Blimey! It's a brand new concept!

Golden Eagle logo

LORICIEL * £34.99 * 1/2 meg * Joystick * Out now

Something's been bothering me now for, ooh, four or five seconds at least. Why is it, I've been wondering to myself, that whenever the baddies in arcade adventures get hold of whatever powerful item all the goodies are after, they always split it into several pieces and hide them?
Where's the logic in that? It'd make things a lot easier for them if they just got the sought-after object and blew it up, or melted it, or blasted it into space. That way the goodies would never stand a chance of winning. Brilliant, eh?

Except that way, all arcade adventures would be very, very, very difficult indeed. Unless you got to play the baddies that is. In fact, that's not a bad idea is it? An arcade adventure where you get to play the forces of evil, rather than the normal namby-pamby good guys.

And could Loriciel have released such a game in the guise of Golden Eagle? No! It's just another arcade adventure with four pieces of some statue to find! Had you going for a bit though didn't it? Arf arf! 'Enter a universe close to ours yet light years away...' begins the manual in a rather distressingly self-contradictory way. It then goes on to tell the familiar tale of one man rising up to right wrongs and free the oppressed from the nasty alien blokes, simply by collecting four pieces of the all-powerful and really rather shiny Golden Eagle statuette.

Once all four pieces are collected, the world will be a happy place and all that was wrong will become right. What a handy little statuette that must be, eh?

You take the role of this saviour, naturally, and must roam about the huge complex that makes up the city where this game takes place. You can log on to the city's computer terminals and use them to help you in your quest. The mutants, who obviously live under the city, will use these terminals to contact you with instructions as to what you should do. Quite nice of them, I thought.

And so you start to trundle around the vast, and largely dull, city shooting guards and, well, that's all you actually seem to do. Lots of running from screen to screen, firing your gun and getting captured seems to be the name of the game here. And when you are captured the guards, in their doubtlessly infinite wisdom, decide to dump you at the start of the corridor they caught you on or in a jail from which it's phenomenally easy to escape. Clever fellas or what?

The game blurb promises animation better than Prince of Persia, and while that may very well be true, it doesn't stop the game from being completely boring. The main character looks very convincing as he whips out his weapon (fnarr) and prepares to kick burn. But there's nothing more to do than leg it around and shoot the odd guard or two. After a while you'd gladly sacrifice all the swish animation just to get something interesting to do.

Basically, it's a tired format and the supposedly amazing animation isn't really quite as amazing as its cracked up to be. Yeh sure, it's very pretty, but I personally think that Another World is a lot better to look at, and a damn sight more exciting to boot.

The sound is average, and the gameplay is dull beyond belief. What this sort of game needs is a new twist in the gameplay, not fancy graphics. Buy at your peril.



Golden Eagle logo

Loriciel * £28.99

Another offering from the French software publishers, Golden Eagle is markedly better than their other attempts at entertainment. An Impossible Mission clone, this epic adventure also has you running about all over a giant underground base. You're searching for the various parts of a Golden Eagle, which has a brainwashing effect over the local population. If you can gather them all, you may just save everyone.

Featuring some atmospheric and mood-enhancing music, plus reasonable animation and gameplay, Golden Eagle is a fair game. Its themes have all been done to death a thousand times before, but it's still a well-polished piece of software.

A nice touch is the do-it-yourself map which accompanies the disk and manual. This rather neat invention is simply a large piece of paper with the layout of the base drawn onto it. To indicate where you've been and what you've found, there are two sheets of stickers included, which you fix onto the map as you go, so you don't blow the whole plot at once. Fun, and reasonably exciting too, but don't be awake at night wishing for it.



Golden Eagle logo

Auf den Adlerschwingen der Programmierkunst sollte sich Loriciels neues Action-Adventure erheben und der Konkurrenz davonschweben. Ob das wohl gelungen ist - mit einem Greifvogel aus Gold?

Die Story ist jedenfalls schonmal dünn genug, die fliegt womöglich ganz von alleine. In einer futuristischen Kuppelstadt wurde ein mystischer goldener Adler vom finsteren Priester Nahmur geklaut, in fünf Teil zerlegt und versteckt. Wenn einem soviel Übles widerfährt, das ist schon ein Helden wert - in vorliegendem Fall steigert sich der Sohn des letzten Wächters der Statuette in diese Rolle. Er erhält nämlich von braven, verstoßenen Mutanten den Auftrag, die Bruchstücke wieder einzusammeln, zusammenzufügen und damit die Zukunft zu retten. Na, wenn's denn so ist...

Mr. Eaglesave wandelt also durch die Korridore und Katakomben der City, weicht vielerlei gemeinen Energiefeldern und noch gemeineren Robotern aus, erschießt feindliche Priester-Fans oder holt sich aus Wegesrand wichtige Informationen (von heimlichen Unterstützern seiner Mißion eingespeist), Stadtpläne und andere Nützlichkeiten. Vor allem aber knackt er jeden Tresor mit Hilfe von aufgefundenen Codes oder seinem sensiblen Panzerknackergehör - es könnte ja eine Adlerkeule drin versteckt sein! Tja, und das alles spielt sich weder besonders überzeugend, noch direkt schlecht.

Das beste Stück dieses Geflügelbratens sind jedenfalls die Animationen. Sehr realistisch, wenn auch nicht völlig ruckelfrei, trabt unser einsamer Retter in der Seitenansicht über den Screen. Auch das recht ausführliche Intro kommt gut rüber, die restliche Optik macht aber leider einen weit weniger spektakulären Eindruck: im Technostyle gehalten, irgendwie mittelmäßig und inspiriert. Als ob die Muse des Grafikers statt Küßen nur Bußis verteilt hätte, vermutlich hatte sie gerade Herpes. Auch die Steuerung über Tastatur oder Stich macht einen etwas kränklichen Eindruck, zumindest reagiert sie oft reichlich zäh. Ist aber kein Beinbruch, nach ihren Schüßen zu urteilen, haben die Feinde die selben Probleme...

Apropos Probleme, die scheinen auch die Programmierer bei der Einordnung ihres Werkes gehabt zu haben. Offensichtlich wollte man nämlich partout auch alle Nicht-Action-Adventurer bei der Stange halten, was zu einem typischen Kompromiß-Game geführt hat: Normalerweise stehen nur dürftige fünf Handlungsmöglichkeiten zur Verfügung, zusätzliche Sonderoptionen wie Kriechen sind... eben Sonderoptionen. Schön, bei den Infosäulen darf man absaven oder sich gar mit einer Partie Reversi entspannen, aber ist das wirklich der Stoff, aus dem unsterbliche Softwareträume gemacht sind?

Wohl eher nein, daran ändern auch ein ganz hübscher Titelsound und allerlei mäßige FX nichts mehr. Nee, die ganze Wahrheit ist einfach, daß Golden Eagle keinen wirklichen Spaß macht, höchstens etwas Fast-Food-Laune - Eagle McNugget gewißermaßen. (jn)



Golden Eagle logo

Regardless of whether or not the world needs another bloke-walking-round-shooting-things game, Loriciel have faithfully reproduced the movements of a sideways-on bloke as he walks, jumps, ducks, crawls, climbs and fires a gun, and justified their existence as follows.

Nahmur, an evil high priest, has captured the Golden Eagle, a powerful magical statuette, from its rightful owners. Failing to control its powers, and obviously having played this sort of game before, he's broken it into several pieces and scattered them around his city. And it's up to your bloke to collect them all and reassemble them.

He's okay, as blokes go, although he's got an annoying habit of stubbornly seeing through every last frame of his current movement (e.g. stride forward) before commencing the next, a trait which often gets him intro trouble.

The real snag is that there's nothing terribly interesting for him to do. There are robots patrolling the corridors which can be shot, after a bit of wrestling with the 'evolutive' controls. And there are the pieces of Eagle to collect, of course. They're locked in safes which needs to be cracked. Oh, and there's a version of Reversi you can play if you want, the relevance of which I've yet to fathom.

It was all looking pretty grim until I discovered the fold-out wall chart at the bottom of the box. This comes with a comprehensive set of stickers which you can use to build up a map as you go along. A couple of percent extra for that, then. But apart from that, it's pretty tricky to find anything to heap praise upon.

And not only is Golden Eagle dull to play, it's also heavily reliant on disk accessing and swapping. It didn't even have the decency to tell me to press return after changing disks, instead leaving me sitting there like a complete nobwit. I ask you.