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CORE DESIGN * £20.99 Joystick

Oh no! Power-crazed megalomaniacs are up to their old tricks. It's that old taking-over-the-world scam, and there's no one to stand in their path...
That's not quite true. There is one person man enough, hard enough, and stupid enough to have a go. That person is you. (Actually, there may be two people man enough... if you select the two-player option).

Warzone is based heavily on that old classic Ikari Warriors. A shoot-em-up on legs, you advance upwards through long, vertically-scrolling levels. Armed to the hilt (or at least you will be when you collect the power-ups), you have to annihilate the troops of whatever evil empire it is you're fighting to make progress.

Sitting smugly at the end of each level is a big and scary military vehicle. This forces players to collect power up tokens along the way. Only then will they have enough firepower to kill the end of level guys with the necessary speed. The bullets also look far more spectacular on screen!

We'll fight them on the beaches
Not really surprisingly, they fight back. And they too have some pretty stonking hardware at their disposal, from the usual bullets to guided-missiles that home in on you. Some of the troops wander round firing at you, while the more sensible ones stay put, taking pot shots at you from the relative safety of their shelters.

It's not all killing, though - that's only 99 per cent of it. There are also various pick-ups which give you extra points, crates hold hornier weapons, and prisoners can be rescued.

Bum! Bam!
The graphics are bold and bright throughout, and the sprites have a comical appeal to them. There's usually plenty going on, with bullets and explosions all over the place. Sound is pretty much limited to booms and bangs.

There's nothing new about Warzone. It's almost a carbon copy of a very old formula, and there's little innovation been made to bring it into line with the quality of today's games. Having said that, it's polished and playable, and jolly good fun which is what it's all about!

Initially your soldier is equipped with something barely more powerful than a pea-shooter. Supply cases carelessly left lying around have more interesting possibilities...
War Zone: Three way
THREE WAY: Three times the aount of ammo at once means you can kill thrice the price.
War Zone: Flamethrower
FLAMETHROWER: Get this piece of firepower and you're really cookin', well, your adversaries certainly are!
War Zone: Grenade launcher
GRENADE LAUNCHER: This lobs a grenade a short distance which blows anything it hits to bits.
War Zone: Rocket launcher
ROCKET LAUNCHER: Mega-destructive rockets will destroy more of less anything that gets in the way.
Each weapon has different grades. Collecting 'P' symbols increases the weapons effectiveness by a stage. These can be found on the first level. On further levels there are even better weapons to be found!

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No, this isn't the successor to Chuck Rock we expected either!

There aren't many 'full-price' Amiga games coming in under £25 mark these days, so it's nice to see Core putting out an unashamedly simple game at a price that acknowledges that fact. And games don't come very much simpler than Warzone, for, - yes!- it's another clone of the well-worn Ikari Warriors.

You (and a chum, if you want) march up eight scrolling levels of slaughter and violence, violently slaughtering anything that gets in your way - as well as a few things that didn't but you felt were worth making a detour for anyway.

There are power-ups to collect, big armoured vehicles to pump lead into at the end of every level and a never-ending supply of cannon fodder bad guys. So that's enough about Ikari Warriors, what about Warzone?

This is a nice-looking game, not perhaps as pretty as Mercs, but more cartoony and with a bit more character to it.

The sound is completely unremarkable, and badly needs a rousing tune, but what effects there are are perfectly satisfactory. Some of the later levels constrict your freedom of movement quite severely, and on top of the doesn't-really-work-at-all 3D, this can spoil the feel of realism somewhat.

Play is fairly slow, but no more so than most games of the type, and the amount of shooting required to dispose of many of the tougher baddies seems pitched just the wrong side of high to make the game really enjoyable.

Difficulty generally is good - even the first level is fairly challenging - and it'll take a pretty mean player to finish the game quickly (if indeed at all).

The over-riding feeling though, is that this, like the similar Mercs, is competent without ever being all that exciting. If you must have another Ikari game, it's as good a bet as any, and £5 cheaper than most, but that's the most positive thing I can find to say about it.

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Eighteen months ago, the shelves of your local software emporium would have been groaning under the weight of countless Ikari Leatherneck Victory Road Warrior yomp 'em ups.
Consequently, in these days of multi-disk epics and stunning advances in game design, it is more than a little odd for another of the gun-toting genre to make an appearance.

Still, originality aside, what Warzone does provide is eight long stages of well presented and suitably hectic 'shoot to kill' action. Core make no apologies for Warzone's derivative nature and their main intention when starting the project was to wipe the floor with its many predecessors.

In addition, they haven't wasted time on a scenario - after all, we all know the score: 'soldier meets guerilla, guerilla gets killed by solider, soldier repeates process until the end of the game.'..

Warzone is made up of four separate stages, each of which is split into two halves. Initially armed with a paltry rifle, the two heroes must be guided up

However, rather than allowing them a free run of the screen, menoeuvring is impaired by the addition of narrow tunnel systems which restrict the range of your firepower and give the enemy a slight advantage. However, in their favour, the two soldiers can collect a series of more powerful weapons, which are located within slim white cases and supply the heroes with flamethrowers, laser-rifles and grenade launchers, all which can be upgraded for up to three times more devastation.

The enemy forces are represented by hundreds of foot soldiers who are armed with machineguns and rifles, along with ground-based installations, such as gun turrets which can only be taken out with an upgraded weapon, and the usual array of jeeps and tanks.

As they appear, spewing flak all over the screen, contact with them and their bullets must be avoided at the pains of death. The two soldiers start each game with three lives in tow, each of which is bolstered with five hit points. Whenever the heroes are on the receiving end of a bullet, one of these points is depleted, and when all five are exhausted not only is a life lost but the last power-up or weapon, too.

There's no doubting that Core have succeeded in their attempt to breathe new life into the ageing Ikari-style blast, and the sheer number of neat touches and additions that have been made add to the action perfectly - especially the burning corpses of an enemy squaddle on the wrong end of the flamethrower!

The range of enemy installations and bases are brilliant, as are the four varied backdrops, and when you consider how much is happening onscreen it is a surprise that it doesn't slow down.

In all, Warzone is a fast and well-paced blast, with plenty to see and shoot and, while it's not worth a Screen Star, it's still worthy of consideration.

A-TT-EN-SHUN!! The military shoot 'em up first appeared when those gun-toting twins, Vince and Paul shared in the first of the never-ending Ikari Warriors series. At this point, practically every developer in the country started work on similar style games, with Infogrames' weak TNT the first past the post.
Apart from Elite's official Ikari Warriors conversion, only Steve Bak's Leatherneck, which was distributed through Microdeal, cam up to scratch - and it was also the first game to incorporate a four-player mode. After a while, and after such drivel as Victory Road, Dogs of War (again by back) and Guerilla War hit the streets, the sub-genre fell out of favour. Now that Core have revived hit, who'll be the first back on the band wagon? After all, U.S.G. MERCS conversion is just round the corner, and who can tell what's following...

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The machine-gun and grenade-launcher gave away the identity of the game: Warzone. The pocket edition of Ebrett's Peers Of The Realm gave away the reviewer: Lord Paul Lakin. And that half-finished apple means it must be from Core.

War; open armed conflict between two or more parties, nations or states (i.e. a lot of people running around killing each other).
Zone; a region, area, or section characterised by some distinctive feature or quality (i.e. a lot of people running around killing each other).
So a 'Warzone' is an area where people run around killing each other. Sounds great - just like the ZERO office!

This particular Warzone is set in 1999, and your country is in a right royal mess. Not in the sort of 'high interest rates/crap Test Team' sort of mess. To deal with this little problem you (and a chum if you're in that 'games-players do have friends, honest' two player mode) have been assigned to lead a strike unit into the captured zone to wreak revenge on the evil invaders.

However, the rest of your team have gone and got themselves killed, leaving you and your optional chum to run away... sorry, to carry on the fight alone (or together - these two player games can get jolly confusing at times).

To get to the end of Warzone you'll need to complete eight levels of very violent mayhem. Enemies vary from the 'fall over if you sneeze on them' poofters to the 'hard as nails and protected by concrete bunkers' brand of muthas.

As if that wasn't enough there are also tanks, helicopters and even armoured trains to take out along the way. Thankfully, there's the usual batch of super weapons, power-ups and woefully inadequate first aid kits to help you in your struggle against instant death.

Death; the permanent end of all functions of life in an organism or some of its cellular components.

Amiga reviewPaul: Most reviews these days seem to include the phrase "Basically, what we have here is a..." Normally this is in the conclusion, but to save you from undue stress we'll get it out of the way here and now.

Basically what we have here is an arcadey shoot 'em up very much in the style of Commando and Ikari Warriors. It's all been updated and state of the art-ified but you'll have seen it all before.

There are two ways of looking at this. The first way: 'What a blinkin' waste of time. If I Want to play a game like this I can get Ikari Warriors on a compilation. Come on Core - we want one of your wacky original games.'
The second way: 'What a flippin' excellent game. These arcade shoot 'em ups are the bread and butter of computer games. They're addictive, playable and above all fun, fun, fun. Warzone is a lot better than a lot of arcade conversions - in fact it's better than a lot of arcade games. I love it.'

So, in the words of the Milltown Brothers: "Which way should I jump? Okay, so at first I thought "hmmmm..." Then I started playing it and that made all the difference.
The scrolling, animation and colour are all of a high standard, but it's the play that wins the day (in a rhyming sort of way). This is particularly true of the two player version, but even for one player the action is tough and just keeps on going.

There is a slight problem with the scrolling - you can be shot by things that aren't in view - but hell, who said war was fair anyway?

Basically, what we have here... hell, I've already said that! Unbasically Warzone is an excellent arcadey shoot 'em up. It may not win many converts amongst hardened adventurers or flight sim buffs, but then that's not what it's set out to do. For those who like to vent their spleen on a high speed shoot 'em up this is a treat in store. Stop