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You've probably wondered what a computer bug looks like, but were afraid to ask. Well now's your chance to find out. Bug Bomber realistically depicts the inside of your Amiga.

But what you didn't know is that cyberpunks are running around, laying eggs, planting bombs and mines to waste all those nasty little bugs. And if you don't believe me, ask our editor Pat. He told me, and he should know.

The scenario may be different but Bug Bomber is a more elaborate form of the great Dynablaster.

You run around a maze of square blocks, some of which you can destroy, and try to outwit your opponent whether he be a computer player or a 'normal' human being. Up to four of you can play, the aim being to blast your opponents, and their hatchlings, to kingdom come.

Right royal variety
You have a variety of weapons on hand, from bombs to thunderbolts. The ultimate weapon, though, is the cyberbeing's ability to lay eggs of five different kinds. Depending on which way you jab the joystick, your little computer person will drop different things: up for a bomb, right for a thunderbolt and left rewards you wit a mine.

Bug Bomber: A shapely opponent, buggoid bomb in hand, welcomes you to the game.

To lay eggs, it is up to give downward jabs depending on what you want to hatch out of that particular blob. This is a very fiddly way of doing things and an result in utter chaos when your opponent has got you trapped between hell and high water.

But after a few games, once you're accustomed to the controls, the real fun of Bug Bomber comes shining through. Although it's not as manic as a five-player round of Dybablaster, four people crowded round an Amiga seriously working against each other is always a guaranteed source of amusement.

Value for money is what you want and that's what Bug Bomber is all about, buy one game, get two free. The one-player game is a little repetitive (too much of a good thing?), but both of the multi-player modes are thoroughly enjoyable.

Cooperation is the key to the first multi-player game - up to four of you can pool your resources to beat the ever powerful computer to pulp. The second multi-player jaunt is a trip to oblivion for all but one of the players. The most manic version of the game, it involves all the players trying to kill off everything but themselves and their offspring. For once with a 'cute' computer game, the sound isn't a hindrance. In fact, playing with the volume up is an advantage because you can hear the eggs hatching and know exactly what sort of weapons your opponents have laid down.

Energy loss
Running into an enemy or bombing yourself by mistake (it happens more often than you think) will cost energy points. Each player starts off with 100 points, different numbers of which will be lost depending on which baddy you encounter. Planting weapons and laying eggs costs energy too, but you gain extra points by picking up EN bonuses or collecting the energy left when an Energy egg hatches. There are also IQ bonuses scattered around the screen, which give your hatchlings greater intelligence and enable them to make estimated rather than totally random moves (I really do wish that someone would give some to Timmy Mallet).

All the options and the different weapons are wholly confusing at first, but perseverance pays off eventually and you're left with a fun game that can entertain a whole family at once. At first it doesn't seem to have the same addictive hook as that of Dynablaster - the complicated controls take the edge off it - but Bug Bomber will grow on you. Give it a second chance and it will impress.

Bug Bomber: BlockLaying a block takes only one unit of energy. Most of your enemies cannot pass through blocks, but nor can you, so be careful, you might end up trapping yourself. Bug Bomber: MinePlacing a mine uses up three units of your precious energy. Once placed, it will detonate if one of your enemies move on to the square it occupies.
Bug Bomber: BombDropping a bomb takes one unit of energy from your score. These only have a range of two squares, so place them with care and don't leave yourself with nowhere to run. Bug Bomber: EggLaying an egg takes from four to twenty units of energy. There are five different types of egg, including Painters, Crunchers and Hunters, each with their own attributes.


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Achtung, dieses Programm hat Bugs! Kingsoft's Killer-Wanzen verhelfen Euch allerdings nicht zu einer Guru-Meditation - stattdessen haben sie es direkt auf das Spielersprite abgesehen...

Bei dieser Mischung aus Tüftelei und Action tretet Ihr nämlich an, um einen Großrechner zu debuggen. Das elektronische Ungeziefer wehrt sich nach Leibeskräften und schickt Euch, je nach Schwierigkeitsgrad, unterschiedlich intelligente Roboter entgegen, die Bomben schmeißen, Minen legen und Blitze schleudern.

Ihr dürft natürlich mit gleicher Münze zurückzahlen, außerdem kann man Eier legen, aus denen verbündete Kampfrobbis schlüpfen - die sind umso hilfreicher, je mehr IQ-Symbole Ihr zuvor aufgesammelt habt. Wer jedoch zuviel brütet oder zu viele Feinde kontaktet, dem wird kräftig Energie entzogen und eines der vier Leben ist dahin. Aber keine Panik, der Lebenssaft läßt sich durch entsprechende Symbole wieder aufpäppeln.

Im Solo-Modus wird das Game bald langweilig, denn allzu abwechslungsreich sind die 50 (per Paßwort anwählbaren) Level nicht.

Im Mehrspieler-Modus läuft Bug Bomber hingegen zu Höchstform auf: Man kann entweder miteinander gegen den Rechner antreten oder den Pokalmodus wählen, wo die Waffen auch gegen den Rechner antreten oder den Pokalmodus wählen, wo die Waffen auch gegen die Kollegen eingesetzt werden - da kommt Laune auf! Besonders wenn ein Vier-Spieler-Adapter vorhanden ist, andernfalls müssen zwei Bug-Hunter auf die Tastatur ausweichen. Grafisch ist Bug Bomber eher eintönig, verzichtet aber selbst bei hoher Spritedichte brav auf jede Ruckelei.

Die Titelmusik ist immerhin ein echter Hülsbeck, und die FX sind auch nicht ohne. Insgesamt also eine launige Wanzen-Hatz - sofern wenigstens eine weiterer Kammerjäger greifbar ist. (rl)

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Bug Bomber - basically brilliant but blighted by bland-map

That Sensible Soccer, eh? What a brilliant game it is. Did we mention it to you before at all? Surely we did. It's utterly lovely and, most importantly of all, it's got an alliterative name.
Think about it. All the best things in the world have alliterative names. There's Sensible Soccer, of course, and Manic Miner and Final Fight, and Betty Blue, and Magnus Magnusson, and the Blues Brothers (the game, that is), and Monster Munch, and Pablo Picasso, and Bubble Bobble, and Marilyn Monroe, and the Morris Minor, and Wayne's World, and the Go-Gos, and Mad Max, and Bugs Bunny, and... (Yes, yes, we get the idea. - Ed) But what about Bug Bomber?

Well, I don't know, really. I mean, it's got the alliterating bit sorted. No problems in the alliteration department whatsoever. 10 out of 10 on the alliteration-o-meter. But it's still lacking in one crucial area. There's still one fly in the ointment, one spanner in the works, one flaw in the plan - it's still not as good as Sensible Soccer.

I mean, for a start there's the graphics. Sensible gives you lush green pitches and hundreds of teams with gorgeous, colourful kits which you can even design yourself. Bug Bomber? Well, it's pretty much all bricks, really.

Simpler and yet more complicated than Dyna Blaster

Then you've got sound. Where Sensible features a whole disk of crowd samples, piercing whistles and great, solid-sounding thumps as boots meet leather. Bug Bomber limps along under the weight of the odd beep bang, parp, clang and crunch. It's all very well but it says nothing to me about my life, I can tell you.

How about the number of players? Well, Bug Bomber does let up to four play at once (two on joystick and two on keyboard), with a choice of gamestyles (co-operating against the computer or trying to slaughter each other) and lots of selectable skill levels (more and smarter baddies), but Sensible caters for up to 64 at a time!

But the crucial bit, of course, is the gameplay. Here, kids, is where it really falls apart for Bug Bomber. Don't get me wrong, it's not that it doesn't have any good points. For a start, it's, er, 'coincidentally similar' to one of our very favourite games of recent times. Ubi Soft's wonderful Dyna Blaster. It's a simpler and yet at the same time more complicated version of the earlier game - the, er, 'adventure' aspect of one-player Dyna Blaster has been dispensed with completely, leaving only the pure arcade element of running around a maze killing things for the sake of it.

But tipping the balance brainwards is the way that in Bug Bomber, you don't have to do any killing yourself. Your character is supplied with a limited amount of energy, which he can use in various ways.

You can drop Dyna Blaster-style bombs to blow a path through the destructible walls of the maze or horribly maim any creature which happens to be wandering past (although unlike Dyna Blaster, you're permanently limited to the pretty weedy two-square-explosion bombs you start off with - no explosion-extending power-ups on offer here).

Bug Bomber

But the interesting stuff starts of when you start examining the other possibilities. Among them, you'll find that you can lay smart mines - that is, ones which let you walk over them, but explode when anyone else tries to cross. Or maybe just build a new bit of maze wall and just hide from the enemies. The really clever stuff, though, is in the eggs.

Eggs? Yup, eggs. It seems your character is a bit of a reptile. A quick tug on the appropriate joystick movement will case him to, er, 'lay' one of five sieze of egg. The smallest one turns into an extra energy pod, but the other four, more energy-consuming, sizes hatch into different types of little robot.

One kind, for instance, seeks out and destroys bits of wall in the opposition's colours to save you the trouble and expense of bombing them.

You can have as many of each kind of robot as your energy level allows, and you can collect 'IQ' icons from the play area which increase the robots' intelligence, making them better at killing the enemy and evading danger. Of course, all the other players can do the same, as can the computer which also has a few droid types exclusive to it. Pretty soon the screen is just a huge mass of independent armies smashing each other to bits.

All seemingly pretty solid stuff on the gameplay front, then - certainly a brave effort. It's a game that's a lot more fun to play than the frankly drab graphics might suggest, and a game with just about enough to it (with the different strategies you can employ) to save it from repetitiveness. But there's no escaping it - it's not as good as Sensible Soccer. Mind you, I suppose if you've already bought Sensible Soccer...

Bug Bomber: Egg The smallest egg you can lay turns into one of thse. Pick 'em up for an energy boost.
Bug Bomber: Wall Smasher This is a wall-smasher robot. It searches out walls built by enemies and smashes them.
Bug Bomber: Painter The painter robot. If it finds an unhatched enemy egg, it turns it to your own colour.
Bug Bomber: Hunter Hunter robots, as the name suggests, hunt down enemies and ram them.
Bug Bomber: Tank Tank robots are like hunters, except they can fire deadly plasma bolts as well.
Bug Bomber: Mine Mines only blow up when characters of a different colour walk on them. Phew.

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Bugs is back in town and we don't mean the rabbit. Our Work Experience laddy, Steve Keen, sprays to kill in Kingsoft's insect bomb 'em up.

Fans of Ubisoft's recently-released Dynablasters will no doubt instantly at home with this addictive clone from German label, Kingsoft. Taking control of one of four characters, it's up to you to guide your sprite around a variety of mazes destroying the many bugs that have infested a computer.

The play area is viewed from a bird's-eye perspective, with different coloured blobs denoting the assorted nasties roaming the maze. You can use bombs to blast the meanies to smithereens, throw deadly thunderbolts to strike your enemy down, or lay mines and build protective walls. To help you in your one-man onslaught, it's also possible to enlist the aid of a bunch of dim-witted robots, whose fighting techniques and intelligence can be improved by collecting the power-ups dotted around each level.

The overall aim is to wipe out the many bugs that crawl around each level. Once the area is free of infestation, the player can then move onto the next level. As the 50 levels progress, more obstacles and nasties flood the screen, and the going gets decidedly tougher. As well as your own arsenal, there are a variety of additional weapons littering the maze. These include extra speed, the ability to pass through blocks, and to lay extra mines.

The game's most attractive feature is the four-player free-for-all. Here, it's not only the bugs that need to be eradicated, but your fellow players, too. As with Dynablasters, this is the most appealing aspect of the game and definitely the most fun. The increased number of weapons available is a bonus over Ubisoft's offering, but the awful graphics and practically non-existent sound tend to detract from the goings-on somewhat.

Okay, the playability is the most important thing, but when a game looks as bad as this, it certainly detracts from the proceedings.