Enemy: Tempest of Violence logo

Enemy mine. Game mine. Leave me alone. Ben Vost over and out.

This is the single most deceptive game I’ve played this year. It starts out and you think it’s a cheap Flashback rip off. You play for a bit longer and you start getting bored. If you persevere and play for longer yet, you’ll get frustrated, and then, finally, you’ll actually quite like the sodding thing.

It’s such an irritating game. Yes, it is a bit like Flashback in that you jump onto platforms and so on, but it’s unlike it in the sense that the graphics are crap. While you move with some fluidity while running or jumping horizontally, Enemy’s vertical jump looks like nothing so much as you simply being picked up and put on a ledge.

You get bored pretty quickly because there aren’t any bad guys to shoot with your ver limited ammo on the first two levels (although you’ll still need your gun), and you just seem to be running around endlessly. Once you’ve discovered that you have to get to the exit, things start getting better. You realise you’ve only got a limited amount of time to complete your task so you start streamlining the way you run through levels to save as much time as possible.

The save points aren’t much of a help either – although they save your position up to that point, they don’t save how much time you have left, which means that although you can restart from where you left off, you won’t have the same amount of time and you probably won’t have enough to finish the level.

Right so you’ve persevered with the foibles of the game. You’ve discovered that some of Enemy’s flip screens actually have help icons on them (hit the Help key and they appear) which might just make the situation you thought was impossible prove to be solvable.

Reading through the full printed manual, it talks about being able to order civilians around, something like Abe’s Odyssey on the PlayStation but before that came out, and you get a bit intrigued. You’ve got your route down pat on level two so that you can drop off medical supplies with the good guys in the shortest time possible, and all of a sudden you notice you’re actually quite enjoying the game.

Okay, the graphics aren’t very eye-catching, the sound’s nothing to write home about and the level design can occasionally leave you trapped, forcing a complete restart, but the game itself is actually pretty good.

This is one of those games where if you don’t play it for a day at least as soo as you get it, you won’t play it at all. It’s not attractive enough to get you playing, it doesn’t feature gameplay innovative enough to start off with, but boy is it a grower!

When I first saw the manual and it said something along the lines of "turn off your accelerator" I thought that I wasn’t going to like it, but by the time I came to have to actually write this review I found that it was really very good.