When young I never had the pleasure of playing games on a Commodore 64. I was a rubber-
So-called friends who owned C64s used to brag about the graphics and colour capabilities of their machines and the fact that it was far superior to the Spectrum. Me? I used to ignore them and continued to be contented and thankful for what I had.
so as I kept myself to myself and kept away from the C4, I know absolutely nothing about Uridium. I consulted a friend of mine (cheers John!) who assured me that it was the pinnacle of C64 gaming and apparently one of the best 8-bit shoot-'em-ups of the 80s.
Andrew Braybrook should be a name familiar to many gamers. If you don't have a clue who he is then you haven't been playing enough games. Andrew has been responsible for some of the greatest games of all time, including - among others - Rainbow Islands, Paradroid 90 and Fire & Ice.
What a damn fine idea it would be, then, to take Andrew's original Uridium and update it for the 90s... which is, of course, what Renegade have done. Uridium 2 is a shoot-'em-up which, of course, means that ou shoot things (no, really? Ed). That is the integral part of the game, Renegade's blaster being devoid of a decent story line, letting you get right down to business.
You pilot a Manta spacecraft and fly over huge alien dreadnoughts (that's big spaceships like the Imperial Star Destroyers seen in Star Wars, for those not in the know). Your job? To completely obliterate them.
You have to attack all aerial and ground targets and locate the master runaway. Once you've located and landed on the runway, you are transported down into the dreadnought main generator chamber.
The dreadnought is already severely damaged, but it can only be destroyed by blowing up the reactor core. Once destroyed, you will progress to the next level.
The Manta is capable of firing a number of different weapons. The standard weapons are twin wing-mounted cannons. If you pick up a bonus pod you will power-up and obtain a different form of armament. Some - like the lasers - have infinite shots and will remain on the Manta until it is destroyed, whereas others - like homing missiles - are limited in number.
A nice touch in Renegade's blast-'em-up is the two-player team mode. The lead player controls the speed and roll position of both craft. The following player can only move laterally and within the confines of the visible screen.
You might think that this system would lead to squabbles over who gets to fly the lead ship, but Renegade have already thought about this problem.
If only one Manta survives the level, then that pilot earns the right to fly the lead Manta on to the next level. If both survive then the pilot with the most points scored on that level becomes the lead ship.
Uridium 2 will please a lot of shoot-'em-up fans. It's fast and furious and you do get to shoot loads of things in a vicious psychopathic kinda way. The graphics are very nice indeed, especially when you consider the minute size of them.
The introduction of the reactor core section is a nice touch and beats the pants off the section found in the original (thanks again John!).
Controlling the Manta is tough to start off with, but it is worth persevering. In fact, getting to know the game and how enemies move and attack you adds to the fun of Uridium 2.
The sound is very good with plenty of explosions, booms, bangs and clangs plus there are a few selected sound samples to top it all off. The tune is not too bad and sways from techno (good!) to average bog-standard shoot-'em-up music (not good).
The only problem is that the game won't give long-term satisfaction. Obviously it gets progressively harder, but the gameplay stays the same and nothing new actually happens.
For instance, in Project X you get different half and end-of-level baddies, but Uridium desperately lacks something new that could be injected into the game.
As per usual there isn't a lot more to tell you - after all, it's only a shoot-'em-up, so I'll put beating about the bush and put this review to bed (that's editorial speak for finishing things!)
It's got great graphics and sound and is very playable, but it's not one of those that you'll keep going back to. Maybe I'm just being very fussy, but when there are so many shoot-'em-ups available you desperately need something new, fresh and exciting.
If you're a dedicated shoot-'em-up fanatic then this will be your cup of tea, but other gamers might want to think twice before buying it.