Dreamweb logo

Vor einem halben Jahr verfingen sich die AGA-Amigos in diesem mörderischen Traumnetz aus dem SF-Cyberspace - nun serviert der Ex-Barkeeper Ryan auch am 500er allen bösen Buben blaue Bohnen!

Und zwar insoweit besonders leckere, als Empire diesmal eine saubere, selbst von Disk problemlos spielbare Umsetzung zusammengebrutzelt hat.

Immer noch Geschmackssache ist dagegen die krude Story mit ihrem Hang zum Düsteren: Als Hintergrund dient das titelgebende Dreamweb, eine Art Fantasy-Cyberspace, dessen Kontrollinstanzen neuerdings von Bösewichtern besetzt werden, welche auf der Erde zugleich als prominente Rockstars oder Politiker auftreten.

Aber zum Glück gibt es ja den engangs erwähnten Hoffnungsträger Ryan...

Daraus entwickeln sich nun ganz zwanglos mehrere Killermissionen, die teilweise in harschen Gewaltszenen gipfeln, doch bleiben solche Sequenzen stets mit der spannenden Geschichte verwoben.

Auch der Ausstatter hat sich mit Hilfe von Massen an Müll und Abfall erfolgreich um ein stimmiges Schimmel-Ambiente bemüht; hier kann sogar noch die letzte Zigaretten-kippe genauestens untersucht werden.

Grafisch verspricht die Draufsichtperspektive dennocht keine Wunder, aber alle Mitwirkenden wurden sehr nett animiert. Unterschiede zur AGA-Version sind nur im direkten Vergleich erkennbar. Etwas deutlicher sind die Differenzen bei den Soundeffekten (Elektronik-Piepen, zischende Türen, etc.) und der Musik, die eine wunderbar hoffnungslose Atmosphäre erzeugt.

Unter dem Strich bleibt ein SF-Adventure, wie es in letzter Zeit auf dem 500er leider schon Seltenheitswert besitzt: mitreißend, spannend und technisch gut in Szene gesetzt - aber auch der reinste Alptraum für zartbesaitete Abenteurer! (jn)

Dreamweb logo Amiga Computing Platinum Award AGA

Take a trip to hell and have a quick peek in Satan's games cupboard. Look right at the top of his collection and you'll find Creative Reality's adventure. Jonathan Maddock has found the game he's been looking for all his life and he's about to share it with you.


It's dark. it's dangerous. It's definitely not for little kids. It's got a self-imposed 18 certificate. it's definitely not even suitable for adults with weak constitutions. It is Dreamweb and it could, and probably will, change your opinion on computer games overnight.

Sex, drugs, violence and swearing. A lethal combination whichever way you look at it and only a couple of complete loonies would attempt to put them all in a game.

Creative Reality are, at this moment, tied up in straight jackets, dribbling profusely and bouncing around a rubber cell because not only have they attempted to put the above elements into a piece of software, they've succeeded in doing so.

In your dreams you travel to a place called the Dreamweb. Everybody does. It is a plane of subconsciousness which affects your life every day.


Open up your Dreamweb box and inside you'll find a book entitled "Diary of a Mad Man". This belongs to Ryan and contains important information which you'll need during the game, and Empire recommend you read it before you start to play Dreamweb.

Over the course of the hand-written diary, the words become scrawled and illegible as Ryan's dreams (nightmares) get worse. Here is a brief extract from the book where Ryan's condition starts to worsen.
"Friday April 6th. Stayed awake. Haven't read library books. Eden Rang. Told her to leave it for a few days. No murders. Must sleep. Something's happening to the electricity. Death knocked on my door, but I wouldn't let him in. I'm no fool..."
"Saturday April 7th. Slept till mid-day. Dreams getting worse. Coming nearer. No reports on the dealer. Went to St Septimus - didn't go in. Eden didn't call. The lights are turning on and off on their own. I prayed to Angel before I went to bed. She sang me to sleep with an Ave Maria. Deliver us from evil. On, off. On, off."
"Sunday April 8th. Dreams still bad. Not sure I woke up. I watched the lightswitch for two hours. It didn't say a word. Spiders everywhere. The Deliverer killed a woman today."
"Monday April 9th. The clock keeps going round. It won't tell me the time. Santa Claus gave a gun to me. Let loose the puppies of war. I died last night."
"Tuesday April 10th. Today was not a good day."

This diary is a perfect insight into the mind of the character you're controlling and it's far better reading this than watching some superb ray-traced introduction animation (even though Dreamweb does have an intro sequence of its own). The writing is brilliant and just by the feel of it you can tell that Dreamweb would make a brilliant film or book if it was ever turned into one.



I have been wracking my brains and I can't even recall one game that is remotely like Creative Reality's Dreamweb. Valhalla by Vulcan Software uses a similar overhead perspective, but apart from that there is literally no comparison.

This can only mean that Empire's adventure is, wait for it, an original game. Yes, in these times where platformers, beat-'em-ups and shoot-'em-ups are becoming alarmingly similar, I can do nothing but stand up and cheer for development teams such as Creative Relity who have such strong and original ideas.



As you might have expected, Dreamweb has a soundtrack that fits the overall mood of the game. The dark, moody atmospheric music compliments the industrial locations while you wander around and explore.

Although not especially spectacular, the music is just about perfect for this type of game. If more companies took more notice of the various soundtracks within computer games, then I for one would be a happier person.

The sound effects also provide a lot of atmosphere to the proceedings. The clankings of doors and various other noises are nice and clear and to be honest, on the sound of things, there isn't a lot I can moan about. Dark, melodic and moody, a soundtrack just how I like it.




The adventure is viewed from an overhead perspective which works incredibly well. You're able to see everything and get a good overall picture of what's going on in the adventure. The various locations are amazingly detailed. Ryan's flat, for instance, isn't nice and tidy. It's completely littered with objects, all of which can be picked up and used, whether they've got a purpose within the game or not.

The objects, incidentally, are unlike anything you've ever seen before. There are absolutely no restrictions on how you can or can't use them. Every single one can be picked up and then put down, which doesn't sound that significant, but you can put the objects down wherever you damn well please.

The actual animation of the various events and characters is superb, especially when you consider the size of the playing area which could have been a big problem. Creative Reality has got around this though by using a zoom feature. Whenever your mouse wanders over the playing area, you are presented with a close-up of that particular area of the screen, making it much easier to see the various objects.

Objects such as a pair of shades can be used, for no particular reason except to make Ryan look incredibly hip and things like cigarettes can be smoked, but serve no real purpose within the game. It's these little touches, which have had a lot of time spent on them, that go together to lift Dreamweb high and away from all its adventure competitors.

It's obvious that the day before the graphics artist started to work on Dreamweb, he stayed up all night gorging himself on a moview triple bill featuring Blade Runner, Akira and the King of New York while, at the same time, reading a copy of William Gibson's Neuromancer.

Ultimately, the graphics high-spot of the adventure occurs when Ryan has to assassinate one of the seven evil beings who run the Dreamweb. This is a bloody gore-fest that makes Reservoir Dogs look like an episode of Andy Pandy. I won't tell you specifically about any of the deaths because that would totally spoil your enjoyment of the game, but I guarantee you haven't seen anything quite like it in a computer game before.




Imagine an interactive version of Blade Runner directed by Quentin Tarantino and you might just come close to what it's like to sit, watch and play Dreamweb. This title oozes class out of every digital pore and it almost seems too good to be true. I may have used far too many superlatives in this review, but I can't help myself. Dreamweb is my game and I can't stop playing it. Ik knew it was good when I first saw it over a year ago, but since then it has just got better and better.

Dreamweb is what I imagined all computer games should and could be like. I never wanted cutesy platformers, I wanted something out of this world and I'm happy to say I've found it.

The graphics, considering the size, are outstanding and the soundtrack throbs along complimenting the action, but where Dreamweb rules the roost is in the gameplay stakes. The fact that you don't follow a pre-determined path and that you create your character's own destiny has to be a strong reason why it performs so well.

Even the inventory system works like a dream. Clicking on, looking at and using the various objects is so easy that you can concentrate a lot more on playing the actual adventure.

There are no limitations to Dreamweb. You can do what you want, when you want and you don't suffer any consequences. Obviously there is a certain path you must follow, but how you get on that path is entirely up to your adventuring/gaming skills.

I know that cynics among you will look at the screenshots, see the tiny playing screen and dismiss it, but I warn you, ignore this game at your peril. Dreamweb literally roars across your monitor screen and growls at you like a vicious beast from the pits of hell.


The development team behind Dreamweb consist of just two people. Neil Dodwell is responsible for coding the adventures of Ryan while his partner Dave Dew brins the character to life using his skills at producing top quality graphics.

Creative Reality was formed around four years ago and the duo have completed 15 projects between them. The last Amiga product you'll find their names on was the brilliant slash-'em-up Myth for System 3.

Dreamweb has in itself taken just over four years to complete, but Neil and Dave are hoping to create more games using the same adventure engine. Hopefully, Dreamweb will sell the truck-load because I am already lusting after a sequel.


Dreamweb logo AGA

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world, apparently. And Steve Bradley discovers that DreamWeb is pretty bonkers too. Or is it just the stuff that dreams are made of?

I am mad, I am MAD, I AM MAD. Santa Claus gave a gun to me. Let loose the puppies of war. Mummy, take the bad man away. Two of the past four sentences appear on the back of the DreamWeb box. Which two? WHICH TWO? It's for you to decide. YOU DECIDE.

DreamWeb is a point 'n' click, viewed-from-the-ceiling adventure game and the unfortunate protagonist, Ryan fears he's going mad. MAD. He's been having odd dreams - or were they dreams - and he's been kind enough to write a bizarre diary which contains a few clues, and a lot of squiggly writing.

Seven evil people are wandering the world. Or are they? OR ARE THEY? It's a nightmarish world, a murky, ill-lit world where Bladerunner meets EastEnders. A world of criminal activity, of plimsoll theft, of drug taking, of illicit sex in hotel rooms. Ryan, the deliverer, is the man to assassinate the magnificent seven, and you are he. But you can deliver? You have a girlfriend. She's called Eden, and last night she let you stay at her flat. From here, your adventure begins, so be prepared to wander about, observing and picking up objects as you wend your merry way to the first cold-blooded killing.

The mouse is the tool through which you manoeuvre your way through this nightmare world and the screen portrays the particular room or area in which you currently reside. Quite why we need to look at an alarming profile of Ryan at all times remains a mystery. A mystery, dear reader, which your correspondent can clear up once and for all, for in fact you are Ryan and so therefore you are looking at yourself. AT YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES. In a, ahem, self-analysis sort of way. Probably. So, that's that solved.

With but a door code and a network password, and the vague feeling that something rather odd is going on, you must travel from flat to flat, from bar to hotel to pool hall, collecting snippets of information, more door codes and weapons to kill. Travel access areas are located at the edge of groups of map screens which then despatch you, Star Trek-style to the location of your choice. But certain locations are only revealed if you have accessed one of the various computerised network screens which are operated with cartridges - you can trip about for ages not knowing somewhere exists. Which it can't, if you don't know about it.

DreamWeb is a fiddly game. The puzzles are not wildly difficult to solve, but some of the objects are so tiny as to be virtually invisible. A zoom option allows you to search the rooms in detail, but you have to be eagle-eyed.

The scene: I'm at the hotel and I've safely negotiated the room-booking situation. I take my eye off the screen for a millisecond and miss a vital animation sequence, (which I might have missed even if I had had been glued to the monitor). The hotel receptionist had punched in my details and a keycard, the size of a baby ant had slipped out of the machine on to the desk. I need this card to use the lift, but I failed to see it. Much brain-wracking later (OK, so I asked the friendly chap in sister mag, Amiga Power), the pixel was located and off we go again.

Footwear fetish
Yet, other puzzles are very easy to solve. You have a pair of plimsoils, but are zapped by a pink, laser whip-wielding lunatic who steals them and jumps into a waiting getaway car. Seconds later you are inside your chum's flat and he happens to have a pair your size lying on the floor which you promptly slip on and, hey-ho, you're on your way.

'This game contains scenes of violence not suitable for small children'. Readers, this adventure is adult-oriented, which means there is a rather blurry 'sex scene' and some heinous axe-wielding. It isn't as exciting as it sounds. DreamWeb, for all its bluster about nightmares, madmen and plimsoil theft, is very much a traditional point 'n' click adventure game. It does have atmosphere, but droning music and ill-lit back streets can only be atmospheric for so long.

Yet despite these reservations, DreamWeb isn't at all bad. It ain't as sophisticated as it pretends; depth-wise it's way off Monkey Island 2, but then, aren't they all. The real excitement is in the confrontation of your foe, only the problem here is that if you don't reach into your inventory, pull out the weapon and do the deed in the winking of an eye, it's game over. Teeth-gnashing.

Dreamweb logo AGA

Den PC umspannt Creative Realitys abenteuerliches Traumnetz bereits seit knapp einem halben Jahr, nun wird endlich auch der Amiga umgarnt - von einem Cyberspace Adventure, dessen traumatisch harte Zukunftsövision dem großen Übervater William Gibson alle Ehre macht!

Das titelgebende Dreamweb hat man sich als eine Art virtuelles Unterbewußtsein der gesamten Menschheit vorzustellen, was natürlich allumfassenden Manipulationen Tür und Tor öffnet. Normalerweise wäre das nicht weiter schlimm, denn die Energien des Netzes werden von sieben höheren Kontrollinstanzen im Zaum gehalten, die sich zu etwa gleichen Teilen in Gut und Böse gliedern - und im richtigen Leben als prominente Persönlichkeiten auftauchen.

Neuerdings jedoch gelang es den Finsterlingen, alle sieben Positionen zu besetzen, so daß ausschließlich zerstörerische Kräfte freigesetzt werden. Das ruft nun wieder die ominösen und stets auf Ausgleich bedachten "Wächter" auf den Plan, die Ryan, den ziemlich abgewrackten Helden des Spiels, damit beauftragen, alle übeltäter ihrer irdischen Hüllen zu berauben. Deutlich gesagt: Hier wird ein Killer gesucht!

Als Underdog mit zweifelhafter geistiger Gesundheit (was sein dem Spiel beiliegendes Tagebuch mehr als deutlich macht) scheint der soeben arbeitslos gewordene Barmixer für den Job prädestiniert, allerdings fehlen ihm vorderhand sowohl Infos als auch Ausrüstung und Kohle.

Letztere bekommt Ryan von seinem Ex-Brötchengeber in Form einer Abfindung, erstere liefert für den Anfang sein heimischer Netzwerk-Compi, in den er sich mittels eines speziellen "Dreamweb-DOS" regelrecht hineinhacken muß. Auch eine Knarre gehört zum Inventory-Standard (sie muß allerdings erst mal über drei Umwege besorgt werden), und so gestalten sich die erste Exekutionen noch relativ problemlos.

Später komplizieren ein paar kritische Situationen das im ganzen nicht allzu schwere Game, zumal die Nachrichten nicht ohne Grund laufend Greuelmeldungen über einen irren Massenmörder liefern - einiges spricht hier für Ryan als Täter, wenngleich weit mehr Opfer als die von ihm erlegten zu beklagen sind. Oder sollte da etwa joch jemand die Meuchelhand im Spiel haben?

Aus alldem läßt sich unschwer erkennen, daß Dreamweb einerseits mit Spannung und Atmosphäre nicht knausert, andererseits hauptsächlich für erwachsene Abenteurer geeignet ist.

Schon die krude Story legt eine solche Einschätzung nahe, doch kommen hier spezielle Szenen auf den Spieler zu, die es erstaunlich erscheinen lassen, daß die DOS-Version noch immer nicht auf dem Index gelandet ist: Wenn etwa ein Opfer mitten während Bettgymnastik überrascht wird, das nackte Mädel gerade noch unter die Liege flüchten und der Delinquent gerade noch sein bestes Stück mit einem Kissen bedecken kann, ehe man sein Gehirn dekorativ über das Bett verteilt, dann ist das schon starker Tobak!

Mach sein, daß die Jugendschützer das Spiel bislang nur wegen seiner vergleichsweise unspektakulären Vogelperspektive übersehen haben (obwohl sich die Animationen der gut 80 auftretenden Charaktere sehr wohl sehen lassen können), und die Optik wurde ja 1:1 vom PC auf den AGA-Chipsatz gezogen - vielleicht kommt der Schocker also weiterhin ungeschoren davon?

Jedenfalls steuert man Ryan nach wie vor via Mausklick durch relativ kleine Räume, untersucht per Lupenfunktion Gegenstände und manipuliert Geräte, Türschlösser oder sonstige Objekte. Aufnehmen kann man die herumliegenden Items natürlich auch, wobei die Programmierer eine geradezu detailomanische Versessenheit an den Tag legten: Noch die letzte Zigarettenkippe läßt sich begutachten, und manche der stets aus mehreren Räumen bestehenden 30 Locations strotzen geradezu vor Gerümpel, Müll, und wertlosem Abfall.

Auch das Dreamweb selbst (bzw. Seine materielle Komponente in Form eines fantasymäßig angehauchten Mini-Dungeons) wird man im Lauf der Story mehrfach betreten, doch sind die meisten Örtlichkeiten immer nur dann per Auswahlscreen zugänglich, wenn man dort auch tatsächlich etwas verloren hat. Eine durchaus sinnvolle Idee, die planloses Hin- und Herreisen wirksam unterbindet, zumal das Game so strukturiert wurde, daß praktisch keine Sackgassen auftreten könnten - die Lösung des Problems ist immer mit den zur Verfügung stehenden Mitteln möglich.

Akustisch wird hier gleichfalls Qualität geboten, denn ein düsterer Soundtrack im Vangelis-öStil (die Ähnlichkeit mit der "Blade Runner"-Filmmusik dürfte wohl durchaus beabsichtigt sein) trägt in Tateinheit mit stimmungsvollen FX sicher wesentlich zum schön-schaurigen Feeling bei.

Leider müssen dennoch ein paar im Handling begrabene Hunde genannt werden: Daß die fünf Disketten keine Zweitfloppy unterstützen, mag angesichts der HD-Installroutine ja theoretisch angehen - praktisch werden 2-MB-Amigas mit Festplatte aber erhebliche Speicherplatz-Probleme bekommen, wenn man Dreamweb darauf wie gewohnt über die Workbench anwirft. We also nicht unter unerträglichen Rechen- und Nachladezeiten leiden will, der wird hier wohl oder über zum CLI-Start greifen müssen...

Einen Hit wollten wir schon deshalb nicht vergeben, aber das sollte Euch letztlich nicht stören. Wer das Spiel nämlich allein aufgrund der damit verbundenen Unbequemlichkeiten im Regal liegen läßt, der verpaßt ein besonders harsches Abenteuer für charakterstarke Cyber-Killer! (jn)

Dreamweb logo AGA

Like this insubstantial pageant faded, leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep. It says here.

This is what I was thinking while playing Dream web. "Of course. They're the chaps who did The Fury, Nemesis the Warlock and everyone's favourite illiterate adventure Slaine". (That's me suddenly remembering who Creative Reality are).

"Oh Dear". (That's me realising the inexplicable pauses when the game locks up but the cursor is still movable before everything unpredictably snaps back to life are going to continue to happen about every 15 seconds throughout every session I play. Perhaps it is 'decrunching data', or something. It can't be loading from disk I know, because then it helpfully turns your cursor into a disk).

"Oh Dear". (That's me realising this is one of those point-and-click adventures that, far from having the courtesy to tell me which objects in the picture are of value when I point to them, is in fact to regale me with an excitingly lengthy text description of every single object, supporting character and piece of scenery in the game universe and then put a 'use' option in the top-right screen.

It's only when I click on this option that the game admits if the object (or whatever) is of any use or whether it has been put there solely to 'enhance the atmosphere'. And not, for example, for the purpose of intensely annoying me because I'm now forced laboriously to check everything (and that is, of course, everything so as to be sure not to miss that vital object or giveaway clue).

"Oh Dear". (That's me realising that this is one of those point-and-click adventures that demands pixel-perfect cursor control. Curiously, the programmers have clearly realised the folly of this because there is an invaluable option to have a window display a blocky close-up of my immediate surroundings.

They have, however, declined the opportunity of realisation to, say, repair the damage by redrawing the graphics or throwing away at least some of the near totally pointless clutter in every screen).

"Oh Dear". (That's me discovering that after trying to use my in-game computer by clicking on the keyboard and reading the excitingly lengthy description only to discover it is useless, clicking on the mouse and reading the excitingly lengthy description only to discover it is useless, accidentally clicking on the mouse mat while trying to click on a disk but reading the excitingly description anyway only to discover it is useless, and clicking on the monitor and reading the excitingly lengthy description only to discover it's my virtual girlfriend's in-game computer and I shouldn't be messing with her stuff, that I'm supposed to use my in-game computer when I find it by clicking on its monitor screen).

"Oh Dear". (That's me realising that whenever I click on something, the game arbitrarily decides I'm standing too far away to see it properly and so I have to confirm I want to go over to it (which may involve my character walking round in an unnecessary circle) before I get the option to examine it).

"Oh Dear". (That's me realising I've not yet left the first location).

"Oh Dear". (That's me later that morning, having gone to my character's flat. Upon leaving my virtual girlfriend's house, my character mused, "I can't help feeling I've forgotten something". This turned out to be the mystical key hidden in her microwave cooker.

At my character's flat, I'd used his in-game computer to discover he'd been fired from his job at a bar. I'd instantly travelled to the bar ready for a jolly good argument, only to find this is one of those point-and-click adventures where, instead of getting multiple-choice questions and answers, I merely click on someone and the game conducts the whole of an embarrassingly banal, badly-written conversation on my behalf).

Oh dear

"Oh Dear". (That's me realising I'm carrying too many objects and will have to drop some. I do so only to discover the game places everything I've specified in a single heap on the floor, so if I've inadvertently discarded something important I'm going to have to pick it all back up again later. Except I can't, because I'm carrying too much. So I shall have to crawl the cursor about the heap pixel by pixel, patiently waiting for the 15 seconds catatonics to pass, until the game has decided I'm pointing to a bit of the object I require.

Fortunately, since this is only an 'adult' adventure starring the dregs of society even the dregs of society shun as dregs and featuring graphical violence and murder aplenty. I can rest assured that the pile of objects will never be stolen).

"Oh dear". (That's me cottoning on to the artificial size of the game. To separate the interesting bits and so make it appear larger and more complex than it is, each set of locations to which I can travel via the main map requires me to walk stoically through irrelevant streets and hotel lobbies, using lifts that only go to one floor and passing locked rooms whose inhabitants never answer the doorbell, before reaching my intended destination).

"Oh dear". (That's me being told trying to 'use' the suspiciously loose lift controlpanel isn't going to work. Apparently I'd be well advised to 'use' something sharp here. Phew. I'd been careful to pick up that excitingly lengthily described knife from my virtual girlfriend's kitchen for just such an occasion. Now I've exposed some wiring. Now I've had to 'use' the knife again with a separate 'use' command to cut the wires. It appears the lift is now safe to climb on top of. Lucky I didn't fall for the old ignoring exposed wiring trick, eh?).

"Cripes". (That's me being shot by a guard when I 'use'd a fire axe to break to the doors of the floor above).

"Oh dear". (That's me having reloaded my saved position and attempting to drop my axe to show the guard I mean no harm. The screen now shows my axe lying on the floor next to me holding my axe. I recall a similarly shoddy bug from earlier on, when after seeing a crime boss and buying a gun, I return to the building to be told the crime boss is impatiently waiting for me. I get shot again).

"Criminy". (That's me having 'use'd the axe, unexpectedly swinging it at the man besides me I'd assumed was the fellow I'd been chasing around the city but who in fact turns out to be another guard. This throws the aim of the man with the gun, and I'm able to shoot him. I reflect on the ingenuity of this scene. From bursting through the doors to the man firing at me. I've been given a few seconds to call up my inventory and make a plan. It's a real-time action sequence in a point-and-click adventure - THAT WORKS! I am pleased).

"Oh dear". (That's me in the next part of the game. I'd found the man I was chasing and killed him, only to be dragged to a place where someone explained the plot of the game. Since the point of the firs part is that you are wandering around in bewilderment, convinced you are going mad, only a cockroach would spoil things by revealing what is really going on. In the next part of the game I am to kill another man. But where is this next victim? There appear to be no new locations on the map.

But wait. I go to my character's flat and use his in-game computer to read an embarrassingly banal and badly-written news report that mentions the victim is to appear at a television station, reminding my character that he knows where the station is. It is now visible on the map, replacing the locations used in the last section. Still, it's not as if they're needed to, for example, create a cohesive, rounded 'feel' to the game rather than reducing it to a series of aloof sections with everything you need to solve them contained within. Or anything).

"Oh dear". (That's me in the studio after cunningly gaining entrance by shooting the security guard. I am upon a high gantry above the set from where my enemy is broadcasting. A fused winch supporting a gigantic crate points to my method of dispatching him.

But after having just shot a harmless old fellow, I decide instead to fire at my enemy from above. But the game decides I had better not use my pistol at the moment, even though nobody has shown the slightest interest in my blasting down the elderly security guard)).

"Oh dear". (That's me realising that instead of bypassing the blown fuse with, say, an identically-sized piece of metal, a wire exposed at both ends, a knife, a screwdriver or (rather cleverly I thought) a chewing gum paper wrapper excitingly described at length as being tin foil, I'm meant to examine a brochure to discover a security pass and use this to enter a storeroom containing a single brand-new fuse).

"Oh dear". (That's me realising that I'm halfway through the game and the puzzles are indeed going to remain at the same level of failed text-adventure feebleness. The game stops for its irregular rest break. I throw myself wearily at the guns of some guards).


Dreamweb logo AGA CU Amiga Screen Star

Dreamweb - Empire's adult adventure has been whipping up a storm of controversy with tales of sex, drugs and violence. Lisa Collins is used to that sort of thing so...

A man thinks he is slowly going insane. He starts to keep a diary, noting down all the strange things that are beginning to happen to him while he sleeps. Sex with strangers, murder, dodgy dealings and evil forces abound, his rantings become more and more erratic as he is sucked further into the Dreamweb. This disturbing tome is the key to getting into Dreamweb - Empire's first adult adventure.

The Dreamweb, a sort of collective consciousness made up of good and evil, controls a city that's set in a sort of future world. Unfortunately, evil is gaining the upper hand and has taken control of seven people. The keepers of the Dreamwob have decided to fight back and have chosen you - Ryan - to kill these seven baddies and hence restore the natural equilibrium.

And so the scene is set for a rather good adventure. You control Ryan and must guide him through this top-view game, picking off the seven evil ones and executing them in (and this is essential) the right order - going back to the keeper after each execution to find out who to track down next. Sounds simple enough, but it isn't. You have to logically work your way through the game, by hunting around and visiting various locations, to gather all the information and items that you need.

Just to complicate things even further there is a network which you can log into once you've found the password and the right cartridge, to glean various bits of extra information that will help you through the game.

A lot of time has been spent on the gameplay and it shows: Dreamweb is very easy to get into. The point and click interface means that all you have to do is drag the pointer over to the item you wish to examine and you can then decide to either use it now or stash it away in your inventory for a later stage.

All of the various locations in the game host a plethora of items which have been lovingly crafted with intricate detail, right down to a fridge which is stocked up with orange juice, milk and butter. Not all the items are necessary, but then again that's the fun of the game - finding out exactly what you need.

Dreamweb is linear which means it will not let you progress unless you have all the information or items you need. A message like: 'Maybe I've forgotten something' will flash up and send you scurrying back to where you came from to make sure you have everything.

There is also a lot of humour dotted throughout the game. For example, there is some interesting interaction with dodgy looking types in bars who tell you to shove off (or words a bit less polite than that), if you are bothering them.

The graphics in Dreamweb are good and contribute to the dark, moody and atmospheric feel of the game. However, the actual window that the game is played in only takes up a minute portion of the screen so the sprites and items themselves are unnecessarily tiny. Thankfully there is a zoom option but the game would have been much more enjoyable (but no doubt slower) had this window been bigger.

In all Dreamweb is a very enjoyable graphic adventure. It has been rated 18 due to its 'adult' nature though. However, the infamous sex scene involving the rock star David Crane (one of the evil ones) having it off with a groupie is merely laughable because the sprites are so tiny you can hardly tell what sex they are, let alone see any action.

Another reason for the 18 rating is due to the graphic nature of the killings. One of the 'victims' is seen dragging her entrails along the ground pleading for her life. Perhaps this is the most chilling aspect of Dreamweb - it all seems so very realistic. Some might argue that there is a slight difference between blasting away mindlessly at cartoon mutants in a shoot 'em up and actually premeditating and carrying out serial executions!

However, whatever your moral stance, if all you are interested in is a good involving graphic adventure, and you are over 18, Dreamweb is the game for you.