Overkill AGA logo AGA

The return of the classic shoot-'em-up. Is that good or bad news? Mindscape obviously think it's good because they've just released one...

Originality. A word that doesn't get used very much when describing the state of today's computer games. In just one year you might only get a handful of software that could call itself original.
Apart from a selected few, almost every game that is currently sitting on the shop shelves can be instantly compared to another product.

It now seems that game designers are looking back to when computers were new, fresh and exciting for ideas. Take a look at the evidence. Qwak is a game so like Bubble Bobble that somebody somewhere should be suing somebody else, but is also a brilliant piece of game design. It's gone right back to basics with simple gameplay and playability, enhancing the original idea via the use of improved graphics and sound.

The same goes for Disposable Hero, Gremlin's latest shoot-'em-up extravaganza which more than places a nod and a wink in the direction of Z-Out and R-Type. The old style game is back in business and Mindscape are about to prove it with their latest release, Overkill.

Let's not beat about the bush, Overkill is Defender with knobs on. Defender for those who don't know, is a game whereupon you piloted a spaceship around a screen which scrolls horizontally. You 'defend' a number of men who are being accosted by several nasty looking aliens.

Overkill is along a similar theme, but has been updated and enhanced for the 90s thanks to the increase of quality in the graphics and sound departments.

You progress towards the centre of the solar system by eliminating all alien resistances on each planet. Your ultimate goal is the Enemies Fortress Planet, orbiting nearest the sun. A number of Trilithium Crystals have been scattered about above each planet. Aliens will launch dangerous drones in an attempt to collect the crystals in order to transmute into even more deadly and menacing aliens.

However, help is at hand in the form of support troops who are capable of blowing up the crystals using deadly Helicium mines. Once a crystal has been destroyed, the trooper will await your return in order to be stocked with a new mine. To do this, you must fly your spaceship at the trooper as he leaps in the air.
Once he has caught hold of your ship he will be restocked with a new Helicium mine and can continue his destruction run. All you have to do is simply return him to the ground and the nearer a Trilithium crystal, the better!

The joystick controls your direction of flight and the Fire button unleashes a variety of laser beams, all of which can be powered up, at the enemy. In addition, you have a limited amount of Antimatter shield at your disposal. Hitting the spacebar will activate and deactivate the shield. With the shield on you will be completely invulnerable to alien attacks.

Once a planet has been cleared, you are presented with a map of the solar system. By using the joystick you have to guide the cursor to the next planet you want to conquer. You start the game with five ships and a small amount of shield. An extra ship and extra shield are awarded every 25,000 points.

That's basically everything you need to know simply because Overkill is perhaps one of the most uncomplicated games you're ever likely to meet. For the moment forget about the comparison to Defender and let's concentrate on the actual game itself.

Overkill is an appropriate name for the game because there are loads of enemies to kill and at times there are perhaps just too many to cope with.

The graphics are particularly impressive with alien guts flying around the screen in abundance plus there are some psychedelic introduction screens to boot (yeah man!).

The sound is plentiful with loads of swooshes, blasts, explosions and a couple of sound samples placed where and there. Playability wise you can't go far wrong with this intense shoot-'em-up and it's so addictive that it should have a government health warning placed on it.

The only slight problem is the fact that it is a Defender clone and the people who like to keep an eye on those pennies might not want to splash on it.

Overkill has great graphics, excellent sounds, a wealth of playability and a copious amount of addiction. What more do you want from a piece of computer software? A highly recommended blast form the past updated for the 90s.

Overkill AGA logo AGA

If you die without playing Defender, then you will have lived an unfulfilled life. Even though it is ages old and had wireframe backgrounds and small sprites, the Williams classic is the game to which all others must be compared when it comes to playability in a shoot-em-up.

Mark Sibly of Vision Software likes Defender. He has already written the definite Defender clone, Defendo. Now on his second commercial game (he wrote Woody's World) he has created a time-warped-to-the-nineties Defender inspired shoot-em-up - Overkill.

Overkill is the world's first AGA-only game and is very playable. At first it looks a bit naff, but when you sit down and pick up the joystick, all vestiges of amateurism fall away. Overkill is fast - in the speeding bullet class - and it is smooth too. No matter how many baddies crowd on to the screen, it never slows down, and the animation is never less than rock steady. All of this in AGA, and with some of the most undetectable parallax scrolling not seen on the Amiga.

Although it takes its cues from Defender, Overkill is not quite a clone. Admittedly, it is still a horizontally scrolling shoot-em-up, you are still trying to protect men on the ground, and you can even collect them and carry them below your ship just like... Defender. But there is no hyperspace in Overkill, and you cannot actually lose your men, though you do not get an end of level bonus for saving them, either - rats!

Your little chappies are making a planetfall to find deposits of Trilithium crystals and destroy them. If your cosmic commandos do not succeed, the alien hordes will transmutate into even bigger and badder aliens. Smart bombs are replaced by a shield feature. You will need it, but as Vision Software boss Simon Armstrong says: "The shield is for wimps!".

No game is perfect - this one comes on two disks but it does not make use of a second drive, which is not as inexcusable as it sounds.

The intro and code load from disk one, there is one disk swap and then you are playing. There is only one more disk swap needed to complete the game.

The difficulty curve is smooth, and though it is a rough number to complete, more variety in the behaviour of the aliens would not have none amiss. The game also suffers from a distinct lack of super-bad end-of-level bosses.

Beefs, aside, Overkill is fast, frenetic and fun, and it is AGA only. So if, like me, you have been bleating about the lack of A1200 software, now is the time to put your money where your mouth is.

Overkill AGA logo AGA A1200 Speziell

Hier wartet eine der ältesten Spielideen auf Ballerfraks mit einem der jüngsten Computer: Mindscapes mondäne "Defender"-Variante geht exklusiv am 1200er auf Alienjagd!

Wie beim Atari-Original aus grauer Vorzeit steuert man auch hier seinen Raumer nach links und rechts durch scrollendes Feindgebiet, hat ein Auge am Radarscanner und den Daumen am Laser, um alles, was kreucht und fleucht, niederzumähen. Das gilt auch für Bodenminen, aus denen andernfalls besonders biestige Widersacher schlüpfen. Das Prinzip ist also bekannt (oft genug kopiert wurde es ja schon...), sah jedoch nie so gut aus:

Man düst durch ansprechende Höhlen-, Techno- und Alienlandschaften, wobei immer drei identische Levels zu bereinigen sind, ehe Szenario und Gegner wechseln. Zudem sind ja ein paar nette Bonus-Features mit von der rasanten Partie. So vererben manche der getöteten Space-Gangster ihrem Mörder Sammelkapseln für zusätzliche Schildernergie bzw. Extrawaffen wie Streuschuß oder Luft/Boden-Raketen.

Den Kram kann man gut gebrauchen, immerhin stürmen hier Dutzende von Sprites gleichzeitig den Screen - ohne Ruckeln und Flackern wohlgemerkt, und bei derart flottem Parallax-Scrolling, wie man das sonst nur aus der Spielhalle kennt. Auch Sound-FX und Titelmusik sind gelungen, dafür stört die fehlende HD-Tauglichkeit gerade am 1200er besonders.

Ein wenig enttäuscht waren wir auch, daß Zwei-Button-Sticks nicht unterstützt werden und Ballerteams trotz Duo-Modus nur abwechslend zum Zuge kommen.

Zusammen mit dem nicht mehr ganz frischen Gameplay macht das Overkill nicht gerade zu einem Hit - für einen nostalgischen Ballertrip der unterhaltsamen Art ist der runderneuerte Arcade-Grufti aber allemal gut. (rl)

Overkill AGA logo AGA

Overkill (noun): something, e.g. power for destruction, in excess of what is

Ooh, I'm so frustrated. I've been going out of my head for the last three days trying to, remember the name of the coin-op that this game reminds me of, and I just can't get it. It was out about a year or so ago (possibly more like two), it was by Midway (I think), and it was a ridiculously frenetic updated of Defender, in much the same way that Smash TV gave the '90s reworking treatment to Robotron Overkill has clearly been heavily inspired by it, but I can't remember enough about the coin-op to say for sure whether Overkill's a straight clone of it or just a bit similar, and it's driving me mental.

It's like when you have a really weird dream, and then you wake up and get distracted for the briefest moment, and then you can't for the life of you recall what you'd been dreaming about just 20 seconds earlier, y'know?

No, you probably don't, do you? It's probably just me. But whether you identify with that particular situation or not, there's no escaping one thing, and that's that Overkill is a new game from Vision Software, the people who brought you the storming Defender (on our 26 coverdisk) and Skidmarks (on this very issue's coverdisk).

Unlike those two, though, Overkill isn't written with Blitz Basic 2, but is in fact 100% AGA machine-code, and for the A1200 only to boot. And since we've already established tat I can't provide you with a precise reference point in the form of a coin-op comparison, I'd better tell you what it's about.

You have to blast the aliens, obviously

Well, it's Defender, basically. Yeah, sure, there are a few tweaks and extras, but the gameplay is all but identical. Some nasty aliens are trying to steal crystals which litter the ground of various planets, in order to transform themselves into harder aliens. You have to blast the aliens, obviously, but you also have to help a little army of humanoids who walk around on the ground trying to blow up the crystals before the aliens can get their slimy tentacles on them.

When one manages to get a crystal, you have to pick him up off the ground to re-arm him with another anti-crystal mine, then drop him back off on the planet for another go, in a further dramatic plot twist, though - oh. There don't appear to be any more dramatic plot twists. That's it. Blow baddies away, pick up and drop off little humanoid, geezers, and nothing else. Fair enough.

Overkill might be simple, but it's far from easy. After the first couple of levels (there are 17 planets to clear, and it's fearsomely hard by about number seven) the near-harmless(ish) airborne aliens you start off against are joined by enormous pseudo-boss characters, fast-moving and difficult-to-hit wormlike things, and utterly horrible ground tanks which fire totally evil missiles at you.

To be honest, it makes very little difference whether you let the aliens grab the crystals or not - unlike Defender, there's no cataclysmic planet-exploding disaster unleashed on you if you allow all of them to be nicked, and the mutant aliens created by one escaping with a crystal aren't really significantly meaner than the ordinary ones - but the major points rewards you get for destroying them and collecting the humanoids are your only real chance of getting anywhere, since you get an extra life and shield-life extension every 25,000 points, so you're constantly being tempted to fly into horrifically dangerous places in order to grab your little troopers.

Overkill's loaded with power-ups, but they've all got a limited life and things never get unbalanced (well, not in your favour, at least), so the game's a constantly challenging battle against what rapidly become completely overwhelming odds. You do, though, in the tradition of all great games, find yourself getting further into it the more you play it, so it's never either frustratingly hard or tediously easy (or even a little bit easy). The difficulty curve, in fact, is probably Overkill's greatest strength, which wit only 17 planets to conquer is probably just as well.

The parallax scrolling is lovely

Aesthetically, you might not be especially impressed with the screenshots on these pages, but that's only because you can't see them moving. The parallax scrolling is lovely, movement is supersmooth, aliens explode in an extremely gratifying over-ripe watemelon kind of a way, and even when there's a completely silly number of sprites all hurtling around, there's never the slightest hint of slowdown or breakup.

Then again, it IS running on an A1200, so what else would you expect? Sound isn't great (perfectly decent blasting and exploding sounds but not enough of them, and pretty ropey speech synthesis), but it's good enough, and the important things ike control response and graphical clarity are just peachy.

The only thing which really disturbs me about Overkill is the price. It's all very well saying a great game is a great game whatever it costs (which is true, after all), but this really isn't very far advanced from something like Anarchy (which you can get on Psygnosis' budget label Sizzlers for less then a tenner), or even from Defender itself, which, of course, is free.

Whether you think extra 16 (or 26) quid is too much to pay for some flashy graphics and nice parallax scrolling or not is entirely up to you, though, and I can't see anyone who buys this feeling too ripped off at the end of the day. Just don't expect anything more than a great old-fashioned arcade blast, and you certainly won't be disappointed.

Overkill AGA logo AGA


I remember late nights in the coffee bar at University desperately trying to master Defender just so I could show off to my friends. It's a pity I never got the hang of it - too many buttons, you see. Anyway, Mark Sibly, the guy responsible for Blitz Basic and Woody's World, must have had the same problem 'cos he's put together the perfect version for spuds like me.

One joystick to steer, one button to fire and hit space for a time sensitive shield. Perfect.

The idea in Overkill is to drop a team of assault marines onto a planet's surface and then help them get to the deposits of Trilithium crystals so that they can be destroyed before the aliens pick them up. Apparently, these crystals have a mutating effect on the bad guys, transforming them into even more dangerous beasties.

So, catch the marines as they parachute in, pick them up when they signal, and meanwhile blast every green nasty that comes your way. Of course, it's not as simple as that. After Level One these aliens are no push over. Not only do they hover up and down they also chase you and turn into bloody huge worms that take loads of hits to kill.

It gets very tough very rapidly. To help you along the aliens will occasionally drop weapon power-ups giving the ship a faster laser, three way fire, napalm, nukes... you get the idea.

This is one of the first true AGA-only games so it's a visual and aural treat. Well, almost. The intro music is a pulsing heavy metal beat which, sadly, doesn't carry over into the main game. The spot effects though are suitably spooky. As for the graphics, the backdrops are super smooth with an exquisite double parallax effect on the second level. This is how shoot 'em ups should look! However, the main sprites, both your ship and the nasties, could have done with a lot more work. The marines, in particular, look like refugees from a Lowry painting.

Niggles aside, the playability is top notch. The whole thing is so slick with your ship gliding along and performing the ubiquitous 180 degree turn like a pro. The aliens chase you with deadly polished precision.

The difficulty curve is pitched just right - you'll soon progress beyond Level One but after that you'll need to really hone your joystick skills to push further. Also, there's a good variety of aliens to destroy, each with their own characteristics. However, I would have liked to have seen some bigger bosses but you can't have everything.

Overkill is not perfect, this type of game has been done better before. But, in terms of sheer playability, it knocks Blastar for six. Better remember though you'll need an AGA machine to play it.

Overkill CD32 logo Lunar-C CD32 logo CD32

Mindscape * £29.99 * Out now

Is there anyone out there who does not like Defender? Well, silly question because there must be, and if you are one of those people, wake up and smell the coffee. Overkill is Defender for the Nineties and was originally released back in September '93, when, somewhat surprisingly, it was the first AGA-only game.

You do not need to know that it is set in 2690 AD, somewhere in the solar system, only that it is incredibly smooth and wonderfully quick. Yes, Overkill is a horizontally-scrolling shoot-em-up and you have seen them before but it is still great fun.

Also included in this tidy package is another space shoot-em-up, Lunar-C (geddit?). This gives you pretty much more of the same sort of space age laser death action, as you battle the Sirian forces, destroying wave after wave of evil alien fiends. It is incredibly easy at first by complacency is soon replaced by panic and some frantic joystick manoeuvring. Collect the power-up tokens and blast to your heart's content. Overkill is the best of the two and at £30 this pair of sharp shooters are reasonable value for money.

Overkill CD32 logo Lunar-C CD32 logo CD32

Im letzten Heft düste Mindscapes "Defender"-Klon noch über den 1200er; für 79 Credits landet der Horizontalscroller jetzt auch auf der Multimedia-Konsole.

Die Unterschiede zum Vorflieger beschränken sich allerdings auf eine leicht verbesserte Pad-Steuerung, dafür gibt es hier als Dreingabe noch die nette "R-Type"-Ballerei Lunar-C. Und zwei Knaller auf einer Scheibe sind uns allemal 72 Prozent wert. (rl)

Overkill CD32 logo Lunar-C CD32 logo CD32

Mindscape £29.99

Along with Zool's extra level, this release contains the only actual new thing on the CD32 this month. The console release of Vision's fab Strike Force-inspired shoot-em-up comes packaged with another game, a horizontally-scrolling blaster by the name of Lunar-C.

Lunar-C is reminiscent of Project-X in many ways (the various weapons systems are all but identical), but, amazingly, it is even harder. Almost impossibly hard, in fact, with waves of lightning fast and heavily armoured enemies hurtling towards your snail's-pace, weedy-weaponed starship within seconds of the start, and not letting up from then on.

The stages seem to last for days, and when you finally do finish one, the next one is much the same. And certainly not worth the colossal effort you will have had to put in to get that far, frankly. If Lunar-C was a freebie bonus game stuck onto the CD for laughs then you could not complain, but the ordinary version of Overkill sells for 20 quid, and I object to forcing buyers to fork out an extra tenner for it on the strength of another game that is not worth the money.

Overkill is an excellent game, but it is difficult to recommend it in this format.

Overkill CD32 logo Lunar-C CD32 logo CD32

£29.99 - Mindscape - 0444 482545

Shovelware this might be, but it is darn good shovelware all the same. Already available on the A1200, Overkill is modelled on the wireframe arcade hit of yesteryear, Defender.

Although the new game has been tarted up with layer upon layer of scrolling parallax backgrounds and the ship under your control can pick up a number of power ups to increase your chances of success, the basic gameplay is almost exactly the same as the aging coin op classic.

The idea behind Overkill is to drop off a team of assault marines onto a planet's surface in an effort to destroy a number of valuable Trilithium crystal deposits which an enemy race is trying to get their hands on. Each marine has an explosive charge which they can attach to a crystal in order to blow it up. Once they have achieved this objective, it is then up to you to steer the assault craft back to the waiting marine, pick them up to the next crystal to be disposed of.

While your men are taking care of the crystals, you have got to defend them by blasting any alien attack ships out of the stratosphere. This is, of course, easier said than done, as the aliens have a number of tricks up their sleeves, not least of which is the ability to mutate into even more hideous and dangerous opponents once they have digested the nearest Trilithium crystal.

Able to fly your ship either left or right, across a smoothly scrolling landscape, it is best to use the small on-screen radar to locate the alien nasties and then zoom off to give them a bit of nuclear armageddon. After level one, things get decidedly more difficult, with fiercer attack waves, and many more aliens to slaughter.

Everything looks extremely lush - that is, except for the abysmal main sprites. Both your ship and detachment of marines are spindly looking things which detracts what is, otherwise, a great looking game. Soundwise, there is a thumping intro track which really sets up a great atmosphere, and the in-game sound effects are just as spooky.

Overall, Overkill is a very polished game which makes full use of the 256 colours at its disposal. The CD32's joypad controls are responsive, there's tons to do and the action doesn't relent for a minute, Turn down the lights, crank up the volume and get ready for some serious blasting.


Not content with giving you one game on the disc, Mindscape have included an extra game as a special bonus. And what a game it is! Well, actually, it is a fairly direct copy of Team 17's Project-X game - but then Team 17's classic blast was highly derivative itself.

Lunar-C is a horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-up that comes complete with power ups and the usual army of marauding alien bugs and beasts. Things start off sluggishly, thanks to your ship's poor response, but once you have managed to blast a few aliens and pick up the power-ups they leave behind, you will be able to improve both the speed and handling of your craft as well as bolting-on all manner of weapons and armaments.

The most annoying thing about the game is some of the rather fiersome attack waves which speed onto the screen at an astonishing rate and really don't give you much of a chance. Apart from that little niggle, however, this is a brilliant blast. The game's designers have also come up with a novel way of representing the number of lives you have left. These are shown as a power bar which means that you can get hit a number of times before exploding and dying, rather than exploding and having to wait for your craft to rematerialise on screen; this helps keep the pace of the game at a breakneck speed. Addictive stuff!