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Clutch Gable, the editor of Core Pictures' new film production is in big trouble. Editing into the early hours of the morning, he finds himself dozing further and further into slumberland, eventually sinking into a deep, deep sleep (a bit like most of the staff of Amiga Format, methinks).

Woken in the morning by a phone call from his irate boss, he discovers that his film reels are missing and that all his hard work has been filched by the company's nearest rivals, Grumbling Pictures. Naturally he is a little annoyed and, being a heroic sort of chap, he takes it upon himself to rescue them. And guess what? Yes, you take on the role of Clutch in his quest.

Grumbleweeds?
As it turns out, the six film reels have been strategically placed in six different film sets around the Grumbling studios. Each set has a different theme, from cowboy western to sci-fi adventure, and in order to root out the film Clutch must take on all manner of baddies who are out to prevent him finding it.

The nasties in the game are relevant to each set; for example in the western you have cowboys and indians, tumbleweed and circling vultures, while in the black-and-white setting you'll find mummies, moving hieroglyphics and slinky black cats. The music also fits the bill perfectly, with some natty tunes belting out of your Amiga monitor which really add to the atmosphere of the game.

Passing through one of the doors in each set will take you 'backstage', away from the film scenario and into a world of scaffolding, props and film cameras. Some of the nasties can be found here as well (rehearsing, I suppose) and they're just as deadly as their Equity card carrying colleagues. Help is at hand in the form of a variety of weapons which may be picked up along the way and can be used to vanquish any foe you come across. From the six-shooter of the westworld to the magic spells of fantasyland, they are always there in great abundance.

After each level a bonus game must be completed before the film reel can be retrieved. This takes the form of a short scene from a film which must be acted out by Clutch himself. For example, at the end of the black-and-white film level our hero must ride a truck along a railway line, collecting ammo and dodging various obstacles, while the sci-fi scene ends with a scrolling shoot-em-up. This all adds to the fun of the game, providing a much-needed break from the platform sections.

Not-so tiny 'Toons
And so goes the story of Premiere. Some may consider it to be 'just another platform game', but I reckon it's got enough style and imaginative content to blow most others of the genre out of the water. Each level requires thought to complete (as well as some nifty joystick action) because several puzzles must be solved before the route to the exit becomes apparent.

Instead of the usual sprites, here you have large cartoon-type characters that are very cute and nicely animated, and they are set against some superbly drawn backdrops. The control-system takes a bit of getting used to, but after a while you'll find yourself zooming Clutch about the screen with the greatest of ease.

So is it Amiga Format Gold quality? Well, it's close, but unfortunately it doesn't quite make it, mainly because the action is pretty similar on each level and so tends to get just a wee bit repetitive. The in-between levels break this up though, and all in all, Premiere is a hell of a game. It looks pretty, plays well and presents a great challenge to all platform freaks out there who are looking for something just that bit different.



Außen hui - innen ui?

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Grafiken auf Zeichentrickfilm-Niveau erregen bei argwöhnischen Zockern ja immer gleich Verdacht - aber nicht jedes Game, das optisch so pompös aufgemacht ist wie "Space Ace", hat automatisch auch so ein dürftiges Gameplay wie "Guy Spy"...

Doch, es gibt sie tatsächlich, jene seltenen Fälle, wo sich hinter der irrwitzigen Präsentation auch ein irre witzigen Spiel versteckt. Bester Beweis ist dieses neue Actionadventure von Core Design!

Selbst wenn hier bereits eine der insgesamt vier Disketten für das Intro mit der ausführlich geschilderten Vorgeschichte draufgeht, bleiben immer noch genügend Datenträger für sechs wunderhübsch gemachte Plattform-Level im Comic-Look übrig. Schauen wir uns aber trotzdem zunächst mal an, welche Informationen der erste Akt der abenteuerlichen Jump & Shoot-Oper für uns bereithält:

Clutch Gable, seines Zeichens Cutter bei "Core Pictures", schneidet gerade die letzten Szenen für den neuen Film seiner Company, der am nächsten Tag Premiere haben soll. Sonderlich spannend kann der Streifen nicht sein, denn mittendrin pennt Clutch über seiner schneidigen Arbeit ein.

Als der Morgen graut, gibt es für ihn ein böses Erwachen - sämtliche Filmrollen sind verschwunden! Weil das stark nach der bösen Konkurrenz riecht, fährt Clutch sofort zu den "Grumbling Studios", um den bevorstehenden Karriereknick vielleicht doch noch abzuwenden...

So, falls es irgendjemand noch nicht geschnallt hat, daß es in den anschließenden sechs Spielabschnitten um die Wiederbeschaffung der verschwundenen Filmdöschen geht, soll er sich jetzt bitte melden! Alles bleibt ruhig? Gut, dann stürzen wir uns mal ins Vergnügen: Clutch läuft bei meist horizontalem, gelegentlich auch mal vertikalem (Leitern und so) Scrolling durch abwechslungsreich gestaltete Filmkulissen, die sich sowohl durch ihre Hintergrundgrafiken als auch durch die enthaltenen Gegner bzw. Endgegner unterscheiden.

So besteht der erste Level beispielsweise aus einer Westernstadt, in der es natürlich von Kriegsbeil-schwingenden Indianern und aus Fässern herausballernden Banditen nur so wimmelt. Aber auch ältere Damen, Geier und gefährlich herumrollende Baumstämme sind vertreten, darüberhinaus versüßen etliche geschickt angelegte Fallen und Hindernisse dem Helden die Suche.

Innerhalb eines großzügig bemessenen Zeitlimits muß er die richtigen Schalter zum Entschärfen der Fallen, den hier versteckten Filmabschnitt und die Tür zum nächsten Level gefunden haben.

Zur Feindbekämpfung steht Clutch Dunamit in Hülle und Fülle zur Verfügung; sollten die Donnerstangen wider Erwarten doch einmal zur Neige gehen, muß er ich mit gutgezielten Boxhieben weiter vorankämpfen.

Aber an sich ist Munitionsmanel überhaupt kein Thema, weil der Nachschub überall herumliegt, genau wie das energiespendende Fast Food die drei Cutter-Leben lange erhält, wenn man ein bißchen aufpaßt und immer fleißig sammelt. Sobald der Wilde Westen abgegrast ist, steht noch ein Duell mit einem überdimensionalen Revolverhelden am Plan, erst dann geht es im nächsten Abschnitt weiter.

Vom Spielerischen her ändert sich in den folgenden Leveln nur wenig, mal abgesehen von eingestreuten Geschicklichkeitssequenzen wie etwa der Fahrt mit einer Lore, bei der fehlende Gleisabschnitte übersprungen und heranrauschenden Hindernissen duckenderweise ausgewichen werden muß.

Ansonsten wechselt bloß das Szenario, das allerdings gewaltig: So landet Clutch als nächstes in einem Schwarzweiß-Horrorfilm, der in einer düsteren Pyramide spielt, die von gruseligen Mumien und schießenden Sarkophagen bevölkert wird.

Danach kommt ein Friedhof mit den obligaten Skeletten und körperlosen Händen, der wiederum von einer Fantasy-Villa abgelöst wird, in der die Fische fliegen können und die Schoßhunde riesige Löwenmäuler haben. Im Anschluß düst Clutch in den Weltraum und stattet den dort hausenden Aliens einen kurzen Besuch ab, ehre er beim Finale nochmal etwas Fantasy-Luft schnuppern darf.

Das Spiel lebt vornehmlich von seiner ungeheuer abwechslungsreichen Präsentation, so hat der Hauptdarsteller z.B. in jedem Abschnitt eine andere Waffe - mal sind es staubige Mehlbeutel, dann ist es wieder eine futuristische Laserwumme. Die Comic-Grafik im vollen PAL-Format strotzt stets vor witzigen Animationen und liebevoll gezeichneten Details, allein wie das buschige Haupthaar von Clutch im Wind weht, ist schon ein Seherlebnis erster Güte. Nicht ganz so atemberaubend, aber immer noch gut ist die Soundbegleitung mit jeweils zur Szenerie passender Musik und knackigen Geräuscheffekten.

Doch nun zur Abteilung Meckern & Motzen: Das Scrolling ruckelt leicht, und die Joysticksteuerung ist etwas gewöhnungsbedürftig, weil die Bilder jeweils aus Vorder- und Hintergrund bestehen, wobei für den Wechsel in beiden Richtungen dasselbe Kommando gilt.

Der Disk-Wechsel hält sich dagegen in Grenzen - genau wie die Komplexität des Games, obwohl man schon ein Weilchen braucht, um alle Räume der Grumbling Studios zu erkunden.

Zum Klassiker wird es Premiere also kaum bringen, aber immerhin bekommt man hier nicht bloß eine megamäßige Präsentation, sondern auch verhältnismäßig viel Spiel fürs Geld geboten, was sich ja beiliebe nicht von jeder Grafikorgie behaupten läßt. So gesehen war Fernsehen also wirklich gestern, und heute ist Premiere! (C. Borgmeier)



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You know that game, where you have to guess weird things like what type of car Mel Gibson would be if he was a vehicle, what meal Michelle Pfeiffer would be represented by? Well, stupid concept or not, it at least gets me past that difficult first paragraph if I link in by explaining that had Bruce Willis entered into this world as a computer game, he'd probably be Premiere.

FIRST AND LAST AND ALWAYS
What Core have obviously set out to do with Premiere is to take the visual expertise so excellently utilised in Heimdall (Not that Premiere's anything like Heimdall , of course - Matt Bielby.), and transpose it to a more 'sympathetic' game style and plot.

The result is a platform romp based around six sets in a movie studio - with each level featuring action on and behind the sets, with a theme-related bonus stage following the level's completion.

The reason for these shenanigans is explained a bit more visually in that wonderful box up above, but the upshot is that the player guides a movie editor, going by the wonderful name of Clutch Gable, around one movie set at a time, attempting to recover a canister of stolen film.

This being a platformer, there are several essential ingredients which Core have dutifully added: platforms (obviously) and ladders, stairways and lifts to reach them, bad guys who roam around/shoot/hide until you're near, and bonus energy and ammo.

It works, then, by offering a scrolling movie set constructed from various enticing backgrounds, with walkways, pits and various objects in the foreground. Doors lead to the other side of the set, where the other side of the movie set offers a secondary play area. Here signs proclaim 'stage left', 'props' and suchlike. The baddies are still present, however. Presumably they're milling around, waiting to shoot the next scene of their movie.

The fact that the game's based around six different movie sets has resulted in a film-related look for each level, with appropriately-themed nasties and weapons to boot.

So level one, for instance, is a cowboy film set, with buffalo, cowboys, Indians and Wild West maids all trying to thwart our hero's canister-recovery programme. Of course, a six-shooter is on hand to do the Clint Eastwood on the bad guys, and progress can soon be made (via a simple, but excellent shoot-out scene) to a black-and-white Egyptian movie set, where Clutch has bags of flour (plain, I think) as his main offensive weapon.

Stairways offer another form of attack. Here Clutch can perform a mean and speedy roll down the steps, sweeping any assailants off their feet in the process. It saves on ammo, and besides, it looks really cool.

It's also worth noting that the play area actually features two levels of 'depth'. Clutch can move 'into' the screen (i.e. towards the walls) by holding the joystick down and pressing the fire button...


The best union of cartoon animation and satisfying gameplay

IT IS THE REEL THING
...which brings me to my first complaint. I realise that most Amiga owners are only own a one-fire-button joystick, but surely there could have been a better way to make make this move into/out of the screen executable.

For one it takes too long to do. Time and again I was hit by a nasty or a projectile while fumbling with the controls in an attempt to leap out of the way. Secondly, it's all too easy to actually press the fire button first, then push the joystick down. This results in Chuck shooting/lobbing a weapon, then crouching down - a waste of time and a waste of ammo.

The ladders are similarly frustrating. I guess it's a matter of timing, but once too often I found Clutch getting blasted while beginning his slow ascent. And the bad guys themselves aren't exactly what you'd call versatile. Some leap out of barrels. Some walk from left to right. Some even shoot at Clutch. And some just stand there. None of them displays any particular level of intelligence, and for a game based on such a simple concept, that's a risky idea.

But call me Captain Morgan and request one more verse of The Tide Is High, if Premiere doesn't have some Really Neat Touches. The main guy for one, is superbly designed- being quite versatile, and full of character. And the basic storyline (visually at least) really does hold it all together. At the moment, I can't think of another game where the plot was actually this relevant.

The levels are pretty well designed too, maximising the space of the play area. And what about that smooth scrolling, eh? And the excellently appropriate music score? And its simplicity is arguably no bad thing. Even the disk-swapping is unobtrusive (unusual for a game this visually appealing). Gosh, it all sounds so much more likeable now, doesn't it?

Gameplay-wise, I detected definite echoes of Bonanza Bros. The collection of objects while exploring levels and stairways has been used many times, granted. But the sometimes the feel, and even the pace of Premiere's platform antics are uncannily similar. That's no real complaint, though.

Although Bonanza Bros was no world-beater, it did have charm and no small amount of playability. And that's rubbed off on Premiere too. Of course, Bonanza Bros did benefit greatly from a two-player mode (a much needed boost - because as a one player game it simply proved to repetitive and ponderous), so just what does Premiere have to lift it into the same league, or - gasp! - even higher?


If Bruce Willis was a computer game, he'd be Premiere

RIGHT TURN AT ALBUQUERQUE
Where I reckon the secret of Premiere's success is consolidated, is in the bonus stages. Although more simplistic than the main game (and hence eventually alarmingly repetitive), these sections all offer their own little challenge (often a re-working of early '80s computer or arcade games).

More importantly though - they add greatly to Premiere's sense of style. It's these sub-games, along with the intro sequence and between-game screens which bring Premiere closest to the concept of a game as cartoon. Sure, the graphics of the main game are sweet, but it's really standard (though effective) platform fare dressed up in a Loony Tunes costume. The gameplay of the main stages remains firmly rooted in the platform style.

So there you have Premiere in a nutshell: packed with Really Neat Touches to make you smile, amazingly easy on the eyes, and wildly entertaining in doses. The downside is that it's not as deep as you may expect, and ultimately it's perhaps just a little too much of the same thing. Just like Bruce Willis really.


A STORY OF MOVING PICTURES

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Locked away in a moodily-lit skyscraper, Clutch Gable is let to edit the final scenes of a Very Important Movie...

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Unfortunately for everyone concerned (particularly Clutch) he's succumbed to the big sleep, and the film remains unfinished.

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But worse is in store. While Clutch slumbers someone creeps into the office and steals the canisters of film. It's a disaster movie!

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Several hours later, the phone rings. Clutch wakes to a bright and sunny morning. Who could be calling at this hour.

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Oh dear, it's the film company boss, and he wants the film. Clutch realises that he could be in big trouble here.

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And then he realises that the film isn't even there any more! It's been stolen by a rival movie company. Can Clutch recover the canisters in time?



Premiere logo CU Amiga Screenstar

Core Design give Tony Dillon an eagerly-awaited chance to break into films...

ROLL 'EM
Core Design are the sort of software house who always seem to go one better. After raising the standards of flight sims, graphic adventures, and racing games, they are now out to do the same for the platform market with Premier. In this already well-publicised game, you have to help our hero, one Clutch Gable, retrieve rolls of film which have been stolen from his editing board. However, the film is being premiered the next day, so speed is of the essence.

The stolen cans have been scattered around a series of six film sets. Whilst trying to avoid interrupting the work on each set, Clutch must work his way through the different scenarios each set contains - which range from the Wild West through to Science Fiction, B-Movies, Horror, and Keystone Cops-style black and white comedy. In addition, dotted around the levels are the various enemies, who fit in perfectly with the current setting> For example, The Keystone Cops are depicted as black and white sprites to match the greyscaled backdrop, and the monsters from B-Movie land move just as convincingly as in the flicks (i.e. not very!).

QUIET ON THE SET
The mix of levels adds variety to the rather simplistic platform-based gameplay. The levels are huge by anyone's standards. Standing eight screens by eight, there are effectively four layers to each screen. Each platform you walk on has two 'depths', one further 'into' the screen than the other. Moving between these allows Clutch to avoid the rampaging bad guys or move to other parts of the level via stairs or lifts. These serve to add to the maze-like elements of each level, but not as much as walking through one of the doors you frequently pass. Remember, this is a film set, not real life, so what would you expect to see if you walked through a door on a film set? The back of the set, of course, which doubles the area of the current level.

GREEN WITH ENVY
Jerr O'Carroll is the sort of artist who makes you want to puke with jealousy. His Bluth training is clearly visible here, especially in Cartoon world, where an unfortunate slip will cause our hero to suddenly collapse like a concertina, before expanding back to normality. In general, the graphics and animation are among the best ever seen in a platform game. Characters interact properly with the backdrops, rather than just float about - excellent stuff indeed.

Playing Premiere, you begin to notice how stale most platforms are these days. Everywhere you go in the game, there are little touches of originally. Most impressive, though, are the end-of-level guardians. Core specifically wanted to move away from the 'shoot the big sprite' scenario, and what they have come up with is a more than welcome alternative.

At the end of each level, you come across a 'different' challenge. In the Wild West, for example, you take part in a gunfight, whereas in Keystone you have to push a cart along a railway track as fast as possible, to avoid a pursuing train.

All in all, Premiere offers a new look at a well-worn idea. If platform games are your scene, then book your ticket for this opening night.



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PREMIERE: Out now from Core on Amiga, £30.99

MARTIN POND has had stars in his eyes ever since he appeared in a home video remake of I Spit On Your Grave. Needless to say, he was gagging to review PREMIERE from Core, a film buff's bad dream come true.

AmigaPremiere is an arcade adventure, featuring full eight-way scrolling Panavision and a glitzy, Hollywood touch. You play Clutch Gable, a hardworking film editor at Core Pictures, who manages to lose all six reels of the latest blockbuster just hours before its premiere. Suspecting spoiling tactics on the part of arch rivals Grumbling Pictures, you have to search their studios, get the film reels back and drop them off at Boot's for processing. Fail and you'll never work in this town again.

Mr Gable, whose massive quiff seems to have been cloned from Johnny Suede's, is able to pick up and use weapons, leap about and pull levers, and he can roll down stairs more readily than Princess Di. Furthermore, the special effects wizards at Core have kitted Premiere out with not one but two planes of existence. Yes, you get double the fun and frolics of standard platform games, since you can jump into and out of the screen, à la Platoon.

As you run around the scenery there are tons of concessions lying about. Kia-Ora and Westlers are a bit thin on the ground, but there's loads of popcorn and burgers. Pick up one of the Oscars, rattle off an acceptance speech and you'll get bonus points.

Barry Norman On Movie Magic

Suspension of disbelief - that's what it's all about at: the movies. The magic that you see on the big screen is just a facade. The same goes for Premiere - each of the six levels takes place on a sound stage at Grumbling Studios. If you go through one of the doors in the set (which is, after all, what they're there for), you find yourself amongst the cameras and sound equipment. Backstage or on the set, you pays your money and you takes your choice. Find why not? It's easy to forget that those naughty sprites who wreak havoc with your power bar are really just actors in costume too. Between games tey like to 'take five' and hug each other.

The Western

There's enough injuns, tumbly tumbleweeds and roaming buffalo here to make even John Wayne poop his chaps. You can mosey on down along the dusty streets and pump the snoozing Mexicans full of daylight. But watch out for the high noon at the end of the level - you have to beat a gunslinger to the draw. The bad news is that he takes being a low-down ornery varmint to such a artform that he makes Yosemite Sam look like Cliff Richard.

Merry Melodies

Cartoon capers here. The action takes place on a massive skirting board - the very set used by Jerry, the finest rodent actor of his generation. There are puppies and fish to kill, and a final showdown on a drawing board with a cartoon pelican from hell. "Gweat!" as old Elmer Fudd might say.

Black And White Talkie

Shot in glorious monochrome, this magnificent epic is set in the pyramids of Egypt. Mummies and sphinxes abound, and a number of mangey, flea-bitten felines are stalking about. The film ends with a sequence in which Clutch is riding a trolley cart pursued by a runaway train. You have to make him duck under the signals and jump over the gaps in the track and piles of leaves - a bit like that Brazilian train-surfing.

Horror Flick

Just a normal day at the Hammer House Of Horror - flying demons, zombies, bats and enough spooky organ music to give Vincent Price some bad dreams. And watch out for a cameo performance from the Prince of Darkness himself as the end of level baddie.

Sci-Fi B-Movie

Set deep in space, in Buck Rogers' old stomping ground, this penultimate level is littered with spacemen toting death-rays and aliens wearing deely-boopers. Apparently it's Grumbling's latest every-expense-spared B-movie. You know the sort of plot we're talking about here - hero's chick is kidnapped by a UFO and taken to Mars to take part in a breeding program with Elvis and Glen Miller.

And Finally...

I'm not sure what film is in production on the final level, but I've narrowed it down to a number of possible movie genres. What do you think it could be? Industrial Training Video: A platform romp based on Spielberg's classic Care Of Your Lathe.
Polish Arthouse Cinema: A subtitled level which goes on for three hours without a whiff of a gunfight of car-chase (until you eventually get bored and go and get a Chuck Norris video out).
Triple X-Rated Snuff Movie in 3D: Featuring a host of midgets and barnyard animals... (Alright, that's quite enough made up levels. Ed.)

Final Credits

Well I think it'll be a hit. The graphics are really lush with just a hint of Dragon's Lair, and the soundtrack is fab. The whole effect is not unlike the excellent Gods, except a bit slower, and the end of level sub-games are worth it on their own. A definite box-office smash.