Netherworld logo

NETHERWORLD is Hewson's first dip into the Amiga market having been programmed by Imagitec, designed and developed by the Finnish programmer Jukka Tapanimaka.

The game is set in a world of fantastic structures and wonderful beings. You are trapped in this mystic place, and the only way back to reality is to collect enough of the local currency to pay your way out, otherwise you'll spend the rest of your days dodging acid bubbles and dragons.

The aim of the game is to collect a set number of diamonds within a time limit and then exit through a teleport. After each level there is an intermission, and an extra life is awarded if this is successfully completed.

The playing area consists of features which can assist or hinder your quest. For example a brick smasher will shatter a wall and allow you access to the diamonds. Teleports can whizz you to random locations within the playing area in times of emergency, and demon killers allow you to destroy deadly foes simply by touch.

Extra lives and invulnerability can be picked up as surprise bonuses, but these are not advisable as they could also result in an uncontrollable ship or reversed controls.

I am little lost in summing up just how good or bad this game is. The graphics are consistent throughout and the multi directional scrolling is very smooth. The sound effects are run of the mill but the music which accompanies the title page is very good.

Netherworld is a well designed and executed game on 8 bit computers but on the Amiga it doesn't quite make the grade. True, it has some nice features and original touches like alien generators, but at the end of the day it's poor VFM. At the same price you could go out and buy Hewson's other new release for the Amiga, Nebulus, which is a far more entertaining investment.

Netherworld logo


The programmer of this little number delights in the name Jukka Tapanimaki. Great name Jukka, great game too. So you're in another time, another dimension locked in the eternal fight between good and evil, facing hideous 'death-exuding' aliens of every imaginable description etc etc.

This time the evil takes the form of acid bubbles, demon dragons, goat's heads and various mines, as you guide your ship through level after level of mayhem in search for diamonds. You're up against the clock and searching for a teleport to the next dimension (sounds like working for Format - Ed) as you pump a million tons of lead into dragons' heads. Such noble restraint will give you extra lives, extra points, mystery bonuses and special features like inverting all control movements.

The graphics and sound display their 8-bit lo-res design origins, but scrolling is obviously improved. Certain 'trigger' icons flash you across three screens' worth at something approaching light speed when you run into them.

Possibly Hewson's strongest 16-bit release in terms of sheer blastability, Netherworld really shifts in the firepower department despite a rather standard scenario. A good outing for Hewson on the 16-bit format - now when are they going to get beyond 8-bit conversions?


The Amiga version of Netherworld is significantly better than on the ST. The gameplay is the same, but scrolling is faster and smoother, the sound is more varied, and some clever programming allows more colours to be used on screen. Overall, we'd only rate the ST version at 60%.

Netherworld logo

Hewson, £19.95 disk

During a long space journey in your wheel-shaped craft, you hit an anomaly in the space-time continuum which threw you into the mythical Netherworld.

The inhabitants are a strange race of mysterious creatures, ranging from small, spinning cubes to bubble-spitting dragons. Initially terrified and confused by these strange apparitions, you fled deep into the heart of the realms until you found a relatively quiet piece of space. After regaining your breath, you resigned yourself to the fact that you must fight your way back through the difficult areas you have witnessed before you can hope to escape back to real space.

Due to the supernatural properties of the universe you now occupy, the only way to leave a particular zone is to collect and process enough diamond-shaped crystals. Your on-board computer tells you how many crystals you need to find before escaping through a circular teleport. If you use a teleport before collecting the requisite number of gems, you will be moved to another area of the zone.

On escaping a zone you get the chance to pit your wits against one of the Netherworld puzzles, in which you must move rocks to deflect a spark into a 'magic block' which will turn into crystals.

Additional items may be picked up in the 12 zones to aid you in your escape, such as shields, wall breakers and dragon killers.

Maff Evans The 64 version of Netherworld arrived just after the disappointing Marauder affair in Hewson's history, managing to redeem the company's name with a strange but enjoyable blasting game. Now, I'm often described by certain large editors (no names) as 'an Amiga snob' so I was pleased to see the 16-version of Netherworld appear. So, what's it like? Well, I can relax now... it's very good! The graphics use some very nice shading techniques to give a feeling of 'infinite' space behind the scenery, and the scrolling is very smooth indeed. The gameplay is every bit as good as the 64 version and I can see myself playing it for a good while into the future. The only thing that I'm slightly disappointed in is the sound. Where's the thunderous guitar samples that were heard on the 64? I mean, the Amiga can do this kind of thing a lot better.
Paul Glancey When Netherworld arrived in the office earlier this week I was chomping on a bacon butty and feeling down, but aye, man, did this great release cheer up yours truly or wot? I loved the 64 version when that emerged, but Hewson have used the Amiga's capabilities well and have produced a neat little shoot and collect game. The graphics capacity has been utilised effectively, creating an eerie atmosphere that has you spellbound as you fly around death mask skulls and impressive looking dragons. The only real drawback in it was the lack of sound. Who wants a gorgeous looking game but only average sound when we all know that the Amiga sound chip's power is good enough to get even Maff dribbling (Ooo! Err! - Kati). But don't let that put you off; Netherworld is a game to look out for.