Angst logo

Canadian software developers Rave may be new, but they show high ambitions. Gareth Lofthouse finds out if they can pull it off.


Beads of sweat roll down your body, trepidation delays each step you take, and terror grips your heart in its icy grasp. Killer droids and beasts of voracious appetite stalk the cramped, dimly lit corridors of this desolate cargo freighter; the invasion force of an alien race committed to the extermination of humanity. Strewn through the dark halls is evidence of the beasts’ passage; corpses litter the grated deck and the sweet smell of blood is strong in the air."

This is how Angst is introduced in the manual – now why do I feel an anticlimax coming on?



This is a bit better. True, the gunfire is thoroughly unsatisfying, but at least there’s some sampled speech and the doorways open with a suitable noise. When you’re being attacked by the pods there’s a passable electric sizzling and the dinosaur monsters let loose a strangulated roar when killed.

However, you needn’t expect any in-game music to increase the tension as you wander from dead end to dead end.




Set on a spaceship designed using Lightwave and featuring aliens developed in Imagine, the graphics for Angst could have benefited from two of the Amiga’s finest creative packages. Why then, does it look only slightly more colourful than your average database program? Why are those Lightwave-rendered walls generally so black and featureless?

There are only five critters (sic) to fight within the game, and the ones I’ve seen are none too impressive. The first level features the pathetic pods with pincers, while later there are dinosaur monsters that could make the creatures in Deathmask look threatening.

Considering the lack of detail in the game, you’d think you could at least view the action through a decent sized window, but in Angst, three quarters of the screen is taken up by the control panel. There’s not much excuse for this, because some of the icons are just space wasters.

A lot of time is spent wandering around mazes, so the inclusion of a mapping device is a perfectly good idea. Unfortunately, this is so tiny as to be almost useless. It also updates very slowly, a problem Rave software say arises from the ‘primitive radio wave technology’ your character is using – hands up who’s convinced.




Visually unimpressive games can sometimes conceal gameplay of a surprisingly high calibre – just look at Tetris, for example. Sadly, there’s no redemption for Angst in this department either.

Fighting aliens in claustrophobic corridors could be great, but there’s zero skill involved and the whole experience is completely unconvincing. Add to that the tragic nature of the graphics and you should get a picture of how unsatisfying it all is. There are supposed to be puzzle levels included as a break from the action, but my only experience of this was wandering around empty corridors, opening door after door and finding the odd key pass. I daresay there’s more to it later on, but I think I did well to persevere for a couple of hours.

Unbelievably, Angst won’t work with a 1Mb Amiga because the program requires another 512k of RAM to run. Other peculiarities include the cat that it can multitask, the benefits of which are unclear to me.

This game has been previewed elsewhere as some kind of Doom variant, but you only have to look at the screen shots to see how ridiculous that comparison is. If anything, it’s more like the ancient Dungeon Master, only with inferior graphics and gameplay.

I’m sorry to stick the boot in on a game that has probably taken a lot of work, but it should not have been put out as a full priced commercial release. Angst means anxiety – presumably for the makers, because this game’s about as exciting as a walk in a multi-storey car park.

Angst logo

If he had wanted a headache he'd have drunk too much the night before. But Steve McGill had to play Angst all night instead.

Angst: an acute but non-specific sense of anxiety or remorse. OK, so it’s a Collins dictionary and thesaurus definition of the meaning of the word. But it could also fill in as an explanation of how you would feel about the game after a couple of hour’s play.

It’s certainly how I felt after a couple of day’s play. Although the non-specific part of the definition became a lot more concise and succinct. The main problems with Angst are the lack of atmosphere, the barrenness of the locations visited, the dearth of distracting side tasks, the tetchiness of the control design and the lack of any entertainment value.

The view is taken from a first-person perspective, making Angst look and play like a poor man’s Dungeon Master.

Buying advice
Normally when Amiga Format takes screen grabs of a game, we look out for moments that show off its good points, or its action points, or its curiosity points. Anything that’ll make the casual reader flicking through the mag in the shop look twice, maybe read some of the copy and buy AF that month.

And that’s another reason why Angst is so disappointing. It doesn’t manage to sell itself on any level – from the design, to the graphics, to the control system, to the gameplay.

Take the design of the main screen. It’s littered with boxes of all sorts which vary from Inventory Held to Health Left. One of the most important boxes is the Map Screen which constantly updates so you know where you are in a localised area.

Yet the map screen is shunted in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen surrounded by detritus. Not only is it too small, but it should also be located beside the main screen, so you could pay more attention to what’s actually appearing on the main screen. But, alack and alas, it’s not to be.

So, let’s take a look at the control system while we’re in this game mechanic criticism mode. On the plus side, rather than having to click the mouse on the directional arrow keys, you can use the cursor keys instead. Annoyingly though, rather than having a sidestep key to help traverse all those difficult L-shaped corridors, you have to go through a 90 degree zigzag movement. Other than the conventional direction keys, the only other direction that can be undertaken is a full 180-degree rotation. It may not sound like a large transgression, but when you're traversing a section of corridor you know well and have to indulge in a load of mechanical 90 degree manoeuvring, it soon becomes tedious and irritating.

So that’s it. I’d like to recommend this game. And I suppose I could if it was £10 maximum, but at full price, it’s just too uninspiring, flat and lifeless.

Angst logo

Das 3D-Actionadventure Angst macht sich auf der monströsen Anzahl von vier Disketten breit, die allesamt die Bezeichnung Nordlich-Spiele 64/2 tragen. Der furchtlose Digi-Held muß in diesem 3D-Dungeon Geiseln retten und dabei zwangsläufig Aliens verschiedenster Formen und Farben mit den aufgeklaubten Extrawaffen zu Tode erschrecken.

Die Feinde halten sich anfangs aber noch nobel zurück, damit man sich in Ruhe mit der Icon-Steuerung anfreunden kann. Außerdem gibt es in den komplexen Labyrinthen Rätsel der Marke "Wie lösche ich das Feuer an Ort A, um nach B zu gelangen?" - aber leider kein richtiges Automapping, statt dessen zeigt die schrittweise gescrollte Karte immer nur einen kleinen Ausschnitt des Umfelds an.

Die Grafik im Stil von... nein, leider nicht dem Voll-preis-Namensbrüder "Fears", sondern eher von "Death Mask", wird zudem von relativ mageren Sounds begleitet.

Aber deswegen muß trotzdem niemand Angst vor diesem untergründigen Actionabenteuer haben.