Llamatron: 2112 logo

When was the last time you can remember playing a totally mad-trash shoot-em-up? These days game companies tend to concentrate on graphics presentation, whereas in the 'old days' video games consisted of simple, brightly-coloured sprites and overpowering sound but with gameplay that left you breathless.

Jeff Minter has long-professed his admiration of early 80's coin-ops, particularly Williams games such as Defender and Robotron 2084, and was the man responsible for the Amiga version of Defender II. Minter thought that it was a crime that there wasn't a version of Robotron available on home computers so put his talents to the task of producing his own interpretation.

Furry Monsters and laser creeps

You take control of a laser-spitting llama (yes, a llama) who travels through a series of 100 zones attempting to rescue innocent stranded creatures from alien mutants. In order to rescue the camels, goats, llamas and sheep the heroic animal must walk around the screen picking up the creatures while fending off attacks from the aliens.

To help you kill the enemies, is a directable laser-weapon, which can be locked in one direction by holding down fire. This allows you to attack in one direction.

Once you've managed to clear all the mutants from a screen, you can usually progress to the next and if you collect all of the lovely creatures before you finish, you get a bonus score! However, some waves are classed as ' Hard Waves', which require you to collect all the friendly creatures before you can finish the level.

Free for all

Not since PGA Tour Golf has a game managed to grab the attention of the entire Amiga Format staff, with much joystick-wrenching and swearing to be witnessed. Even though the game is pretty old fashioned with its frantic sound effects and simplistic graphics, it packs a hell of a punch in the gameplay department. The game is very easy to get into due to its simple nature, but it's very difficult to put the joystick down once you've started, so be prepared for some long nights of game playing!

There are a few quirks, such as the odd glitch in the sound and graphics every now and then and the fact that the collision detection tends to go rather awry fro time to time, but even this doesn't detract from the highly enjoyable and furiously addictive gameplay.

Since the game is shareware, the only asking price is a plea from Jeff and send him a fiver for his efforts, this game shouldn't be missed. So get those fivers out!

All that Glisters helps your Quest
You can get an edge over the alien mutants by picking up the icons that they occasionally drop. These give you extra tools and weapons to help defeat the foe.
Llamatron: 2112: 3-Way split icon 3-WAY SPLIT - Gives you a spread three laser streams. INVINCIBILITY - Makes you immune to enemy attack for a limited time. Llamatron: 2112: Invincibility icon
Llamatron: 2112: Hot Bullets icon HOT BULLETS - Fires a faster stream of more deadly shots. FLOYD BONUS - A bonus is added to your score. Llamatron: 2112: Floyd Bonus icon
Llamatron: 2112: Bounce Shots icon BOUNCE SHOTS - Allows you to ricochet shots off the walls. SMART TOMATO - Zaps everything on screen. Llamatron: 2112: Smart Tomato icon
Llamatron: 2112: Extra Llama icon EXTRA LLAMA - Adds a life to your supply. LOVE HEART - Makes the creatures fall in love with you and rush towards you. Llamatron: 2112: Love Heart icon
Llamatron: 2112: Warp icon WARP - Adds 50,000 to your score and moves you on five levels.    
Llamatron occupies a strange position in that it isn't a commercially available game. It's essentially a public domain program, so once you've got hold of it you can distribute it freely among your friends. However, if you have a copy of the game and enjoy playing it, you are obliged to send £5 to Jeff Minter for his trouble. It's a good idea to be honest and shell out the dosh (after all, look at the quality of the game for the price) since good programmers deserve to get something for their hard work. It may even induce other writers to come up with great games under the Shareware scheme.

Llamatron: 2112 logo

(Available from various PD suppliers)

We jumped the gun on this one a little bit in issue two, but now Jeff's actually finished the Amiga version and it's looking every bit as good as the ST one, and sounding even better. For those of you who missed it, it's an update of Williams' classic arcade shoot-'em-up Robotron, fiddled around with to add Jeff's inimitable feel (you know the kind of thing - sheep, goats, yaks etc.) and provide an even zappier experience for aficionados of the coin-op golden oldie (which includes everyone on the AMIGA POWER team).

Robotron's unique double-joystick control system has been cleverly implemented here, and indeed, there's also the option to actually use two joysticks for complete authenticity. Not that it's all improvements - a couple of the new features are distinctly irritating (particularly the laser gun) and the graphics have a slightly cluttered and unclear look (in Robotron you could tell at a glance who the bad guys were, but in Llamatron it's all a bit less instinctive) - but all the same this is a highly classy piece of freebie software.

Wait a minute, though, Llamatron isn't strictly free - if you like the game and decide to keep it, Jeff asks that you send him a fiver as a shareware fee. Then again, in return for that you'll also get a big llama poster, a newsletter, and a copy of Jeff's original version of Gridrunner (first released in 1989), so you've got no cause for complaint.

Remember, with shareware you try before you buy, so if you don't like the game it won't cost you a penny. (But if you do like it, please play fair and do send Jeff some dosh - we'd like to see this idea encouraged). Not that you're very likely not to like it - if you're a zapping fan, this'll be right up your street.