Heavy Metal logo

US GOLD £24.99 * Mouse and Joystick

It seems that tanks are the 'in thing' as far as games are concerned. After a series of Battlezone lookalikes being released,US Gold have come up with a game that simulates not one, not wo, but three armoured transport systems.

Heavy Metal places you as a cadet in the US Officer Training School, where you will learn how to control an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT), an Air Defence Anti Tank (ADAT) and a Fast Attack Vehicle (FAV) as well as tactical forces in a battle scenario.

Only Second Lieutenants and above can enter the tactical stage, so your first step on the ladder is to qualify for promotion by proving your worth in combat simulations using all three vehicles. Once you have been promoted you can select the tactical section, where you have the three units under your control as well as a fourth support unit, which can be any of the vehicles.

You must deploy your forces and engage enemy troops in an attempt to stop them reaching your HQ. Once all your forces have been defeated or immobilised you are taken to the debriefing room, where the General gives an appraisal of your performance.

New recruits usually find themselves receiving the hard edge of his tongue, but eventually you may be promoted to Five-Star General and outrank him, which should soften the General's approach!


The presentation of Heavy Metal is very good, with an effective animated introduction and some extremely tough-looking intermission screens. However, the actual in-game graphics vary form good to all right. The ADAT screen is the most impressive, with a well-drawn display and smooth scrolling and animation, but the MBT section has a rather simplistic look, with simple wire frame graphics used to portray the surrounding proceedings.

There is a solid option, but this only works for the scenery, not for enemy vehicles. The sound doesn't really make much use of the Amiga's capabilities, sounding more like that old 8-bit warhorse the Commodore 64.


The three simulators are in essence three different games, requiring a completely individual approach and use of tactics. Even if you manage to beat the three individual sections, there is the tactical game which takes more thought and planning before you can overcome the odds and beat the enemy forces, no matter how skilful your driving and shooting may be.


Despite some rough edges in the audio-visual department and some annoying delays while playing the game, Heavy Metal isn't a bad combat simulation. The three sections are tough to master and present a fair challenge when combined in the strategic element of the game, especially when you're outnumbered almost two to one!

The feel is more 'arcade' like than straight wargaming, making the game easier to get into than some of the more complex simulations available - a fact that may repel strategists but will be welcomed by blast fans. But both these groups may find Heavy Metal


Air Defence Anti-Tank
The high-tech monster is armed with automatic laser-tracking missiles to take out planes and a 30mm cannon for blasting jets and tanks. The missiles are about 90% effective, but the enemy attacks in waves and the missile can only pick out one target at a time. Also, the missiles are only capable of Ground-to-Air flight, so be ready with your cannon!

Main Battle Tank
In this section you control the tank from both the Gunner's and the Driver's positions. The automatic Laser Targetting System picks out enemy positions and gives you the information you need to home in and blas them. Be ready to use a smokescreen, as the enemy has a similar targetting system.

Fast Attack Vehicle
Looking rather like a beach buggy with guns, this vehicle is designed to penetrate enemy defence areas very quickly to inflict as much damage as possible on their vehicles and equipment in a short space of time. Watch out for tanks and Gunships, as the FAV isn't very heavily armoured.

Heavy Metal logo

Wer hinter dem Titel eine verschärfte "Rock 'n Roll" Variante vermutet, irrt gewaltig: Mit Schwermetall sind hier eher Panzer und Granaten gemeint. Ein Kriegsspiel, wie es hundert geben sollte - leider gibt es mindestens tausend von der Sorte...

Bekannt wurde das Label Access Software durch einzige, inzwischen indizierte Brutalo-Spielchen für den C64 und "Leaderboard", immerhin der Golfsimulation überhaupt. Was haben die Jungs nun diesmal ausgeknobelt?

Heavy Metal besteht aus vier Einzelabschnitten: In den ersten drei übt man den Umgang mit jeweils einem anderen Kriegsvehikel, im letzten wird das Gelernte dann auf eine Schlachtensimulation angewandt. Fahrzeug Nr. 1 ist der MIAI Abrahams-Panzer, zu tun gibt es bei diesem "Simulations"-Teil nichts anderes, als per Druck aufs Joysticksknöpfchen möglichst viele Feinde zu killen.

Das zweite Vehikel ist der FAV, der Spielverlauf ähnelt dem von "Out Run", nur mit Ballern. Der letzte im Bunde heißt ADAT, eine Art Flak, mit der man in "Operation Thunderbolt"-Manier auf MIGs und Panzer schießen darf. Hat man sich schließlich in allen drei Disziplinen qualifiziert, kommt im Tactical Command Level dann noch ein bescheidenes bißchen Taktik zu der ganzen Ballerei hinzu.

Die Grafik ist nicht ganz so schlecht wie der Rest des Games (Teil 1 in 3D); ansonsten bietet Heavy Metal nur eintöniges Ballern, haufenweise unfaire Stellen und... naja, eigentlich gar nichts weiter. Ein hoffnungsloses Programm, von und für hoffnungslose Kriegsspielfanatiker. (mm)

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Access/US Gold, C64 £9.99 cassette, £14.99 disk; Amiga £24.99

General E.E. 'Bud' Dink is a mean old coot, and he means to see you sweat blood as you make your way up through the ranks from trainee to five star general. But first you must qualify, earning at least 5,000 points on each of the 'combat sims'.

There are three arcade games, each based on a piece of hi-tech military. The Fast Attack Vehicle is a beach buggy with guns and missiles strapped on. Sadly your buggy lacks brakes or a throttle: all you can do is move left or right and press fire. Apart from dodging the various obstacles, you'll have to take out helicopters and tanks.

With the Air Defense Anti-Tank (ADAT), you control the turret as zillions of MIG fighters and TR-80 tanks swarm towards your position. Aircraft can be totalled with both missiles and cannons, while tanks can only be destroyed by cannon fire. Missiles are fired by pressing 'space bar' when brackets appear around a target indicating lock-on. The joystick is used to control a cursor aiming the cannon.

The most expensive weapon is the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT). You're in sole command with plenty of sensors above the small window showing the battlefield with its vector graphic enemy vehicles. All these targets are as animated sprites in the periscope view. You can either turn the tank to face them, or just the gun turret. Then you can set the gun elevation to match the laser rangefinder's suggestion. You can also dispense smoke to break the lock of an enemy rangefinder.

Once you've scored enough points on these arcade games you qualify as a a militaary commander, going to the Tactical Command Centre. This shows a map view of the battlefield. You can order your FAV, MBT and ADAT units to Engage (enemy unit), Move and Re-supply. But however good you are at strategy, defeat is virtually inevitable unless you participate. This takes you back into one of the three arcade games, with enemy forces calculated from the TACC game.

Robin Hogg I'll get the worst bit over with first and say that the multiload (notably on tape) is just diabolical. After this things get better but not by much, there's a nice parallax scroll on the ADAT level and the FAV scene can be thrilling at first (until you realize how repetitive it quickly becomes). The tank scene sports nice close-up sprites but it's all in the Echelon mould for speed.
The Amiga game isn't particularly special, looking very much like the C64 game, but what really wound me up was the delay when you lose a life. There's some nice use of colour in the ADAT subgame but it lacks major depth, the FAV lacks atmosphere or realism and the tank game is horribly simplistic. It would be alright if the wargame was great but it's so very, very simple. Save that £25 and get some real Heavy Metal, a touch of Faith No More perhaps.
Scorelord The strategy here is fairly simple, which leaves us with the three arcade games. FAV is simply left/right fire and soon becomes monotonous, as does the ADAT air defense game. The tank game is the most complex, but it's pretty dull anyway with crude graphics. Once all the controls are mastered it's fun for a while, but the repetitiveness soon becomes irritating.
Ironically the game supplied free with C64 Heavy Metal is superior. Beach Head having an intelligently organized multiload and superior graphics.