Nemeses AGA

Space craft collecting balls of energy? Andy Smith nods sagely and picks up his trusty Speedking.

Nothing surprises me when it comes to games these days, especially the wacky storylines that the developers come up with. Here you’ve got a couple of magic users (imaginatively called Red and Blue) battling to destroy each other. There you go, a nice and simple storyline for a change.

It’s a one or two player game in which both players attempt to destry their opponent’s castle, which are placed on the screen diagonally opposite each other. No surprise there then. The game is played by flying a small space craft around the screen in an attempt to collect little balls o’ magic. When a ball is collected, it disappears and is added to the player’s reservoir which is displayed at the bottom of the screen and is colour coded so each player knows how many balls he has saved up. When enough balls have been collected the player can fire at the enemy’s castle.

But just what sort of weapon do you want to use? Well, quite simply, the more balls you collect, the porkier the weapon you’re going to be able to use. A modest 10 balls collected allows a cannon to loose off a salvo while a hefty 30 collected before opening fire enables the player to let rip with a rather tasty laser cannon.

Obviously, the more powerful the weapon, the more damage you’re going to inflict on the other player’s castle.

Knowing when to open fire and when to continue collecting balls o’ magic is crucial, as is knowing when to switch from the offence to the defence. Hit a key during play and instead of your magic filling the attack reservoir, they fill the defence reservoir. Now when you hit the fire button your castle is repared a little. Again, if you collect loads of magic before hitting the fire button you can repari your castle a lot more than if you go for it as soon as you can.

...quite simply, the more balls you collect, the porkier the weapon you're going to be able to use

And what happens when all the magic balls have been collected? As soon as someone gobbles the last one, the screen is immediately filled up with them again and this just keeps happening until one of the castles is destroyed.

And it takes a while to destroy a castle, especially on a higher level (there are up to five of them) because the higher the level, the more protection – in the form of walls – the castles have and the more damage they can sustain.

Fortunately, as you step up through the levels it becomes much easier to collect magic because special balls appear that are worth five times as much as ordinary ones. Even in a level five battle the bout can be over in a couple of minutes if you manage to collect enough of these.

Your space craft also come in different varieties. There are only three kinds, but the second and third class of craft have the ability to fire at the other player’s collecting craft (you can opt to fire at the other player’s craft by saving up loads of magic and waiting for the correct icon to come up before pressing fire).

It’s also handy to upgrade your craft because if two craft of the same class collide on screen they then simply bounce off each other. If you’ve got a higher class craft than your opponent then you can ram into it and destroy it. It is then placed back on the screen at a random place and downgraded, unless it’s already down to a class one.

This isn't quality software, there's just so little to the game you'll find it wears thin very quickly indeed.

There are two playing modes too: tournament and erm, not tournament. A tournament is a best out of nine fight over randomly picked landscapes whereas, well, a non-tournament starts on level one on some landscape or other and you attempt to work your way up to level five for that landscape (and subsequent ones should you manage to win) by consistently defeating the computer.

There’s just the final bit about the landscapes to tell you. On the desert and volcanic battlegrounds your castle can become damaged by the landscape itself. In the desert, random earthquakes occur which can knock your castle about a bit if they manage to hit. The same thing happens on volcanic landscapes except this time it’s eruptions that do all the damage. And that’s about all there is to Nemeses. Not a lot really.

This isn’t quality software (which is also being sold by Epic as part of a compilation, although F1 have the exclusive rights to sell the game as a stand-alone product).

Sure, it’s a ten-minute giggle with a mate, but there’s just so little to the game you’ll find it wears thin very quickly indeed. Don’t get me wrong, the programming is fine – everything works as it should be and there are no glaring glitches but it’s just so shallow. Even for a measly £10.74 (the game’s £9.99 + 75p P+P) it’s not worth buying.

I’ve played some Reader Games that have kept my interest longer than this. Most of them may not look superior but lots of them certainly have better sound effects and music and much better gameplay. Quickly turn the page.