Somehow you just know that a game with the title 'Executioner' isn't going to be a very cheery game. However if you're expecting to be in control of a medieval head chopper, rolling heads into a hand-crafted wicker basket in the late eighteenth century, then you're in for a surprise.
Gravity of the situation
In fact it is a kind of warped space-trading game. The idea is to zip down to unfriendly planets, destroy alien installations, scoop up prisoners and then nip down to your local slave trader for a bit of human bartering. However mindless death and destruction isn't the only aim of the game. Dear me no, there are four pieces of an electronic key to collect with which you can catch an enemy leader.
The game is controlled by the mouse. Thus on static screens when you've got some bartering or torture to carry out, the mouse joystick simply moves to highlight choices. These static screens comprise of a shop, a bar, a map and a torture/questioning screen.
Once you've decided which portion of the galaxy to search for the key segments, you can then launch your ship down to the planet. At this point the game switches to a thrust-type game. You have an allocation of fighter droids which you can send down to destroy installations, capture prisoners and extra fuel.
The planet combat sections of the game are reminiscent of games such as Gravity and the recent Zarathrusta. Here the main problem isn't the attacking spacecrafts or the ground-based installations, it's the problem of controlling a craft which is affected by gravity.
It's very easy to get your orientation wrong with the droids, sending them plummeting down to earth. This isn't' the fault of the programmers, in fact to their credit, they've decided to make life a little harder for all you hardened shoot-em-up players out there.
If you spot something interesting on the surface then you can zip down and hove about it. Pulling back on the joystick initiates the tractor beam and you scoop-up prisoners or extra supplies of fuel. The exit from these planet levels is hidden until you find a transmitter pod, pick this up and an exit portal appears on your inadequate radar screen.
Talk you evil Gargaroth
If you manage to make it off a planet with a couple of droids to spare, you can head for home and torture the prisoners for information about the location of the key.
There's nothing terribly graphic about the torture sections. You have only four methods (he said distinctly sick). You can physically attack the prisoner, stretch them (old but effective), use electrodes, or offer them incentives (ciggies, chocolate, their life).
If you over do things in this portion of the game, the prisoner will die, so it's wise to keep an eye on the life-force indicator which registers exactly the kind of shape that the poor sod's in. If it all sounds a bit gratuitous and sick, then you're not far from the truth.
Being a space agent isn't all work, work, work. If you fancy a spot of relaxation you can go to the bar. Entering this screen shows you a graphics of the bar and ermm, that's it. Some absolutely moronic piano floats around while you prop up the bar. Dire indeed.
Should you save up enough money from selling prisoners you can buy add-ons for your ship. Four-way guns, extra droids or high-powered weapons are all stocked by the shopkeeper, who looks like a cross between Darth Vader and Mr Benn in his spacesuit.
Here's a game that offers little. All you've got is a game pretending to be a "combination of tense arcade action and mind-stretching strategic quest". The only good portions of the game are the planet sequences and even these are absolutely derivative. If it is "hugely addictive", then I must have the wrong version.