Ganymed (Commodore Amiga)

by PaulEMoz in , , ,

So, after writing my top 11 iOS games of last year, I fancied a break before I started on the big boy games. So I was scrolling through GameBase, and as I went through the Amiga games, clicking on random games and looking at screenshots, I saw one that featured AT-ATs. Fantastic! Let's have a go at that.

Echo station 3-T-8, we have spotted something a lot like Imperial walkers, but that aren't actually Imperial walkers.

The game was, and indeed is called Ganymed. An odd title for sure, and no doubt a riff on Jupiter's moon, Ganymede. That moon is largely covered in ice, much like the planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, where AT-ATs march relentlessly in, smashing anything in their path.

And so, with that connection made, I settled down for a good blast.

You know, there have been some really good games featuring large walkers that you must shoot down. Parker's own The Empire Strikes Back, on the Atari VCS/2600, was a tense, thrilling blast, where you took your fragile snowspeeder to battle the Empire's mighty walkers. I spent hours on that game, which may well have been the very first game responsible for giving me an aching thumb.

Who'd have thought that blowing up a metal beast would result in an explosion of jam and custard?

Then there was Jeff Minter's Attack of the Mutant Camels. Although this had a distinctly British sense of humour added to the mix, the core gameplay was much the same, and probably accounted for a lot of knackered fire buttons on computer systems across the globe.

Ganymed is not a really good game featuring large walkers. It is, in fact, a shit game featuring large walkers. Essentially, it's the old Atari Empire Strikes Back game, with arguable better graphics and inarguably worse gameplay. Each level sees you take off in your snowspeeder ship, scrolling from right to left to confront the giant metal beasts, of which there are three.

You're just running around like a headless chicken.

Yes, each level contains a not-exactly-unmanageable three enemy walkers. Defeat them and you whizz off to the next level. Take a couple of hits and you die. Let them reach the right of the screen, and it's game over, quite unceremoniously and without fanfare. Just a message saying "You lost all your ships".

And that's it. It's rubbish. Of all the things to stop on randomly, I managed to hit Ganymed. Out of 50,000 games over 18 systems, I landed on Ganymed. I won't be making that mistake again.

Hybris (Commodore Amiga)

by PaulEMoz in , , , ,

I'm constantly on the lookout for new games to play, not just for the blog but also for my own entertainment and education. I've said it before... I've played thousands and thousands of games in my lifetime, but for every one I've played there are probably ten that I haven't.

Commodore's Amiga is a machine that I have fond memories of despite not having owned one until recently. It has a number of games that I really love, but stacks that I've never heard of. One name that I've heard mentioned in revered tones of late is Hybris.

Pew! Pew! Shooty shooty aliens!

I didn't have any idea what it was about, although I'd gathered it was a shoot 'em up. Great... I love a good shmup. My chances of playing it seemed slim, though, seeing as I didn't own it... but then my mate Alan fixed me up with GameBase, and finally I had a hassle-free way to play the game.

If there's one arcade game that Hybris takes its inspiration from, it's Terra Cresta. The backgrounds are similar, the attack patterns are similar, the weapons power-ups are similar... even down to the way you can split your ship for more deadly firepower. And that's all well and good, because Terra Cresta didn't get a release on the Amiga.

Hey, that's not fair! Stop ganging up on me!

There's a plot, but what do you care about that? All you need to know is that you're flying a heavily-armed craft over a planet's surface, wiping out ground-based defences and enemy craft. What matters is how well it's done. And in Hybris it's done really rather well.

The blasting action is satisfying, although attack patterns are somewhat limited, but even with that being the case it's easy to find yourself getting caught out and having to fight your way out of trouble. You get large points bonuses for wiping out entire formations, and you can pick up other bonuses by uncovering hidden objects, Xevious-style.

There are bosses too, of course. The few I've encountered have been slightly more interesting than usual. Nothing spectacular, but with slightly more unpredictable patterns than usual. You need to be on your game to see them off.

You're not the boss of me...

I'm really glad that I picked up on the talk about Hybris. It certainly ranks up there as one of the better shooters that I've played from the home computer era. Pity I never got to have a go back then, but it's always better late than never, and I'd like to have a bit more time with it. Oh, look, here's a video of one of my games! Let me know what you think, I might try and do more of these.

Amiga shoot 'em up Hybris, in action.

Defender of the Crown (Commodore Amiga)

by PaulEMoz in , , , ,

Cinemaware is a company that had quite a reputation back in the day. Well, actually, they had two reputations... one was as a company that produced very ambitious, highly polished games with tremendous production values, in an attempt to make games that captured the essence of classic Hollywood. The other reputation that was held in some quarters was that they were overrated, producing nothing more than a series of dull mini-games held together by ropey plots. Seems a bit harsh...

Ladies and gentlemen, please bear witness to the arrival of Sir PaulEMoz.

I've only played one Cinemaware game before today, and that was Rocket Ranger. It just so happens that that game is one of my all-time favourite Amiga games. Not having owned an Amiga in its halcyon days, though, meant that I never got the opportunity to sample the rest of the Cinemaware catalogue. The first of their games, and the one that served to hype their name to the heavens, was Defender of the Crown. Finally, twenty-five years after its release, I've managed to play it.

Defender of the Crown is a strategy game, with action sequence mini-games. You find yourself in Ye Olde England, in the time of Robin Hood. And in fact, you're one of his mates. But he's decided he's past all that heroic rubbish, and is leaving it up to you to wrest control of England (and Wales, I guess, as you can have that bit o' land too) from evil hands. That said, he does agree to come to your aid up to three times, should you require it. Mighty generous of him.

I love Eugene Jarvis. Oh, wait...

Once the game starts, you're presented with a map of England and Wales (well, most of it... the map stops at Yorkshire. Racists!). There are six castles on the map, one of which is yours! But you can't just sit in your stately home, Lording it over all and sundry. The crown is missing, and you have to not only retrieve it, but also defeat the other five usurpers and earn the right to the throne.

Many of our land's counties are not under rule to begin with. That's how the game starts, with you taking turns to mop up strategically useful pieces of land. You'll earn money off this land, and this can (and must) be used to build your army. This isn't complicated, or especially deep. The only units you can buy are soldiers, knights, catapults and castles. You'll need catapults to attack the other castles. Knights and soldiers should be gathered in nicely proportionate numbers to ensure effective fighting.

My counties are displayed in light blue. Looks like it's going alright, so far.

Once you have an army fit for a prospective king, you can go and set about one of the other pretenders to the throne. It's probably best to take some of their other counties first, lessening their forces in number before laying siege to their stronghold. You don't get to control fights, but you do get to have a go at smashing the castle. If you can correctly judge the strength at which to hurl each boulder from the catapult, you'll smash a big enough hole in the wall for your army to flood through, and that will be one foe conquered! Or at least, you hope it will... you're never aware how many opposing soldiers lie beyond those walls...

Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries. Now go away, or I will taunt you a second time.

It's then a case of rinse and repeat for the rest of the game. Which makes it sound boring, which is to do it a disservice. And there's a little more to it than that. For instance, at times, tournaments will be called. All the contenders will be summoned to one location where they (and you) will joust, for fame and possibly for land.

On a more serious note, there's castle raiding. This can happen in two ways... off your own bat, or to avenge a damsel from foul Normans. Either which way, you'll break into a castle, do a bit of swordfighting, and if all goes to plan, have your way with a lovely maiden. Get it wrong, and you'll be captured, and will have to part with some of your hard-earned funds in order to secure your release.

Alright lads, we're in! You take this lot, I'll get the wench!

These bits all sound like fun, but the problem is, I can't win any of the mini-games. At all. Well, that's not strictly true... I can knock down the castle walls easily in a siege. But the jousting and swordfighting are proving to be impossible for me. Now, you can win the game without them... I did, on my first try... but where's the fun in it if you're not dominant in everything? You want to win the joust. You want to win the swordfights and rescue the damsels. Of course you do. I feel like a bit of a limp-wristed fraud.

Still, as a groundbreaking bit of strategy-lite, Defender of the Crown is something of a triumph. And I would go so far as to say that, even today, it would be a good introduction to the genre for anyone that's a bit wary (or even scared) of the more dense strategy games. You can count me in that number.

Sword of Sodan (Commodore Amiga)

by PaulEMoz in , ,

I remember the day my mate bought Sword of Sodan from Maughan Micro Computers, a pokey little shop in the Metro Centre. I was there, and it wasn't that long after he'd got his Amiga. He had a few games with it at that point, although a lot of them had come with the machine... Wizball, The Karate Kid Part II (I wonder where that one went?), for example. Of course, having stepped up from the Commodore 64, it was very easy to be seduced by screenshots on the back of the box. And Sword of Sodan's screenshots were amazing.

Phwoar, look at her! Or him, if that's your preference.

Back to his we went, and opened the game. Three disks! Three! It had to be amazing! In actuality, it just meant a lot of loading. And not much game, as it turned out... I think we completed it on our first go, taking turns as we progressed through the levels. It was a bit disappointing in that respect, but on the other hand, it did provide a sense that this computer was the future.

I thought I'd give it another go now, to see just how it fared more than twenty years later.

Halt, stranger!

To be fair, it's not really a very good game. It's a straightforward left-to-right scrolling beat 'em up, but it's no Double Dragon or Streets of Rage. It kind of reminds me of an odd game called Great Gurianos, in fact. When I say "left-to-right", I mean left-to-right... it all takes place on a single plane, in a single direction. So there's absolutely no strategy involved... you just have to slash and jump at the right times. Oh, you can duck, or do an overhead hit... that's a total of three fighting moves. And occasionally you pick up potions which have varying effects.

...that didn't end as they'd expected...

For a game that was bought on the basis of its screenshots, the graphics aren't really all that good, looking at them now. When static, they're a massive step up from the 64, with huge figures taking up large amounts of the screen. The animation isn't much cop, though, and although the different game areas are nice and varied, the enemies within aren't, with usually only one or two of a kind on any one level.

Moments later, the giant's head was removed from his shoulders. The bigger they are...

Having slaughtered the game to this point, I have to say I found it kind of refreshing to play something so straightforward. These days, everything has to be so complex. There's some merit to a game that sets out its stall in such a basic fashion. Sword of Sodan is not a game I would buy on any format if it were released today, but I can actually see myself playing it again at some point. Not sure if that speaks more about the game or my personality.

Shufflepuck Cafe (Commodore Amiga)

by PaulEMoz in , , ,

Hmmm. This one might be a bit shorter than usual, too.

I had no idea what I felt like playing today, so I just delved my hand into my lucky cardboard box o' disks, and out came Shufflepuck Cafe. I remembered it right from the off... it's hard to forget a name like that. Not that I'd ever played it... I read reviews, and it never really appealed to me. I don't think it was released on the Commodore 64, anyway.

That's a motley bunch. What the hell are they doing playing air hockey in a cafe?

Having played it on the Amiga, it turns out I have actually played it before, just not in this guise. Shufflepuck Cafe is Pong. Or Air Hockey. Or 3D Air Hockey Pong. You get the idea, though... you've got a table, with a goal at either end, and a bat-thing to hit a puck with. Get the puck past your opponent's puck, and you score a point. First to fifteen wins.

And that, as you might expect, is all there is to the game. It being set in the Shufflepuck Cafe, you have a number of different opponents that you can choose to play against... and they're intergalactic opponents, so they look a bit, umm, different. And some opponents are better at the game than others... the Elvira-esque woman, for instance, has some kind of psychic powers, so she can throw the puck wherever she likes. No fair.

Haha! Unlucky, kid. This ain't Quidditch we're playing...

If you like playing Pong or Air Hockey, then you'll probably get a bit of enjoyment from Shufflepuck Cafe. To be fair, I played it for longer than I expected, but that was more out of a will to try and actually win a game. I didn't manage it, but I was using the mouse on my thigh rather than a mousemat. Not ideal, that, and it might have impaired my ability to judge the game fairly, but I doubt it. It is what it is, it's not bad at what it does, but I can't see me rushing to load it up again.

Number 5.

by PaulEMoz in , ,

Dungeon Master (Commodore Amiga)

Many of the games I've played for the blog, I've never heard of before. Then there are others that are absolute legends of the gaming world. In those cases, I've looked forward to them for ages before actually playing them.

Dungeon Master is an absolute legend. I had been looking forward to playing it... and then found that it wasn't in my pile. A quick ebay trawl soon put that right, and a-dungeoning I went.

What an experience Dungeon Master is. It was almost certainly the first game to do dungeon crawls in such an atmospheric and immersive fashion. I don't mind admitting that there were more than a couple of moments where I was a bit nervous about turning a corner.

I had to nick a picture this time. And this is the best I could do. Pah.

It's a beautifully designed game, and I always felt like I was progressing just enough to be able to cope with anything new that I happened upon... as long as I was careful. Of course, I wasn't, and I saved the game at a place where I hardly had any energy and there were four mummies in my path. There was no other way past, so I kept dying.

That was frustrating, but it was my own fault. I've started another game since, and I'm doing a bit better, or at least being a bit more careful. Dungeon Master may have aged, but it's still a truly excellent and groundbreaking game. It's one of my favourite experiences from the blog, and more than justifies its place in this rundown.

Barbarian II (Psygnosis - Commodore Amiga)

by PaulEMoz in , , ,

Remember what I said yesterday? That Barbarian would be great if you could just run in there, hacking, chopping and leaping with a move of the joystick and the press of a fire button?

Scratch that. I was wrong.

You may well recall (you should, like I said it was only yesterday) that I quite enjoyed Hegor's adventures in Barbarian. The game wasn't without flaws, but it was quite interesting and had a nice graphic style, and I had a pretty good time with it. Seeing as I also own the sequel, I thought I'd dash the pair of them off, one after the other. And I was quite looking forward to seeing what improvements had been made in the sequel.

There are no improvements.

Yep, you keep looking the other way... I'll just nip down here...

In fact, the game seems to be a backward step in almost every way. The first problem lies with the control method. Now, I bemoaned the odd mouse-and-menu control method of the original, and wondered how much better it would be with joystick controls. Barbarian II uses joystick controls, but plays pretty horribly. It turns out that there are too many actions to comfortably fit within the constraints of the joystick and one fire button, making the game a bit confusing to play.

Also, many of the creatures attack you from positions that make them very difficult to hit, resulting in massive frustration as you take hit after hit. You'll also find yourself trying to escape, maybe up a flight of stairs, but being hit by some spitting creature and knocked, helplessly, all the way back to where it can get you more easily. Grrrrrrr!

Bit nippy in here. You'd think they'd turn the heating on.

Another problem lies with the game design. In an attempt to give the game added depth, it's been switched a little from the flick-screen original... it does stay flick-screen, but when wandering through the forests, you now have branching paths, being able to move up or down to take different routes. But this makes the game dull, like a slow-paced version of Robin of the Wood.

And finally, the game looks worse than the original. The background graphics of the forest are lovely, but the characters all look muddy and indistinct. And Hegor no longer looks like a barbarian... he looks more like a useless Viking, the one that the whole village laughs at.

I'm not sure what happened here... the ingredients were there from the original game to make something really good. It certainly hasn't panned out that way, though, and I don't expect to play this one again.

Barbarian (Psygnosis - Commodore Amiga)

by PaulEMoz in , , , , ,

The name "Barbarian" has quite a history in gaming... probably because there were two of them. I think that everyone remembers the Palace Software version... with its epic one-on-one sword combat and lopping-off-of-head coup-de-grace, it was the beat 'em up of choice for those that didn't like wearing coloured pyjamas. Then, of course, there was the sequel, which famously discarded the one-on-one aspect in favour of an adventure-type game, and Wolf from Gladiators. And Maria Whittaker.

If you had a 16-bit machine, though, there was another (although "lesser" machines did receive ports at a later date). Psygnosis had their own Barbarian game. You'd think that would be a bit confusing for the masses... surely it wouldn't have taken much effort to come up with an original name. Still, I guess they figured that if the name fit the game, that was all that mattered. And it's the Psygnosis game I'm looking at on the Amiga.

Eh? Wassat?

Psygnosis' Barbarian is an adventure-type game. You take control of Hegor the Barbarian, who must travel through a hostile land of dungeons and traps in order to confront and defeat his evil brother, Necron the Sorceror. And not only are there traps to be sprung or overcome, but also (naturally) hordes of Necron's minions to be dispatched.

Sounds straightforward, and all too easy for someone as mighty as Hegor the Barbarian. Unfortunately, he's been hamstrung by a strange and unwieldy control system. It would have been great if Hegor could have just run in there, muscles glistening, hacking, chopping and leaping with the movement of the joystick and the press of the fire button. Instead, he's controlled via a mouse-driven menu.

Hmmm. This looks too straightforward. I wouldn't trust that rock as far as I could throw it...

This seems really odd, and it feels a bit weird, too. The weirdest part is that Hegor will keep walking unless you tell him to do something different, no matter what. That wall that's blocking his way? He's under the impression that if he walks into it enough times, it'll get out of his way.

It's also quite difficult, especially with a twenty-odd year old mouse that's not as responsive as it once was. That said, the icons are laid out in such a way that you never normally want one that is too far away from the last one you used. And to be fair, you can string together a quite impressive and fluid sequence of moves, once you get used to it.

If he had a heart, he'd just let me have that bow up there...

And once you know what you need to do... there's some trial and error to be found in Barbarian. Sometimes, the way forward is obvious... just walk or run along the screen and hack the creature that's in your way to death. It usually just takes one blow. But there are other times when you'll be strolling along, golden locks flowing in the breeze, and a spiked trap will drop on your head and kill you, seemingly without warning. It's somewhat irritating, as there don't appear to be any clues as to the presence of some of the traps.

It's a curious game, is Psygnosis' Barbarian, and one that's nowhere near as immediate or satisfying as the Palace game. It's quite slow, and when you're playing as a barbarian the last thing you want is to be ponderous. Still, it does have its charm, and I found myself plodding on and coming back to it, just to see if I could get a few screens further. Not what I'd call a classic, but enjoyable enough.

Safari Guns (Commodore Amiga)

by PaulEMoz in , ,

Here's another episode in my "pick a game I've never heard of from the box" series... which still has quite a way to run! And this particular instalment saw me playing a game called Safari Guns, which is another game from Beau Jolly's Big Box.

Safari Guns took me a little bit by surprise... I have to admit, I was expecting a hunting game. But it's not that at all. Instead, it's an Operation Wolf-style game... but with a twist. Instead of shooting the animals, you have to photograph them. Don't worry, though, you are armed with a gun as well as a camera. You have to switch to that when angry poachers pop onto the screen. That's when you get to satisfy your bloodlust.

All those tasty animals around, and he goes and shoots me!

Points are scored at the end of the game (and, I suspect, at the end of the level... I'll tell you if I ever get there...). Points are scored for photos of animals... each new animal shot being worth the most points. Subsequent shots of the same animal will bag you an increasingly diminishing number of points. You also score for blowing away the poachers... but if your trigger finger slips and you hit an animal, then points are deducted.

It's a simple formula, but an enjoyable one. It is, though, dependent on having a good mouse, and mine is merely OK. As a result, I didn't do as well as I would have liked. I did enjoy playing Safari Guns quite a bit, though... I thought it had that "one more go" element, and I actually quite fancy another shot on it now.

Budokan - The Martial Spirit (Commodore Amiga)

by PaulEMoz in , , ,

Fighting games were always pretty popular on the old computers... not with me, though. I'm not very good at them, so generally speaking, I tend not to like them. There have always been exceptions... International Karate was fantastic, for instance, and some of the old arcade beat 'em ups have always appealed.

Budokan is a bit of a different beast, in that half of the game is devoted to training and learning.

This is a nice place. Now, where should I get beaten up first?

The game starts with you in the courtyard of the Tobiko-Ryu Dojo, where you will undertake your training. There are four training halls, each specialising in a different discipline. These disciplines are Karate, Kendo, Nunchaku and Bo. As you make your decision and walk towards the dojo of your choice, it's clear that you're disadvantaged right from the outset... your character doesn't half move with a limp!

Once you're in the dojo, you can choose to either practice your moves or take on a sparring partner. There's a decent selection of moves for each discipline, so practicing is a good idea at the beginning. When you've got a few moves down pat, it's time to try them on an opponent. Budokan gives you three different sparring partners, and it's worth taking them all on in turns, just to see how different opponents might come at you.

Welcome to Budokan! If you come back next Friday, there's a gig on.

Once you feel your skills are at a high enough level, you can finally travel to the fabled Budokan arena, to take part in the martial arts tournament. There, you'll fight a range of opponents, each with different skills and weapons, some of which you won't have encountered before.

Budokan has an interesting gameplay mechanic, in that you only get to use each of your disciplines a maximum of four times throughout the tournament. You can, if you wish, use kendo against a karate fighter, which is quite amusing. But that might leave you vulnerable later in the tournament. It also means that there's no point developing a favourite and sticking with it... you're going to have to mix and match your styles. It helps to keep the game a little fresher.

Hah! Know karate, do you? Well, I know stick, and now, so do you!.

At first, it seems that all that supposed depth counts for nothing, as you'll probably dispatch your first couple of opponents easily. But things soon change, and you'll find yourself eating mat on a fairly frequent basis. A problem rears its head, in that fights are quite short and loading times are not, so you end up spending more time watching and loading than actually fighting. Still, Budokan is a cut above your average early fighting game... although having said that, it's a bit like a kind of advanced Yie Ar Kung-Fu. That's no bad thing in my book.

Warlock's Quest (Commodore Amiga)

by PaulEMoz in ,

One of the main reasons for writing this blog is to play all the games I've got sitting upstairs, in an attempt to justify keeping them. Many of them are games I've never played or even heard of before, and that's where a lot of the fun lies... seeing whether I've got an undiscovered gem or a waste of disk space.

Warlock's Quest is one of those games I'd never heard of. It seemed pretty obvious what it would be when I loaded it up... a role-playing game. Except... it's not.

No, I haven't got a clue what's going on there, either.

To be honest, I still don't really know what was going on. Sometimes, having some instructions can be quite handy. Basically, the game appears to be a shoot 'em up of sorts... the playing area is split into two levels, with your warlock moving from left to right and, where ladders or gaps allow, up and down between the levels.

A range of supernatural creatures are out to stop you from doing... well, whatever it is your quest is. I'd probably have to complete the game to find that out, and I didn't manage it. Mostly because it's hard. If you stay still and blast, you'll last longer. But of course, you won't get anywhere on your quest. The enemies are constantly spawning, so you can't just clear the screen and then move on, either.

Jesus! Those red blobs might be annoying, but I'll take my chances... downstairs looks freaky!

But, in true Gauntlet style, your energy is constantly ticking down, too. So if you do stay still, you'll get a high score before you die, but you will eventually die, so you might as well get a bit of a shift on and see what's on the other screens.

I did kind of enjoy the game... the graphics are very small but endearingly cute in a way. Apart from the scary stuff... it started to get a bit weird and freaky further on. God knows what I would have found if I'd managed to get further. I can't see me ever playing it again... it's out of the way now, and I can at least say I've played it. I didn't hate it, but there was nothing particularly outstanding there to encourage me to go back to it.

Rocket Ranger (Commodore Amiga)

by PaulEMoz in , , , , , ,

This is my 200th post in the blog! For a long while there, it didn't look like I'd get that far. So in order to celebrate, I've played something that I absolutely loved in its time - Cinemaware's Rocket Ranger.


The name brings to mind that horror of gaming past - the interactive movie. And indeed, Cinemaware did stray some way down that path. But rather than actually attempt to make interactive movies, they made videogames with a movie feel to them... subtle difference. I don't think many people had a bad word to say about their ambitious efforts, back in the day.

You can shake that fist all you like, I'm still coming to knock your block off...

Rocket Ranger, for me, was the ultimate Cinemaware game. It took inspiration from 1950s sci-fi matinees, blended a fantastically mental plot with appealing mini-games that didn't outstay their welcome, and wrapped the lot up with presentation that was totally atmospheric and gripped you right from the loading screen. It got everything right.

I said "mental plot", didn't I? Here goes: In 1940, the Nazis won World War II. They discovered an element on the moon called Lunarium, which allowed them to make huge technological advances and therefore win the war. The planet has since suffered a century of darkness and oppression. This can be reversed, however; scientists FROM THE FUTURE have invented a time machine, and using this, they have sent you, in 1940, the equipment you will need to single-handedly take on and defeat the Nazi forces. These items are a rocket pack, a radium pistol and a secret codewheel. Use them wisely, and alter history...

And I'm off! Eventually... you should have seen me crash just before this.

I always loved that premise, and Cinemaware pulled out all the stops to do it justice. It really looks the part, and in fact if you've ever seen The Rocketeer, you could easily think that they took some inspiration from this game! Similarly, the dramatic music leading into setpieces adds a hell of a lot to the atmosphere. That's really what this game is about... atmosphere. The illusion is never broken.

As for the gameplay... well, any detractors of Cinemaware games would point to the limited gameplay as a flaw. Using your network of spies, you must uncover the locations of key Nazi strongholds. Once you have found one, you must fly there and defeat whatever awaits. This leads to a variety of mini-games, all of which are pretty enjoyable. These range from shooting down squadrons of Nazi planes to fistfights with Nazi guards to standoffs at ancient temples. The way everything is linked together makes for a totally cohesive experience.

What a welcome! I'm going down like a lead balloon with this lot.

And for me, that's what Rocket Ranger is... a great experience. Playing it repeatedly is not boring... much as I can watch a favourite film several times and enjoy it every time, even though I know what's going to happen, I can do the same thing playing Rocket Ranger. Except... I've never finished it yet. That's something to aim for... and something I will have great satisfaction in achieving.