The Killing Game Show logo Amiga Format Gold

PSYGNOSIS £24.99 * Joystick

And Bunty the poodle was soon safely back with her owners. That concludes the news for this evening, so without further ado, let's go across to the studio for the latest instalment of the Killing Game Show!

"Thank you very much, Dan, and a hearty welcome to our viewers out there in TV land! You're tuned into the most dynamic game show in the Galaxy, so sit back and enjoy the slaughter!" Cue the morbidly jolly intro music...

This is the television of the future. Gone is the homely charm of Telly Addicts, no longer can you see families making fools of themselves on programmes like The Generation Game, lost are the jolly japes and antics of Beadle's About. Perhaps it's not such a bad thing, then...

The television companies have come up with the answer to two problems. Firstly, viewers want more dynamic game shows with much more at stake than just a holiday in the Bahamas, so more dangerous challenges are needed. The second problem is the rising crime rate: the authorities have no real way of dealing with convicted felons. The solution to both of these dilemmas is the Killing Game Show. The TV companies use the captured criminals as... er... 'lucky contestants' and transform them drastically, using plastic surgery, into MUGs - armoured, weapon-packing cyborg creatures suitable for the game.

The Game Show is ready to begin as the MUGs are placed in the Pits of Death, specially-constructed game arenas full of platforms and climbable walls. The MUG must make his way to the top of the pit, reach the exit and move on to the next round and another death pit.

This isn't as easy as it sounds, though, since some of the routes are occasionally blocked by barriers, which have to be unlocked with the relevant key. This isn't made any easier when you have deadly HALFs (Hostile Artificial Life Forms) trying to bring you to a quick demise. Oh, and as if that wasn't enough, the pits gradually fill up with DOLL, Deadly To Organic Life Liquid, a strange kind of acid which is lethal to touch. Who said quiz shows were bland?

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

Killing Game Show has been blessed with an intro by the Psygnosis in-house team - and I can safely say that it is the best and most atmospheric intro sequence yet seen on a computer game. The dark graphics and manic sound effects capture perfectly that violent, futuristic TV feel. The game itself maintains the superb, polished feel, both in sound and graphics. Some clever programming has gone into making the game look excellent and the sound effects have to be heard to be believed, with racketing gunfire, shrieking laughter and clear speech samples. What more can I say, other than brilliant!

LASTING INTEREST

Initially the going is incredibly tough, but soon enough the frantic gameplay pulls you in and pathways through to the exits start to emerge. Many a time you'll find yourself saying "What the hell is this? I can't do it at all!" Perseverance is the key, so just keep trying!

JUDGEMENT

Just when you thought all the polish and ideas in shoot-em-ups belonged to arcade conversions and big licenses, along come Psygnosis with another audio-visual gem to delight your eyes and ears. Moreover, it isn't just a flash and no go - the gameplay is superb too. The action is frantic, the puzzles are difficult and it has a hook which could wind in a killer shark. Watch the superb intro, then play the game and be blown away!


The Killing Game Show logo

In letzter Zeit hat sich Psygnosis ja nicht gerade mit Ruhm bekleckert - um so erfreulicher ist ihr jüngstes Game! Die Jungs aus Liverpool haben das Programmieren also doch noch nicht verlernt...

Wem Fernsehshows normalerweise zu langweilig sind, der sollte mal bei der Killing Game Show reinschauen: Hier spielen die Kandidaten um den höchsten leben: überhaupt ihr Leben! Stattfinden tut das ganze in acht großen Zylindern, die jeweils aus zwei "Todeskammern" bestehen.

Die Kammern sind voller Plattformen, über die man rennen, hüpfen, und klettern muß, um den Ausgang zu finden. Damit dabei nicht getrödelt wird, gibt's reichlich Gegner und - die Zylinder füllen sich langsam mit einer Flüssigkeit, deren bloße Berührung tödlich ist! Außerdem sind überall Überraschungen versteckt: Minen, "Flutstopper", Orakel, Schlüssel und vieles mehr. Natürlich ist man derlei Späßchen nicht wehrlos ausgeliefert, es gibt die üblichen Waffen und Sonderausstattungen (Normal- und Dreifachschuß, Laser etc.). Trotzdem ist Killing Game Show kein reines Ballerspiel. Um aus den labyrinthartigen Zylindern des Todes zu entkommen, darf man oft ganz schön tüfteln, denn der Weg ist weit (Karten zeichnen!) und voller tückischer Hindernisse ("Warum paßt dieser ve... Schlüssel nicht??!").

Grafisch ist das Game eine Wucht: Das beginnt beim Intro, geht mit dem hinreißenden Spielersprite weiter (eine Heavy Metal-Ausgabe von Donald Duck), macht auch bei den abwechslungsreichen Hintergrundgrafiken, die ein bißchen an "Xenon 2" erinnern, nicht halt und gipfelt schließlich in dem umwerfenden Effekt mit der ansteigenden Flüssigkeit! Lediglich das Scrolling ruckelt leicht, und der Bildschirmausschnitt ist nicht allzu groß. Und der Sound? In absoluter Killersoundtrack PLUS astreine Effekte PLUS Sprachausgabe! So, nun aber genug der Lobeshymne...

Die Steuerung ist zwar okay, könnte jedoch besser sein. Es gibt eine Reihe netter Gags, aber halt nicht sooo viele - mit der Zeit wird's doch ein bißchen eintönig. Insgesamt ist Killing Game Show ein überdurchschnittlich gut präsentiertes Game, das von Spielprinzip her stark an "Flood" erinnert. Allerdings sollten für die tödliche Show nur Profis kandidieren, denn auch der Schwierigkeitsgrad ist überdurchschnittlich hoch... (mm)


The Killing Game Show logo

Psygnosis invited ZERO to 'Come on Down', take out the Blinkety Blonk cheque book' and 'get killed'(!) in their latest game, The Killing Game Show. David 'Don't touch the pack, we'll be right back' Wilson is the first contestant.

Just imagine if Bob Monkhouse congratulated you on winning Full House, saying, "Your prize is a red hot three-pronged spike up the..." Hang on a mo... Drat! Macca used up all the best Killing Game Show gags in last issue's Underwraps. Hmm, he also told you that the Killing Game Show is a brilliant multi-scrolling side on shoot 'em up... and that the setting is a massive vertically placed cylinder with a network of platforms. And that you have to make your way up to the top, whilst the cylinder slowly fills with water. That apart from the usual swarms of aliens to destroy, you'll also have to shoot pods to receive weapon power ups and keys.

Use different keys to open doors - your problem being that you can only carry one object at a time. And that this means you'll have to use a bit of strategy to be holding the correct keys at the correct time. He also mentioned that at the end of each level you'll find further puzzles in the form of anagrams and visual puzzles, and that you'll need to solve them to progress!

Erm... so there's not much else to say really. I know, let's talk about television. Did you know that although John Logie Baird produced the first television picture, he didn't invent the electronic television system we use today. This was invented by an American called Philo Fansworth, in 1927. So in a manner of speaking it's Philo Farnsworth we have to tank for such TV gems as That's My Dog (That's enough talk about television. Ed.) Er... Sorry, anyway ' Don't go away, STAY! And we'll look at the review...

Amiga reviewDavid: As Macca pointed out, Killing Game Show doesn't have too much to offer in the 'radically innovative shoot 'em up department, and yet it certainly stands out amongst the current fare in this genre. It does offer one great new feature in the form of an 'interactive instant replay'.

If you struggle through the game and get killed, you'll get to see a replay of your exploits. You can then butt in halfway through and take over from just before your untimely end. Hurrah! No more going all the way back to the start with this baby! If you happen to have gotten extremely far into the game then you won't have to watch the replay for ages either, 'cos there's a fast forward button too! (Oh, should you so desire, you can also change the colour palette).

Apart from this there's ton's of alien blasting, and platform running and jumping. The graphics are up to the high standard we've come to expect from Psygnosis - check out the opening animated sequence where your machine 'wakes up' and blasts the wossname out of a mechanical target as it moves down a track!

Some alien sprites aren't very imaginative - the sort of little 'Polo mints' or squares that are the usual Thalamus fare but they explode very nicely. The rising water with its reflective surfaces, the joy of multiple weapon systems, and the nice level of difficulty it's pitched at, all make Killing Game Show a rather meaty shoot 'em up.


The Killing Game Show logo

Psygnosis, Amiga £24.99

Besides keeping the 21st century population distracted and amused, the Killing Game Show deals with dissidents by using them as contestants - no-one has survived it yet!

For the squeamish, simply being prepared for the show is bad enough. Radical surgery amputates the legs, strips away the skin, then wraps the raw remains in armor. The arms are turned into multi-purpose limbs used to walk with, climb walls and pick up objects. Two massive guns are also grafted onto the cyborg.

KGS consists of eight artificial moons designed as the ultimate killing grounds, each containing two Pits Of Death in which the contestant starts at the bottom and must get to the top. Various platforms are often divided up by barriers which need keys to be opened. Further spice is added by mines, booby-traps and HALFS; Hostile Artificial Life Forms which attack in long swirling formations. If a complete formation is destroyed a winged heart is released - catch it for extra energy. But the most critical hazard is DOLL, a shimmering Deadly to Organic Life Liquid which begins rising as soon as the game starts. Contact with DOLL is completely fatal.

In the spirit of fairness - well, entertainment - there are some helpful objects concealed in 'caskets', blobby rocks which can be shot open. There are two basic object types, Tools and Weapons, and you can carry one of each. Tools include keys, extra energy and DOLL freezers. Weapons include lasers, triple fire and minesweepers.

There is one further, very special feature of the KGS. After death you can replay the last attempt at escape, fastforwarding through dull bits, then take control of the cyborg just before it made that fatal mistake.


Phil King Phew, this is tough! Even so, the 'continue on the same level' option and brilliant replay facility tempt you into having 'just one more go' - we played it continuously for a whole day! The continually rising liquid makes you sweat as you try to climb up, hindered by locked doors and, on one of the levels, a hundred gems which ALL have to be collected! Things get even more complicated on later levels with teleports to use and switches to activate, often in combination. There seems to be something new (usually nasty!) on each level, as well as some very different graphics - I love the shimmering liquid effect with the parallax scrolling cleverly reflected in it. Sonics are also slick with a choice of thudding heavy metal music or sampled FX. The only thing missing from this game show is a slimy host - I'd just love to chuck Bob Monkhouse into that liquid!
Stuart Wynne For my money, KGS's thundering intro beats Beast II, and you can even buy a £9.99 T-shirt to go with it. But more importantly this is a superb return to form in gameplay. Like Blood Money the basic format is a familiar one, here platforms and ladders crossed with mega-blasting, but it's all been done with such panache as to seem brand new.
In play, the great variety of weapons and creatures make the early levels a great blast, but by Moon Three simply being adept with weapons is no longer enough. Numerous switches and new tools broaden the game out, forming tough, interlocking puzzles. The video feature is extremely useful her, allowing you to review past mistakes. This saves time and means mapping isn't crucial.
Clearly Psygnosis have put a lot of thought into this one and it works well, with attractive, varied graphics intermeshing perfectly with the game-style. My only slight reservation is that completing a Pit is extremely tough, and the only reward is going onto a harder one! Still, the new graphics are worth working for and there's an end-of-game sequence. Overall a must for arcade-puzzle maniacs, and one of the best Amiga games in recent months.