Amiga product plans must becoming more and more hectic as the months fly by. For instance, Guildhall leisure release a spectacular 3D Doom-like game only two or three months ago and already they have just finished their latest release. In fact, it's something you'd never expect - another Doom-clone! Not a sequel, but another full blown attempt at recreating Doom on the Amiga. By the looks of this one, they've finally done it.
Months and months of speculation can now seriously be forgotten because even I didn't believe a true Doom version could arrive on the Amiga. We have followed this product since its creation, reporting on each change and receiving copies of the game at various stages. Even then, I was pretty sure this was the one that would all the others to shame - including Gloom.
There are 30 levels for you to battle through, each one being hugely different, so it never appears the same. A major boon which will please Doom fanatics is the fact that you can design your own maze with different textures, doors and aliens, etc. So hopefully, Fears will never run out of lastability.
The Atmospheric sounds are fantastic, truly setting the scene and preparing you for a trip into the unknown. These noises range from the firing of several weapons to the screams of the monsters.
Incidentally, if Fears does have a down point, it's seriously the lack of originality in the monsters. Although they are well drawn, they just don't look scary enough. If you were locked in a dungeon way below the earth's surface and you had to fave the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz and The Mekon from Dan Dare, you wouldn't actually be quaking now would you.
There will be a CD32 version of the game which should be hitting the shops about now and will contain all the original features and hopefully be nicer to look and faster.
When I first played Fears on a standard 1200, it was reasonably jerky which quite obviously reflected on the detailed graphics. Although this seemed a problem, I overcame it by playing and playing away until I was so absorbed I didn't even notice - until, I managed to dig out an accelerator from the dusty cupboard. It was a Blizzard Board and playing Fears with one of these is highly recommended. The speed increases tenfold and therefore produces one of the fastest and most playable games to date.
The Atmospheric sounds are fantastic, truly setting the scene and preparing you for a trip into the unknown
The Edit facility is excellent for designing your own mazes. The actual editor looks a lot like a paint package where you drawn on screen a maze of your choice. All the platforms, stars, walls and aliens are allocated numbers so it ends up like painting by numbers.
You can define stairs leading up to small rooms just by coloring in some boxes. It really is so user-friendly you will be designing levels within minutes. A good thing I found was the fact that you can actually make a virtual world of your own house - or is that too sad?
The options allow you to toggle between difficulty levels, screen size, and all different graphical variations. You can also choose to play the part of the hero as a human or an alien.
The screen resolution that Fears uses is pretty high so you can expect a high amount of detail. However the resolution obviously isn't quite as high as Doom on the PC. To make up for this, though, the programmers have included dithering. This will blur things a little to get the look of the PC, although it actually just gives you thumping headaches and bad vision.
You can control the character in Fears in many ways - either by the mouse, keyboard or joystick. Most people prefer the keyboard because you can reach every key to open doors, side-step, change weapon and run. With the mouse it is nice and comfortable to play, but it's pretty awkward to side-step and avoid bullets.
At first you will find it impossible to avoid the shots form the opponents, but careful mastery of the side-step will enable you to dodge around the wall to prevent death.