Reviewed by John Davison jnr


Issue 31

Jan/Feb 88

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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 pretty close.

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 t
he 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.


'a smash hit'

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.