At the PCW show, Novagen software announced two
titles óDamocles, the much awaited sequel to Mercenary, and an ST
only game entitled 'Backlash'. At the show, Backlash attracted a lot
of attention with its superb graphics and immense speed. Although
the game is not out at the time of writing, preview copies were
available for review. I doubt very much if this version includes all
of the features of the final version, but I would imagine that it is
Backlash has been described by some as the sequel to Encounter, the
Battlezone type game which Novagen released on the eight bit
computers many years ago. However, although the screen layout and
controlling methods are the same, Backlash is most definitely much
more of a 'blaster' than its predecessor. The screen consists of
light grey ground and blue sky. On the ground at regular intervals
there are small round grey shadows which help to give the impression
of movement when there is nothing else on the screen. In the centre of the screen there is a
'heads up display' which is both your aim sight and a form of radar.
The various aliens come in all shapes and sizes and each is very
well drawn and extremely smoothly and quickly animated. The
fireballs which are fired by both you and your adversaries all cast
shadows as do the enemy craft. Upon destroying anything it explodes
into many spinning pieces which fly outwards at great speed. Each of
these pieces cast a shadow as well! As you can imagine, the screen
does get rather full at times!!! However the action is not slowed at
all by the immense number of animated objects.
Unlike most games Backlash does not have any form of real plot. The
game description merely states: 1. This is a fast action arcade
game. 2. Objective is high score. 3. Radar/Sights head up display
shows enemy locations. 4.
Action is continuous with increasing difficulty. 5. Five lives to
start. Extra life awarded for every 10,000 points.
Overall Backlash looks very impressive, however I think that it is a
little boring to play at the moment. This is because you do not
really have anything to strive for, such as higher levels, only a
larger score. It could also do with a little more variety, such as
bigger space craft to chase after, or a `warp' section as in the
original Encounter. However, I hear that the finished game will be
450k squeezed onto a single sided disk! So, I imagine we can expect
many more features in the final version. When the game is eventually
released, I have no doubts that it will become a smash hit.