuerung klappt einen Tick besser. Allerdings sieht die altbackene Iso-Grafik kaum schöner aus, allein die Gegner kommen nun etwas bunter daher. Trotzdem sind 69 Märker hier gut aufgehoben, schneidet der Silberling doch glatt mit 77 Prozent ab. (rl)

D/Generation CD32 logo CD32

Mindscape £25.99

The non-success of this game is, for me, one of the most damning indictments of the mentality of you, the Amiga games-buying public, ever. An utterly superb game, which Mindscape put out at a bargain £19.99 (which ten very quickly dropped even further, to a practically immoral £14.99), it scratched the surface of the charts for about a month then disappeared for ever.
Now you have got a second chance. Don't screw it up again.

D/Generation is a 3D arcade puzzle shoot-em-up, which is both one of the most atmospheric and one of the most original Amiga games of the last couple of years. The CD32 version makes good use of the joypad to simplify the controls, but otherwise there are not really any new bits, which is sad. All the same, D/Gen does not need any cosmetic tweaks to make it worth buying - lovely gameplay and a perfect learning curve will keep you playing this for weeks.