Amstrad Action
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Forget Ripley. Skywalker went out with green nylon shirts and Buck Rogers can't help you any more. There's an alien-infested Stellar Outpost out there somewhere, and only one man can save the day - Spacetrooper Forrester.

Chess - the ancient battle of wits between two warring minds expending countless soldiers in the quest for victory. Soldiers on horseback charge forward into the metée, defending the honour of queens, while bishops remove assassins with deadly blows of a sceptres There is no place for God on the battlefield.

Or if chess is a bit too staid for you, try this for size - there's a swarm of aliens somewhere on a spaceship, and you've got a very serious problem on your hands - they're hungry. Armed only with an enormous gun that fires just about anything that might possibly hurt, maim or disfigure, you've got to track them down and get some serious eradication in before tea time.

Or how about a combination of the two? Sort of a cross between Ripley and Nigel Short versus the alien scum? Alien-bashing whilst being painfully thin in a suit? What if we painted squares on to the floor of our space station as well, and asked the mutant insectoids from the planet Death in the Not-very-nice-at-all Quadrant to kindly keep to the squares, thank you very much?

Seriously, though, if you'd played enough fast action alien-bashing games to last you a life time, why not sit down and work out your attacks strategically? That's right - in essence Stellar Outpost is a strategy game. I, being the sort of chap who either likes to sit down at a chess board or go into bald-headed psycho mass-murder specials with a big gun, was of the opinion that this strange hybrid of the two was going to be about as exciting as cold porridge.

But I was wrong (there's a first time for everything). Outpost is anything but dull. Tile plot is simple; you command a crack troop exploring a space station infested with aliens. It's your job to clear it up and get the generators back on line. Your troop consists of various specialists:

  • Troopers - your standard meat-head blokes, who chew a lot of gum and have huge teeth (a brt like Dave, then - Andy).
  • Navigators - these blokeys are fairly useless, but they do know how to use those alien detectors that build up so much tension in films.
  • Engineers - spanners are pretty good all-rounders, really; they're good tor destroying walls and setting up barricades.
  • Medics - or rather 'medic'; you only get the one. and once they get their hands on a medical kit, they do all that human kindness stuff, and patch up your team.

And so, with your crew assembled (they teleport on to the station two by two) - “Let's go to work.".

You don't move your men in the normal action/exploration
game manner, using the joystick - instead, you have a cursor which you move around the screen and use to select which player you want to move and make them to do their stuff.

The game is divided into 'turns'. On your turn, each of your men has a number of action points, which are depleted when they move, pick things up, kill things, etc. So when you've moved all your men where you want them, or failing that left some of them standing around (the choice is yours), you end your turn, and it's the aliens' turn to have a go.

The scary thing is that when your troop is stomping about, the aliens are dormant - you can walk right up to them and kill them. This does mean, though, that when the aliens take their turn, your men suddenly become less mobile than arthritic snails. Why have this kind of system? That's where the gameplay comes in...

You see. this is what makes it a strategy game (I did mention the fact earlier) - you have to plan ahead. As most of the aliens are invisible (well, the station is out of power so the lights are out, and your men can only see them when they get into torchlight at close range), you have to think about attack, exploration, and defence strategies - it's like a game of chess, except for the fact that you get to move several pieces each turn.

I could spend all day explaining how this game works, because it's incredibly detailed - not complex, just detailed. Whereas with chess a newcomer would have to remember how each piece moved, and then fight off fiendishly clever attacks from their opponent, Oufposf has rules simple enough to make it instantly playable even for the complete beginner, while retaining the kind of depth that keeps you going back for more.

I usually loathe strategy games. The thought of reviewing one really didn't fill me with the kind of enthusiasm suitable for giving a game an impartial review. All I can tell you is that Outpost managed to convert me.

Simon, AA



★ YEAR: 1993


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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent  du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.