Vaxine logo

US GOLD £24.99 * Mouse or Joystick

Conditions are terrible, it is five to a cell! That cry will be herd the length and breadth of the country any day now. Thing is, it won't be prisoners complaining about conditions, but your very own body. Unknown, unseen and unexpected a virus is attacking mankind, but luckily the Assembly Line has come up with the Vaxine.

For all its medical trappings, Vaxine is a shoot-em-up, puzzle game hybrid. The world you patrol is packed with half-spheres sticking out of the floor, the healthy cells you are out to protect. Floating around are huge balls of three different colours - these are the virus which want to attack your healthy cells and they are generated by polo mint pucks that skate around the place.

Playing should be simplicity itself. While driving around, you fire out the correctly coloured Vaxine balls to hit virus spheres, thus killing them. When there is no more virus cells left you have finished the level. Every four levels there is a bonus screen, for loads of bonus type thingies.

Defeating the virus is no cakewalk, because for microscopic non-cognitive life forms they are pretty smart. Similarly coloured virus cells try to bind together so they can attack a healthy cell; a minimum of three is needed for an assault. These long molecular strings bash around in the most improbable way and are exceptionally awkward targets. Even singles bounce in a nil gravity fashion that tests the shooting eye. Then, there is the fact that Vaxine and virus look identical one fired. As the misses mount, then confusion reigns.

Like virus particles, Vax' spheres can be fired in a long string. This not only looks rather smart but also allows the germ bashers to roam the playing area with a greater chance of snagging a victim. As each level reaches a climax, Vaccinators are seen rushing madly around trying to find that last blue virus. Trouble is if you run out of Vaxine of a single colour then it is game over; if all the healthy cells are sucked dry of life, it is the same story.

"Why would anyone want to play a microbiology simulator?" you may well ask. For the thrill of screaming around a surreal ray-traced 3D world facing a rapidly multiplying threat with an ever decreasing supply of vaxine, that is why. As the levels progress it builds to a head-spinning, eye-blurring test of straight thinking in a mad, bad, diseased world where the virus is king and Vaxine is only a temporary remedy.


Vaxine is a visual fest of pig out proportions. The shapes may be simple, the floor designs are basic geometric patterns, but they all move with a speed that beggars belief - a factor hammered home with universal ray-tracing. Vaxine looks just how it should, and that is beautifully odd, carrying a modernist theme to biochemical levels. The results shock at first and enchant later. The sounds in the game are suitably strange with echoing impacts and disconcerting squidge noises. The soundtrack, however, is obviously the first victim of Vaxine starvation and sounds definitely poorly in parts.


Vaxine is strange enough to elicit only two possible reactions from players. It is a love-hate relationship with nothing in between. It may be viewed as little more than a luck-based romp around a pretty landscape with some poorly disguised blasting, which barely merits the occasional game. Alternatively, it can be seen as the direct heir of E-Motion, but takes even more time to master. The latter appears to be the truth because there is gameplay in abundance in them there balls. The introduction of the puck-like virus generators, the time-stopping doors and the bonus star shooting range all conspire to take the game to great heights. It is a high speed challenge that engages the brain as well as the synapses so seek out some Vaxine, your doctor recommends it.


Vaxine is the cure to those generic blues, yet its very individuality may alienate some players It is worth struggling to understand, if only to see the more outlandish levels. Excellent coding and wild graphics make it a game to be reckoned with. If you are suffering from the same game blues, rejoice, there is now a Vaxine.

Vaxine logo Amiga Joker Hit

Die Jungs von Assembly Line machen ihrem namen wirklich alle Ehre, sie produzieren Spiel wie am Fliessband. Und komisch: Ob "Interphase", "Pipemania", "E-Motion" oder jetzt "Vaxine" - praktisch immer steckt eine originelle Idee dahinter!

Diesmal geht es angeblich um die Virenbekämpfung im menschlichen Körper. Vorzustellen hat man sich das als rasante 3D-Ausführung von "E-Motion": Man jaft auf einer bunt gemusterten Fläche dahin und muss farbige Kugeln (die Viren) abschiessen, die kreuz und quer durch die Gegend hüpfen. Dazu steht ein begrenzter Vorrat von ebenfalls farbigen "Schusskugeln" zur Verfüfung. Bekommt man die Seuche nicht innerhalb einer bestimmten Zeit in den Griff, verbinden sich die kleinen Plagegeister und bringen die Körperfunktionen zum Erliegen - Game Over, mit anderen Worten.

Die unglaublich schnell animierte Ray Tracing-Grafik ist herrlich bunt, dazu sieht jeder Level etwas anders aus. Der 3D-Effekt ist dabei so überzeugend, dass man zeitweise richtig in den Monitor kriechen möchte! Auch die Titelmusik hat es in sich, ja, selbst die Sound-FX unterscheiden sich wohltuend von üblichen Geknalle. Gesteuert wird (problemlos) mit Maus oder Joystick; der Schwierigkeitsgrad ist einstellbar, ausserdem kann man wahlweise mit oder ohne Einbeziehung der Trägheit spielen.

Es ist schon erstaunlich, wie Assembly Line aus den Zutaten von "E-Motion" ein komplett neues Game fabriziert hat. So simple das Spielprinzip auch sein mag, die Präsentation ist allemal mitreissend, und wer sich erstmal mit dem Vaxine-Fieber infiziert hat, ist rettungslos verloren! (mm)

Vaxine logo

US Gold, Amiga £24.95

Every day you come under attack from fearless enemy agents, attempting to destroy your defences and kill you! But this isn't some paranoid fantasy, it's all true and happening as you read this: the skin-crawling facts of your body's war against invading virus cells. Which isn't to say the inside of your body looks like a multi-directional scrolling playfield with ray traced graphics, but merely that The Assembly Line have written a novel scenario for their E-Motion follow-up.

Another way of thinking about the game is as a 3-D Defender. You start off with nine dome-shaped bases to defend from three types of virus spheres (distinguished by colour) which bounce along the chequered floor. To attack, three or more like-coloured virus spheres must link together with elastic lines before adjoining a base.

There are also two types of special virus cell. Hatchers consist of three different coloured spheres all linked together. When one is shot the Hatcher splits into lots of individual spheres. Spitters simply roam the grid throwing out spheres.

To fight back you have three different types of ammo: to destroy a sphere, shoot it with the matching ammo. This isn't as easy as it sounds with no targeting cursor and everything bouncing along at some speed. And if you run out of any type of ammo, or all your bases are destroyed, it's game over. To recharge your ammo, shoot a sphere with the wrong ammo. This creates a star which gives you 16 more shots, when hit with the same-coloured ammo.

In fact, at the start of each level there's a short pause before the enemy appears so you can top up your ammo using the star tree, which appears. Much ammo is needed to create Trojan cells: strings of ammo which seek out virus cells and destroy them.

Another neat trick is provided by the Portals, black slabs that you can move through, freezing everything so you can move around unhindered. But once you press fire everything goes back into action at a slightly higher difficulty level. Fortunately at the beginning of each fifth wave all nine of your bases are restored. At the end of this wave there's a bonus 'Shooting Star' level with dozens of ammo stars swirling about.

Phil King I'm afraid Vaxine is nothing more than a glorified Defender variant. It all looks very nice with the super-fast, filled-in 3-D resembling something off a top-notch graphical demo. The trouble is that the gameplay is very weak, consisting merely of throwing out loads of little balls at other slightly bigger balls. With the balls multiplying at an alarming rate, the only way of controlling them is to send out incredibly long trojan strings which automatically do the job while you go and make a cup of tea. The only hint of tactics is in conserving ammo, but with ammo stars at the start of each level this isn't too difficult. A disappointing lack of variety on later levels doesn't help ease the overall repetitiveness.
Stuart Wynne After the intricate puzzles of such previous Assembly Line games as E-Motion, Pipemania and Helter Skelter it takes a while to grasp the simplicity of Vaxine. The heart of the game revolves around sending out loads of trojans while keeping a cautious eye on ammo. Hesitation is easily fatal, with virus cells rapidly multiplying unless you get them under control first. On the first ten levels a stream of trojans mean you don't even have to worry about Spitters. This gives you time to admire the superlative graphics - an incredible number of balls can appear on screen without the slightest slowing down.
Sound isn't so amazing technically, but the various FX are distinctive. Unfortunately for all the quality this game oozes in production values, gameplay is a touch repetitive. According to the programmers the game began life as a technical experiment, and while it's certainly fun to play, the lack of variety is disappointing.