been a long watch ... as the sun disappears over the horizon, the
uninviting grey bleakness of Colian becomes apparent. Following the
intense heat of the day, the onset of night adds the bitterness of
sub-zero temperatures to an already hostile environment, and the
stark interior of the D.S.V. appears almost homelike.
Deep melancholy is suddenly smashed by the shrill scream of a siren.
The information display systems have gone crazy, an extraordinary
array of lights flash uncontrollably. Good grief ... What's
Your whole being freezes ... It can't be! The Terrorpods
So starts the latest release from Psygnosis, originally announced at
the same time as the brilliant 'Barbarian' which convinced me that
Psygnosis finally had it sussed. Does Terrorpods come up to
The packaging, as always with Psygnosis games is absolutely superb.
The glossy box contains the two program disks, a poster (yet another
piece of Roger Dean artwork) and an instruction sheet. The scenario
of Terrorpods is not as complicated as that of 'Barbarian', so this
time we are not treated to a novella. Instead you have to make do
with the rather difficult to handle instruction sheet. Why is it
difficult to handle? Well for a start it's rather vague and
incomprehensible in some areas. Secondly it's enormous, measuring
two feet by one foot when fully opened out. This tends to get in the
way a bit if you have suddenly forgotten how to do something at a
On loading the game you are presented with an animated title
sequence involving a little guy leaping out of some sort of vehicle
and into the cockpit of a Terrorpod which is leaning over. The
cockpit of the Terrorpod then closes and the huge mechanical beast
straightens up to his full height. A loud thunderbolt (sampled
sound) causes the screen to go white and then fade out revealing a
second title screen showing the picture from the box cover. This
screen is not as impressive as it's counterpart in 'Barbarian', but
it's still a good picture. This screen soon fades out returning you
to the animated sequence as you are prompted to insert disk B. Very
slick and impressive ... what will disk B bring?
When the game finally loads you are asked to select your
nationality. Why you have the choice between American and English as
well as the other languages I don't know. What's the difference? The
game screen is surrounded by instrument panels in shades of red and
orange. The various instruments show the amounts of fuel and various
minerals required for functions such as shields and weapons systems.
The majority of the screen is taken up by your outside view of the
planet Colian. This view consists mainly of a gradually shaded grey
ground, and some excellently drawn grey mountains on the horizon.
Dotted around on the ground are various mining installations and
depots which you will have to visit on trading missions later on in
the game. In the sky looms the large Terrorpod space craft, which is
also drawn in various shades of red.
Movement around the planet inside your D.S.V. is best controlled
with the joystick, and weapons are fired using the mouse. The
keyboard is used for selecting various functions such as
communications, trading and the different types of weapons (either
photons or missiles). The game contains some amazing sound effects,
especially connected with these weapons. When a photon is fired
there is an excellent sampled sound followed by a loud sampled
explosion. All of the sound effects are digitized samples in fact
and they add greatly to the game.
So far it would seem that Terrorpods is, after all, merely a
demonstration of Psygnosis' ability in the graphics and sound
department. Indeed they are excellent, but it seems to me that the
actual game has been given second priority, and not as much thought
has gone into it as the cosmetic features. Terrorpods, however
impressive it may look and sound, is merely an elaborate shoot 'em
Reading through the instructions and the blurb that comes with the
game, Terrorpods sounds like it ought to be a really complex,
imaginative and interesting game, however, after playing it for
quite a while, I couldn't help feeling that the game is very 'thin'
in it's content. It always seems that there should be more to it,
but there isn't. Your main aim would appear to be to destroy as many
Terrorpods as possible using the missiles, and if you run out of
resources you have to send your little `drover' out to trade with
one of the various installations. That however, would appear to be
all there is to it. This is a shame really, because the graphics and
sound are superb, and the theme of the game sounded very good. It
just seems that the game is a mediocre implementation of the plot.
Don't get me wrong, Terrorpods is not a bad game, but I feel that it
could have been better than it is.