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Bei "Psyclapse" besinnt man sich auf alte Traditionen: Nach den jüngsten Ausflügen in andere Spielgenres haben die "Menace"-Macher mit aller Macht den Rückwartsgang eingelegt und präsentieren nun wieder ein Ballerspiel im Stil der frühen Jahre.

"Frühe Jahre" bedeutet hier natürlich keinesfalls, daß man irgendwelche Abstriche hinsichtlich der Grafik in Kauf nehmen müßte. Eher das Gegenteil ist richtig: Nach einem bescheidenen Digi-Bild als Loadingscreen begrüßt ein Intro den Spieler, das Optik-Freaks in schiere Verzückung versetzen dürfte, so toll ist es gemacht!
Ein Raumgleiter samt dazugehörigem Helden-Piloten; starke Farben, irre Lichteffekte und das alles noch animiert - wen wundert's, wen das eigentliche Game da nicht ganz mithalten kann? So nebenbei wird man noch über die Vorgeschichte informiert:

In gut 2.500 Jahren ist es soweit, die Cyborg-Roboter haben ihr Sklavenleben satt und proben den Aufstand! Kein Wunder, haben die Regenten der vier Weltmächte doch die Lebenszeit von Computern und ihren Verwandten auf schlappe drei Jährchen begrenzt. Jetzt aber haben die wilden Robbies die Führer kurzerhand abgemeuchelt und ihnen die so dringend zur Deaktivierung benötigten Schlüssel geklaut.

Wie gut, daß es noch Stryx, ein loyales Superwesen, halb Mensch, halb Robot (alias den Spieler) gibt, der nun die Kuppelstädte der Zukunft von den Rebellen säubern soll. Dazu ist natürlich die Auffindung der vermißten Schlüssel Grundvorausstellung.

Wir wechseln also brav die Disketten um in einem schön bunten Gewirr von Plattformen und Treppen wiederzufinden. Überall wimmelt es von feindlichen Wesen, deren Angriffe (oder auch bloße Berührung) die eigene Lebensenergie rapide sinken lassen. Waffen oder Beförderungsmittel (Jet-Rucksack und Düsen-Bike) müssen erst gefunden und via F-Taste aufgenommen werden.

Auch zum Aktivieren von Türpassen, Entsichern von Bomben oder dem Verwalten des Inventory muß man die Funktions-tasten bemühen, was das Spiel oft reichlich hektisch macht. Erschwerend kommt hinzu, daß zum Betrieb aller Geräte Energie-Kristalle benötigt werden, die es ebenfalls erstmal zu finden gilt.

Daneben haben sich die Programmierer noch allerlei Gemeinheiten wie zum Beispiel ein Puzzle einfallen lassen, das unter Zeitdruck gelöst werden muß, um die herum streunenden Cyborgs zu deaktivieren. Zu tun ist also genug...

Wenn Stryx trotz allem nicht der erwartete Hit ist, so liegt das vorwiegend daran, daß der Spielablauf ein wenig konfus, und der Schwierigkeitsgrad ziemlich hoch ist. Die Grafik ist liebevoll und detailfreudig gezeichnet und vernünftig animiert, nur die Sprites können etwas größer sein.
Der Sound beschränkt sich während des Spiels auf gelungene FX, Musik-Freaks müssen sich mit der starken Titel-Melodie von Paul Summers begnügen.

Unterm Strich bleibt ein solides Game, das allen, die die Geduld aufbringen, sich gründlich einzuspielen, einige Stunden kultivierten Action-Fun verspricht. (ml)


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David McCandless crosses laser rifles with Robbie the Robot and learns that you should never trust a cyborg with an extremely large powerful laser rifle pointed at your head...

It's 3106 A.D. (of course) and the Earth is a charred, chewed up and spat out wreck. The surface is inhospitable and all the ragged remnants of mankind live in the underground (worshiping the great god, Mynda-de-Dors). The governments, whose wars caused the aforementioned chewing up and pitting action, have come together and built the Dome City, a breast-shaped icon of peace and motherhood.

But, unfortunately, they used (uh-oh) cyborgs to construct the cities and these normally docile 'borgs have gone ape and killed their human foremen, demanding equality.

You play Stryx, stolid robotic figure of heroic dimensions, who has been sent in to wipe out the uppity cyborgs for once and for all. The atmospheric front end sets the scene. A hover car bullets along a corridor, overhead lights slipping across the windscreen. We catch a brief glimpse of the driver, a stolid robotic figure, the lights flickering on his sunglasses. The car glides to a halt, pauses, then enters... The Domes.

There are five Dome cities. You start in the centre dome which acts as the hub for the other four,. From here, you must scour multiple levels and platforms and find entrances to the other four complexes. Each dome is a huge flat plan of platforms, corridors and ladders, interlinked with tunnels, ante-rooms, and elevators. And the whole place, every square inch, is chock-a-flippin-block with droids.

Your adversaries vary in toughness. But size and colourfulness of a sprite is usually a good gauge of how tough their hides are. The bigger and more iridescent nasties were obviously meant to last, so the programmer made them murderously tough, whereas your squidgy scuttling boot-size aliens only take one good shot in the squealies to disintegrate. Passes are dotted here and there across the width of the central dome. These provide access to the other cities are mining outposts which can be plundered for extra fuel, energy and gun power. Exploration and cartography are the keys to mastering this game. The levels are gigantic and sprawling, the tunnels are huge and complex, and the cities are even bigger.

Amiga reviewMacca: There's more to Stryx than meets the eye. What meets the eye in fact are lots of small, multi-coloured sprites, huge, rambling levels and an incessant continuous, endless, perpetual outpouring of aliens, robots, security guns, assassins and cyborgs.

And they all want to blow you off the planet. But behind all that arcade stuff is a meaty backdrop of strategy and puzzlings. A cunning combination of though and reflex is needed to bypass most major conflicts, and the instructions mention a puzzle sub-game, although I have yet to discover it. (In other words you're a shandy drinker - Ed.)

The graphics are great - but small. However, as we all know (and as my psycho analyst will tell you) "size is not important" and no more so than in Stryx. Okay, so in a pint-glass of pixels most of the game's characters will only fill up 3 cc's, but they compensate by being exquisitely animated and brilliant to watch.
Stryx himself tumbles through a whole dictionary of animated moves, flying kicks, somersaults, falling, aiming his fun, crouching and riding a hoverbike. Loads.

The in-game sound is fairly basic and functional. The clickety-click of Stryx's footsteps, the bangety-bang of his gun, the rumbly-thundery of the explosions, the vroom-vroom of the hoverbike... (Yes, we get the message - Ed.)

Gameplay-wise, Stryx plays very much like the old platforms-and-ladders type scenarios - lots of trundling about, leaping gaps and dodging nasties. However, the weapons, the huge levels and the sub-games all make it more professional and playable.

The qualm I really have about the gameplay is the toughness of Stryx himself. It all wouldn't be so bad if he was a bit of a poetry-writer and was shredded by the first shot from a robot's gun. Oh no. It's like a flippin' Stryx-in-the-Box! Another slight gripe I have is the lack of a 'save game' feature; the game is so immense it must be nearly impossible to complete in one sitting. It can be pretty frustrating when you die and the old 'go back to the start' cliche rears its ugly head.

So there's a certain trail-and-error element to the game, as well as a certain arcade-action element and a certain arcade-adventure element, alongside a certain fire-button-pressing element too. In fact you could probably affix several labels onto Stryx - without being cynical - but the one that sticks the best is 'Real Good Fun'. Stop


THE HERO

Stryx: Scrolling tunnel Stryx: Starting screen
If you have any ideas of going boldly where no cyborg has gone before then it's these scrolling maze-like tunnels you'll have to traverse. Swarms of swooping spiralling creatures and machine guns make the screen throb with movement. Here's a relatively placid looking screen. But venture forward a few steps and about seven guns, fourteen robots, eight assassins and Robbie The Soddin' Robot will appear and shoot seventeen shades of you-know-what out of you.
Stryx: Enemy overkill Stryx: Electrified floors
If the sheer size of the tidal wave of nasties frightens you then you're probably a bit of a coward. However, the odd collectable weapon can be found in certain cul-de-sac's and dead ends. Rotating grenades, hunter-seeker missiles and so on. As well as all the aesthetic dangers the Dome cities have strangely electrified floors. Why? Do the creators want to fry their new residents? Contact with these results in severe energy drain. Bound over them kangaroo style to lessen the damage.

THE ENEMY

Stryx: Robby Stryx: Floating cannons
ROBBY
Abducted forcefully from The Forbidden Planet where he was quite a friendly chap, Robbie is quite tall, has funny bobbily joints on his legs and a glass head with a cash register inside. In this game Robby (supposedly representing Ariel from 'The Tempest') has turned vicious and now fires funny green laser bombs at you.
FLOATING CANNONS
These are mega-annoying. Once they catch sight of you they latch on to your trail and persistently chase you lamb-like around the level. Unlike lambs of course, there's no playful hooking of one of these guns into your wellies. Only a few blasts on the old pump-action will stop these in their tracks.
Stryx: Security gun Stryx: Assassins
SECURITY GUN
These sly little weapons are concealed in panels behind walls and pop out when you approach. Ducking is a good tactic to avoid the ensuing laser-bolt but fleeing in another direction won't save you. These muthas can fire everywhere, including up and down.
ASSASSINS
Loitering in one place for an overly long amount of time causes a red-suited assassin to materialise in your environs. These meancing little gits have also been taking lessons from the Sheep Industry and tenaciously follow you around like one of Mary's best.