Cannon Fodder 2 logo Amiga Computing Silver Award

The return of the shoot-'em-up game that the Amiga world has been eagerly waiting for. Jonathan Maddock loads up his gun and blasts his way through Sensible's sequel.


No matter what anyone says, Sensible Software is the biggest Amiga software developer. With such stable and enjoyable titles as Sensible Soccer, Wizkid, Mega-Lo-Mania and Cannon Fodder, the boys have raked in the awards and, more importantly, the sales from the software endeavours.

This year, Sensible has been working on the sequels to two of its biggest ever products. Sensible World of Soccer, the follow-up to the world's most popular football game will appear within the next month, but first out of the Sensible starting blocks is Cannon Fodder 2.

The original game sold by the bucket load and gamers were impressed with its simplicity and the fact that it was packed full of more action than an early Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Cannon Fodder, at the time of its release, received a lot of bad press from the tabloid newspapers who branded the game 'shameful' and warned readers not to buy it.

The inclusion of a picture of a poppy and the strap-line "War has never been so much fun" were the reasons why the tabloids and the British Legion Chiefs got so angry, and they tried to get Cannon Fodder banned. Even though it wasn't done on purpose, it was insensitive, so Sensible took out the poppy and displayed a message within the game disassociating Cannon Fodder from the British Legion.

However, all this palaver turned into what was perhaps the best advertising campaign that publishers Virgin could have ever hoped for, and Amiga gamers couldn't get their hands on the product quickly enough.

Forget about the publicity before the release of Cannon Fodder though and you'll find a game that was packed full of top-notch graphics, sound, playability and addiction and that's the reason why Sensible's shoot-' em-up achieved as much success as it did.

Sensible Software, after much public demand, decided to do a sequel and it has arrived. Will Cannon Fodder 2 shoot its way to glory once more or is Sensible's second effort lacking some fire-power? For answers to these questions all you need to do is read on...



The first Cannon Fodder featured the now classic 'War has never been so much fun' tune and not to be outdone, the sequel features yet another composition of musical excellence.

Very much in the same vein as the first piece, with plenty of strong vocals, the song has now got a dance edge to it. It's a good piece of music, but as soon as you've heard it once you'll skip past it with the click of the mouse-button the next time you load up the game.

Actual in-game music and sound effects are identical to the sounds heard in the original Cannon Fodder. This, I suppose, is a bit of a shame, but the only sounds you're interested in hearing are gun-shots, explosions and the screams of pain as your enemies die a horrible painful death.

Yet again, there is nothing that new on the sound front, but what's in the game is adequate enough to satisfy most gamers.




On first glance, Cannon Fodder 2 looks virtually identical to the original game, especially when you're playing through the first couple of missions. Another couple of missions later, you stumble upon a switch and unknowingly summon a bunch of aliens to Earth. You get to board their ship and this is when the graphics start to change, but not necessarily for the better.

The alien levels aren't the most original things you've ever seen and whoever chose the colour schemes should be put away in jail by the Department of Bad Taste.

On other levels you take a trip to medieval world which features Knights of the round table and spectacular castles plus you get to visit Chicago where you roam the mobster riddled streets. To be perfectly honest, although each level has its own theme the graphics aren't particularly amazing. Maybe I was just expecting too much, but I didn't get the feeling that I was playing a brand new game.

As far as I can see, Cannon Fodder 2 doesn't contain any graphics that you haven't seen before in the original game. The animations, including the 'pained death', are still in there, but nothing new has been added which is a real shame as I'm sure fans of the original would've loved to have seen a few more additions, no matter how small.

Overall, you'd have to say that the graphics are just as good as the ones seen in the original - which were pretty good at the time - but I would've liked to have seen something new this time around.




Cannon Fodder 2 should've been one of the Amiga games of the year, but there are a few problems that keep it away from the charging pack.

For starters it should never have been a sequel - the actual game is a lot more like a data-disk than a follow-up to Cannon Fodder. There are far too many similarities and not enough differences to make this sequel a classic.

The biggest problem of all is the difficulty level. It's set way too high. Now maybe it's just me, but I like a game to get progressively harder rather than getting virtually impossible after just four missions, which is exactly what happens in Cannon Fodder 2.

Gamers out there might be doubting my gaming talents at this moment in time, but everyone who has had the pleasure of playing Sensible's shoot-' em-up sequel in the Amiga Computing office has suffered exactly the same problem.

The game will last you a hell of a long time, but I'm sure you'll be trashing your mouse to bits before you even get to mission five, and you have to consider that there are 24 missions in all.

Another slight problem is that you have to guess what is going on in the game because there is no plot explanation while you play along. One minute you're in Beirut, then you're in space and then you're back to Earth, but back in Medieval times. It's all very confusing!

There will be a lot of Cannon Fodder fans who will no doubt buy the sequel no matter what I say, but for the rest of us gamers I would be very wary of Sensible's latest effort. It's not so much a sequel, but more of a director's cut. It's good, but it's nowhere near as good as everyone else is saying.

Cannon Fodder 2 logo Amiga Format Gold

Surrounded by blood and bodies, shot at and shellshocked, Steve Bradley is convinced that war is hell. However, he reckons Cannon Fodder 2 is really rather good...

Caused a bit of a stink first time round this. 'War has never been so much fun', went the tune, and the Daily Star didn't like the poppies. But once the hoo-ha was dispensed with, we were left with one of the most addictive Amiga games ever. You took control of four little fellers, and drove them across missions galore, shooting everything in sight, collecting extra weapons, flying helicopters and generally putting the world to rights. And the startling news is, Cannon Fodder 2 is more of the same, only a little bit different.

The original Cannon Fodder arrived a year ago and, because of the pressure of deadlines, the review was freelanced to an outsider and consequently ignored by your correspondent. Not for long, for the poor soul missed the Christmas Day Bond extravaganza playing the darned game. Cannon Fodder was, and indeed, still is, absorbing fare and you can lose days, enslaved by the beast.

What makes the concept so addictive? Well firstly, in the glorious history that is mankind, never hasve so many folk been killed by mice. And no-one had yet considered how much fun it would be to sneak up a cliff face and unleash a rocket into a hut packed with enemy soldiers. War, truly, had never been so much fun.

Cosmic commandos
Cannon Fodder 2 then. This time, Sensible Software have gone all funny on concepts. You control universal soldiers who start off in the Middle East when, in the winking of an eye, you're kidnapped by aliens who want you to help them out in their own scuffle.

But first, they want to know if you're up to the job and despatch you on various tasks in different time zones, so one minute you're blasting through Beirut, next you're breaking and entering a medieval castle, before attempting to avoid a drive-by shooting in Chicago at the height of gangster warfare in the 1930s. Or you might find yourself on an alien planet or a spaceship.

Sounds wacky? It is. After you've completed a few missions, you jump on a pressure pad and get whisked off into another timezone. Cannon Fodder 2 differs slightly from its predecessor in that Sensible have kindly dropped in the odd easy phase, even in the later missions, just to give you a pleasant breather - phases where you can just blast away to your heart's content. And some of the phases have great names, too. Check out Franz Klammer Strikes Again and Ooh, Faye Dunaway. Or what about Erutuf Eht Ot Kcab. Tuo Eno Taht Krow.

Sensible have dropped in the odd phase, just to give you a pleasant breather.

The gameplay remains the same, as do the weapons and, sure, there was nothing wrong with them first time, but it would have been nice to have a more comprehensive arsenal. In the main, the changes are in level design and concept. Speedway Star in one of the medieval phases sees you hurtling around a track in a cart, barging folk while trying to avoid the attentions of enemy carts. Faraway, But Too Close lands you on a tiny island, surrounded by aliens and you literally have seconds to blow them away before you're engulfed.

Of course, over 100,000 of you have already bought the original Cannon Fodder and fully intend to purchase its successor no matter what. And, chances are, you won't be disappointed.

Even if you consider the universal soldier idea a tad gimmicky, there is still a pile of missions to tackle and the good/bad news is that the sequel is more difficult than the bloody-tough original.

The expected Sensible Software attention to detail is apparent, as are the neat touches which separate them from the majority of other games writers. Once again, war has never been so much fun.

Cannon Fodder 2 logo

Ein paar geänderte Grafiken und Sounds, dazu 72 neue Levels, aber das originale Gameplay - wäre der Vorgänger nicht auf dem Index gelandet, hätte man dieses Spiel vielleicht als preiswertes Datadisk veröffentlicht...

Denn viel mehr als eine Datadisk ist es nun mal nicht, was Sensible Software hier den Fans der schwartzhumorigen Stratego Ballerei offeriert. Die Zwei hinter dem Titel mach rechtlich zwar ein neues Verfahren der BPS erforderlich, rechtfertigt aber nicht unbedingt den Preis: Das wenige, was hier abgeändert wurde, ist oft genug eine Verschlimmbesserung.

So schockt bereits das Titelbild die Veteranen mit dilettantischer Grafik, und die Musik hat nicht mehr annähernd die Klasse des genialen Vorgänger-Tracks. Auch die Jingles im Spiel selbst kennt man ganz überwiegend schon, und daß auf dem Soldatenfriedhof (dessen Bild ebenfalls ein Abklatsch der bekannten Grafik ist) keine Beerdigungen mehr stattfinden, ist ja auch nicht unbedingt eine Verbesserung.

Gameplay und Steuerung sind hingegen ganz wie gehabt: Das linke Mausohr sorgt für Bewegung unter den Wuselsprites, mit dem rechten wird geballert, beide zusammen bepflastern das Iso-Terrain mit Granaten oder Raketen.

Und natürlich kann man sein Regiment immer noch in Teams aufteilen und die Karte studieren.

In den ersten Levels watet man durch getötete Araber, jagt Hütten oder Zelte in die Luft und weicht versteckten Sprengfallen aus. Neu sind Schalter, die zur Betätigung einladen, und natürlich der Transport per UFO zu außerirdischen Schlachtfeldern.

Aber auch Aliens haben rotes Blut, und wenn zwischenrein (quasi als Test für den großen interplanetairen Endkampf) mal im Mittelalter gemetzelt wird, wundert man sich über gar nichts mehr: Während hier Rammböcke die Jeeps ersetzen, warten die Waffen der Burgherren mit einer erstaunlichen Ähnlichkeit mit modernen Kugeln und Raketen auf.

Interessant auch, daß die Rammböcke ihren Geräuschen und Abgasen nach wohl mit Diesel betrieben werden! Immerhin ist dann bei der Schlacht um die Hochhausschluchen im Chicago der 30er Jahre das Szenario wieder stimmig.

Wer sich also dasselbe Feuerwerk an Ideen erwartet, wie es der Vorgänger gezündet hat, sieht sich enttäuscht - zumal die neuen Kampfgebiete nicht mehr so liebevoll designt wurden un mit ihren Massen an Gegnern den Schwierigkeitsgrad in Höhen schrauben, die nach eigener Auskunft selbst dem "obersensiblen" Jon Hare suspekt sind.

Die Präsentation hat insgesamt eher nachgelassen, und daß keine Missionen für Nullmodem-Krieger eingebaut wurden, ist ein weiteres Ärgernis. Unter dem Strich ist Cannonfodder 2 damit ein Fall für Fans, die bereit sind, auch mal etwas mehr Geld in eine für sich alleine spielbare Datadisk zu investieren. Und natürlich eine Beschäftigungstherapie für arbeitslose Jugendschützer... (mm)

Cannon Fodder 2 logo

oppies huh? They've got no friends at AMIGA POWER, I can tell you. It's hard to believe, but it's been a whole year since Cannon Fodder came out. Yup, twelve issues since our 'poppy cover that never was' and our legal scrapes with the British Legion over whether a poppy is just a flower or a recognisable symbol of a registered charity. A whole year since our appearance in The Star under the headline "Poppy Game Insult to War Dead", and practically the anniversary of the same tabloid rag's follow-up piece libelling Stuart Campbell as "Spotty". And, of course, of Virgin sitting back and drooling at all the free publicity for what must surely have been one of their biggest games of the year.

Learning from their mistakes, the icon of Cannon Fodder 2: Once More Unto The Breach is a hand grenade, because the great thing about an explosive charge wrapped in hundreds of metres of wound-inflicting wire is that it doesn't have the same child-frightening, 'responsible adult'-freaking, society-disruptive effect as an iddy-biddy flower. Thank God.

But to the game itself. Co-designed by Stuart and the other Sensible multi-millionares (with a special guest designing appearance by a couple of AP readers), what does it offer that the original game didn't? What will you be getting that's fresh and exciting, innovative and crafty enough to warrant parting with 30 quid? Weeellllll...

Not that much really, to be honest. If you're feeling chirpy and content with life, this is obviously a Good Thing: Cannon Fodder was excellent, and to muck about with a winning formula would be the height of folly. So to release a thematically identical sequel with the same number of missions (24) and levels (72) as the original guarantees at least the same degree of entertainment. If, however, your outlook of the world corresponds more with the pre-death one of Bill Hicks, you'll be looking at CF2 as no more than a full-price data disk; a corporate cash-in and a traitorous exploitation of the zoo-going children of the world. To which view do I subscribe? Read on, dear punter.

I'm assuming that everyone knows everything about the mouse control system, the rockets and grenades and the forced-perspective viewpoint of the original, so I'm basing this review around the changes between that game and the sequel. CF2 features the same kind of foot soldiers (with guns and rockets), the same kind of turrets and the same kinds of vehicles (tanks, helicopters, jeeps, etc) as the first game, only they all look different.

But no amount of new graphics can disguise their true nature. The 'rocket launchers' may be blobby aliens or powerful wizards for example, the 'foot soldiers' gangsters or mediaeval knights knights, the 'jeeps' ancient battering rams or sleek gangster limos; and the 'helicopters' witches or, er, helicopters; their true nature is unmistakable.

There's a new song at the beginning too. It's a funky dance tune complete with neato horn section stabs, but somehow not quite listenable-to as the CF tune. (Jon hare? I only liked him in his early years. - Steve). And although much of the in-game music's been remixed and jazzed up, I found myself turning down the volume between levels to avoid most of it. Maybe it's because I've played CF to death and therefore heard all the chirrupingly jingoistic WW1 tunes hundreds of gillions of times before, but I really wish they'd included a Music Off option this time around.

Poppy game insult to war dead

My initial feelings about the game were of disappointment. It's quite clear that only the graphics and maps have been changed (no air-to-air combat, for example, which is something that was missing from the original).

This is Cannon Fodder Again rather than CF2, with new wacky pictures of the Sensible boys at the beginning, a new new-look alien cemetery in which to bury your lads and the like. Knowing months before you see the finished game that there aren't going to be any new weapons and vehicles still hadn't prepared me for playing it and getting the feeling that I'd done it all before.

Scepticism turned to brief horror when I started playing from the beginning only to discover that the missions are graded in exactly the same way as before. The first mission gets you used to the mouse, the next one introduces grenades, then you get mines, rockets, vehicles and so on introduced discretely to build you up to the carnage of the later levels.

I thought this was kind of odd as most people who are going to buy CF2 have already played the original, and there fore have no need for trainer missions. Why not have included them as a separate training mode? Forcing the player to trudge through them is like Psygnosis putting all those easy warm-up levels in the Lemmings follow ups.

Well, that the low point of the review over with. Okay, so the starter levels look simple, but they're much harder than the originals and that sort of makes up for it. After about seven missions or so you start to see two fine and dandy themes appearing in the game.

The first is that most (if not all) phases are named after song lyrics or titles, which has to be the Stuart Campbell influence. I spotted some of the more obvious ones such as idiot Country and Stuck In The Middle With You, but it will take a really top-class anal NME devotee to make sense of the likes of Terminal beach (A Jesus and Mary Chain limited edition B-side. Apparently. -Ed) and Waltusi Rodeo (A song by Guadalcanal Diary. It says here. - Ed).

The second and dandy theme is that there is a lot more tricky tricksterness in CF2. The levels penalise you for taking the obvious route and reward you for trying an obscure approach (except when trying an obscure approach becomes too obvious, natch). Roads are mined and vehicles temptingly placed within your grasp to lure your squad to a messy death. Sneaking behind huts might not be glamorous, but it is often a better tactic than charging straight down the middle and loads of levels make you think before you move, injecting puzzle elements to counterpoint all the killing.

The original game went in pulses of fiendishly hard and stupidly simple levels, but in CF2 the difficulty curve's, well, more of a curve. There are even varying levels of difficulty built into each mission, with the enemy getting more aggressive and accurate the longer you take to kill them. This feature, combined with fewer sprawling and empty levels, and a good mix of tricky and brutally harsh gung-ho phases creates a much smoother, altogether more entertaining set of challenges for you.

So, why's the final score less than the original's 94%, then? The reasons are twofold. You start off in Beirut, head off to battle mediaeval knights, then take on gangsters in Chicago and finally board an alien spaceship and trash their home world. There's little explanation in the manual as to why you're doing this and absolutely none in the game. As a result, the game doesn't hang together. Sensible are being clever at the expense of being atmospheric. Flying from a jungle to the arctic is one thing, but from the Dark Ages to an alien spaceship is something else entirely. Yeah, right, you may be thinking, but it's true.

For me, Cannon Fodder means offing hordes of blokes in sordid warzones. It's kind of the computer equivalent of a John woo movie, or of 'be'-ing big Arnie in Commando. Placing the guys in Chicago seems odd, but having them on an alien planet's just downright wrong. (At least the earth-based levels have both feet on the ground, if you see what I mean. I hate the entire look of the alien planet, despite some of the levels being very well-designed. From the disgusting purple pools to the silly flowers, it goes against the entire Cannon Fodder concept of being an arcade game).

More universally, there's the value rating of the game. I harped on about this at the beginning, but the fact is that if you bought Cannon Fodder then you've already paid once for all the time and effort that went into designing and now perfecting the game engine. Now you're expected to do the same again. CF2 is not a new game. It's a collection of levels. And in video games, if you're standing still then you're moving backwards.

So there we have it. CF2 has lost the coherent feel of the original (a minus) but it is harder and has more challenging levels (a plus). It's got some garish alien worlds (a big minus) but at the same time has all the amazing control and playability of the second-best Amiga game in the world (a big plus).

Add all of those together and you end up with something that's not quite as worthwhile as the original. But something still brilliant.


The competition to design a level of Cannon Fodder 2 was far and away the most popular we'd ever run. For every day up to the closing date we received a slab of entries, and amused ourselves by thinking up terrible punishments for the useless, cretinous morons who posted their shabby bits of graph paper to 'The Editor', or perhaps 'Do The Write Thing' instead of the compo address. Following a truly heroic effort on the part of Sensible actually to sit down and examine every map, a list of winners emerged. Some of them failed to maintain a consistent level of entertainment, so their better ideas were cannibalised into other missions, but every victor will be receiving all manner of Sensible/Virgin loot. More importantly, of course, they've been immortalised as soldiers in the game. And here in the mighty pages of AMIGA POWER as well. Natch.

We'll be going into detail next month, but a quick list of the winners is as follows: Ian Gray, Tracey Stanton, Bill Burton, Adrian Priddis, Daniel Bolger, Adam Booth, Cpl Chris Cameron-Witton, Max harvey, Peter Mitchell, Tadgh Smith, Edward Tillotson-Sills, Mark Wickson. Well done.

Cannon Fodder 2 logo

Price: £34.99 Publisher: Virgin 081 960 2255

Soldiers have only been this small once before... Cannon Fodder is back, imaginatively retitled Cannon Fodder 2. Alan Dykes has the grenades and the face paint...

Completely original games are few and far between and Cannon Fodder qualified as such in 1993. It was a hit and deservedly so. It was also painfully addictive; very difficult to put down once you started playing, no matter how frustrating it got. It was a tad repetitive though. The scenery did not change much but the appearance of vehicles in later levels did make for some extra murderous hilarity.

Cannon Fodder addicts have to wait a year to get this fix, and I suppose the good news is that it is more of the same. In many ways its just an extra 24 missions, but the variety has improved and in the process the game has been made more acceptable to war veterans who, along with certain sections of the press, were a bit miffed at the poppies, British Legion references and some of the level names in the first one.

But Sensi have gone completely round the bend this time and the little yompers end up in Space, Mediaeval Englande and Al Capone's Chicago (though there are no fat, balding Robert DeNiro's in sight). In fact it is the alien presence that allows this to happen. Having 'taken out' the sour cream of middle east terrorist troops in the first couple of missions they are picked up by a spaceship which, after the best part of its interior has been destroyed, drops the lads off in completely the wrong time zone.

OK, I can readily accept that khaki soldiers with red scarves on their heads are likely to be equipped with machine guns and bazookas. Similarly Chicago gangsters are definitely going to be packing hot metal.

Even aliens have the right to bear arms... but mediaeval knights? One minute they are walking around with swords and shields, the next they are blasting at you with what I'd swear were Uzis, except they are too small to positively identify. The saving grace here are the Wizards who replace bazookas with staffs of fire, no doubt based on the mad Scots sorcerer from Monty Python's holy grail. Ye holy hand grenade turns up quite often too.

All of this variety waters down the game in some ways and brightens it up in others. For me the original Cannon Fodder had just a tad more purpose to it. The relative lack of graphical variety was a blessing of sorts because it allowed you to progress, get to know what is happening and recognise your enemies.

The tiny sprites were distinctive and fun and while this does not change in Fodder 2, the Sensi boys have had to be rather more clever devising different sprites for the various worlds, and in the process have made them no less cute but at times more difficult to recognise in time to avoid being shot or blown up.

In real terms though the graphics are still tops for fun and originality. Sensi's work will probably be studied by twenty second century art students for managing to put personality into sprites smaller than a grain of rice. The levels themselves are well designed and each new time zone and mission brings new hazards like floor traps and exploding pigs. The bazooka wielders are still as destructive as ever and with a bit of cunning you can get them to destroy their own buildings for you.

Cannon Fodder 2 Brew
Cannon Fodder 2 has no really new features. In fact, on the face of it, it is the same game tarted up with new graphics; an extra 24 missions for the faithful. In terms of playability it tends to put you in at the deep end right from the beginning.

The original had a gradual build up of awkwardness and difficulty which means that newcomers could quickly get used to it. This one gets tricky very quickly with the arrival of 'friendly fire' and vehicles, and it really can get frustrating trying to figure out the least punishing route through the fields of fire. Also, grenades and bazooka rockets seem to be in much shorter supply and easier to destroy too soon.

When you think of it though, what else could Sensible Software have done? To try to introduce too many new features probably would have ruined the essential simplicity and ultra playability of the game idea. Yes this is really an update with more variety. Yes it is more difficult than the first. Yes the idea of time travel in a spaceship detracts a little from the original military mayhem theme, but is it still worth buying? In short, yes again.

Cannon Fodder 2 is a well crafted fun piece of software that will have you tearing out hair in chunks when all goes wrong and whooping for joy when it goes right.