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AUDIOGENIC * £24.99 Keyboard or joystick

Exile is odd to control. Rather than relying on joystick or mouse, the designers have made keys the optimum control method for this arcade adventure.
The Exile is trapped. The rest of his crew, have been entomted inside the planet that the ship is now orbiting. With only a jet-pack you have to organise his rescue.

Pack man
The first problem is one of self-control Gravity ain't what it is o Earth. So every jet on the pack must be employed to keep from plummeting downwards. This, highlights the games reliance on key commands. Every option available for key users is on offer to joystick users, but still the joystick seems lacking. It doesn't enjoy the sbtle touch of proper key controls (i.e. an arrangement that allows both hands to be used). The joystick combinations requires the fire button to be held down while you move the character, which proves awkward. Once mastered the keyboard proves to be an incredibly flexible user interface.

Exile develops a vast range of puzzles and tests. For example any object can be picked up, put in the pocket, dropped and thrown. On top of this comes the ability to change trajectory of any thrown object; which allows pinpoint targetting instead of hurl and hope.

In Exile, unlike most games, the guy doesn't actually die. When his energy levels reach zero, his suit teleports him back to the base ship. Four teleport points are available on demand. After logging them, a key press whisks him to the chosen location. This gives him the ability to run into trouble and teleport out, and is built into the game as the solution to some of the more dangerous problems.

The Exile system is packed with features that allow the world's logic to be abused to your advantage. The scroll, for instance, lags behind the hero, but you are offered the chance to lock it, so it scrolls swiftly with him. When the going gets hectic this lessens confusion but when unlocked the screen scroll can be used to peek at areas you haven't yet reached.

The most convincing element to be found in Exile is the logic on which the entire world and its composite elements are built. To scare away animals, for instance, you will need portable fire, so both flames and torches have to be found and then manipulated.

To extinguish fires you'll need water; but that requires finding and filling a container. As water is a liquid and you're using a jet-pack, the careless flyers can easily spill the water from the open flasks.

A to Z
Exile is no classic, despite its glorious control system. While it is totally flexible, the rest of the package doesn't deliver in excitement, fascination, tension and design.

The graphics detract from the game's sophistication, rather than providing the canvas on which the game is painted. The game doesn't develop quickly enough to grab players by their interest and drag them in. The first layer of traps are deadly enough to frustrate, but vary little from the fetch object A to use on object B thus freeing object C variety.

It is also too easy to find yourself stranded after a single slip up. RAM-save and disk-save facilities are provided to help alleviate this problem but this cures the symptom and not the ailment.

Exile is a great game system, employed to drive a standard game. The logic behind the whole affair is sweet and while the control method is complex it allows such free movement it's worth learning.

The lack of dynamism makes this a game for the connoisseur, who fancies something different. Exile is different, brilliant in parts, poor in others it defies categorisation. If this system could be married to a more riveting concept we would be talking major title, without this pulling power it's relegated to the role of delightful curiosity.

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Was kommt dabei heraus, wenn sich der Vater des Klassikers "Thrust" mal wieder ans Keyboard setzt? Natürlich ein neues Schwerkraft-Drama - diesmal allerdings mit jeder Menge Extras!

Im Inneren des Planeten Phoebus veranstaltet der böse Professor Triax allerlei umweltschädigende Experimente, außerdem hat er einen wichtigen Bestandteil unseres Raumschiffs geklaut. Um dem schurkischen Treiben ein Ende zu machen, ist eine gefahrvolle Reise durch die Unterwelt unumgänglich...

Also schwebt man mit Hilfe eines Raketenrucksacks durch Höhlen und Schluchten, wobei ständig gegen die Schwerkraft angekämpft werden muß. Unterwegs werden Waffen und andere Gegenstände aufgesammelt, letztere als Tauschobjekte für die Bewohner der Unterwelt.

Und hier wird die Sache richtig interessant: Einerseits gilt es herauszufinden, wem man am besten was anbietet, andererseits spielen Gravitation und Trägheit nicht nur bei der Steuerung eine Rolle - mit schwereren Objekten kommt man langsamer vorwärts, sie können auch nicht so weit geworfen werden, etc...

Es wimmelt überall nur so von Abwehrrobotern und exotischen Viechern, trotzdem ist die Grafik eher nett als wirklich außergewöhnlich. Gleiches gilt für den Sound: eine recht ordentliche Titelmusik und ebensolche FX während des Spiels.

Aber hier zählt, ist ohnehin mehr das Gameplay, und in dieser Hinsicht kann man über Exile wahrhaftig nicht meckern - dank der gelungenen Steuerung und des abwechslungsreichen Spielablaufs macht die Mixtur aus Action, Rätseln und Geschicklichkeit viel und lange Spaß! (Kate Dixon)

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 D on't turn the page! Beneath these decidedly average graphics lurks not only an enthralling game but the nearest thing to an 'every- day life simulator' yet seen. Audiogenic have re-invented the arcade adventure - and it works!

Arcade adventures were all the rage once. Seems like only yesterday when you couldn't move for the things - arcadey ones like Sabre Wulf and Ant Attack, or more cerebral ones like Dragontorc and Avalon. Seems like only yesterday, but in actual fact most of us haven't done much maze-mapping and object collecting in years. Not since the days of C64s and Spectrums really - for some reason a lack of interest in arcade adventures and the rise of the 16-bit computers coincided, and precious few ever made it over to the Amiga.

No, arcade adventures are certainly 'out' now. And 'in'? Well 'in' seems to be the Sierra/Delphine/Lucasfilm film-like adventure approach, which more or less totally abandon the arcade aspect altogether. That's one way of doing it, sure, and certainly one that's more accessible than most text-only efforts, but there's only so much room on a disk for pretty pictures, and invariably interaction is restricted so that the task seems a little too linear.

Which is where Exile comes in. Yes, it's got arcade bits, yes, it forms an intriguing adventure, yes, there are lots of graphics and yes (and this is the big one) there's an awful lot to do and see - the task in hand is anything but too linear. What this actually represents is a successful marriage between the cream of text-based adventures and the arcade-style shoot-'em-up. To all intents and purposes it's the first in what will hopefully become a new breed of decidedly modern arcade adventure.

So as you'd expect, Exile has a sizable map to explore, packed with generous helpings of action and a goodly number of objects to collect and use. Nothing wrong with that, but it's all fairly unremarkable - what makes Exile so dreamy is the way in which it so successfully mimics the real world while artfully missing out all the dreary bits.

Step away from it a second and look at it from another angle - where before have you been able to interact so effectively with your environment? Not in another game, that's for sure. No, it may sound overblown, but in many ways Exile effectively acts as a simulation of everyday life on an Earth-like planet.

It's because everything in the game obeys the laws of physics to realistic effect. It's because every object has its own mass and so, when combined with the gravitational pull of the world, a host of swish inertial effects can be experienced by the player. It's because if you want - and I'd recommend it to anybody - you can forget about the big task in hand for a bit and immerse yourself in the simple challenge of trying to fly about the place holding a flask full of water in one hand without spilling a drop.

As you might have guessed from that last sentence (the word 'holding' was the giveaway) you don't control a ship or a robot in Exile, but a lone space soldier. This guy has to be one of the most versatile computer characters ever seen. Initially equipped with just his bare hands, a jetpack, and a protective suit with four 'pockets'(objects small enough to fit in these can be stored for later use), he can run, jump and fly in pretty much any direction. Not only that, he can duck, pick up and drop items, throw objects or shoot in a definable trajectory (which is especially handy when it comes to lobbing grenades) and all sorts of other stuff too.

Of course, despite my efforts to persuade you to the contrary, Exile isn't really a simulation at all, it's a game, and as such it contains certain chores that you must set out to complete. Your task is to rescue a handful of fellow space soldiers from where they're trapped by a mad professor deep within a vast network of underground caverns. The playing area is proportionally half a mile square, and the number of puzzles to solve is... well, it's difficult to quantify, as most of the problems come about through the unique way objects interact with each other. Let's just say there are an awful (awful) lot.

Further emphasising that it's actually a game we're talking about here, points are awarded for every kill made and for performing certain tasks, though of course the pleasure gathered from making a discovery or actually solving a problem is the far greater incentive. It's almost as if the programmers are aware of the temptation Exile gives to abandon the job in hand and zoom off and explore in another direction for a bit - to ensure players keep on the move, and to instill a sense of urgency, a point is lost for every second which passes.

As you make your way around in Exile, you'll find there are three problems that keep coming up. Firstly, how do you keep your energy level high and how do you ensure you've got the right weapons for the job? Secondly, just how are you meant to interact with all the animals you keep encountering? And thirdly, just how are you meant to get about the place anyway? Let's deal with them all one at a time, shall we?

There's this to consider of course. Your jetpack needs it, as do your guns. Ah yes - the guns. The first of many weapons - you don't come equipped with any to start with, remember? - is found just beneath the surface. It's a low-powered handgun which is only really effective against the weakest of the planet's inhabitants. Deeper into the caverns there's a second, more powerful handgun waiting to be discovered, along with two meaty (but energy-hungry) blasters. Watch for the recoil though - it's a little on the strong side. (We are talking about a game where you realistically interact with your environment, after all). Meanwhile, back on the surface, a powerful cannons its inside the wreckage of a ship. The only problem is, just how do you bring it out into the open?

So with all those option you should be alright gun-wise. What you need now is the power to run them on, and fortunately (though the use of energy is realistic in the game, and you do need to keep topping it up) it's never too inhibitive. There are normally plenty of booster packs to be found, and if the worst comes to the worst you can always transfer energy from one device you're carrying to another.

What this actually represents is a successful marriage between the cream of text-based adventures and the arcade style shoot-'em-up

Here's something else to consider - the inhabitants of Exile's world. These have varying degrees of intelligence and spend most of the time going about their own business. Some creatures are scared of newcomers and so attack almost immediately - certain breeds of bird for example - while others tend to keep themselves until they are interfered with. Don't worry about the killer bees too much, for instance - they'll only go for you if you threaten them (if you start shooting at their hive, for instance). More fearsome are some of the creatures you'll come across in the pools and lakes you discover deeper into the adventure - crabs, giant clams and piranha fish.

One set of creatures you should be especially wary of are the imps. Try picking up a frog or similar and giving it to them - these mischievous monkey-like beings have punches in which they can carry stolen items. I came across a handy stick-like torch and power replenishment packs, and with a bit of persuasion got them to give them to me. Be careful though - they are mischievous, and take great delight in throwing things at you, which can be problematic. (The spores from the mushrooms will temporarily block your jetpack, for instance).

Potentially most helpful of all the creatures encountered is Fluffy - a sickeningly cute ball of fluff (no surprises there) who has a tendency to squeak uncontrollably when loud noises such as gunfire disturb him from his usual happy state of eating. He becomes your sort of side-kick with very little persuasion, and can prove very useful indeed - his specialty is squeezing through gaps smaller than you can handle.

Not quite animals, but near enough to warrant inclusion here, are the mobile robot types you occasionally have to contend with. One, called Chatter (and it soon becomes pretty obvious where he got his name from), is actually friendly, and can prove as useful as Fluffy. Feed him with a certain type of crystal (either found lying around or converted by burning mushrooms) and he'll be on your side - one of two whistles can then be used to control Chatter and get him to help you out.

(Incidental note: The imps were in fact monkeys at one point, which explains the way they act, I guess. They were changed after the Japanese saw Exile and went sparky - not surprising when you realise monkeys are in fact sacred in Japan).

Getting from A to B in such a vast playfield can prove time and energy consuming - and tiring too. That's why the smart hero about town gets around via the many teleporters dotted throughout the caverns. Your good self is not the only thing capable of being teleported. Anything goes: objects, robots, creatures - even bullets. The only problem is, most of the teleporters can only be turned on and off if you are in possession of the relevant pass.

A limited form of teleportation is also built into your suit. It's more of a simplistic position save of sorts really, with the facility to store the coordinates of four 'destinations'. This features has more use than is at first apparent. For a start, you don't actually die in Exile - instead you are teleported back to the last teleport position remembered, or to the default position of your ship orbiting above the planet. Better stil, the personal teleportation can be used to pass pushy aliens. By remembering your position before allowing yourself to be pushed away, you can teleport behind the being and continue.

Fortunately, there's also a more fullsome save function - either quickly to RAM or more permanently to floppy disk.

Exile's great strength lies in the fact ath you can do pretty much anything you would do in an equivalent real life situation. The lighter the object, the better it floats and the further it can be thrown. Objects or creatures which look as though they should burn do. How should you best go about exploring the underground lakes, for instance? Simple - carry an object heavy enough to make you sink.

Everything seems real, everything works, and this attention to detail seems to be present on almost every level. Sonically it's impressive too - objects make an audible splash when they hit water, and every creature and almost all events have distinctive sounds, with the volume varying depending on the distance between you and the noise. You can hear the bees buzz, the birds squawk, and so on.

The problems you're faced with turn out to be pleasantly logical too. Whether simple mechanical teasers (how to get past the thick sliding doors, say) or slightly more complicated biological ones (how to cope with the poisonous mushrooms) the answers actually make sense, rather than seem arbitrarily placed there.

Exile even has educational potential. Learning with textbooks can be dull at the best of times, but with a model such as this you can actually go around and to things for yourself - introduce chemical x to chemical y for instance, and witness the reaction - and learn through enjoyment. Exile promotes experimentation without having to deal with a ho-hum series of windows or pull-down menus.

But pretentious possibilities aside, Exile is a bit tasty and no mistake. It's entertaining, highly rewarding and so involved that you won't get through it in a hurry. Apparently, it takes the authors around six hours to play from beginning to end - and they know it inside out.

So where does that leave us? Well, with a new sort of arcade adventure - better than the last one, and opening hundreds of possibilities for the future. The arcade adventure is dead. Long live Exile.

The action hots up when these crabs put a nip in the air...
...while the piranha look like rejects from a Joe Dante flick...
...and the sickeningly cute Fluffy like, erm, a, um, 'blue-red thing'.
Roasting frogs is all very well, but it won't get you very far...
...Though you could trade them with these mischievous imps.
You can't quite see their knees, but this is the bees hive...
...while this robot shoots first and doesn't bother to ask questions later...
...and this droid could be friend or foe - you can't tell until you meet him.
This annoying bird has a tendency to be lucky on your head...
...while this may not look like it, but is in fact a harmless lemming.

So who are those three names behind Exile? Surprisingly, between them they have had little commercial success. Jeremy Smith wrote Firebird's Thrust (an 'official' tribute to which appeared as Zarathrusta from the late Hewson recently), but Pete Irvin on the other hand - well, he's only ever written an ancient (but rather corky) shoot 'em up called Starship Command for the BBC.

The long-standing Irvin/Smith friendship flourished into a partnership when they decided to write a game from scratch. From this, Exile originated on the BBC and was then converted to the Commodore 64. William Reeve then reproduced the C64 version on the Amiga before Peter rewrote it to take fuller advance of the new machine.

Exile has taken a year to reproduce and enhance on the Amiga, partly because Peter had to learn about the Amiga from scratch, but also because 'You lose inspiration after a while. After about six months or so it all starts to slow down'.
It didn't help that the ideas behind Exile weren't particularly clearly thought out at first, either. It started off basically with just the concept of some spaceman flying around and having collisions with real forces and creatures bouncing off each other,' Peter reveals. 'We designed the game around it from there. It evolved very slowly - only later did we realise it should be totally modelled on real life. It's one of those games which, having written it, if you were to write it again you could do it an awful lot faster'.

Exile: Peter Irwin
Peter Irwin
Exile: Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith

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He was the worst kind of villain, a brilliant man whose gigantic intellect had been drawn to the dark side. Ruthlessly, he tampered with the minds and bodies of his helpless victims. But don't jump to conclusions. This man does not work for an advertising agency. No, he's a genetic engineer known by the name of Triax.

Originally convicted and exiled into the endless void of space, Triax has set up base in the caves and tunnels of the planet Phoebus, resuming his evil experiments.

As you arrive on Phoebus, Triax strikes the first blow, stealing your space ship's Destinator, equipment vital if you are to ever escape the planet. Once more we find ourselves facing a power-mad genius, bent on domination. Unfortunately, Exile is depressingly familiar in concept, plot and game play. However, it remains an enjoyable way to spend a few idle moments.

Once on the planet you can walk, or use your backpack to zip about, exploring, avoiding Triax's evil creations. The ultimate aim is to find his laboratory, where he is creating a race of maggot creatures destined to infest the universe, and destroy it.

Weapons - grenades, a bullet-firing gun, the PX312 Blaster and Plasma Gun - can be found, stored and used when necessary and boy, are they vital when the going gets rough.

A nice touch when venturing into unknown territory is the ability to teleport. Hitting the R key stores the position. Later, if things get too hot to handle, you can hit the T key and teleport back to the Remembered spot, to rethink your strategy.

Exile is an extremely playable game, but it's not a vision of the future, more an affectionate tribute to tried and trusted game formats of yesteryear.

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Having always being a bit of an exile from society (as his Bortstal and Broadsmoor records confirm), David 'McVicca' McCandless decided that this game suited him down to the ground (and anyone who argued could discuss it with his Foster & Furnace RX27 Thermo-Cannon).

Triax is an evil fellow. He's a genetic scientist who's gone a bit 'cosi-fan-tutti' in the old brain region. Instead of developing fungi or new strains of lichen he's turned his skills to warping helpless humans and making them into maggot-people. While passing the planet Phoebus, you receive a distress signal. It tells you that fruit-bat Triax has taken over the planet and set up a production line for his maggot-men. So you decide to intervene.

The planet is sliced through, as you might slice through an orange or a pomegranate to see what fleshy gubbins are therein. Exile's fleshy gubbins run along the lines of chairs, cannons, teleporters and doors (in the spaceship) and rocks, geological strata, trees and ponds (in the planet).

The planet is huge, but while it's neat doing Superman impressions as you scroll across the surface, watch out for the dangerous headwinds, deadly thermals and dastardly meteorite showers which become more intense as the game goes on. Avoiding meteors is difficult when you've got gravity, inertia and all the laws of physics to deal with.

Explore a bit and there'll be rotating cannons, mischievous imps, angry tanks and big chopping blades to hamper your progress. Penetrate any further and you'll no doubt encounter some blubbery maggots, some wasps and terrible old Triax himself.

Doors come in the vertical and horizontal varieties, and block off all the interesting-looking caverns you're dying to get into. Grenades can solve the problem but the tougher armoured doors require a key (of all things). Power packs are tricky to pick up and highly volatile - touching one sets off a self-destruct sequence, but they're essential if you need some calories for your backpack. So you have to grab and store them pretty quickly.

On the violence front the game starts slowly. Most of the promised wholesale destruction and concentrated apocalypses tend to be directed at you. This all changes when you find the pistol. It's a bit on the wimpy side but you can still show those aliens who's the boss.

The grenades are ace. They're handy for ionising doors and aliens, but you have to make sure you're a safe distance from the conflagration to avoid being toasted.

Amiga reviewSean: The main problem with most rotaty-irritating-gravity games is the walls. No matter what they're made of (rock, metal, grass or sponge) they're fatal. One touch - buy the farm. Now, however, the programmers of Exile have made their walls friendly. Hard, but basically amiable.

So instead of purchasing a certain agricultural homestead, you now rebound on contact. This, however, begets another problem - the ricocheting-pinball-blimey-here-I-go-again effect. In Exile you'll be bouncing and boinging off every inanimate object in a three screen radius if you're not careful (It's quite good fun though).

Another excellent feature is the fact that you can't die. Ina low-energy emergency the computer reflexively teleports you back to your ship. Ra-ra! This is a good sign because you have all the perks connected with living forever (namely fathering lots of children) and it means that the puzzles are strong enough to keep you interested throughout the game.

There are a lot of puzzles. The main ones involve finding switches and keys for doors and then backtracking through the maze-like subterrania. There are also brain-blending combination puzzles and mystery teleports. It's actually not dissimilar from Stryx. It's all a clever blend of shooting, solving and swearing (Oh, you've learnt to alliterate have you? Ed.) Let's see if I can end on a 'jokey sentence. This game - it's Exilent. Hah. Pretty funny. Ho, ho! (Ahem. Ed.) Stop

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Reviewed by Andy Maddock

Before you say a word, I know and so does everybody else in the world that Exile has already been released. In fact a long time ago - it appeared as a demo on a coverdisk and I can remember playing it for absolutely ages and then I never recalled seeing the game in the shops. I don't know why.

You can imagine my surprise when it arrived in the office just a few weeks ago. I was delighted at the fact I could now play the game I had wanted to play years ago.
I promptly loaded up the two disks and while I waited I had a quick look at the manual, which wasn't really a good idea as it was packed full of keyboard shortcuts and in-depth paragraphs about each weapon, monster, etc. I didn't really want to read it as I'd already played a demo thousands of times so I went straight into the game.

I won't explain the plot completely because a) I don't want to spoil it for you and b) it's far too long to print here. If I tell you some bad guy has nicked a special device needed to transport your ship from galaxy to galaxy and you need it back, then I think you'll get the gist.

When I started moving my little sprite about the screen I have to admit to being slightly disappointed as the sprites had been revamped completely and instead of the top little spaceman in his little space suit as before, there was, in fact, a blonde-haired geezer who looked completely out of place. Never mind, I thought, at least the actual game still looks similar.

There are so many little baddies who will take delight in annoying you, and to top it off - they don't even kill you!

What I completely forgot after playing the demo years ago is that it was so hard I couldn't even get off the first level. I ended up going back to the manual to follow the walkthrough to save me ploughing through the other pages, and still it didn't give me any clues as to what to do. I managed to pick up some stuff and chuck it about a bit and I even blew things up.

I think what lets it down is the control system. It's all a bit difficult you see. You're a spaceman and you have a jetpack strapped to your back and pushing up and down on the joystick will thrust you in that particular direction. Simple? Not when you're trying carefully to plant grenades using left and right on the joystick. In most cases you will end up banging your head severely against the side of the spaceship.

I suppose after a while you will get the hang of the control method, but it is very tricky to begin with. The worse thing I can say about Exile is that it's very, very frustrating. If you should have a high stress level, I suggest you stick to something like Tetris or, better still, sleeping.

There are so many little baddies who will take delight in annoying you, and to top it off - they don't even kill you! They'll happily knock you all over the shop without even having a purpose in life.

Final word

I am not saying Exile is a bad game. It's just that the frustration factor is far too high. The puzzles are excellent, testing your puzzle-solving ability as well as your actions, and it manages to sustain a high interest level. Most people will see the game as it is, but there are a select few who will find it more trouble than it's worth.

Although this is the A1200 version and it boasts enhanced AGA graphics, I still think it's lost some of its character and although technically it's far superior, I still prefer the other one.

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We said to Stephen Bradley "Go forth into Exile." Unfortunately, he didn't take the hint and played the game instead. Better luck next time, eh?

Now here's an odd thing. Didn't I, on a recent Saturday morning (we work Saturdays to bring you this magazine. Oh how we suffer. Sigh.) see the editor of Edge, Future Publishing's high-spec, hi-tec magazine which covers all the latest in videogaming ("and much more", Edge Ed) clutching the original copy of Exile, now some four years old. Blimey. And the guys on Edge wouldn't cross the street to shake hands with a Sony Playstation. So Exile reveal yourself. What, pray, does such fuss cause?

Firstly, despite its age, Exile is one of the Amiga's most unusual games. It is an adventure game which looks like a jet-packed platformer cum shoot-em-up affair. The nearest thing to it on the Amiga, and we're talking concept-wise here, not anything reminiscent of the actual plot or action, is Flashback. Yes, mixing playable arcade action with heinous adventuresome puzzles is an Amiga rarity and after playing Flashback and Exile you wonder why this should be.

To Exile and indeed, to plot. You're a spaceman and you spend your time reclining on your Connolly leather spaceseat. But suddenly (did you bolt forward then?), Commander Sprake, the e-Leeds United goalkeeper of the Empire calls you on a mission to capture fiendish mutant-creating madman Triax, a man who is 150 years old yet looks 40; a man with some fabulous moisturising cream. And then, in the winking of an eye, the hapless goalie and his men are captured by Triax. Only YOU can save them.

Initially, you have but a jetpack, a pair of hands and four empty pockets. From here, you must leave the ship and jetpack across and around a huge, underground, cavernous landscape, collecting and using objects you find, battling foe, opening doors and giving frogs to pink monkeys, The jetpack is quite Bondian and a real treat to play with although it takes time to get used to.

There's no limit
Exile has no time limit but when points are scored, they diminish as the seconds tick which discourages aimless exploration. I didn't care however, and spent quality time happily hovering around with not a care in the world. Commander Sprake but a distant memory. A teleport system allows you flit to places you've already visited and back to the ship - wonderfully helpful because this fellow has a serious large gaming area and you can save your position to both RAM and disk.

Exile's world has that vital ingredient called gravity and all the objects within behave as the laws of physics demand. So when yo pick up objects and throw them, frogs at pink monkeys say, they move as if you were throwing frogs at pink monkeys in real life. Which, of course, is against the laws of The World, one would imagine. And indeed hope.

But don't be fooled by Exile's attractive marriage of arcade and adventure or its considerably revamped graphics, smooth scrolling and fabulous flying-around-with-a-jetpackness. It's bloody hard. Damned bloody hard.

The game is all on one level, a level about the size of the North Riding of Yorkshire and apparently, even if you know exactly what you're doing, it takes you five or six hours to complete. Unless you are a king, you will get stuck. Sure, the puzzles are logical, some are biological, but when you've spent as long as I have wandering around with a frog in your hand, only then will you know the pain this game can cause.

Exile is a fine game, even after all these years. Though initially baffling, it rewards the persistent, enlightens the erm, un-enlightened and the jetpacks and gun are bloody brilliant. Fly it soon.

Exile AGA logo AGA AGA Only

Dieses Schwerkraft-Drama folgt eigenen Gesetzen: Erst blieb er unbeachtet fünf Jahre lang auf dem Boden, dann kam die aufgebohrte CD-Neuauflage und nur einen Monat später werden auch schon die AGA-Amigas angezogen!

In wenigen Wochen kann man natürlich keine großartigen Verbesserungen bei der Präsentation vornehmen. Die detaillierten Hintergründe mit ihrem flüssigen Parallaxscrolling samt den nett gezeichneten Gegnern blieben uns daher genauso erhalten wie die hilfsbereiten Sound-FX, welch herannahende Feinde ankündigen - tolle Grafikeffekte, Animationswunder oder Begleitmusik im Spiel selbst darf man sich dagegen nicht erwarten.

Aber dafür eine hervorragend gelöste Steuerung: Gelaufen und geschossen wird per Stick oder Pad, seltener benötigte Aktionen löst man über die Tastatur aus. Auch die Aufgabenstellung blieb unverändert. Immer noch soll man einen Jetpack-Astronauten durch das riesige, nicht unterteilte Höhlensystem des Planeten Phoebus lenken, ohne sich dabei vom rechten Weg abbringen zu lassen - wder von der plötzlich einsetzenden Schwerkraft an manchen Stellen, noch von irgendwelchen Wachrobotern, verschlossenen Türen, Teleportern oder den durchweg recht kniffligen Rätseln.

In vielen Fällen helfen dabei vier Waffen weiter, die allerdings erst gefunden werden müssen und zudem nur begrenzt munitioniert sind. Auch die merkwürdigsten Gegenstände (Fernsteuerungen, radioaktives Material, etc.) kann man entdecken, zum Teil aber auch durch regulären Tauschhandel erwerben. Klar, schließlich gibt's auf Phoebus nicht nur böse Wespen, Robbis und Techno-Walker.

Erleichtert wird das Astronautenleben zudem durch die üblichen Schutzschilde, Energieriegel, Schlüssel und ähnliche Sammeleien. Außerdem beamt sich der Held bei den ersten Anzeichen eines drohenden Lebensverlusts vollautomatisch in die Kommandozentrale seines Raumschiffs zurück, um dort neue Kräfte zu schöpfen.

Erstaunlich oft, zumindest nach Actionmaßstäben, muß man hier aber mit den Waffen des Geistes kämpfen: Auch die feurigste Plasmakanone beißt sich irgendwann die Zähne an einem scheinbar unzerstörbaren Roboter aus...

Spielstände lassen sich jederzeit auf Disk oder im RAM speichern; eine HD-Installation ist nicht vorgesehen, aber eigentlich auch unnötig, weil nur sehr selten nachgeladen wird. Somit ist bis auf wenige Handhabungsdetails letztlich alles wie schon in der Silbermine wie gehabt: Ein ausgetüfteltes Gameplay der anspruchsvollen Art in einer grafischen und akustischen Verpackung, die zwar Wünsche offenläßt, aber auch keine ausgeprägten Mängel aufweist.

Gut, mit dem schwerelosen Spielprinzip im allgemeinen und der Steuerung im besonderen muß man sich natürlich erst anfreunden, doch es hat ja auch niemand behauptet, daß Exile ein leichtes Spiel wäre - wir sagen bloß, daß es nach wie vor ein sehr, sehr gutes ist! (mz)

Exile AGA logo AGA

A complete misnomer, of course. In this game you're a castaway.

So, Exile then. In AP issue one Gary Penn summed up the entire essence of the game rather well. "What this actually represents is a successful marriage between the cream of text based adventures and the arcade style shoot- 'em-up" he said. To all intents and purposes, it's the first in what will hopefully will become a new breed of decidedly modern arcade adventures." he hypnothesised. "The arcade adventure is dead. Long live Exile", he concluded, suitably pompously as befits in a review in AMIGA POWER. That was in May 1991, and with it all I concur, which makes the following two pages astonishingly difficult to fill without repeating Gary and being sued by him for plagiarism.

Although it doesn't look like it, Exile is an adventure game. IN the manual prequel blurb, you answer a distress beacon from a survivor of a previous landing expedition. He tells you about the evil Triax and how blah, blah, banished, blah, blah, caverns, blah, blah etc. End of intro.

The game starts with Triax making a brief appearance (so brief I only noticed it the third time I played the game) and stealing your navicomp, effectively stranding on the planet. Like all the best bad guys (Donal Unpleasance and Alan Rickman for example), Triax doesn't actually look mean at all, and resembles Davros from TV's famous Dr Who rather than Goro.

Only he flies rather than trundling around in the bottom half of a yoghurt pot. So, within three seconds from starting, you've got a reason to to explore the planet. Thankfully, you guy's got a jetpack, so getting around isn't a problem, and the score in the corner's steadily ticking down from 10,000 points second by second, so the game even instills a sense of urgency.

One of Exile's main selling points is the real world environment it inhabits. As hundreds of offices hours devoted to Gravity Forces 2 will testify, we're great fans of real physics here on AP, and everything works in Exile so naturally that you tend to forget the mechanics and just concentrate on the game.

Psygnosis' Puggsy (AP 36, 40%) tried to use the same real physics environment ina puzzle adventure game, but that was just pathetically fiddly and annoying. However, the difference is that while physics gets in the way in Puggsy - you build a pyramid of drums only to bump into them and knock them down again - it works for you in Exile. Check out the pictures for IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE of this.

Alan Rickman for example

All adventure games are linear, but what makes some better than others is the amount of latitude they give the player. Point-and-click adventures are notorious for funneling the player down a single path where success is just a matter of trying to think as illogically as the programmer

One the other hand, sprawling fantasy romps such as the Ishar series offer far too much leeway, so you spend more time tramping around than you do swashing and a buckling. Exile's somewhere comfortably in the middle, although some of the puzzles tend towards the impossibily obscure. After being stuck for hours, I phoned Audiogenic for some solutions that were so obscure I'd never have thought of them and would have been stuck on the same bit forever.

The game's set in one huge cavern network, although there're a number of sub-sections partitioned by massive stone walls or teleporters and in each of these sections there're a number of puzzles to solve or things to find that you can do in any order. The net effect of this is that you feel like you're roaming at will, but at the same time are being craftily nudged along by the programmers.

So with the gift of hindsight, was Gary Penn right? Did his herald the start of a new form of adventure games? Well no, unfortunately, which is why Exile still seems so inventive all these years later.

By stripping away the conventions of adventure games and making it look and play like an elaborate arcade game, Exile really does take a fresh stab at all that puzzle solving. In terms of style, it's real-time, real conflict problem solving elements are closer to Doom than they are to Dungeon Master which makes me wonder wy tedious first person-perspective adventure games still manage to sell these days.

I've not even mentioned the A1200 version yet, have I? Well, that's because the game is, as far as I could see, exactly the same as the original, only the graphcis have been changed. The main character's bigger, so you see less of the screen, although in better detail and with a parallaxing backdrop. For some reason they've taken the helmet off your guy, so he now looks like a yob. I'd feared that the smaller visible playing area would be detrimental to the game, but the only instance I could find was trying to shoot a switch which was off screen in the version but visible in the original.

The main improvement in this version is that it supports a CD32 controller, with all the buttons doing something. Since Exile requires over 20 different keys to pick up,m throw and drop objects, after bullet trajectories and use different weapons this is a real bonus as it puts most functions literally in your hands and although the game still works fine with a normal joystick and keyboard, I'd strongly recommend a CD32 controller.

So it's heart felt accolades all round for Exile, which only leaves you to decide which version to buy: this one, or the old version which has just come out on budget. To be honest, the main thing to consider is the CD32 controller, as although the graphics are nice, they didn't alter my view of the game substantially, so the older, cheap version plays as well as this one. £15 or £30? Either way, it's the same, absorbing unique game.

The caves are inhabited with loads of creatures, most of which try to kill you immediately. Even the parrots bother you and they're... parrots for heaven's sake.
Exile AGA
First a couple of pesky, pecking parrots sight you...
Exile AGA
And then suddenly there's a whole fluttering, fighting flock of them.
Exile AGA
These manic, molesting monkeys can be a bit of a bore as well.
Exile AGA
When it comes to the cunning, collapsing clams you have to be wary.
Exile AGA
The pesky, pinching piranhas are best avoided altogether.
Exile AGA
Even the frail, feeble frogs can give you a bit of a nasty nip.
See for yourself the stunning differences between the original Exile and this new, special AGA version, and then decide if you're really going to be all that bothered by the flashy new graphics.
Exile AGA
In full technicolour glory now...
...and as it was four years ago.
Exile AGA
Backgrounds a-go-go...
...backgrounds a-none.

Exile AGA logo AGA

Price: £29.99 Publisher: Audiogenic 0181 424 2244

Originally released some five years ago, Exile is now regarded as something of a classic. I really dread going back to these forgotten gems, as more often than not they end up looking severely dated and offer nothing but disappointment.

Thankfully Exile A1200 has been dressed in a shiny new AGA coat so it doesn't disappoint in the presentation stakes. More importantly, the gameplay still stands up, despite remaining largely unchanged. It's an adventure game which casts yourself as the jetpack clad adventuring hero flying around one level.

That's right, just the one, but don't worry because this level covers an area the Roman Empire would have been proud of. It's made more manageable by a handy teleport system which allows you to revisit places already explored, and the ability to save to RAM or disk whenever desired. Which is handy if you're about to go into a tricky spot.

The plot is the usual nonsense about rescuing a group of soldiers captured by yet another crazed space psychopath. This translates into gameplay which combines arcade style blasting with Dizzy style 'pick one object up, drop it off elsewhere' puzzles that were so common in late 80s arcade puzzlers.

To succeed you're going to need to get the hang of that jetpack. Thankfully it has an unlimited fuel supply, but is very responsive and no doubt you'll spend the first few games trying not to smack your head into a wall. Actually that's a lie because doing just that is great fun!

Rather unusually for this style of game it's nigh on impossible to die thanks to a life line which quickly regenerates and because there's no time limit in which to complete the game.

Those of you who prefer nail biting blasting action might be a little disappointed as it's easy to find a quiet spot and let your health regenerate.

Playing Exile is a breath of fresh air. This is a game that relies on logical puzzles and atmosphere rather than the hyped up mega tension of modern arcade games, or the obscurity of recent puzzlers.

I can't see it appealing to newer gamers, but crumbles like myself who long for the old style of game would do well to fasten their seatbelts and take a ride.

Exile AGA logo CD32

Exile has all the latitude of the best of adventures and the mechanics of a top arcade-blast.

All adventure games are linear. The secret of making them absorbing and enjoyable lies in the amount of latitude given by the game for the adventurer to explore their environment, experiment, interact and solve the puzzles thrown their way.

Exile is a master of this. It is a game with all the latitude of the best of adventures and the mechanics of a top arcade-blast. Happily, for CD32 owners, it is also much more than that.

Exile transports the player into an exciting environment with its own physical laws. Collectable objects have their own weight and inertia - a tricky phenomenon that has to be taken into consideration when flying around.

Again, the CD32 pad has been made full use of and this helps immensely when executing all of those tricky actions, such as picking objects up while flying, pushing buttons and altering the trajectories of bullets.

In all, a tremendous game, a tremendous concept and tremendous excitement in store for all CD32 owners who take the plunge and purchase Exile.

Exile CD32 logo CD32 AGA Only

Audiogenics komplexes Schwerkraftdrama von 1991 ist quasi die Apollo 13 unter den Spielen: Nach einem prima Start auf der Test-Rampe havarierte der Titel mangels Marketing im Verkaufs-Orbit - und soll jetzt sicher im Amiga-Silbermeer landen.

Wie guter Wein hat das Actionadventure der "Thrust"-Erfinder Jeremy Smith und Peter Irvin mit der Zeit an Reife gewonnen und überzeugt nach wie vor durch pure, spielerische Klasse. Um so schöner, daß man die Präsentation der CD-Neuauflage kräftig aufgebohrt, das ausgeklügelte Gameplay aber unangetastet hat: Der Spieler soll wie gehabt mit einem Jetpack-Astronauten durch die scrollenden Höhlenlabyrinthe des schwerkraftreduzierten Planeten Phoebus düsen, um den Machenschaften des Wissenschaftlers Triax Einhalt zu gebieten.

Der böse Wicht hat dort nämlich eine riesige Maschinerie zwecks Erschaffung aggressiver Kreaturen installiert und sein Werk durch eine verwirrende Vielfalt von Schutzschaltern, Teleportern, verborgenen Türen und geheimnisvollen Sammel-Gegenständen vor unerwünschten Eindringlingen gesichert.

Die Mission ist damit zwar klar definiert, bloß macht das die Durchführung keineswegs leichter. So sieht sieht sich der schwebende Space-Söldner gleich zu Beginn des Spiels mit Meteoriten-hageln und Geschütztürmen konfrontiert, muß an ballernden Robotern, bösartigen Wespen und fiesen Techno-Walkern vorbei. Doch nicht alle Untergrundbewohner sind auf Angriff geeicht, einige lassen sich durch Bestechung und Tausch sogar zur Herausgabe nützlicher Werkzeuge überreden.

Gelegentliches Ausprobieren kann da oft hilfreich sein, im allgemeinen sind die zahlreichen (und gemessen an Action-Verhältnissen recht knackigen) Puzzlespielen aber stets durch schiere Kopfarbeit lösbar: Wie bekommt man eine Trinkflasche durch eine Tür, die sich bei jedem Annäherungsversuch sofort Schließt? Wodruch sit ein schier unzerstörbarer Robbi zu beseitigen, der im Sekundentakt um sich schießt - vielleicht läßt er sich ja in den nahestehenden Teleporter schieben? Was mag sich hinter dem rauschenden Wasserfall verbergen, und wie gelangt man im engen Korridor an einem Wachroboter vorbei, ohne überhaupt eine Waffe im Gepäck zu haben?

Fragen über Fragen, bei deren Lösung unserem Astronauten außer Geschick und Geduld zunächst nur die im Jetpack eingebaute Beam-Funktion helfen kann; sie ermöglicht auf Tastendruck das Speichern der aktuellen Position, um später automatisch, jederzeit und pronto dorthin zurückzukehren. Weitere Gerätschaften muß man sich freilich erst zusammensuchen, und da gibt es begrenzte munitionierte Blaster, Plastma-Kanonen, Freezer, Granaten, Schutzschilde oder verstärkte Antriebsaggregate, die allesamt einzeln zu (de-) aktivieren sind und so den Energie-haushalt unterschiedlich belasten.

Die passenden Power-Rationen sind mal von überwältigten Gegnern zu erhalten, mal liegen sie in Schreibpulten versteckt oder einfach so herum; ebenso wie Schlüssel, rätselhaftes Radioaktiv-Material oder Fernsteuerungen mit verschiedenen Bedienkarten.

Mangelnde Abwechslung ist in dem riesigen und durch kleine Levels unterteilten Spielareal also kein Thema, eher schon die etwas gewöhnungsbedürftige Steuerung. Denn schließlich läßt die Schwerkraft nicht bloß den Helden gelegentlich ein wenig hilflos durch die unterirdischen Irrgärten taumeln, sie wirkt sich hier auch auf sämtliche Gegenstände aus - je nach Masse lassen sich die Items mehr oder weniger leicht aufnehmen, bewegen oder werfen. Ja, es ist schon erstaunlich, wie physikalisch exakt hier simuliert wird! Weniger erstaunlich ist, daß die vielfältigen Aktionsmöglichkeiten nicht auf den sechs Buttons des CD32-Pads Platz finden, weshalb seltener benutzte Aktionen wie das Ducken eben umständlich per Menü auszulösen sind. Wesentlich komfortabler klappt das per Tastatur; wohl dem, der also entweder eine Klaviatur an seiner Konsole hat oder am CD-bestückten AGA-Amiga ins Exil geht.

Der sehenswerten Optik ist die verwendete Hardware freilich egal, hier wie dort findet man sich in einer makellos präsentierten Grafiklandschaft wieder. Da läßt sich der sichtbare Bildschirmausschnitt beliebig zentrieren, das Parallax-scrolling ist vom Feinsten und befördert jede Menge netter Details auf den Screen: Funken sprühen im Feuer, beim Baden steigen Luftblasen aus der Wasserpfütze auf, ein explodierendes Tor zerplatzt in Dutzende Splitter.

Daß die oftmals ziemlich kleinen Gegner weniger gut animiert sind, machen sie durch Vielseitigkeit und intelligentes Verhalten wett. Die Soundkulisse beschränkt sich dabei auf eine CD-Titelmusik sowie scheinbar schlichte FX, die aber Gegner vorab ankündigen, bei Rätseln für manchen Tip gut sind und so ihren Gutteil zum fesselnden Gameplay beitragen.

Letzteres besticht auch durch die relative Unsterblichkeit des Protagonisten, der sich bei bedrohlichem Energie-verlust automatisch in Sicherheit teleportiert, um den Lebensbalken aufzustocken. Dazu kommt jederzeit erreichbare, ein- bzw. mehrmalige Speichermöglichkeit im batteriegepufferten Backup-RAM oder auf RAM-Disk, wo die Daten allerdings nach Abschalten der Konsole verloren sind.

Unter dem Strich muß man sich somit nur mit dem etwas abgehobenen Grundkonzept anfreunden können, um viele Stunden Spaß an Exile zu haben - demnächst übrigens auch auf AGA-Diskette und dank der auf 40,- DM preisreduzierten Neuauflage des Originals wieder am A500. (rl)

Exile AGA logoDiscovery Disk

Stephen Bradley is in Exile so we sent out a carrier pigeon to tell him to return for the Discovery. Or something...

Exile is one of the most unusual games around. The original was reviewed way back in AF23 (that's June 1991, for those dhat don't go by numbers) and the chap reviewing at the time - a Mr Trenton Webb - had this to say. 'The most convincing element to be found in Exile is the logic on which the entire world and its composite elements are built'.

Yes friends, this is an arcade game happily married to an adventure game. It requires lateral thinking. It requires literal thinking. It requires the patience of Job to get anywhere because it's DAMNED HARD.

Around this time last year, Audiogenic graphically revamped Exile. It was now the property of A1200 owners. To be candid, the original didn't distinguish itself visually but it didn't stop our friends at Amiga Power rating this largely forgotten game as one of their faves of all time.

The updated version is all things fantastically splendid. You hover around with a jet pack strapped to your back and generally just potter around and take on the conundrums as you see fit. There isn't really any plot or path to follow - which makes Exile one of the most non-linear Amiga adventures. There isn't a time limit so you take as much time as you see fit - only, you lose points as the seconds totter by. By the by, really.

Exile's world has gravity (a bit like ours, I think) and all the objects in the game behave as the laws of physics demand. At one point, you have to hotfoot to a pool with a container and fill it with water. Once airborne again, you have to fly carefully otherwise the water spills. Try this at home, perhaps in the kitchen. Or the back garden if the weather's clement.

Discover what?
So what's this Discovery business, then? Well, presumably the logic reads thus: the game is so huge and so difficult that many gamers won't have seen half the action or even had the chance to solve many of the puzzles. So what everyone needs is another disk that enables them to hop from location to location using the very excellent teleport system - each gaming area pre-saved on the disk when used in conjunction with the original. For eight sovs. Audiogenic will post you the disk and a set of instructions to help finish the old evil.

It's basically just a pricey tips section and probably best avoided unless you're desperately stuck. Solve the puzzles yourself instead and get your money's worth. It costs you 30 quid for the game in the first place - buy the add-on and it's the best part of 40 nicker. Phew.

Exile AGA logoDiscovery Disk

Anybody like to buy some old rope?

What makes Exile an interesting game is the excellent physics engine. Like our old favourite Gravity Force 2, everything in the game is modelled realistically and takes account of gravity and other laws of physics to gret effect. Unfortunately, the arbitrary nature of the puzzles (Exile is a sort of arcade adventure, you see) means that you have to spend most of your playing time trying desperately to use everything with everything else in the hope that something might happen.

An Exile data disk would have been fantastic. A new map layout and set of puzzles that make better use of the original game engine could have worked wonders. Instead, Audiogenic have presented us with the Exile Discovery Disk, which is actually a set of twelve saved games and some well structured hints on how to finish the game.

Though this is not quite what we had hoped for, it is a good idea, and it means that we no longer have to figure out for ourselves that, for instance, the torch is the best way of dealing with the (clearly satanic) birds that persist in PECKING AWAY ALL OF OUR SPACEMAN'S ENERGY.

Audiogenic haven't wasted their time. The save game positions are intelligently placed so that you can see the relationship between them, and the tips provided are vague enough so as to not give everything away. Even if you don't feel up to the Herculean task of finishing the game, you can still load up the save games and just play around with the environment. In any other game this would most likely be a waste of time, but in Exile punishing the furry companions that occupy your world with every torture from drowning to trial by fire is positively entertaining.

The lack of logic behind

The only problem with the Exile Discovery Disk is that you have to pay for it. This isn't me being cheap, it's an issue of GENUINE MORAL CONCERN that even GMTV won't be able to ignore. It is traditional that tips are available for next to nothing, and yet Audiogenic feel that they can charge for what is, at the end of the day, still just a bunch of save game positions and some printed hints.

It would have been better to put this out as Public Domain (or even better, on the cover of a magazine - it only takes up 3% of a disk) to encourage people to buy the original Exile.

Judgment comes down to a series of ifs, and, as usual, you have to make a choice. If you already own Exile, and like it but are frustrated at the lack of logic behind the puzzles, it might well be worth purchasing the Discovery Disk. On the other hand, if you don't own the game, I recommend you read AP's original review of it, and make your decision on buying Exile and the Discovery Disk on the strength of that and what I've told you. On yet another hand (I have three), if you're a protest kid with an acoustic guitar and a penchant for hiding up trees all day you'll want to spend your money on proper games instead.

Exile AGA logoDiscovery Disk

Price: £7.99 Publisher: Audiogenic 0181 424 2244

In the past, computer magazines have oft' been accused of 'spoiling things' and giving the game away' by printing hints, cheats and solutions to games. The general argument suggests that a player with a solution book on his shelf won't spend as much time trying to work things out legitimately as he would if there wasn't the option to run screaming to the relevant page.

The counter-argument to this is that there's nothing worse than getting stuck in a game you're really enjoying - especially when you know that you're only about half way through the game. If you've just spent twenty quid, well, you've only got ten pounds-worth haven't you!

Now, having a solution is one thing, but what if the game is just too damn hard to play through? Simple - Passwords. But then again, what if there isn't a password system? Easy, just release a disk with twelve saved games, each one at a different stage of the game, thus allowing the player to start from the position nearest their own personal problem. And that's exactly what Audiogenic have done for the excellent-but-often-tricky Exile.

If you don't remember Exile from its previous release (about a year ago) it's actually a remake of an older game, but sharing the same excellent playability. It's a straight forward arcade/adventure game, with lots of flying about hunting for specific objects and lots of fighting weird aliens and baddies. It was, however, pretty tricky in places, so this saved game disk (both in A500 versions and A1200) is a welcome addition.

It's hard to mark this offering as it really depends on how stuck you are in the game (if you even have it) but I think it's an excellent idea and one to be encouraged at this low price. If you've got a copy of Exile and found it hard to get to grips with, then this is for you.