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%% UseNet Review - Liberation CD32                   by Brian S Mogged %%
%%                                             brian.s.mogged@uwrf.edu %%
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PRODUCT NAME

	Liberation CD-32, version "Ratt V2.00b : Wyvern V2.00"


BRIEF DESCRIPTION

	A 3-dimensional adventure/action game for the CD-32, set in the dark
future.


AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION

	Name:		Mindscape Internation LTD
	Address:	Priority House, Charles Avenue, Malting Park,
			Burgess Hill,
			West Sussex RH15 9PQ
			UK

	Telephone:	0444 246333
	FAX:		0444 248996


LIST PRICE

	I do not know, but I paid $49.95 (US).


SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

	HARDWARE

		Commodore CD-32
		Mouse (optional)

	SOFTWARE

		None.


COPY PROTECTION

	None.


MACHINE USED FOR TESTING

	A CD-32 and a mouse.


INSTALLATION

	No installation is necessary.  Just put the disc into the CD-32
and go.


A HISTORY OF LIBERATION

	The world of Liberation is set in the 29th century, where Earth is
dying.  Earth is being destroyed by commercial exploitation from large mega
corporations.  One mega corporation, Bio-Corp, developed a variety of high
technology items for its sister corporation, Securi-Corp.  Securi-Corp
handles almost all law enforcement activities for the government.  Since the
government is concerned with other affairs, these corporations are truly in
control of Earth.  Your hero (the player that you control) has learned an
important fact:  androids sold by Bio-Corp for police security go berserk
when they are exposed to magnetic interference.  These berserk androids
usually cause a few deaths.  The corporation is covering it up by placing
people into detention centers.  The object of the game is to explore the
detention center, rescue these political prisoners, and find enough evidence
to bring the mega-corporation to justice.  The hero cannot go into the
detention center himself, so he sends four robots into the detention center.

	Liberation is a sequel to Tony Crowther's "Captive."  Since I have
not played Captive, I cannot say how similar this game is to the original,
but I can say that it is completely playable without any knowledge of
Captive.


GAMEPLAY

	In Liberation, the main display may be changed by the user.  By
default, the top of the screen is your Device VDU (Video Display Unit).  The
middle of the screen is the three-dimensional view, with the "droids panel"
on the sides.  On the bottom is the text screen.


THE DEVICE VDU (VIDEO DISPLAY UNIT)

	Each robot can have two active device which can be scanners, video
bug surveillance, game preferences, city mappers, and other items that I
have not seen yet.  Most of these items have a display and a option panel
that can be selected and changed.  Since there are eight robots, there can be
up to eight displays active.  The default display plan displays four of these
panels.


THE DROIDS PANEL

	The droids panel lets you instantly see the current status of your
droids, switch position of members in your party, let you select an
android's backpack, and allows you to split up the party.  This area of the
screen can be turned off so you can have a larger 3-dimensional view.


THREE DIMENTIONAL VIEW AREA

	This is the first-person, three-dimensional window where you see
everything that the currently selected robot sees.  This landscape is very
lush with some of the best texture bitmaps that exist in any Amiga game.
People and objects represented by textured-filled polygons (which look good
too!).  You can tilt the robot's head to look up, down, left, and right.
You have not played this game until you tilt your head upwards just in time
to see a police copter in the sky.


TEXT WINDOW

	This window has all the text from the current session of the game.
I have played it for ten hours straight and it STILL stores everything that
was said.


TALKING AND MANIPULATING

	In this three-dimensional environment, you can talk to people, pick
up objects, give objects, shoot people, and use objects.  When the player
talks to a person in the game, the text of what that person says appears in
the text window.  Sometimes the game says what is on placed on the screen,
sometimes not.  But most of the time, it will bring up a response screen that
has a menu your possible responses.  The conversation will continue until
you move away, shoot the person, or say "good bye", or the other person
decides to end the conversation.

	Grabbing an item is just as simple as moving your cursor in the 3-D
view window or the current android window and holding down a button.  The
player can now move the cursor with the item into any window to be dropped,
given to other people, or placed back into inventory.


SHOOTING A PERSON IN COLD BLOOD

	To shoot, swing a object, or punch in the game, you press the joypad
button.  Since you have four robots and you have four buttons, each button
controls one robot.  Fire fights in this game go very fast, and the outcome
of the battle becomes almost painfully apparent in this game.


DOCUMENTATION

	Documentation is a 64-page pamphlet approximately the same shape and
size as a booklet inside a normal CD.  It gives a very brief description of
the world, and then describes how most of the functions work and how to use
the CD-32 joypad.  The rest of the manual describes how to use the mouse and
confusingly describes the repair systems of the droid.

	The game manual is very informative, but is very hard to read.  Even
after reading the manual about five times, I could still learn something if
I took the time and read it a sixth time.  The manual is too brief in most
parts.  For example, it mentions only off-handedly that you cannot save
inside of buildings using the CD-32 built in non-volatile RAM.  I still do
not understand the system for doing self-repair on the robots.  But still,
the manual does not tell you important facts, like that the current mission
information is in the scroll text window when you start the game.  So for
four days I really did not know where I should go until I (by mistake)
scrolled up the text window and saw the mission briefing.


LIKES

	What pulls me to play this game every night for the rest of my life?

	I love the demo.  It is about six minutes long, very good, and gets
you in the mood for the game.

	Both the mouse interface and the CD-32 controller interface are very
good.  The CD-32 controller at first felt awkward, but after a few hours of
play, I felt as if I had played the game throughout my life.

	The graphics are excellent.  I haven't see this style of graphics on
the Amiga done with so much detail!!  You really feel like you are there.
The outside graphics look very dark and gritty.  The interior views look
very close to what I would expect to see inside a building.  I loved the
picture of the dog on the wall.

	The configurability of this game is incredible.  You can move around
windows, turn on/off selected windows, turn on/off voice, sound and music,
and select levels of detail that you can turn on/off.  This allows you to
have information on the screen that you consider important.

	The scrollable text window holds previous conversations.  It makes
remembering old information just a scroll of the window away.

	The music is not annoying.  I find the music very soothing and
enjoyable.

	The sound and voice are pleasant.  Gun shots ring out.  Very clear
sound complements the music and the game.  Voice (when present) is very
welcome and give some good atmosphere.

	Very fast CD-ROM access gives this game a very smooth feel.  The
waits when loading are very short, and loading is necessary only when going
inside or outside of a building.

	VERY BIG.  You won't run out of places to explore in this game!  This
game is huge.  I was just blown away on how big it is.  What is even better
is there are over 4000 missions in the game.  Even better is that it
randomizes elements in the game so it will play different every time.  This
almost promises a longevity I have not seen in a game for a while!

	And any game that gives you an opportunity to kill K-9 is a good game
in my book!


DISLIKES

	Maybe the game is TOO BIG and COMPLEX.  I still feel overwhelmed when
I play the game.  If you want to play this game, plan to spend a huge amount
of time.

	Combat is a little on the blah side.  Not very much you can do.  Just
shoot your gun and run away.

	I get many of my items robbed from me too often!!!  It happens too
often.  I just get really upset about it.  The worst part is that I usually
realize that my gun is stolen right when I try to shoot it.

	Voice is not always running in the game.  Sometimes the person that
you are talking to speaks and sometimes the person doesn't.  It really drives
me up the wall.


IMPROVEMENTS

	Well maybe a little better CD-32 control pad system.  I still
sometimes shoot people while I am talking.  Voice should be used throughout
the game.  Maybe a training game that is just in a small house.  Maybe let
me walk by a person without getting robbed!


COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS

	Hired Guns by Psygnosis came into my mind instantly when I first
started to play this game.  I believe that Hired Guns is much better at
combat, but Liberation has a very good plot and good graphics.

	Since I do not have the original Captive, I can not compare this
software to the original game.


BUGS

	There are a few bugs with this game.  The list of bugs that followed
was produced by Dave Cole (Dave_Cole@guru.apana.org.au).  Dave ran
Liberation on a PAL CD-32 with a version number Ratt V2.00 : Wyvern V1.92.

     * Guru's occasionally (only 2 times for me).  It has reset for some
          people, when there are too many people in the room. (I haven't
          noticed this however.)

     * When initiating a conversation, sometimes a person will accuse
          you of "clobbering" them.  Other people have said that if you
          shoot a thief, then everyone else say that you have shot them.
          (Haven't noticed this myself, but could be the reason.)

     * Sometimes when you go to talk to someone, garbage such as "87#&^j"
          will come up in their window, and your response window doesn't
          always have a response (have to cycle through several responses
          before one actually shows up).

     * When using the Mapper - Comms, in a taxi, it will say "Autopilot
          initiated" (or something like that), yet it will not go anywhere
          if the destination is in the current zone.
          (You have to leave the zone, and then re-select the destination).

     * When talking to people about the "Captive", and they ask you for
          some dosh, you can select "well.." or "let's see.." and then
          select something like "I'll have to go to the bank and come back
          later.." they will give you the info anyway.  Now this could be
          on purpose, as they can't be bothered waiting around, yet one of
          them said at the end of their speech "..Thanks for the dosh".

     * The amount of time played, displayed in the disk access menu, is not
	  always accurate.  To start off with (up to about 8 hours), it was
	  OK, but then it said that I'd been playing for 386 days, then 1058
	  days, and finally 2685 days!

     * The percentage of game done is sometimes stuffed for a little while
          (usually just after saving), as when you've only completed 1%,
          it may say that you've completed 99%.

     * Harri Pesonen (harry@elfuerte.fipnet.fi) says:
          I have noticed a strange bug.  When I check the different body
          parts in the Repair state, it seems that the left leg of one
          robot is the same as the head of another, and the same as the
          right leg of the third, and the same as the left hand of the
          fourth, etc.

     * When you look "up", the wall image is upside down (i.e., the down
          image reversed).

     * Percentage of game played sometimes just stays as "New Game"
          (I haven't noticed this yet, but it has reset the time for me).

     * The most annoying (and worst bug), is as follows:  Game wouldn't save
	  in flash RAM, as it said that it was "too big and to try in the
	  city, and that if that didn't work try another zone."  The thing
	  is, this happened while I was outside, in the city, and I did try
	  other zones, but to no avail.  It did save to the RAM disk
	  though.  HOWEVER, because of its being unable to save to the
	  flash-RAM, it somehow WIPED the game which was previously there,
	  thus still not allowing me to save the RAM-disk version to
	  flash-RAM.  When looking at the game-save slots (after I had
	  removed the recoverable ram disk), all I had in there was one
	  locked save game of Diggers (seven slots in length).  Now surely
	  the game doesn't need 93 slots?  I have had saves which take only
	  47, and with the most that I know of about 80.  Because of this
	  bug, about 15 hours or so has to be replayed.  Hopefully, all the
	  info that I wrote down will still be valid (wishful thinking).

	I had the "reversed graphics when looking up" problem, but I myself
have not had the other problems as of this time.


VENDOR SUPPORT

	Since Mindscape has no known address in the United States,  I have
written them a letter since I can not find an e-mail address for the company.
I have not received a response from the vendor at this time.


CONCLUSIONS

	Liberation - finally, a product that gives you a reason to own the
CD-32.  The game is so big, it is guaranteed not to be pushed into a corner
for a long time!  I haven't had this much fun with an RPG style game since
Final Fantasy II for the Super Nintendo.

	I definitely give it five blasters rounds out of five.

	Brian.s.Mogged@Uwrf.edu		<- send all mail to this address.