Tuesday, April 26, 2022


Developer:John Conley & James Oxley
Time:1 hour 20 minutes

From the team that would bring you Day of the Viper and the publisher of Fright Night comes another weird early FPS title. This one has a very legitimate claim to the adventure label, unlike Delta Man. So much so that if this weren't connected to Day of the Viper I probably wouldn't play it. I would be willing to bet that neither TAG nor Renga in Blue will be covering this one ever.

The way outside
The player is the operator of the super robot Slaygon, an invulnerable robot. The mission? To stop the evil corporation Cybordynamics from unleashing a virus to destroy the human race. Cybordynamics is a controversial business that replaces humans with robots and other automations. To do this one has to overload their reactor in their automated lab. I wonder if this is satire, because this feels like it could be intended to be satire. It sounds like it could go either way. British games so far have a noticeable tendency to be satirical.

A door, what does it contain? Something good, hopefully
Starting it up and we're in a lobby. Not sure why since this is supposed to be automated, but I suppose this doesn't really need logic in it. The game is entirely controlled through the mouse, including movement, which is annoying and slow. We've got six functions down below, two of which are for combat; Scanner reveals a set area around you; Plotter maps as you go along, plus it shows your location; Sensors show what state the enemy is in, and I didn't really use the cloak function. Though the game tells me it makes Slaygon invisible to all enemies except the base commander, but uses a ton of energy.
Rounding out the interface, we have 8 boxes for items, the buttons above the plotter button control inventory, with the question marks telling you what an item in front of you is. Above the save/load buttons we have an energy bar, which drains on the use of all functions and acts as health. In combat, it drains considerably more if you don't have shields up. Arrows move, and basically everything else is self-explanatory. It works, I don't have any complaints about that, but its slow and feels awkward to use.
Combat, these things only show up if you open the door, you can tell if one's inside by the color of the square above the arrow button

Combat is a boring affair. There are doors in this game, and some contain these Cylon-looking fellows. As soon as you see one turn on your shield and then start firing your laser. There are seemingly no tactics, just exchange fire with the enemy until someone is dead. How much the enemy will take before it dies varies, but you can tell based on what they look like, and you can't just ignore the harder ones since they may have a valuable item behind them. Given the manual's hyping of the robot's abilities, I'm quite disappointed in how weak the player really is.

Some static object one has to use an item on to advance
The adventure aspect is very simple. Scan an item before taking it to discover what it does, and then the item will usually be used as you walk along. There are upgrades to the weapon and the shields, but you just use these, you don't need them in your inventory. Keys and various trap nullification items work automatically, while things like interfacing objects and health (energy in this game) items require use. The problem is that by the end of the game you're juggling quite a lot of items, and you can't really afford to drop most of them. The keys can be dropped after you've unlocked all the doors they correspond to though.
Only five more numbers to go!
Its not explicitly told to you (unless you look at the part of the manual they tell you contains spoilers), but the objective of the game is to find 5 numbers for a code to blow up the reactor. To figure this out you need one device that gets the numbers from one type of machine, and another device that allows you to type in the code into the reactor. The thing is, while I got 4 out of the 5 numbers needed, I was still missing one by the time I got to the reactor. I had to find two more key cards before I could get out, and I had already got around the map. So basically, in the last stages it turns into more of a maze game than anything else. And once that's done its a fairly easy trip back outside.
The end
I should note I played on the easier skill setting. The manual says that the harder one randomizes the location of some key items, but I suspect it increases the map size too. I barely had any map on my screen when I finished, seems like there was room for a lot more. Which I have to say would work quite poorly in this game's favor, because already by the time I finished it I was finding the whole experience boring.

I feel like just exchanging fire like a generic strategy game is one of the saddest combats I've ever seen. 0/10

Its kind of cool slowly figuring out the graphical differences between stronger enemies and weaker ones. 1/10


It was shocking to discover that the game isn't randomized entirely, and that the level is pre-set to some extent. 0/10

Player Agency:
It works, but so much feels awkward and slow. 2/10

I can't really think of what else to describe this game as besides an adventure game, but the amount of interaction you get here is pathetic. 1/10


Very simple stuff. Everything looks as it should but nothing is terribly impressive. 1/10

The manual's story doesn't really have much effect on the gameplay, and doesn't entirely fit with what happens in-gameplay. 0/10

Really basic sound effects, which was quite annoying to see in an Amiga game. 1/10

That's 6.

Feels like a harsher statement against the game than it should be. Its not as horrible as that implies, it just doesn't feel like anything more than a demo. The sort of thing that shouldn't have escaped into the wild. Which is a funny thing to say about a game that was published and presumably put on store shelves, but I remain hopeful for Day of the Viper.

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