Torvak the Warrior logo

CORE DESIGN £24.99 * Joystick

Torvak was miffed. Having nipped out to buy a packet of Polos and fight a quick war, he returned to find his house a smoking ruin. The destruction was the work of the Evil Necromancer. Angry, embittered and homeless, Torvak swore to avenge his fallen kinfolk by slaying the wizard who did the dirty deed.

Torvak is another one of those fur clad heroes who bears a grudge badly. The has to battle through five, four stage stage levels to reach the Necromancer and get even. Each level is packed with its own blend of foes, who are all eager to take the Torvak treatment. Individually, these monsters aren't that tough, but they kill by whittling Torvak's power points down with repeated small hits.

Strategically-placed tombstones can be found all over the place which Big T can smash to collect treasure, extra health and potions. Lying in inconspicuous places are weapons of varying power that help fend off the growing legion of monsters. His first weapon is an axe but this can be upgraded to a sword, war hammer or morning star, each of which is useful at certain moments.

Unlike most joystick wattiors, Torvak doesn't fight as fast as the fire button. Initially he's beaten to the punch by even the slowest foe, which makes fighting awkward but not exciting. Only by collecting speed-ups and better weapons can his reactions be improved. There's also the chance to pick up long-range shot potions, give the furry fella five or ten blasts of distance blade power. These are few and far between and are best saved for use against the end-of-level beasts, who are far tougher than their level-based brethren.

In a further variant to the hack-and-slash formula the exits of each level get progressively harder to find, hidden away in subterranean vaults or on high ledges. This makes mapping your route essential if you're going to find the quickest and safest way to the Necromancer.

Torvak is not fighting a single battle here, but a drawn-out war of attrition. On top of slicing the Necromancer's lackeys, Torvak must negotiate the usual array of floating platforms, lethal lava pits and fatal waterfalls. Torvak is a test of timing, where speed of sword stroke is not always the primary concern.

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

Torvak is a heavy metal hero, complete with barrel chest and flowing locks. The backdrops grow more menacing by the level and show a healthy variety in design. Monsterwise Torvak's opponents never make it into the big league: they are well drawn but never reach terrifying status. Finding the treasure tombstones can cause problems, because sometimes they are hidden behind the immediate foreground, but once you know what to look for there's precious little mystery. The on-screen slaughter is supported with a good range of tunes, but none capture the mood of a grief-stricken warrior on the vengeance trail.

LASTING INTEREST

Torvak effectively has fifteen levels to explore and five guardians to bash. Initially his lack of fighting speed hinders the killing, but power-ups soon cure that. The repetitive and weak monsters mean Torvak is a game for dogged battlers, exhibiting few nail-biting moments. Progress is simply a matter of repeatedly playing levels until the fastest and safest route becomes obvious.

JUDGEMENT

Torvak the Warrior follows in the fabled footsteps of Rastan and chums. The formula has been followed rigidly, with few extras thrown in. The levels are sub-divided into three with a guardian forming the fourth and final part of each section. The energy-eroding enemies are familiar friends, as is the ease with which they are dispatched. Generic similarity is not necessarily a bad thing. Rastan was a good game in its day, yet that was long ago and little has been added to help things evolve. This limits Torvak's gameplay to just a lot of leaping and chopping, a fact that seriously hampers the game's staying power.


Torvak the Warrior logo Amiga Joker Hit

Daß die noch junge englische Firma Core Design schon ganz auf eigenen Fßüen stehen kann, hat sie ja bereits miet "Corporation" bewiesen. Jetzt haben die Jungs zum zweiten Streich ausgeholt und präsentieren barbarische Action vom Allerfeinsten!

Bei oberflächlicher Betrachtung der Grafik könnte man fast meinen, hier "Barbarian 3" vor sich zu haben, vom Spiel her ist Torvak allerdings eher mit "Rastan" (C 64) oder "Legendary Axe" (Konsolen) verwandt.

Die Hintergrundgeschichte ist mal wieder von ergreifender Schlichtheit und daher schnell erzählt: Der üble Necromancer hat das Heimatdorf unseres Helden plattgemacht, und weil der das gar nicht nett findet, schultert er seine Doppelaxt und startet zum Einmann-Rachefeldzug...

Anfangen tut's noch relative harmlos im Dorf, wo Torvak erstmal mit ein paar Orks, gefährlichen Pflanzen und angriffslustigen Insekten das Kämpfen üben darf. Etwas grimmigere Prürfungen erwarten ihn dann schon im darauffolgenden Sumpf - Zombies, Flugpiranhas, Rattenmenschen, Vulkane und Treibsand. Weiter geht's über die Berge (Adler, Scorpione, Goblins...) in den Dschungel, wo unter anderem eine Horde kannibalischer Amazone auf leckeres Heldenfleisch zum Frühstuück hofft. Spätestens hier überlegt man sich, ob man nicht doch besser eine Karte gezeichnet hätte, aber das Ende der Reise ist schon nah: Im Schloß des Necromancer kommt es dann zum großen Endkampf!

Alles zusammen also fünf riesige Level, die jeweils noch in vier Unterabschnitte unterteilt sind und sich schön langsam (aber gewaltig) im Schwierigkeitsgrad steigern. Natürlich gibt es immer richtige knackige Schlußmonster, aber das ist noch längst nicht alles: In Statuen und Grabsteinen verbergen sich Millionen Extras (Speed Ups, Zusatzenergie, Schätze, Rüstungen etc).

Torvak kann außer seiner Axt auch Schwert, Kriegshammer oder Morgenstern benutzen und sogar zaubern. Die Steuerung ist sehr vielseitig und trotzdem einfach zu bedienen - selbst im Sprung kann man problemlos zuschlagen (oder im Knien auf ganz kleine Gegner einhacken).

Grafisch ist das Game wirklich schön und abwechslungsreich, auch die Soundbegleitung wird nie langweilig. Ein besonders dickes Lob geht an das Spieldesign: Die Gegner wechseln sich immer hübsch ab und ständig muß man auf neue Überraschungen gefaß sein!

Negative Punkte gibt es praktisch nicht, allenfalls das leichte Ruckeln beim Scrolling könnte den einen oder anderen stören. Daher unsere Gratulation an Core Design: Macht weiter so Leute, dann zählt ihr bald zu den ganz Großen! (mm)


Torvak the Warrior logo CU Screenstar

Following on the heels of Conan and Rastan comes another barbarian with huge muscles and a two-syllable name: Torvak. Before you turn the page, however, this isn't just another hack-and-slash affair. Coming from Core Design (authors of Corporation) you'd expect something a little special and they don't disappoint. Torvak plays better than any other game of its type.

Torvak has a quest. The gods have told him to travel through a dangerous land with the am of reaching the other side. Along the way, wrongs need to be writ and Torvak, being one of the strongest, bravest and thickest barbarians ever to walk the face of the earth, is just the guy for the job.

The game area is made up of 600 screens split into five separate levels, each made up of a number of sections. Each of them sees you running through a huge four-way scrolling backdrop, battling the enemy creatures and collecting articles hidden inside gravestones.

The enemy characters are standard 'fare competently animated. Small creatures, such as flies and oversized maggots, require only one hit to kill them. Slightly bigger ones, such as mutated footsoldiers and hideous, crawling zombies, take two or three hits before they keel over and die. And predictably, at the end of the level, you get a mother alien like a grypon or a huge crab that requires a dozen or so slashes before exploding in a splatter of gore

There are stacks of objects to collect. Treasures are dotted about the place for bonuspoints, but the real items to look out for are the extra weapons and power pods. You begin the game with a bog-standard axe, but as you progress you can collect a sword, a hammer or, my favourite, a ball and chain. The power pods can do anything from increasing your swing rate and improving the power of your hits to using magic which allows you to throw fireballs or activate smart bombs.

The game's been put together by an experienced team of computer technos Tery Lloyd, of Rick Dangerous and Impossamole fame, handles the overall design with graphics by Lee Pullen - Skidz - and coding by Andrew Green (Impossamole, Dynamite Dux). Torvak is their first outing together as part of Core Design's in-house programming team and things look promising for the future.

In terms of game design Torvak doesn't offer any revolutionary new ideas. It merely builds upon the strengths of previous games of the genre. Torvak offers instant playability and just the right level of difficulty and addictiveness to keep you playing well into the early hours. Initial impressions such as 'seen it before' soon change to '...but I don't remember it being this good'. I couldn't put it down. Will you?


Torvak the Warrior logo

Kiss my axe! Up your axe! My you've got a pimply axe! Now David McCandless has used up all the possible 'axe' references he can think of, he can get on with reviewing Torvak The Warrior, who walks funny due to his massive axe (oh damn).

Torvak is a big chap, very big. Now when I say 'big' I don't mean like a house is 'big' or a middle eastern conflict is 'big'. I mean absolutely massive, titanic, huge, gigantic, erm, large. Torvak is so big he makes Arnold Schwarzendoofer look like the guy from the Gold Blend ads (i.e. a bit of a namby-parmby). The only thing that isn't big about him, alas, is his brain. It's small, very small. In fact it's so breathtakingly tiny that it's situated in his big toe. If it was in his head it would swish about like a ball-bearing inside a basketball.

The plot of this game isn't really important. What matters is that Torvak has lots of ruinous wastelands to swagger across and lots of monsters to kill.

Level one is a rocky wasteland, fitted out with deserted houses, withered trees and mountainous backdrops. Subterranean caverns honeycomb the landscape, and are accessed by a series of abrupt ravines and cunningly disguised entrances. This is obviously a cue for exploration on a grand scale.

Exploration isn't needed to find gravestones, though. These litter the place and are cunningly disguised little houses where hidden bonuses live - they can be extra energy, bountiful baubles and jewelry (specially designed for the rather more 'camp' musclebound warriors) or weapon power-ups.

Power-ups are activated by holding down fire. They can range from the odd thunder/lightning/laser bolt to a full scale November 5 Penny For The Guy Please Guv pyrotechnic show. A clever one is the mini earthquake. Furious Torvak bashes at the ground with his weapon and the whole screen shakes, swallowing up any nearby nasties.

Nasties normally tie in with the scenery (sort of). So level one has flies, wasps, man-eating plants, green goblins and carnivorous caterpillars infesting it. Level two is located in a damp sweaty swamp area, populated by quicksand, stone golems and horrible wood-louse like bugs. And so on.

The best defence, of course, is the axe (pause while writer tries to think up another 'axe' pun). It's useful for attacks from the front and from above. Torvak can jab with it, chop, slice and behead. There are also other weapons to collect, such as swords and morning stars, which are mainly concealed in the nooks and crannies of catacombs.

Aside from his weapon, Torvak can use his athletic abilities to keep him out of mischief. Gasp! as he jumps up a whole screen. Wonder! as he ducks to avoid the low flying monster. Say Cor! as he tumbles through about 17 screens and lands, unharmed, at the bottom.

In time honoured tradition each level is finished with a massive monster. ON the first level you have to slay a rather arrogant stag deer who fights hoof and antler to win. On the other levels you must confront... well, you just wait and see (You didn't get that far did you? Ed).

Amiga reviewMacca: The beavuty of Torvak is that it's just wholesale murder and not much else. You can abandon all concerns of going back to school and worrying about the approach of Christmas, and spend an evening chopping, hacking and dicing. Bliss.

And it's nicely done. The scrolling uses that new fangled parallax effect and is very smooth, despite my best attempts to foil it. You know the kind of thing, abrupt changes of direction, massive leaps up in the air when the computer thinks you're on your way down. It didn't work. The graphics are colourful and detailed, even atmospheric; they're filled with nice touches like the splash when you dive in the water, and the way the lily pads sink as you use them as stepping stones.

The sound effects too are rather good, with the swishy-swisy of Torvak's axe as it scythes through the air being accompanied by the splattering-splay of dying yucky-yucks (Where do you get these words from? Ed).

My only quibble really is the repetitiveness. Thoughtless violence is all very well, but even that needs a bit of variety, and the landscape too tends to be rather samey-samey in places. That said, Torvak the game is just like Torvak the bloke: mindless and erm... fun. (Well done. Ed).Stop