Gloom logo AGA

Reviewed by Andy Maddock

From the title and the screenshots, I can guess what all you readers are expecting. It looks like Doom and sounds like Doom, but more importantly, does it play like Doom?

There's no escaping the fact that the 'in' game of the moment is Doom... on the PC. Everyone seems to want to make a close version of it on the Amiga - it's rumoured there are many more to come.

Some people believe Doom on the Amiga is just not possible, and I agree with them. Others believe or hope to believe that Doom will grace their Amiga screens soon. I feel it will never be reproduced on the Amiga because of the technical differences between the PC and the Amiga. However, if Escom do produce a PC that's Amiga based then I'll have to believe it when I see it. Until then, I won't be holding my breath.

Gloom is basically a 3D shoot-'em-up that contains the most violence ever witnessed. There is an option to switch it to either meaty or messy. If messy is selected, as soon as you fire a bullet at one of the opposing soldiers they will burst into little bits and leave an awful mess on the floor which you will have to walk through. You can imagine after shooting quite a few soldiers that the floor won't remain in its shiny, polished state.

You are basically thrown into a futuristic Space Hulk maze which looks remarkably like the scenery used in the film Aliens, and the idea is to get out- alive. This is not such an easy task because there are literally hundreds of foot soldiers and bare chested madmen to plough through. These and huge robots will stand in your way, firing bullets ten times the power of your own.

As soon as you fire a bullet at one of the opposing soldiers they will burst into little bits and leave an awful mess on the floor

Throughout the game bonuses are available for collection which can affect your health and firing power. A huge gun with a full weapon boost is essential for disposing the bigger robots.

There are plenty of options to choose from before you begin the game, including a two-player split screen where you can chase your opponent around a selated maze with only yourself and a gun. You can also play Gloom through a serial link connecting two Amiga's together, so you can both play using a full screen.

The Amiga 1200 has, in the past been able to churn out some quite speedy graphics, although something has to be sacrificed for this. For more speed, the variety or amount of sprites usually deteriorates immensely. In Gloom's case, the variety of sprites is lacking and during the later levels the amount of sprites does affect the speed.

There are three main locations and in these there are some sub-missions where you have to reach the exit. There are no real missions such as rescuing colleagues which is a shame because it gives the game a plot and a storyline, which Gloom unfortunately hasn't got.

As said before, the level of violence is quite high. After shooting someone with a bullet they won't be content with falling to the floor and disappearing, but throw themselves violently in the air while spreading their various organs over the wall. On occasions I have noticed that if you get too close to an exploding body, it will squirt spots of blood on to your own face. Bu the end of a particularly nasty level you will find that your face will be covered in blood, partially covering the action.

Now, the bit that you've all been waiting for - the speed. Well, it depends you see. During the game pressing escape will bring up an option for you to change the screen resolution and size of the actual playing window. If you choose a high screen resolution the window size will automatically be reduced. You can play with a small window to emphasise speed, or with a full screen to emphasise the action. They both work well, so it's up to you.

The actual character sprites do appear very blocky when you get reasonably close - although to increase the speed, the floor and ceiling graphics can be switched off.

Doom and Gloom

Other games following this genre are Alien Breed 3D, Fears, Behind the Iron Gate, and more recently Citadel from the Polish team Arrakis Software - previewed this issue. Gloom has a fair amount of competition to get through and each one is looking excellent. Can Doom finally be reproduced on the Amiga? From what we've seen of these efforts already. It's getting there. I'm beginning to change my mind completely.

Final word

Although the whole idea of these games is to get on a par with Doom on the PC, as I've said before there's absolutely no way I am going to compare the two. There's no point in saying 'Ooh, it's rubbish. It looks nothing like Doom on the PC, because it's not supposed to. I'm not going to give it a low score because it doesn't match the PC version of Doom - I am going to mark it purely for Gloom itself, as a game. The graphics are the best yet for games of this genre. Gloom is completely packed with smooth graphics, a huge challenge and most of all, action and excitement. It's certainly the best attempt yet, although with other similar efforts only weeks from completion, only time will tell which one will rise above the rest.

Gloom logo AGA Amiga Format Gold

And from a darkened tunnel emerged a shaken, nervous fellow, clutching a plasma gun. Steve Bradley lives to tell a tale of gloom...

Some moons ago, we presented you with a double-barrelled Coverdisk of the first-person shoot-'em-ups, Alien Breed 3D and Death Mask (AF71). Death Mask was not exactly the Doom-clone the Amiga had been waiting for, limited fun though it undoubtedly was, and Team 17s impressive looking Alien Breed 3D has yet to see the light of the day. Over the past few months, we have used the term Doom-clone rather often. Let me explain, for it is just possible that you won't understand the term (he said, desperately trying not to patronise).

Anyway, a couple of years ago, Doom broke on to the PC scene - a game which single-handedly revolutionised the machine. People actually bought a PC simply to play that one game. You see, the action is from the first-person perspective (through your eyes, basically) and a gun points your way forward. Roaming through tunnels, you blast everything in sight, pick-up boosters and head for the exit to the next level.

Doom has been converted to most platforms, though not the Amiga, and in the past two years the race has been on to produce a 3D-engine which can handle both the necessary pace and graphic detail to satisfy Amiga gamers everywhere.

A real 'Doomster'
Step forward and park thyselves in the spotlit leather-seat coders Black Magic, friends of fellow Antipodeans Acid and Vision Software, for you are first in the tunnel. So Gloom is the first 'real' Doomster to hit the Amiga. So what? Well, ever since Doom took the PC by storm, Amiga-owners everywhere have been looking forward to seeing a similar-style game for our machine. No matter that it is hardly an original idea, or that games of its ilk are available on PD - we want what they have got, only without the hassle of reconfiguring the software before you get to shoot anybody.

Black Magic's Mark Sibly has written (or been involved in) some of the best Amiga games, including Skidmarks, Guardian and Overkill, as well as ace programming language Blitz Basic (and BB2), which is part of the development software for Gloom. The fine attention to detail prevalent in Sibly's previous titles is clearly in evidence here.

You can use pads, sticks or the keyboard, play linked with a null modem cable and fiddle with the screen to your heart's content, adjusting the resolution, window size and graphic detail to suit. The resolution swaps the pixel size between large and small, and while the smaller pixels look better, they draw a mite slower.

Enough of that for now - we will cruise past the plot at pace. You are teleported into a building and left with nothing but a gun, or a 'standard issue plasma cannon', as they are known, and there are people and things who want to kill you. That is it, son. Off you go and the best of luck.

Access doors, enhance weaponry and collect the jugs of health. By jove, it is a simple idea. No, the question most asked of the Amiga Doom clones is, "how fast and detailed is the 3D engine"?

Gloom is fabulously proficient in this department. Not only does it look splendid, there is very little slow down (though, in two-player, split-screen mode the brakes are sometimes on), even when you are confronted with a gaggle of 'cultists' as the enemy soldiers are known.

You are teleported into the first level and left with nothing but a gun. Go for it big time.

Meaty and messy
Simple early doors. Gather the weapon boosters and unleash a volley of bullets at the hapless fodder, but I would recommend you use the 'messy' rather than 'meaty' mode. Messy leaves the enemy's limbs and flesh scattered across the floor, and this is a good thing, particularly when you are in the more complex levels later on - you certainly always know where you have been, though occasionally they serve to obscure the power-ups a tad.

Gloom is best played with the keyboard or CD32-pad, because you can sidestep left and right, a great means to dodge fire and re-adjust aim. And creep around corners.

No passwords, though, and with 21 mazes to scoot and not a map in sight, the only way to progress is through sheer diligence, learning the layout and the most economical ways to punish the fearsome fellows. Each maze has a secret room housing power-ups and some have bonus games (including Defender) and it is certainly worth checking every nook and cranny to locate them - they are generally found in parts where the scenery slightly differs.

Weapon boosters come in the shape of hovering fireballs and the green balls, in particular, are magnificent. When you get a full artillery, the next ball you collect slaps you with the mega boost, a double-barrelled blast.

It is one of the great feelings in a computer game, to march down a corridor, blasting enemy soldiers without taking on board so much as a scratch, their bodies exploding into a mushy morass. Corks, I hope my granny is not reading this.

After a bit of practice on the early levels, you learn the best routes to take, where the pick-ups and enemy are situated (and where you are likely to get ambushed), and how best to combat them, losing as little energy as possible en-route.

Importantly, the health bottles, which (obviously) boost your energy levels are often situated in the teleport exits to the next level. To attain any success in Gloom, you need all your lives intact when hopping into the tricky, later levels, where the going gets mighty tough. And in the early stages, there are no extra lives to be found, so caution is the order of the day. Be careful, young man.

The levels are split into three main sections, each with contrasting décor and evermore menacing degenerates. Transparent ghoulies haunt the second phase, floating through walls, emitting green liquid when you punish their impudence, while flying devils with unfeasibly large teeth suck you in on the later stages.

Full-on blast
And it is not just a case of dashing the corridors, wielding the axe. Some levels have revolving rooms where you have to move as it rotates )rather like a revolving door), ensuring you sneak out at the right exit.

The worst thing is when you get squashed against the wall, watching your health rapidly deteriorate, before you make good your escape. Suddenly, a skinhead is charging towards you and before you can exclaim "I am armed, dangerous and practised in all the major martial arts", you are dead.

Really, there is not anything here which makes you gasp in awe, it is just that Gloom works so beautifully overall. The two-player head-to-head games are dull in the extreme, though.

In Alternative's Death Mask, at least you could access a map and find out where your opponent lurked. And with the regenerating power-ups, you always had a chance to win the bout, even if the end was near on nigh, whereas Gloom is a straight, full-on blast with little else to offer.

Gloom's two-player, friendly option is far better (particularly on two Amigas with a null-modem cable) and you can organise who scouts around which area, saving valuable time and energy in the process.

The sound. Crivens, the music is fabulous and the howling, screeching and booming gunfire effects are entirely in keeping with the mood. And when you blast the poor blighters, their flesh splays to reassuringly horrendous, squelching sound. But louder footsteps next time, please.

There are enough puzzles to keep the folk that like to creep around content and those with a penchant for destruction will not be disappointed.

Truly, Gloom is a fine game. I would have preferred a password system, even if there were only two for the next couple of phases. Main contenders, Fears and Alien Breed 3D, will be doing just dandy if they can attain this standard. Smashing!


Cunningly, the exit door. Walk through.

Grab this and you become invincible.

Erm, a weapon booster. More power.

Grab this and boost your health level.

Opens doors elsewhere in the level.

Open and run back. Enemy behind.

Gloom logo AGA

Nun suchen die am PC so populären Brutalo-Dungeons im Stil der ID-Titel also auch den Amiga heim, und das mit aller Gewalt: Die neuseeländische Black Magic-Crew peilt hier geradewegs den Index an!

Blut und Gedärm, Körperglieder und Leichenteile wirbeln durch flüssig scrollende 3D-Kerker, Todesschreie lassen den Lautsprecher erzittern, und dem guten Geschmack wird die Pistole auf die Brust gesetzt. Dabei hätte das Game derlei exzessive Ekel-Einlagen ebensowenig nötig wie die Namensverwandtschaft mit den Index-Kandidaten von ID-Software.

Die Gloom-Programmierer verstehen nämlich ihr Handwerk und offerieren neben dem üblichen Solospiel z.B. auch sehr innovative Teammodi, die gleichzeitig Ballern mit- und gegeneinander, entweder am Splitscreen oder per (Null-) Modem an zwei Rechnern, erlauben.

Im Titelbild darf man darüber entscheiden, ob besiegte Soldaten, Skinheads, Zombies und Organo-Roboter sichtbar als Leichen liegenbleiben oder nicht. Im Spiel selbst hat man einen Ballermann mit unbegrenzter Munition, der sich durch entsprechende Sammel-Icons ausbauen bzw. gegen diverse andere Exemplare eintauschen läßt.

Außerdem findet man in den Labyrinthen des Todes Schalter, die rotierende Riesenschaufeln in Gang setzen, Tore öffnen oder Teleporter aktivieren. Milchflaschen machen geschwächte Helden wieder mobil, Sichtgeräte geben ihnen Durchblick, und taktisch kluges Vorgehen sichert ihren Erfolg: Wie wird ein Rückzug am bester organisiert, von wo aus ist das Feindgebiet gut anzugreifen?

Leicht ist das Söldnerleben aber nicht, denn es gibt weder Automapping noch Levelcodes oder Continues, so daß der Kampf nach dem Verlust aller drei Bldschirmleben wieder ganz von vorne beginnt. Um so wichtiger wird da die Wahl des optimalen Eingabegerätes, und das ist hier (weil bestens zum Seitwärtsschleichen geeignet) am besten ein CD32-Kompatibles oder zumindest ein mit zwei Buttons bestücktes Pad - oder die Tastatur.

Nicht ganz optimal sind die etwas groben und nicht übermäßig farbenprächtigen 3D-Texturen, so daß Gloom beim direkten Optikvergleich mit dem einzig ernsthaften Konkurrenten "Fears" nur zweiter Sieger ist.

Andererseits sorgen regelbare Details und Pixelgrößen bereits am Basis-1200er für anständiges Tempo, und mit etwas Fast-RAM ist feinstes, flüssiges Fullscreen-Scrolling in Drei-D nicht mehr länger eine reine DOSen-Domäne. Zu hören gibt's beeindruckende, oft makabre FX, Sprachausgabe und in den Zwischenbildern auch Begleitmusik.

Fazit: Saubere Technik, reizvolles Leveldesign und faire Angriffsformationen sorgen für Spannung und Atmosphäre, trotzdem können selbst Anti-Zensoren wie wir Goom nicht ernsthaft empfehlen - mit seinen zerplatzenden Köpfen, Körpern und Innereien überschreitet das Spiel klar die Grenzen des noch Akzeptablen, da braucht man kein Staatsanwalt zu sein, um sich mit Grausen abzuwenden. Daher gibt's diesmal auch keine Noten für Spielspaß oder Gesamteindruck... (rl)

Gloom logo AGA

"Sooth! Sooth" as Jon Pertwe said. But with 'Gloom' instead, natch.

We were hoping to bring you another excuse for Gloom not being finished, but the game turned up and spoiled things. (Great cars, them dilemmas - Ed.) Readers will be pleased however to learn that in true Acid style, Black Magic (the new company of ex-Acid bloke and Guardian programmer Mark Sibly) are driving Guildhall to tear out their hair by still adding things to the game, and are in almost constant contact with us over the information TCRLeMansTrackWithAuthenticEngineSound, asking questions like "Can you think of a practical way to sidestep using a one-button joystick?" and "We didn't send you our special cheat version allowing you free access to all the levels did we?" (Yes, luckily you did. Once again, we win.)

Gloom, then. It is a revolting game. Not since Zombie Apocalypse 2 (by, it transpires, the same bunch of crazy young kids) have graphics and sound combined so convincingly to make me feel ill.

Concerned parents and rent-a-quote politicians should be suitably relieved to find Gloom cannily has a 'violence model' toggle. In the first 'violence model' monsters gurgle and stagger as you hit them, exploding in a flurry of limbs and organs with a final shriek. In the second, the pieces remain on the floor, which is useful as there's no map. (Such a thing may strike you as silly, but Gloom's levels are of the single path, continually advancing type (as opposed to, say, the large room with six exits sort). There's little need to return to an area once you've cleared it out, and that is a Good Thing - you're constantly seeing new stuff and Being Surprised).

Being Surprised is what happens a lot in Gloom. That and Being Scared. Remember that bit in Evil Dead 2 when Ash is searching through the cellar for the missing pages of the Book of the Dead, and the camera looks straight on as he cautiously opens a door but then tracks slowly forward as he steps to one side so you, the audience, are forced, unprotected through the door first? That's what playing Gloom is like.

You know there is something behind the door (or beyond the corner, or whatever) but you can't not go through with it. You want to know - you must know - EVEN IF IT MEANS YOUR FRIGHTENING AND NOISY DEATH.

The camera looks straight on

Sibly has given the same spin to Wolfenstein (it's not strictly Doom. but who cares a tinker's curse?) that with Guardian he gave to Defender. There are plenty of reference points for fans of the genre - secret rooms (a least one per level, folks, and logically findable), ludicrously overblowm level names (The Halls of Torment, for instance, or Watch Your Back - Something Else Is), satanic imagery and the like - but enough new ideas to keep you off-balance.

Teleports, say, or monsters that suck you in so you have to keep bashing the backwards key to stand your ground, or pictures whose eyes follow you round the room, or the rotating teleports demanding immaculate timing,, or the blocks moving back and forth that you have to rip between, or - my favourite - the fantastic spinny walls of death (You're in a room with no apparent exit. Tentatively you push a switch, backing away from that wall in case monsters run out and kill you. Nothing happens.

You turn on your heel, acutely aware things could be rushing up behind you and - KABLAM! - you get the entire back wall in the face as it spins on its axis. Fumbling with the controls you are hurled against the side of the chamber and squashed. Perambulatory masonry has never been so much fun).

There's a neat thermo-glasses power-up which lets you see monsters through walls as blue shades, a vitally important one that turns you invisible and one that gives you bouncy bullets. And if you charge your weapon to full and then get another power-up you receive a short-lived double-barrelled 'mega weapon' (A word about those weapons. Regrettably, instead of the pistol/machine-gun/shoulder-mounted rocket launcher gang so beloved of 3D shoot-'em-ups, Gloom's weapons are balls of light that change colour depending on their potency, from red up to a shimmering purple. It's disappointing and confusing, as the monsters' fire is exactly the same. Still, eh?)

Everything, in short, a growing boy needs, were he to be a game about shooting monsters in dungeons and not in fact a boy at all.

Corners and niches to hide in

Unlike ooh, what, say, Marathon (the Apple Mac Game Of Champions, and we will take on anyone at all in an eight-player shootout, just ring first to arrange a time), two players can take part in the game proper, covering the other as doors are opened, and hogging all the health bonuses.

This adds no end to the larks on offer as you persuade your partner to throw that switch and just have a look down that corridor while you stand guard in this large empty room where it could conceivably get quite dangerous at some point in the near future, probably.

Butt, oddly, the ''deathmatch' option (usually the big selling point in such a case) is the least successful part of the game. The head-to-head levels are lacking any sense of excitement. They are designed competently enough, with corners and niches to hide in and power-ups aplenty, but you don't at any point feel thrilled.

If you stumble across the other player, you fire balls of light at each other toe-to-toe until someone spins feebly on the spot and dies. It does not matter that you have the fearsomely powerful purple laser while your opponent is hampered by the middling green one, or whatever - they're all dull balls of light. Whither the scary chatter of machine-gun fire eh? The cold-water shock as your prey turns and you see by the graphics he is carrying a rocket launcher? Not, I fear, here. Not even the cheat mode helps. A peculiarly unsatisfying state of affairs.

But I cannot in all honestly care. I have played the 'deathmatch' game exactly twice, spending the rest of the time deep in the one-player game. (I can finish the first batch of levels without losing a life, but am foiled by the wall-piercing ghosts of the tombs, however, if I start in Hell I can almost (but not quite) get through it all. Hurrah for me).

It is with arrogant ease that I outwit the possessed marines of the space levels, speeding past them to collect the secret green laser and then massacring them in bunches of twelve. Divining the rhythm of the huge guardian robots and hopping through their line of fire to annihilate them accurately.

I elaborately stifle yawns as I herd the lizard men of the tombs into the crossroads room and then zip out to leave them behind, and fall embarrassingly to the random shots of the lowliest monster as I sneeringly run into a corridor without securing my flanks, killed through no more than my own hubris, lulled into a complacency that Gloom will always reward with painful death. It's exactly that kind of game, and I think it's great.


AMIGA POWER does not like Gloom's 'deathmatch' games. Perhaps we have been spoiled by Marathon, but you cannot argue against Gloom's innate lack of excitement in these head-to-head contests. It is a pity, for each level has a set all of its own, and they look lovely. And, as well as the illustrated split-screen, you can play via a serial cable or even (even! even!) a modem.


Secret rooms about in Gloom. There's at least one every level, with health bonuses and power-ups and things in them. We were, however, delighted to find a hidden game on one of the levels: a mini-Defender called (o-ho) Underkill, that takes place on a gigantic television set and invites you to 'Insert Coin', awarding an extra life if you complete it. See how we stumble across it. Observe our excited surprise.


Gloom logo AGA CU Amiga Superstar

Price: £29.99 Publisher: Black Magic 01302 890000

If you've always wanted to apply for the Foreign Legion, but can't be bothered to get out of your armchair then Gloom could be the game for you.

Mark Sibly is not only talented, he's a rock fan, which means that his games are never filled with rubbishy house-themed soundtracks or synth lines. No, we get a full on hard rockin' core tune to Gloom and I have to tell you it warmed my heart and soul. Which was just as well 'cos the gameplay that followed almost turned both of them into cold jelly.

Congratulations to Black Magic, Mark's spin off from his previous partnership in Acid Software, for getting the last announced of the current Doom clone games out first. Six months ago we were laying odds on whether Gloom, AB3D or Fears would make the finishing post before the Autumn and two of them have, this and AB3D.

Gloom is set in some pretty miserable dungeons where you, a marine, must work your way around a rendered 3D maze blasting strange creatures, rival marines, ghosts and other creatures out of your way. There is no weapon visible but a power bar at the top of the screen indicates that yo have one and how powerful it is too.

A Gloom marine is equipped with a single plasma-style gun, which you can pick up power-ups for as you wander through the maze. Get five power-ups and you have a pretty powerful weapon. Find one of the super power ups and you have an awesome one.

Right from the start the 3D rendered walls, ceilings and floors do not fail to impress, nor does the size, shape and speed of them enemy, especially the ghosts who come out at you in the second series of dungeons. Idling with intent around any corner can be one or ten enemies, of various different sorts, though if you are lucky enough to pick up a wall scanner headset you're at an advantage - you can see them coming. Upgrades like this, and the weapon power-ups only last as long as your current life though.

Two player fun
Gloom gives you two options on the two player game. If you only have one A1200 then you can split the screen horizontally and, though it slows it down considerably, have all the fun and the worthwhile assistance of a mate to share the misery and woe of fighting a vicious enemy.

The other way to go about things is to get a serial port cable and another friend who has an A1200, link the two and go for it full screen on two machines, with two monitors.

Despite minor difficulties in setting this mode up it is totally awesome when you actually get playing. Two are better than one, and this is one sure way of getting further into the game.

Unfortunately if your opponent has a 1230 50Mhz accelerator in his Amiga and you don't he will rush off in all directions grabbing weapons and food upgrades (disguised as baby bottle), hiding behind you while you bite other people's bullets and generally acting like a right plonker. You see, speed is everything in Gloom and 50Mhz really moves it around.

Two gloomy
And so to the two player Vs Combat mode. Here you enter the maze with your 'friend', try to find and kill him. This works for a while, but you'll soon lose interest and return to the two player versus the computer mode, where the truckloads of enemy make all the difference.

Right from the start the 3D rendered walls, ceilings and floors do not fail to impress. There is one section where you enter a large spinning roundabout, if you get caught between it and the wall you will suffer, but it's the sheer quality of the graphics in sections like this that really make the game what it is.

Gloom is less like Doom than you might think though. It is really a fast paced maze shoot 'em up with less overall atmosphere than Doom but more frantic, shoot 'em up style action throughout the levels. You can size the screen and set the resolution of the graphics to suit your needs and play happily (if a little nervously) for hours, days on end.

In one player mode, or even more so in two player, side by side combat Gloom is excellent. Buy it.

Gloom CD32 logo CD32

Heaven protects children, sailors, and drunken men. But it doesn't protect those who opt to embark on the voyage into the centre of hell that is Gloom, the Black Magic Doom-clone converted to CD32.

For the only protection offered here is that of your wits, cunning and willingness to use a plasma gun without mercy. Steve Bradley had terrific fun last month, wiping out cultists, robots, ghosts, ghouls and other unpleasant creatures. So much so that the awarded the 1200-version a Format-variant of the Midas-touch and a score of 91% into the bargain.

It's easy to see why Gloom plays with the pace of an out and out shoot-'em-up and pays tribute to Doom with the more endearing touches of an 'up-and-downy' screenplay as you run, secret doors, monsters hiding behind exits and upgradeable weapons.

Use of the CD32 controller's shoulder-buttons is a boon when carrying out that all-important, life-saving, side-step manoeuvre. And the rest, as they say, is fundamental, mental fun.

Unusually, though, the game offers no start-up locations, or options to save at the end of levels, which essentially means that within a few days of play, you're going to get fed up with running around in the earlier stages.

Nevertheless, Gloom is terrific to play and is a title which earns the imaginary title of 'compulsory purchase' for CD32 owners.

Das große Duell der Dungeons

Gloom CD32 logo Fears CD32 logo CD32 Amiga Joker Hit

Was Diskette-Schlächtern recht ist, kann CD-Söldern nur billig sein: Zwei aktuelle Actiondungeons im schmucken AGA-Outfit sind bereits nach wenigen Wochen von der Floppy auf die Schillerscheibe umgezogen - wir haben uns hüben wie drüben in den texturierten 3D-Gängen umgesehen!


Bei einer Konvertierungszeit von knapp vier Wochen lassen sich die Neuerungen gegenüber der Disk-Ausführung erwartungsgemäß schnell abhaken. Man spart sich nun den Nebenjob als Floppy-DJ, basta.

Die vielfältigen multimedialen Fähigkeiten der Schillerscheibe wurden dagegen leider überhaupt nicht genutzt, denn Optik, Sound, Steuerung und Gameplay hat der Hersteller Black Magic um keinen Deut geändert.

Nicht mal ein Intro oder wenigstens tolle CD-Musik gönnen uns die Konvertierer - und so bezieht Gloom seinen Reiz nach wie vor allein aus der spannenden Hatz durch flüssig scrollende 3D-Dungeons mit texturierten Kerkerwänden.

Eher zu Brechreiz führt dagegen bei Menschen mit schwachem Magen die Terror-Aufmachung des Spiels, die klar die Grenzen des Akzeptablen überscheitet: Wie schon beim test der Diskversion sind wir auch weiterhin nicht bereit, all die Todesschreie und herumspritzenden Blutklumpen, Gedärme oder Leichenteile mit einer Note für den "Spielspaß" bzw. den davon abhängigen Gesamteindruck zu würdigen...

Hinter derlei Gewaltexzessen verbirgt sich jedoch ein recht überzeugendes Gameplay, das man gar nicht extra in den großen Bottich mit dem roten Lebenssaft tunken hätte müssen. Solisten befrieden die im High-Tech- oder Oregano-Stil aufgemachten 3D-Keller natürlich im Alleingan; dagegen dürfen Söldner-Pärchen entweder zwei Rechner per (Null-) Modem verkuppeln und sich die Angreifer via Vollbild zur Brust nehmen - - oder sie tragen Versteckspiele am verkleinerten Splitscreen in eigens dafür eingerichteten Labyrinthen aus.

Unabhängig von der Teilnehmerzahl läßt sich der immer geladene Standard-Ballermann durch das Aufklauben entsprechender Icons zur Megawumme ausbauen oder gegen Flammenwerfer und andere Monsterkanonen eintauschen.

Weitere Sammelsymbole stehen für wärmeempfindliche Infrarotbrillen oder frischen Energie-nachschub für die durch häufigen Beschuß angegriffenen Lebensgeister.

Ansonsten darf man in den Kellern des Todes viele Schalter betätigen und so rotierende Riesenschaufeln in Gang setzen, Tore öffnen und Teleporter aktivieren.

Auch Kämpfe mit Zwischengegnern stehen hier auf dem Marschplan durch das im Unterschied zum Konkurrenten Fears komplette ebenredig angelegte Gebäude. Man findet also keine Treppen, Abgründe oder Aufzüge, aber dafür sind die Räumlichkeiten so verschachtelt, daß man sich mangels Automapping trotzdem ganz wunderbar darin verlaufen kann.

Hat man dabei zugleich die drei Leben ausgehaucht, steht wegen fehlender Continues bzw. Levelcodes gleich der totale Neuanfang auf dem Programm.

Auf AGA-Amigas mit ROMer-Zusatz läßt sich der Schiller-Dungeon auf Festplatte umkopieren und unterstützt dort Maus, Stick und Tastatur. Genau dasselbe tut Fears; jedoch hier wie dort gilt auch, daß sich bestimmte Bewegungsarten des Helden (etwa der "Seitenschleicher") nur mit dem CD32-Pad wirklich optimal ausführen lassen.


Gut, dann werfen wir mal ein schwarzes Auge auf das vom DSA-Konvertierer Attic vertriebene Gemeinschaftsprojekt des Newcomer-Teams Manyk und der Demologen von Bomb-Software.

Fears hat zwar einige Wochen länger zum Sprung auf die Schillerscheibe benötigt als sein Gegenspieler, CD-spezifische Eigenheiten wurden deswegen aber auch hier nicht eingebaut. Das hat bei einem normalen (also nicht mit XX1/32-Erweiterung zum Computer ausgebauten) CD32 den speziellen Nachteil, daß der mitgelieferte Level-Editor dann nicht sinnvoll nutzbar ist - die selbstgestrickten Labyrinthe sind hier nämlich weder speicher- noch spielbar.

Bei AGA-Amigas mit ROMischem Untermieter sieht die Sache freilich anders aus: Hier kommt vor allem dann Freude auf, wenn eine Fast-RAM-Erweiterung oder Turbokarte die 3D-Optik auf Touren bringt. Ähnlich wie bei Gloom braucht man im Vollbild-Modus mit allen Texturen derartige Power-Konfigurationen für eine ruckfreie Grafik, während man dazu am Standard-Rechner den Detailgrad und/oder die Größe des Bildausschnitts herunterregeln muß.

Nun zum eigentlichen Gameplay, bei dem natürlich noch mehr Gemeinsamkeiten der verfeindeten Brüder auftauchen. Die Single- oder per (Null-)Modem verkabelten Duo-Söldner streifen dabei durch düstere Labyrinthe voller Säureseen, Geheimräume und verwinkelter Treppenflure, wobei gottlob eine praxistaugliche Automappingfunktion das Zurechtfinden in den 30 Levels erleichtert.

Man kann dort Monstern in allen Größen, Farben und Formen (inklusive zweier Endgegner) Saures geben, bevor es durch das Tor zum nächsten Abschnitt geht. Dafür rückt der Waffenwart anfangs zwar nur eine schlichte Flinte heraus, aber aufmerksame Helden entdecken auf ihrer Wanderung alsbald effiziente Mgs, Flammenwerfer und andere Extrawaffen mit vermehrtem Schadstoffausstoß - vogelwilders Metzgerwerkzeug wie z.B. Kreißsägen wurden für den sensiblen deutsche Markt jedoch entfernt.

Vornehmlich in den abgelegensten Kammern lagern allerdings auch hierzulande Munitionskisten, Zusatzleben und Energieriegel, während die Continuefunktion unvorsichtige Söldner über den vorzeitigen Verlust der drei Anfangsleben hinwegtröstet.

Zwei Unterschiede zu Gloom fallen besonders stark ins Auge: Einmal enthält Fears einige fast schon dem Adventure-Genre zurechenbare Spielelemente, wobei die enorme Clverneß der Gegner die Härte der Rätselnüßchen aber immer noch um ein paar Grade übertrifft.

Außerdem ist die Action hier nicht ganz so hektisch und bedeutend weniger blutrünstig. Denn statt Zombies oder anderen Beinahe-Menschen knabbern völlig blutleere und leider auch etwas lieblose animierte Tentakelwesen an der Energieleiste. Sie tun das auch nicht mehr ganz so unbarmherzig wie bei der von uns getesteten (Presse-) Diskversion, zudem ist nun der Schwierigkeitsgrad in drei Stufen justierbar.


Die einander recht ähnlichen Actiondungeons überzeugen beide durch ihr spannendes Gameplay, die fesselnde Soundkulisse (Titelmusik, Sound-FX, etwas Sprachausgabe) und eine grandiose 3D-Optik, wie man sie in dieser Qualität am Amiga noch vor einem Jahr für vollkommen ausgeschlossen gehalten hätte.

Dabei wirkt die Fears-Opik bunter und weniger klobig, während das acitonbetontere Gloom die lebendigeren Figuren enthält - andererseits leidet die Animation hier spürbar unter der relativ grobkörnigen Grafik.

Wer sich da nicht recht entscheiden kann, darf es ruhig mit den wahren Fans halten und beide Tiel in den heimischen Dungeon zerren. Ansonsten sollte man im Zweifelsfall aber dem abwechslungsreichern Fears den Vorzug geben. Nicht zuletzt auch, weil man im Sinne zukünftig nicht noch restriktiverer Jugendschutzbestimmungen derart ausufernde Brutalität, wie sie Gloom aufweist, nicht unbedingt durch einen Kauf unterstützen sollte... (rl)

Gloom CD32 logo CD32

Price: £24.99 Publisher: Guildhall Leisure 01302 890000

If I was disappointed with Breed 3D it's mainly because I expected more from Team 17. No disrespect to Black Magic or Guildhall, but I didn't expect anything new or fancy in terms of an update by them and so remained nonplussed when I stuck the disc in my CD32 and discovered it isn't any different.

Because all of Gloom's re-sizing options are available through pressing the pause button and selecting from a menu you can make the speed acceptable. And, with my console head on as opposed to my Amiga one, I have to admit that the less suspenseful but more frantic shoot 'em up style of this game is more suited to the CD32.

Gloom, by Mark Sibly, one of the Acid team responsible for quality titles like Skidmarks and Guardian was the first of the Doom clones to hit our shores late this summer. An instant favourite it scored 90% on standard Amiga 1200.

Unlike Breed 3D or Doom itself you do not pick up shotguns, miniguns, bazookas and the like, the sole weapon is a laser blaster and you can upgrade it by picking up bouncing balls of energy.

The idea is to collect these to make your weapon more powerful and you can boost it into a mega weapon for a short period of time or get a twin barrelled version.

The enemies which include marines, ghosts and skinheads come on fast and furious and can be immensely difficult to overcome. Luckily, they aren't too smart so you can usually retreat out of trouble, regain your composure and change your undies before returning to the fray... unless they are ghosts, who will follow you through walls.

With other useful pick-ups and reasonable graphics and speed this is the best Doom clone to get for your CD32 at the moment.

Still, as I said in the AB3D review, you're not getting the sort of software your machine is capable of supporting.

Gloom DeluxeAGA Amiga Format Gold

He likes driving cars and he likes driving trucks. So let's see how Steve McGill got on playing Super Skidmarks and Gloom Deluxe.

Firstly, in terms of gameplay and structure Gloom Deluxe is virtually the same game as Gloom. The second thing that might come to mind is that if it is only an upgrade, why cover it again?

The beneficial difference is that Gloom Deluxe can now run on non-AGA Amigas. Any Amiga with a 68020 processor and 2Mb of RAM can be used to sample the delights of this cracking Doom clone.

Due to a new chunky planar (C2P) routine developed by Black Magic - original Gloom used a chunky copper technique - the screen resolution can be bumped up. Brace yourself for this, but it also means that beefier Amigas can play at a satisfactory screen size with the by now de facto 1 * 1 pixel resolution.

The game can also be played on an Intuition screen which means that you can play without shutting down the operating system. This means for example, that you could have Gloom set up as a tiny little playable screen to kill time while rendering an object in a 3D package. Tremendous. No more thumb twiddling.

If desired, you can even play Gloom in a Workbench window that's been set to 255 colour mode. But as the readme file with the package states, this option is really only of use to graphic card owners due to the limitations of the standard OS routines.

Modem support has been tightened and stabilised. Mostly at the expense of the chat mode, no more "you're going to die horribly" messages. Pressing ESC or pause now brings up the game options screen on both machines.

Almost revolutionary is the spport built in for the head tracking version of Amiga Technology's i-Glasses. The potential is there to look in one direction while firing in another. Hurrah.

The most noticeable difference on booting up is the inclusion of an on-screen gun. It might seem ridiculous to say, but there's something comforting about having the gun projecting into the screen. It gives the player focus and consequently makes it easier to target on the bad guys.

As it stands, if you own an Amiga 3000 or an accelerated 1500/2000 then you should go to the shops and buy this game now. Anyone with an AGA Amiga who doesn't already own Gloom should also consider the game as a must have. Go for it.

Die Luxuskerker

Gloom DeluxeAGA

Auch beim neuen Update von Blck Magics 3D-Actiondungeon bleiben wir bei unserer politisch korrekten Politik, den Spielspaß nicht zu benoten. Denn auch und gerade durch die grafischen Verbesserungen trieft nun mehr Blut denn je aus dem Monitor!

Konzeptionell hat sich gegenüber dem ursprünglichen "Gloom" ohnehin nichts geändert, und derart exzessive Gewaltdarstellung wie hier ist und bleibt nun mal eine Frage des (schlechten?) Geschmacks: Wenn man knietief durch die Gedärme und Gebeine zerfetzter Gegner watet, braucht man kein Münchener Staatsanwalt zu sein, um das als des "Guten" zuviel zu empfinden.

Kurzum, jeder sollte für sich selbst entscheiden (dürfen), ob er das hier Gezeigte für noch akzeptabel hält - und das dürfte auch ohne Noten für Dauerspaß und den damit natürlich eng zusammenhängenden Gesamteindruck gelingen.

So, damit schieben wir den moralischen Zeigefinger wieder zurück ins Halfter und kommen zur (eigentlichen) Sache.

Vorweg ist dabei zu sagen, daß sich, von der nun weniger fehleranfälligen (Null-) Modem-Option für Duo-Action an separaten Rechnern und einem Riesenpaket mit optischen Retuschen mal abgesehen, gegenüber den originalen 3D-Kerkern herzlich wenig geändert hat.

Was übrigens jeder selbst leicht überprüfen kann, weil der Box auch das erste "Gloom" beliegt. Andererseits wäre es für die Fans wohl auch eine herbe Enttäuschung gewesen, wenn sie nicht mehr ballend durch aus der Ego-Perspektive gezeigte und flüssig scrollende Flure hätten marodieren dürfen, um einen Feind nach dem anderen umzunieten...

Daß unterwegs weder bei der Musik noch beim Leveldesign selbst Neuheiten zu entdecken sind, deutet allerdings auf ein übertriebenes Traditionsbewußtsein der australischen Kerkermeister hin. Zudem zeigte man bei Black Magic auch keinerlei Erbarmen mit jenen geplagten Action-Novizen, die bereits vor Monaten an den anfänglich zwar fairen, später jedoch beinharten Attacken der Gegner scheiterten: Wer die optischen Offenbarungen in den drei abschnittsweise unterteilten Szenarien komplett begutachten will, muß schon erneut ein Maximum an Standvermögen und Geschick beweisen.

Bleibt also nur zu hoffen, daß wenigstens die bereits in den Start-löchern stehende und zu beiden "Gloom"-Varianten kompatible Datadisk etwas einsteigerfreundlicher und vielleicht auch ein bißchen weniger gewaltverherrlichend ausfällt,

Trotz unverändertem Gameplay überzeugen die insgesamt 21 Dungeons der luxuriösen Fassung abe durch dezent angehobene Spielbarkeit. Das ist in erster Linie der deutlich verbesserten Optik und speziell der feineren Auflösung zu verdanken: Wo die Grafikengine herannahende Feinde einst nur als verschwommene Pixelhaufen darzustellen vermochte, sind bei Gloom Deluxe bereits weit entfernte Gegner klar erkennbar und ermöglichen damit weit eher erfolgreiche Angriffs- bzw. Abwehrtaktiken.

Ein weiterer Garant für den Siegeszug ist die ausgefeilte Steuerung per CD32-Pad, und auch via Tastatur bleibt das Schlachtenglück dem Spieler weitgehend hold. Pe Stick ist man jedoch durch die relativ umständlich zu handhabende Seitenschleich-Funktion gehandikapt.

Inhaltlich geht es also wie gewohnt darum, sich mit der unlimitiert munitionierten und per Sammelicon aufrüstbaren Wumme gegen die Heercharen des Bösen zur Wehr zu setzen, nach durchschlagskräftigeren Projektilen zu suchen und dabei häufig nützliche Goodies zu finden - sei es, daß (seltener) gleich der Vorrat an zunächst drei Leben aufgestockt wird.

Sofern die entsprechenden Symbole entdeckt und aufgeklaubt wurden, helfen zudem begrenzt haltbare Röntgenbrillen, Unsichtbarkeits-Drinks, Doppelflinten oder Flummigeschosse beim Gang durch das Labyrinth der tausend Tode.

Allerdings wird das fehlende Automapping stark vermißt, und Continues oder zumindest mehr als bloß zwei Speicherpunkte für den Spielstand im kompletten Game wären ebenfalls wünschenswert gewesen.

Ansonsten sind Schalter zu betätigen und rotierende Riesenschaufeln in Gang zu setzen, Tore zu öffnen und Teleporter zu aktivieren. Allzu kopflastig ist das Spiel dadurch freilich nicht, denn auch Gloom Deluxe zeigt sich letzten Endes als lineare Actionballerei - schon wegen der gegenüber Konkurrenten wie "Alien Breed 3D" oder "Breathless" kaum vorhandenen dritten Dimension.

Anders gesagt: Hier darf bzw. braucht man sich nicht mit Aufzügen, Treppen, Emporen, Schützengräben oder Fallgruben abzuplagen. Dieses Minus an baulicher Komlexität wird jedoch durch ein im Genre bislang eher rares Feature ausgeglichen, nämlich den Splitscreen-Modus in drei eigens für Duelle eingerichteten Labyrinthen.

Kommen wir zu guter Letzt zur offensichtlichsten Neuerung: Die Grafik wurde komplett umgekrempelt und ist nun zum einen deutlich detailreicher, zum anderen läßt sie sich besser an die vorhandene Rechnerkonfiguration anpassen.

Ja, sogar "Freundinnen" mit den Maßen A500 und A2000 werden ab sofort mit einem speziellen 64-Farben-Modus unterstützt, die besten Resultate erzielen allerdings schnelle Cybergraphics-Grafikkarten.

Nicht ganz so flott, dafür aber sehr räumlich wirkt die Optik durch Escoms Cyberbrille, die "i-glasses!". Grundvoraussetzung für die komplett mit Texturen verkleidete 3D-Action ist in jedem Fall ein 68020-Prozessor mit 2 MB RAM, wie ihn etwa jeder Standard-1200er unter der Haube hat.

Schwer zu empfehlen ist darüber hinaus zusätzliches Fast-RAM oder besser eine 68030-Turbokarte, damit die Umgebung nicht in einem solchen Zeitlupentempo vor sich hin ruckt, daß einem der Finger am Feuerknopf einschläft.

Kurzum, wer über eine weniger üppiges Ausstattung verfügt, läßt diese Keller doch besser im Keller. Was natürlich erst recht für feinfühligere Aktionisten gilt, denen hier allein schon die Todesschreie ihrer bedauernswerten Opfer den Magen umdrehen dürften! (rl)


Neu bei Gloom Deluxe ist auch die im Vordergrund sichtbare Waffenhand, welche im Schrittakt mitwippt - eigentlich ein reines Optikgimmick, das aber hübsch anzusehen ist.


Frisch integriert ist zudem der Support für Escoms "i-glasses!": Der Headtracker der VR-Brille wird unterstützt, zwei separat für jedes LCD-Display bzw. Auge kalkulierte Bilder erzeugen einen räumlichen 3D-Stereoeffekt.


Gute Nachrichten für AGA-lose Amigos: Obwohl einst exklusiv für A1200/4000 gemacht, läuft "Gloom" im Update jetzt auf jedem Rechner mit 68020-CPU und 2 MB RAM!


Ausreichend Speicher und CPU-Leistung vorausgesetzt, läuft Gloom Deluxe auch parallel zu anderen Tools wie etwa Renderprogis - fragt sich bloß, wer so was braucht?


Die technisch verbesserte Grafikengine unterstützt Auflösungen von bis zu 320 x 200 Pixeln, während "Gloom" in der Urversion ab etwa 100 x 80 Bildpunkten passen mußte.

Gloom Deluxe AGA CU Amiga Superstar

Price: £29.99 Publisher: Black Magic 01302 890 000

Gloom is still a rockin' game, but to make the homicidal punters even happier Mark Sibly has gone and updated the graphics.

I've always been wary of things that say 'deluxe' or 'lux' or any other form of word denoting luxury as a marketing term. When I was a lad, washing with Lux soap meant going to school smelling like a girl. I used to spend all my pocket money buying spring onion crisps just to try and smell normal (for a kid anyway) and this has scarred me for life.

And what about cars? L is supposed to stand for luxury and what a piece of old junk you get when you buy an Escort L. Although the letter L is intended to convey a positive impression, on cars it invariably denotes 'bottom of the range, cheap... most likely to rust', while DL or Deluxe means you get a crappy radio and side stripes thrown in for an extra £500.

Side stripes
So I wasn't that impressed with the name Gloom Deluxe and I was right: it's just Gloom with side stripes. These side stripes are pretty impressive mind you, they allow anyone with an 020 processor or better and 2Mb of RAM to run the game. Which means if you have an ECS machine with an accelerator you're in business.

That said, it worked perfectly well on our office A3000 but refused to load on our upgraded A600 (using the 620 board with 4Mb RAM). Further support is provided for those with graphics boards in big box Amigas.

You can open it up in a resizable window on your Workbench and have no end of multi-tasking fun and games. The graphics modes run in 4x4, 2x2 or 1x1 pixel modes or various combinations like 2x1 etc and this allows you to tailor the game's speed to your machine.

If you have an AGA Amiga you will only buy this version of Gloom for its 1x1 pixel resolution and to entertain any idea of running it in this mode you'll need an accelerator. Smooth isn't the word if you've got heaps of RAM and a 33MHz 030 or better, though to get fast and playable full screen action in 1x1 pixel mode you'll need a 50Mhz 030 or 040. 2x2 was the standard for the original version and the game is more than reasonable in this, so if you've got a fast ECS machine this is the mode to go for. 4x4 pixel mode must have been included by Sibly as some sort of joke. Pixels the size of lollipops are hardly conducive to playing an all singing and dancing action game.

Any changes
But, er, that's it from a practical point of view. Gameplay seems more involving but, more importantly, the game map itself doesn't appear to have changed at all. It's still one of the fastest and most competitive shoot 'em ups on Amiga but I would seriously baulk at recommending that anyone upgrade to this version.

If you are a new purchaser, interested in buying Gloom for the first time then get Gloom Deluxe as opposed to Gloom. If you have the machine spec to run it, the 1x1 pixel mode makes it well worth while. But even if you've got a screaming fast AGA Amigas and you've already completed or nearly completed Gloom it's definitely not worth the upgrade.

As for non-AGA machines the jury is out. It wouldn't work on my A620, but it was gorgeous on Mat's A3000 with its box bursting wagonload of RAM and its GVP Spectrum graphics card. If you have the latter specification then it would make a fine investment, but on smaller machines we haven't been able to test it and I suspect 4x4 pixel mode would have to be used on some.

As a new game in highest resolution it's worth over 90%, in 4x4 pixel mode it's worth about 60%. As an upgrade it falls short of what I hoped. Mark Sibly, please, deliver Gloom 2 soon and make it Gloom Deluxe with new baddies and a new map!