Zeewolf 2: Wild Justice logo

Reviewed by Andy Maddock

I have to admit that flight simulators or action-packed 'war in the skies' games don't really appeal to me. I can't really give you a reason why. It's just that I don't like them - at all. I never actually played the first Zeewolf because of my predicament and therefore haven't a clue about what it was like, although I am informed that it was very good, and if something can arouse our technical editor other than graphic cards and accelerators then I knew I was missing something.

Zeewolf 2 was given a full preview a month or two ago and from then on looked like it was going to be another excellent action game following on from the success of the first Zeewolf. Zeewolf is the name of a helicopter which belongs to a company called Zenith Research, and basically you are plunged straight into the action at a minute's notice because your opposition Ecliptico, who were defeated in the first Zeewolf, have decided to take revenge because first time around you didn't completely destroy them!

There are 32 missions in total and they are all split up into various phases which are either divided into Seek and Destroy, Airlift, Escort, Rescue, Protect Building/Vehicle or Capture building. Most of the missions are self-explanatory and most of the time you will find yourself flying about blowing up the odd building and picking up people who come hurtling out. The missions aren't exactly tough and won't present you with a huge challenge, although having said that, they aren't so easy you'll complete them in minutes - you'll still have to become an accomplished player and manage to maintain steady and constant control over the helicopter in awkward situation.

Although the main idea behind Zeewolf is to control a helicopter, you can link onto other vehicles via a camel. No, not the one with humps, but a remote link camel. You can link up to either a Cougar tank, Kestrel VTOL plane, Barracuda boat, or the Transport helicopter. All these are useful in various missions and you break links between your two vehicles whenever you wish.

However, you'll have to be careful because when you run out of fuel you will have to break the link and leave because it will self destruct, purely because Zenith Research don't want working vehicles left in the hands of the opposing side, namely Ecliptico.


The missions are reasonably challenging and if you're into war and guns and that, then Zeewolf is an excellent purchase

You start each mission with a considerable amount of ammunition and by returning to the frigate, another camel will engage with your helicopter and you will be presented with a screen to refuel and re-load, depending on what you have in stock. There is a healthy choice of weaponry at your disposal.

Before you begin your missions you will be given all the necessary briefings so you know where to go first and why and what you must do when you get there. Before I began I was constantly thinking I'd completed all the objectives until I noticed there was a small but important building yet to be destroyed - which was quite annoying as my fuel gauge began to move towards the empty symbol. It really is a game that must be mastered carefully and skilfully, as well as quickly.

Throughout your mission you will be able to revert back to your mission briefings in a very clever way. For instance, in most games, when you flick from the action to a map screen, the former tends to remain paused until you switch back. Not here, though, because when you do flick to the map screen you will notice it is split into quarters.

The bottom right quarter contains all the necessary briefings and can be toggled by the press of a key, while the top left quarter will continue to show the action in a screen much smaller. Not only does this feature allow you to plan ahead while still battling, it also speeds up the game so you don't have to keep stopping and starting.


STOCKING UP

Like most war/strategy games, reloading and refuelling will replenish your vehicle completely, almost as if you are given a stock number and your frigate will store a number of missiles, rockets or whatever for you, and once all your stocks are used up that's it. You're on your own to use your stocks wisely.

FINAL WORD

Having mentioned at the beginning of the game that these games don't really appeal to me, I'm... not changing my mind. Ha! You thought I was going to be converted playing simulators all the time. No, how wrong can you be! It's not that Zeewolf 2 isn't any good - it's actually an excellent game if you like this sort of thing. I'll gladly try it out and review it - just don't make me take it home.

The graphics are excellent and the odd viewpoint works remarkably well. The missions are reasonably challenging and if you're into war and guns and that, then Zeewolf is an excellent purchase - one that shouldn't be missed.


Zeewolf 2: Wild Justice logo

Zeewolf 2, as you might already have guessed, is the sequel to the first Zeewolf. Is it moving forwards or backwards? asks Steve McGill.

Zeewolf was a mission-based, arcade war-game that not only improved on, but bettered David Braben's seminal classic, Virus. Zeewolf put you in charge of a deadly blue attack chopper and offered a choice of three weapon systems with which to hand out justice to ist enemies. We loved i tat Amiga Format and awarded it a Format Gold in issue 66.

Zeewolf 2, though, is a sequel. To paraphrase a fellow journo in the games world, "If you ain't going forwards, you're going backwards".

So the big question that has to be asked is whether Zeewolf 2: Wild Justice is going forwards. The answer is a simple and resounding yes and no; both at the same time and with equal conviction.

The biggest improvements lie in the optimisation of the code. The 3D patchwork terrain moves faster and looks better; there are four world types as well - grasslands, desert, arctic and toxic wasteland.

These worlds are further populated with all manners of buildings, machinery and military paraphernalia

Combined with the new look of the different worlds, they succeed in fleshing out what was basically a bare bones collection of assorted objects. Consequently, the new additions add to the atmosphere and help the gamer suspend their disbelief more readily.

Vastly improving on the original and drawing heavily on the influence of Jungle Strike is the inclusion of different vehicle types which the Zeewolf pilot can access by linking up with a remote link Camel (all of Zeewolf's vehicles are named after various animals). We've highlighted the various vehicles in the box call 'I LIKE DRIVING IN MY...'.

In that other great chopper game, Jungle Strike, the player was forced to use the ground and water vehicles in certain instances, due to the introduction of some crude mechanisms preventing them from completing missions in an alternative manner; for example, the hovercraft had to be used because the attack chopper couldn't fly past a bridge but the hovercraft could sail underneath it.

Zeewolf 2, thanks to its open-ended architecture offering complete freedom of movement, isn't quite so draconian. At least not at first. On mission 11, when the player is first introduced to the remote link boat, the mission can easily be completed without even thinking about the boat.

Come mission 19, though, the player is almost forced to use the boat through a lack of refuelling Camels. You're left with virtually no other option but use the remote link boat. It would have been nicer to see the player having to resort to the use of the remote link vehicles through dastardly mission design.

After all, SAM and AAA sites track ground vehicles but don't actually shoot at them. Protecting a mission objective with heavy batteries of anti-aircraft missiles backed up with three or four Cobras (a mobile radar vehicle which homes missiles in on the Zeewolf) would ensure that all but the most kamikaze of pilots would resort to the remote link ground vehicles on offer.

Still, the new vehicles are a pleasure to use and spice up the flavour of Zeewolf 2 no end. The boat is a favourite of everyone in the office.

You can fire torpedoes, homing missiles and a straight cannon. It's the same with the other remote vehicles, each one has its own particular 'big' weapon. Top stuff.

Surprisingly, though, the issue of controlling the Zeewolf hasn't been dealt with in a satisfactory manner. Mouse control is still as slick, intuitive and difficult to learn as ever. It truly is worth persevering with.

Many people can't get to grips with the mouse and thus opt to use the joystick. The joystick hasn't been suitably upgraded to give the player the sense of utter control that's needed; you can't use the throttle with the joystick which makes it a very poor relative of mouse control. There isn't even an option to use a two-button joystick or a CD32 pad.

This is an unforgivable exclusion. It shuts off too many people from the real joy of playing the game. And Zeewolf truly is an event waiting to happen.

So, we've reached this far and now the time's arrived to ask if Zeewolf has gone forward. The answer is a straight yes and no.

Yes, the inclusion of remote vehicles is a step in the right direction. And no, the mission structure isn't different enough to protect the game from the claim that it's more oft he same - it would have been nice to see a structure similar to Jonathan Griffith's Conqueror. Overall, though, the game offers just enough to have edged forward in the evolution stakes.

I've still got no qualms about thoroughly recommending Zeewolf 2. Playing the sequel is like visiting an old and trusted freind who's suddenly taken to wearing trendy clothes and acting hip.

Despite all the hype about 'next generation' consoles, a game's still to appear that offers next generation gameplay. Zeewolf 2 is a next generation game awaiting recognition. Grab a piece oft he future. Buy Zeewolf 2 - it's terrific.


I LIKE DRIVING IN MY...
Zeewolf 2: Remote link Camel
To access the remote link vehicle, first you land beside a specially adapted remote link Camel, like this one here.
Zeewolf 2: Tank
Tank: The Buffalo has a fantastically high impact shell which wastes just about anything with one shot.
Zeewolf 2: VTOL Craft
If desired, you can fly around in a Kestrel VTOL craft. It's a lot of fun and feels completely different from the Zeewolf.
Zeewolf 2: Enemy Helicopter
You can fly a Pelican transport helicopter, but it isn't as much fun as flying this enemy chopper to deliver the bomb.
Zeewolf 2: Boat
Of all the vehicles, the boat is our personal favourite. You can fire homing missiles, torpedoes and a cannon.

Wolf-Gang, der Zweite

Zeewolf 2: Wild Justice logo

Über ein Jahr hat sich die wildgewordene Justitia mit ihrem Anflug auf den Amiga Zeit gelassen, dabei herrschte doch stabiles Wetter: Die Bordcrew von Binary Asylum meldet eine isometrische Polygon-Ballerei nach vertrautem Muster.

DIE AUSGANGSLAGE
Das hochkarätig besetzte Team um Andy Wilton, Bob Wade und Andy Smith (einst aller in Test-Diensten beim untergegangenen ACE-Magazin) hat sich mittlerweile von Vertriebspartner Empire verabschiedet und den Zweitwolf in Eigenregie produziert. Am Screen merkt man davon jedoch nicht allzuviel, denn wie beim Vorgänger basiert die Game-Engine wieder auf David Braben's altem 3D-Knaller "Virus": Das Einsatzgelände kombiniert die simulationstypische Polygongrafik mit der neuerdings für Actionspiele charakteristischen Iso-Perspektive, wie sie z.B. auch bei Electronic Arts' Wüstenkrieg "Desert Strike" zum Einsatz kam.

Das Auge des Betrachters schwebt dabei im Winkel von etwa 45 Grad über der Umgebung, während es den namensgebenden Heli beim Spionieren, bei Rettungsmissionen oder einem Begleitschutzauftrag beobachtet. Als Hardware-Grundlage reicht dafür ein Standard-500er aus, doch richtig flüssig bewegt sich die 3D-Grafik erst ab einer 68020-CPU. Am schönsten rattern die Rotoren freilich, wenn man sie auf einen A1200 mit Fast-RAM montiert.

DAS GAMEPLAY
Die Handlung beginnt irgendwann in der Zukunft, denn die im ersten Teil schon besiegt geglaubte Ecliptico-Company versucht erneut mit allen militärischen Mitteln, die Regierungsgewalt an sich zu reißen. Als Retter in der Not tritt de per Stick locker und leicht kontrollierbare Zeewolf-Hubschrauber auf. Er läßt sich mit der Maus zwar raffinierter manövrieren (z.B. auch rückwärts), legt dann allerdings ein weitaus diffizileres Handlung an den Tag.

In 32 Missionen werden mit diesem Gerät nun Geiseln und Vermißte im Feindesland geborgen, Invasionskommandos eingeschmuggelt, Flak-Stützpunkte und Radaranlagen zerstört oder Ölbohrplattformen in Besitz genommen. Man kann auch gestrandetes Kriegsgut an den Greifhaken nehmen - und muß dann sehen, wie man mit dem stark veränderten Flugverhalten klarkommt. Angreifende Panzer-, Flug- und Schiffsverbände stören bei der Erledigung der vor jedem Start genau erläuterten Aufgaben, doch keine Sorge:

Der Heli steckt einige Treffer und Kollisionen weg, zudem ist sein Vorrat an Treibstoff, MG-Muni, Lenkraketen und Zielsuchprojektilen recht großzügig bemessen. Und häufig befindet sich ja auch ein Airport bzw. Flugzeugträger in der Nähe, der gegen bare Münze zusätzlichen Nachschub herausrückt. Also alles noch so, wie es alte Zeebären bereits kennen.

DIE NEUERUNGEN
Geändert haben sich gegenüber dem Vorflieger vor allem Details wie die überarbeiteten Anzeigen für das Punktekonto und den Zustand des Vogels. Auch das Aussehen der Einsatzgebiete ist nun deutlich abwechslungsreicher, und die Missionen wurden besser aufeinander abgestimmt. Dadurch erhalten Einsteiger nicht gleich zu Beginn den Game Over-Gnadenschuß und Fortgeschrittene werden vom unerbittlich ansteigenden Schwierigkeitsgrad langfristig motiviert.

Es gibt auch zahlreiche neue Gebäude, Fahrzeuge und Angreifer, die sich hier zudem frühzeitig blicken lassen - damit man nicht stundenland fighten muß, um endlich einen interessanten, weil bisher unbekannten Gegner vor die Flinte zu bekommen. Außerdem darf man den Heli-Knüppel nun gelegentlich gegen die Steuerungsinstrumente eines Panzers, Patrouillenboots oder Senkrechtstarters eintauschen; inklusive dem Zugriff auf die jeweiligen Waffensysteme.

Schon vom ersten Flugwolf bekannt sind dagegen ein paar kleine, aber feine Einrichtungen, die das Pilotenleben leichter machen. Die Rede ist von der halbautomatischen Zielsuchfunktion für die (jederzeit) umschaltbaren Waffen, dem permanenten Radarausschnitt und dem praktischen Taktikscreen. Auf letzterem bekommt man einen Überblick über den aktuellen Stand der Dinge, während die Schlacht im verkleinerten Spielfenster weitertobt. Der (komplette) Radarschirm zeigt neuerdings auch nur noch aktive Objekte an, abgeschossene Ziele bleiben also nicht mehr wie früher als verwirrende, weil gegenstandslose Leuchtpunkte erhalten.

DIE PRESENTATION
Nicht kriegsentscheidende Gimmicks wie Zwischenbilder oder ein Intro sucht man nach wie vor vergeblich, dafür gefällt das 3D-Schlachtfeld selbst nun viel besser also vor gut einem Jahr: Es scrollt merklich schneller und ist erheblich bunter geworden. Dazu erfreuen wieder hervorragende Animationen das Auge, wenn etwa MG-Salven das Wasser aufwühlen, abstürzende Feindhelis malerisch in Richtung Erde trudeln und Panzer erst noch ein bißchen qualmen, ehe sie explosiv in Schutt und Asche verglühen. All diese Aktionen werden auch von den passenden Tönen begleitet, so wie man bereits beim Erscheinen des Titels mit Marschmusik auf das kriegerische, aber nicht unbedingt brutale Gameplay eingestimmt wird.

DAS FAZIT
Natürlich hätten sich die vorgenommenen Verbesserungen letztlich ebensogut per Datadisk realisieren lassen, aber Schwamm drüber - genau wie über die fehlende HD-Installationsmöglichkeit und die sinnlose Handbuchabfrage. Denn der entscheidende Vorzug von Zeewolf 2 macht das alles wieder wett: Nirgendwo sonst erlebt man am Amiga zur Zeit so spannende und actionreiche Flugstunden! (rl)


Zeewolf 2: Wild Justice logo

It'll huff, it'll puff and it'll blow your house to kingdom come.

Game sequels are a right pain to review. The problem is that the second version of any game is invariably the same as the first only with the bugs removed, so everything I'd like to say was said in the first review. (Honours in this case go to Jonathan Davies in AP44, whose in-depth and exhaustive review covered Zeewolf comprehensively).

You'll appreciate this makes my job more difficult, so forgive me if I moan at any great length. That aside, I want to make something quite clear from the outset. If you have an A1200, then buy Zeewolf 2 because it's great. But if you haven't, then don't.

Zeewolf prides itself on being compatible with all Amigas and, in the sense that it runs on them, that's true. However, as was noted in the original review (9% for A1200s, 74% for A500s), the running speed's so low on anything but the 1200 as to make it little more than a demonstration of the graphics. Even on a 1200 the game slows down noticeably when the action throws explosions, rockets and numerous vehicles onto the screen, while on a 500 it practically stops.

As with its predecessor Zeewolf 2 has 32 missions based around your hi-tech helicopter. The mission objectives are strikingly similar to EA's Desert Strike, and take the form of rescuing soldiers, moving equipment using a winch with the vehicle slung under the chopper, escorting friendly planes and helicopters and, of course, blowing things up.


No, I'm bloody well not

The graphics are hugely reminiscent of David Braben's Virus, with a mufti-directionally scrollling patchwork of squares sliding in and out of the darkness that borders the play area on all sides.

The most noticeable differences between this and the original are aesthetic - the presentation and scenery clearly rejuvenated in the sequel. The screen dressing's much better, with the map and weapon boxes now bordered by a suitably militaristic display. Of this I approve. The scenery has also benefited from an extra year of thought, with the plain bunkers and huts now complemented by cottages, oil rigs, pyramids, tower blocks and other larger structures.

Some of these affect the game (anti-aircraft guns, for example, are frequently mounted on concrete plinths, making them invulnerable to low level rocket attacks) but most of them just look pretty. These may be subtle improvements but the combined effect of the smoother coastlines, varying terrains and larger vehicles is impressive. Zeewolf is a visually stunning game.

Like a piece of resubmitted homework, the obvious errors of Zeewolf have been corrected. Blissfully, enemy vehicles DO now vanish from the scanner once you've destroyed them, your semi-automatically targeted weaponry NO LONGER locks on to burning hulks instead of live and mad enemies and EVERY level has a password.


In and out of the darkness

FLOATING
Now consider this - all that I've mentioned so far amount to mere modifications. A new game requires new ideas and, in this case, it's remote-controlled vehicles. In the course of the game you can land the chopper next to a remote-link tank and control a transport chopper, a VTOL plane, a tank and a gunboat.

Although not exactly a new idea (Jungle Strike did pretty much the same thing) it does open up all sorts of possibilities for different tactics - like driving the tank into an armoured bunker to protect it from an airstrike for example, or sscooping a floating object out of the water. Unfortunately, the idea's been weakly implemented and largely wasted, which is a crying shame.

I put it down to those age-old problems of in-house playtesters and lack of vision. Playtesters, used to controlling the extra vehicles, are unlikely to go barging into buildings, coastlines or other geographical features. Players unfamiliar with the game are likely to crash them to destruction even before they've had so much as a sniff of the enemy.

The extra craft have a similar amount of armour to the Zeewolf, but while the helicopter and plane can duck and weave through enemy fire three dimensionally, the boat and tank tend to enter the enemies' field of fire and stay there until they're mashed.

I love the boat with its groovy torpedoes, but can't get it through narrow channels without grounding it, and the tank's hard-hitting, "one shot kills all" shells are amazing, but I never got to sue them for more than a minute. Only the VTOL's truly useful, and even then it's virtually the same as fying the Zeewolf itself.

And then there's a level where you use a remote-controlled enemy chopper to drop a bomb on the enemy base. The bomb's something approaching a nuke, so I tried a running attack in a bid to escape the blast. No go - the cable wouldn't release. Then I tried dropping the bomb and hoofing off before it exploded, only to be told that my control was inhibited. Now the nuke thing's a great idea but surely it would've been better to give me a chance to escape the blast rather than waiting around to get vaped?


Most of them just look pretty

LUMBERING
At another point you're offered a transport helicopter to evacuate large numbers of soldiers from enemy buildings, but instead of looking like a transport helicopter, it's just a slightly fattter cannon-only Zeewolf.

Now wouldn't it have looked more impressively transportery if it'd been a lumbering twin-rotored Chinook instead? And better still if, instead of flying and firing exactly the same as the Zeewolf, the transport chopper had side-firing door gunners, so you could fly in circles around a target and pour down a steady stream of fire? A few more imaginative touches would have gone a long way to making each vehicle behave differently.

Notice I said that you're offered a transport helicopter, because the fact is that the extra vehicles are completely disposable. Later levels force you to use them by giving the Zeewolf meagre ammo and fuel, ut that's a naff way of utilising slightly feeble extras. Unless you're forced, there's no need to play them. It's frustrating enough to make me grab my hair and go, "Eek".

And there are still a couple of horribly obvious problems. Hitting some of the scenery causes your vehicle to recoil slightly, and all too often, this bangs you into something else. Time after time, I've blasted my way through the enemies' defences only to clip a house and lose all my armour in a stacatto burst of hitting the house, hitting the ground, back to the house and BANG, I'm dead. How infuriating.


Stay there until they're mashed

NEEDLESSLY
Although you're given a wonderfully detailed briefing at the start of the level, the in-game briefings are needlessly sketchy. Am I likely to remember which bunker I'm supposed to pick up the commandos from ten minutes after the briefing? No I'm bloody well not, and the lack of a dot on the map marking their location has been enough to force me to abandon the mission and start again.

And then if I've accidentally wasted them all with a poorly aimed missile, (thus preventing me from completing all my objectives, thus preventing me from finishing the level) at no point does it inform me that I'm wasting my time. That's just sloppy.

And one final thing, I was only given the first six passwords which, in itself, is a bit barmy. Codes for levels 15, 22 and 30 would have been far more sensible. However, as I battled through to the half way point, I noticed a sinister change in the mission structure. The gunfests, where it's just you in a thrilling battle against eight or nine enemy choppers, have disappeared.

Instead, you start with 20 cannon shells and are forced to scrounge around looking for extra rockets here or three missiles over there. Not only is this no fun at all, but it's also an odd idea for a semi-auto-targeting game. What happens if I line up on a supply dome, but my gun locks on to a nearby tank and my final shells are wasted? I have to restart the mission, that's what happens. I've a nasty feeling that this sort of tedious ordnance accountancy plays a major part of later missions, which would be tragic.

Looking back, this seems a long list of gripes for a game that's exciting, gripping and thoroughly absorbing. I loved Zeewolf to death, and the new version loads quicker, runs faster and looks far, far better. But it's just a new version, not the new game I was hoping for and disappointing that the new features are such a damp squib. Moaning aside, Zeewolf 2 is a fantastic game but, with a smidgen more imagination, it could've been flawless.


MOUSE MADNESS

Both Zeewolf games can be controlled two ways. For beginners, and for everyone else, I recommend the joystick/joypad option. In this mode, the helicopter flies in the direction you choose, JUST LIKE THE REAL THING. Altitude is controlled automatically and is dependent on your manoeuvre, so if you're flying low and want to turn 180 degrees then the chopper rises, turns and dives back down again. Just like Airwolf in fact, only without Jan Michael Vincent.

I'm assured by Zeewolf veterans that in order to savour the full delights of the game, you need to use the mouse. This system uses mouse movements to tilt the helicopter and the second mouse button to thrust in that direction which, I'm told, offers a remarkable degree of control that's essential for later, harder missions. I just crash all the time but hey, at least the option is there.

THE SECRETLY IRONIC 'WHAT DOES WHAT' BOX
Zeewolf 2: Wild Justice
  1. This little scanner allows you to line up on multiple targets and rocket the heck out of them in one awesomely superb strafing run.
  2. Enemy helicopters are, in my opinion, the best foes is the entire game. They weave well, and die, marvellously. This one's due to go any second.
  3. This is the semi-automatic targeting system. Depending on how good a lock you have on a target, the image will be either sharp or fuzzy. Even then though, you have to have your nose pointed in the right direction to score a hit.
  1. I'm carrying six soldiers at the moment. For each one I return to the Zeewolf base ship, I get some of my armour back. Six guys should just about put me back up to full strength.
  2. Spitting fire, and in completely unsuitable bright blue, this is you, the Zeewolf. Actually, this is an English game, so shouldn't it be the Zedwolf?
  3. This is, or rather was, a helicopter. They explode hugely and burn out noisly for a few minutes. There's no way the pilot walked from this one.

Zeewolf 2: Wild Justice logo CU Superstar

Due Out: December   Publisher: Binary Asylum   01225 428 494
One of our favourite helicopter sims is back again. If mowing grass and bad guys is your idea of a good time the second instalment of Zeewolf should titilate your fire button fingers.

The old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" must figure quite highly in Binary Asylum's vocabulary. The boys from Bath sat back, looked at their first creation, scratched their heads and decided that it was just too damn good to change. So they set about making a couple of improvements and a whole set of new missions.

The theme of the original was a polygon helicopter sim with as much flight realism as possible. Version one's biggest competitor was Jungle Strike, and the gameplay similarities were striking - even if the look was different. But that was then and this is now, and EA haven't bothered to bring us the third version of their popular gunship shoot 'em up so Zeewolf looks as though will be the king this Christmas.

New objects
The changes are noticeable, though they don't exactly set the world on fire. They are most apparent in the landscapes. New objects appear everywhere, and the land itself changes colour from time to time. There is a much bigger variety of buildings than in the original. And as usual you can blow each one of them up. Violence is the keyword.

According to project leader Trenton Webb: "One of the criticisms of the original was that there just wasn't enough variety, so we set out to create more complex and varied structures". Indeed. "Look at the trees", he said. "Rounded deciduous ones have joined the endless conifers".

The on-screen interface has improved too. The local area map remains on the top left hand side of the screen and the gun camera on the top right but they have been incorporated into a sort of metallic console instead of floating around like the old version. The fuel and Armour gauges are now coloured and look more like real gauges than little retracting pieces of purple pasta. The centre of the console tells you how much ammo you have, how many lives you have, how much money you have in the bank and how many friendlies you have rescue.

Mowing grass
And yes, Zeewolf 2 still allows one to mow grass with the rotors. For those unfamiliar with the original, the control technique of trying to get the chopper to move forward at speed also means that as speed builds up your 'copter goes down. This is apparently because as the rotors are angled really far forward to increase speed, you tend to lose lift. This was one of my criticisms of the original; this tended to get annoying. According to Trenton "we've made the game much more forgiving. Yes, you can crash into the ground while speeding, but you don't loose too much armour doing so". But it's not very realistic this way, I claimed. "But it is very playable this way", replied Trenton. Fair point.

Using the mouse is, once again, a barrel of laughs. I regret to say that one year down the line from Zeewolf I'm still no closer to mastering this control method. I'm a big chap, with big hands (ladies out there take note) and consequently I have real difficulty making the minute movements required of mouse control, especially when things get really busy on-screen. This is when you need a joystick to yank around, not faff about with a namby pamby mouse.

Binary Asylum and an old associate from another magazine have assured me that mouse control is indeed the best way to play. Whatever. What I will say about control is that if you have played our demo and were disappointed with your performance then try again. Aiming the chopper takes some getting used to even with joystick control, but it does look realistic when you get it right.

New colours
There are lots of new landscape colours in Zeewolf 2: Wild Justice. If you didn't like green pastures then Zeewolf would have bored you to death, but the Binary Boys have obviously been Cannon Fodder or something because green grass, snow white, desert yellow and fashionable grey have been included. The sky is still black, but when you look at the the rest of the polygon populated screen you'll understand why. Speed.

In fact this is another area where this new version has improved. Zeewolf had the annoying habit of slowing down to a snail's pace every time you pressed the fire button. On A1200s without fast RAM or an accelerator this was noticeable, especially when there were a lot of objects on screen, but not too much to the detriment of gameplay. On A500s and A600s it was dreadful. If you've tried to pull away from a set of traffic lights in third gear in your mum's A-reg Fiesta you'll have some idea of the sort of noisy stop-start, get nowhere feeling in Zeewolf.

Wild Justice has partially rectified this problem. It's now more than acceptable on a standard A1200 and a bit more reasonable on lower spec machines. The problem remains though that if you have a basic A500 or A600 you'll have problems on later levels. Once the screen gets heavily populated and there is a lot of gunfire 1Mb and a 7Mhz processor just can't hack it. Fast RAM helps though, on all machines. Speaking of which, if you have an A600 and feel left out of the upgrade stakes then check out the A620 review on page 79. We tested Zeewolf 2 with it and it was almost twice as fast as an A1200!

Missions
Once again the variety of missions is excellent and as with Zeewolf 1 the Binary Boys have given us a nice, healthy learning curve. The first few missions get you used to the controls then, after mission five, things begin to get difficult again.

While looking at a preview version of the game I mistakenly told Trenton at Binary Asylum that I thought that there ought to be more intense concentrations of accurate enemy to deal with. He gave me a knowing smile, shook his finger and said simply, "Yes Alan".

I made a fool of myself by suggesting that it was too easy, as later levels have shown. The variety of enemies is amazing: at any one time you can be assailed by as many as five or six in the same area. And again there is a whole menagerie of animal names for the land, sea and aircraft. Big, mobile anti-aircraft guns are called Rhinos, The Albatross is an Ecliptico helicopter from hell and an Osprey is an enemy STOL jet.

Enemy weapons are better, but Zenith have a few aces up their sleeve too. As well as flying escort missions for planes with improved A.I., you can also connect to remote control vehicles like the tank in this month's demo and a Kestrel attack aircraft. These are sort of thrash-and-forget weapons. Once connected to one you can fly or drive around causing as much mayhem as possible and if you get knocked out you simply return to the unharmed Zeewolf.

Zeewolf 2 - Wild Justice is better than the original, there is no doubt about it. Last year a combination of factors led to Zeewolf 1 being rated 84%. The differences here have changed my opinion, although with a slower machine it would still be advisable to try our demo out before you make a purchase. I, however, will be playing it on Christmas day.


Some Enemies To Watch Out For...
The Albatross
Zeewolf 2: The Albatross
A heavily armoured chopper with a destructive cannon. Very, very effective in pairs.
The wasp
Zeewolf 2: The Wasp
A small, lightly armound scout helicopter with a rather weedy little gun. Annoying.
The Osprey
Zeewolf 2: The Osprey
A VTOL attack aircraft with homing missiles. Ospreys fly specific patrol patterns.
The Destroyer
Zeewolf 2: The Destroyer
A massive ship with big, fast guns. Steer clear if you're low on armour. Best attacked with missiles.
The Shark
Zeewolf 2: The Shark
Seems a little wimpy by comparison with the rest, but these still cause trouble.
Watchdog
Zeewolf 2: Watchdog
This annoying tank is equipped with a radar which is used to guide other weapons.

Get Thee To The Carrier
Zeewolf 2: Approaching Aircraft Carrier
Zeewolf 2: Landing on Carrier Deck for a refuel and replenish weapons
Zeewolf 2: Landing on 'X'-landing pad

The Aircraft carrier is very valuable in later stages of the game. You will need to refuel, re-arm and have your shields replenished here. Shields are replished at the back of the carrier on the 'X' landing pad. By picking up technicians from destroyed buildings and dropping them off here you will automatically receive more armour. The more techs you rescue the more armour. If you lose a life with Techs on board you will lose them too.

To replenish weapons and fule you will first have to destroy some Ecliptico gear. Because you are a mercenary this will give you money and if you then land on the Diamon marker at the front of the carrier a Camel will link up to you and allow weapon selections to be made. Doing this will automatically refuel the Zeewolf.