Saturday, March 26, 2022

Bestial Warrior

Looks suspiciously like Duke Nukem, I wonder if that's because its a generic design or if there's something to this
Name:Bestial Warrior
Publisher:Dinamic Software
Developer:Zeus Software
Time:40 minutes

I feel like its time to try something out of chronology. Bestial Warrior is one of many games from Spanish publishing house Dinamic Software, and one of many action games from Spanish developers Zeus Software, who had a few games published by Dinamic, but not exclusively so. I admittedly don't know much about the Spanish market, but I can spot a title of theirs a mile off, they're the only western market with a significant number of MSX games. In this rough time period, you have the MSX, the Amstrad CPC, and the ZX Spectrum. I think at some point in the 93-95 period they switched to Amigas, but not enough for a considerable market, at least to my knowledge

This is indeed how I played the entire game, I don't know the mechanic workings of the CPC, but I suspect this has something to do with its hi-res mode
Also, finally playing something on the Amstrad CPC. Its a miracle! Its smooth, its better looking than EGA, and sound is okay. Its a per-screen platformer rather than the more standard smooth-scrolling one. Otherwise fairly standard, move with the arrow keys, or whatever you define them as in-game, an gun with infinite ammo to shoot. Works well. Reasonable speed, responsive. Slight issues with jumping, but I'm going to chalk that up to the short length I played the game.
Where the game fails, is of course as soon as enemies are on-screen. Infinitely respawning hordes of enemies that charge you as soon as possible. Doesn't help that my emulator doesn't pause whenever I'm doing something in the menus, and of course the screenshot button is some convoluted process. There's a reason why I rebind my DOSbox screenshot key to home and other emulators whenever possible, its less obnoxious that way.
Note the life on the left
But yes, its one of those games. Where the goal isn't to deal with enemies by killing them. Its just about surviving. Identify which enemies are the ones that will kill you first, and hope that you have enough health to get past the others til the end of the stage. There are weapon powerups scattered throughout the level. These increase the amount of shots you can have on-screen by one. Each time you die, it lowers by one. Other power-ups are lives, level exit keys and something that causes everything on-screen to disappear.
A typical screen after the first three
My big issue is that despite having the outward appearance of an interesting game, this is awful. You shoot one enemy and it will respawn. Shoot an enemy at its spawn point, and you might as well not have shot it. There is an enemy limit, so the gameplay is all about prioritizing which enemies to shoot so that ones behind you will spawn. And you have to figure this out while advancing. Basically, a game that's been padded out by making the whole thing obscenely difficult. No saving, do it all in one go with however many lives you can find.
This worked reasonably on the first level, but the second level tries to open things up, and this is where things go south. Having to fight to survive is workable if I'm not really working too hard on the overall surroundings of the game. Not only do I have to figure out the layout of the level now, I also have to deal with sections that are partially underwater. You can't shoot underwater and the enemies introduced in this section are the very deadly kind. The only way this would be worth playing through is if you only had this to play through.
Hordes of flying drones trying to impede my progress
The exact moment I lost all motivation to play this game

The weapon mechanic of getting on more on-screen shot per power is interesting. It would be nice to see it used in a better game. 2/10

A lot of varied and sometimes well-animated, they basically all follow you and then drain your health by a certain amount. 2/10


Attempts were made at making it look interesting, but it doesn't really help the game in any way. 0/10

Player Agency:
Very smooth, no complaints whatsoever for a simple shooter without aiming. 4/10



Despite looking nice, everything is small, and I can barely read the font. Doesn't help that the text is in Spanish too. 2/10

You are a super soldier, something needs killing, kill it. No in-game story. 0/10

Your standard blips and bloops. 1/10

That's 11. There's some mildly dark humor in playing a game from a later year than usual and it ending up being the exact same thing as usual.

It doesn't seem like it made much of an impact back in the day. Outside of Spain all the systems it was released on were winding down or not released at all, so those still stuck with either system were probably just grateful it came around at all.

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