|Review - Strangers|
It could be easily argued that Vulcan are now the Amiga's premier publisher of entertainment software. From the humble beginnings of Valhalla, Paul Carrington's company has domainated the release diaries with the "MinSeries" of games such as HillSea Lido, Bograts and Tiny Troops (all reviewed in previous issues of Amiga Report).
Strangers is the first in the "MegaSeries" of CD-ROM based games, all designed for AGA machines of medium specification. It's a pity that the game is such a poor effort.
The game is very similar to the arcade game "Renegade", which was a minor hit for Taito in the mid-80's and a major hit for Ocean Software who published the superb computer conversions (Mike Lamb's Z80 conversions were especially good). The player is placed in various lonely locations, and is challenged to single-handedly beat off hoards of attackers. You have the odd weapon to hand, but mostly it's down to fists and feet.
There's nothing actually that wrong with Strangers, it's just that there's nothing that's any fun. Guy attacks you, you hit him. His mate hits you. You fall down, lie there for a bit, get up and get knocked down almost immediately. Repeat times five, and you're either dead or you've won the level and you're onto the next stage. Either way, there's not much difference, as there's very little new to be seen; different graphics, same routine. A two-player option is a little more fun, but after ten minutes of beating up a pixelised representation of your friend you'll soon realise it'd be more fun to beat him or her up in real life, or go down the pub, or possibly both.
The author's have tried to dress the game up a bit; there's the now obligatory rendered intro animation, of course, and more unusually you have the option to have the game instructions spoken out to you in a gentle Scottish accent. It's a nice touch, but ultimately pointless.
It's a sad fact, but the most entertainment on this CD is the collection of Vulcan's game demos that's included. I can't recommend Strangers; it's not something I'll be playing again soon. You'd have much more fun downloading a Spectrum emulator from Aminet and a snapshot of Renegade from one of the emulation sites.
Pros: All the Vulcan demos on one CD. The Scottish accent.
Cons: Monotonous gameplay, with nothing new in the first level, never mind the second or third.
Strangers is priced at 29.99UKP, and can be ordered from:
Weird Science Ltd.
Q House, Troon Way Business Centre