And the last thing we had that resembled a new shoot-em-up was the rather awful Powder a couple of months back. However, here's a new German outfit Vorlon's Ultra Violent Worlds to restore our faith in the genre.
New boys Vorlon have opted for a vertically scrolling blaster for their Amiga debut, allowing one or two players to take on the might of the alien invaders, the Zarnaxians. All well and good so far, if a little predictable.
Starting out with a basic ship with basic weapons, the player survives the oncoming waves of Zarnaxians for as long as possible, or until the shop appears at last.
At what seems like random intervals, Zarnaxian ships are in the habit of dropping blue credit discs. Collect one and you've earned yourself 100 credits to spend in the shop at the end of the stage.
Sadly, there seems to be little rhyme or reason as to which ships are carrying the credits. Despite the fact that there are very definite waves of enemy craft, you don't get rewarded for taking out, say, one wave of a particular kind of craft, or for destroying a certain number of different craft. The credits just seem to appear when they feel like it and this makes forward financial planning difficult.
The playing are's wider than one screen so you can wander to each side of the screen and have the playing area scroll for you. This adds a little something, although it's not quite as effective in two player mode because if your mate decides to stick in the right hand corner of the playing area then there's no way to shift him and get the screen to scroll unless you're really quick when he dies.
Even then he can simply scroll it back to the right unless you've had the foresight to go and hide yourself in the far left corner.
Survive the onslaught on the first stage, have a pop at the end of level boss (who appears, hangs round for a bit and then disappears, before popping up a few minutes later at the proper end of the level) and the chances are you'll have picked up a few credit discs and can't wait to spend 'em in the shop.
Here you'll have the chance to either buy yourself a new, harder wearing ship or a better weapon. Curiously, the second player in a two player game always starts with a better ship than you, but we'll not concern ourselves with that at the moment.
Don't worry about the aliens shooting at you as most just fire straight ahead in the hope that you'll be in the way...
All right, so you're perusing the long list of extra weapons available and want to buy something that's going to be a lot more effective than the weedy weapon you're given at the start. Prepare for some disappointment.
Most of the good things cost thousands of credits and the chances of you getting to your first thousand on the first level are slim. The credits don't come nearly as often as you'd like and it's doubly frustrating when you destroy a craft near the edge of the screen (assuming you've scrolled as far left or right as the game will allow because there seems little point in hanging around in the middle of the playing area where the action's more intense but the rewards are just as sparse).
At this point, you get to watch that gold-dust blue disc skip off the side of the screen and intro oblivion. On later levels the credits come a little easier because you get more per disc, but then it's usually too late because your chances of reaching the second shop and indulging in some retail therapy are slim indeed.
Assume you have gained thousands of credits by saving them up over the first few levels. There's a large array of weaponry to choose from, which should make getting through the subsequent levels somewhat easier because the difficulty gets ramped up from level two onwards.
Ground-based installations make an appearance, the alien ships get tougher and the sneaky tricks become more frequent. Ships come at you from the sides, from behind and from below. Those Zarnaxians just don't play fair.
To be honest, neither do the programmers. Though everything looks nice and moves well, UVW fails to get the blood pumping. The alien waves follow the old 'weaver birds' pattern, whereby they lazily thing from side to side down the screen. And these are the interesting ones.
Most of 'em just come straight down the screen, firing away. Don't worry about the aliens shooting at you as most just fire straight ahead in the hope that you'll be in the way, which you inevitably are because there are so many of them.
I've been accused recently of single-
It's not a complete dog, it's just so lacklustre. Everything in UVW has been seen and done before and there are no new tricks or twists to keep you on the edge of your seat.
The gameplay is hardly inspirational and all in all you're left with a very average, very mundane shoot-em-up. There are more enjoyable PD shoot-em-ups and just because this is new doesn't mean it's worth spending your money on. Sorry Vorlon, there's a lot more work needed here.