Night Shift logo

Publisher: Lucasfilm Games Price: £24.95

Hard times are upon us and money's to tight to mention. What's needed is a part-time job, and the best place to look is in the local newspaper. There are always plenty of jobs in the classifieds.
Those wacky wizards at Industrial Might and Logic, the world's leading toy company, need someone to work the night shift. Generous rewards are offered to successful applicants and what's more, no references are needed.

Two days later after a five minute interview you are given a short tour of the factory. The set up is one huge machine called Bingham's Environmentally Active Solution for Toys - B.E.A.S.T. for short.
The factory owner, Glenn Bingham, invented the giant structure from all manner of household waste products.

Beginning your shift at 9pm, you must first make your way to the foreman's office. The cigar-smoking boss will give you your quota for the night.
To start with this is a small number of items. Your first shift merely requires the production of five Storm Trooper Toddlers.

In addition to your quota information, you'll also be given a shift code, which will allow you to enter that level at the beginning.

When you pass into the factory your first task will be to charge up the generator. To do this you have to jump aboard the bicycle and peddle like crazy. Two light bulbs will flash as the generator charges.
Once the bulbs are flashing wildly you should ignite the furnace. You'll have to delve deep inside your toolbox and find a match to light the burners. Having charged the battery and lit the burners you should now make your way to the top of the BEAST.

On the way it's advisable to take a quick glance at the conveyor belts to ensure that they're all running in the right direction - if they're not, the flick of a switch will rectify the problem.

Situated on the top of the BEAST is the solidfier supplier production unit, a specialised piece of equipment adapted from an old university chemistry lab. After kicking the plug into the socket you should light the Bunsen burner and set it to the correct heat setting.

Once you have completed the process the unit will produce a liquid solidfying solution that will run into the resin maker. An eye should be kept on the unit in case the liquid boils over. If this occurs, the gas must be re-adjusted before production can continue.

The plastic made by the resin maker will fall into the moulds. The newly formed pieces of plastic will then find their way to the paint shop. In earlier levels you won't have to operate this unit. However, on later stages you'll not only have to paint the pieces, you'll also have to mix the paint and flush out the system.

The painted units will then travel along on assortment of conveyor belts until they enter the bonding unit. Once inside, the machine joins the two portions of plastic together.

This often has catastrophic effects as the second piece to enter the bonding unit will be joined on top of the first. It's not uncommon to find dolls with two heads, four legs or with their legs on their heads!

Once bonded, the dolls will travel down to quality control. Ones completely of one colour with heads on top of bodies will be sent for packing. Rejects are put to one side for the foreman to see.

When the shift is over the candle at the bottom of the screen will burn out and you'll be summoned to the office. Bonuses will be awarded for complete dolls and deductions made for any rejects.
If you made your quota you'll be given a fresh order and a new shift code. If you fail, you're fired!

Night Shift logo

US GOLD * £24.99 * Joystick

Get a job. An anthem of the Thatcher years, this is the axiom behind the latest Lucasfilm/US Gold tie-up: Nightshift. Fred and Fiona Fixit have sent in their applications to the Lucasfilm sound-alike Corporation: Industrial Might and Logic. They want to be part of the production line that churns out all those cute Darth Vader and Storm Trooper dolls.

The Fixit couple are accepted for a trial period and this is where you step in to help them. The IML production line is an antiquated Health Robinson affair. All the actual making is done by one huge machine, lovingly known as The Beast.

The Fixit's job is to turn the right knobs, throw the right switches, pull the right plugs and repair any broken bits to make the machine produce what it is told. This could be Darths, Troopers or Yodas. Anything Lucasfilmy in fact, even Zak McKracken's.

Fred or Fiona, after being set their evening task by the manager, appear in the heart of the machine. The Beast is in fact little more than one huge series of platforms that the workers leap around to get the machine producing the right sort of toys, assembled in the right order and in the right colour.

Fred'll Fixit
The various functions that the Fixit couple are asked to perform include peddling a bike to get the generator generating, lighting fires to keep the boilers boiling, plugging leaks to stop them leaking and switching switches to make sure that all the toys are conveyed along the right conveyor belts. Otherwise you'll find Darth Vaders with two heads and no bodies, or mixed in colour with blue bodies and red heads.
And the IML Corp deal with inefficiency by sacking employees.

The Beast is a glorious piece of graphic invention, a multi-coloured melange of wheels and cogs that interact to create toys. The machine is the heart of the puzzles and therefore the game.

You are never told what has to be done in the right order to get the Beast running, it's a matter of trying to fix everything. Then, if a number of toys start to pop out of the top, it's up to you to make sure they get assembled correctly on the way down.

Kill that Lemming!
Of course everything is far from staid in the world of work, every now and again Cliff or Jodee Lemming leap out and try to sabotage the evenings efforts and must be chased off with hoovers or Venus fly traps. The machine regularly cranks down and the mix-ups get ever more comical as the wrong switches are turned in an attempt to get this show back on the rails.

With a quickly burning candle to represent the time left on that night's shift, this is a game of panicked trial and error, the cuteness hyping the whole affair way past the normal puzzle challenge levels.

It's original and totally enjoyable, not at all like a night's work. A factor that is only enhanced with the introduction of humourous and flexible characters who mirror real life working people, i.e. the Foreman, the lemmings to a tee.

Night Shift logo

Lucasfilm Games - der Name steht weltweit für fantastische Adventures und unterhaltsame Flugsimulationen. Aber ein Puzzle-Action-Game im Comiclook? Paßt das überhaupt zur Firmentradition?

Und wie es paßt! Denn wenn Hollywoods Erfolgsproduzent George Lucas seinen Namen unter ein Produkt setzt, dann erübrigt sich meist die Frage nach der Qualität. Und was die Skurrilität betrifft, steht Night Shift einem "Zak Mc Kracken" kaum nach: Die Aufgabe des Spielers besteht nämlich darin, mit abenteuerlich konstruierten Maschinen Spielzeugpuppen zusammenzubasteln!

Bevor unser Held der Arbeit ans Fließband darf, muß er aber erstmal ins Büro des Schichtleiters. Der teilt ihm mit, wieveiel Püppchen produziert werden sollen und gibt ihm eine Karte mit vier Fruchtsymbolen - den Zugangscode für die nächste Schicht. Die "Schichten" entsprechen den (insgesamt 32) Leveln, die Karten sind natürlich der jeweilige Levelcode.

Soweit so gut, besichtigen wir also mal die Werkhalle. Die besteht aus mehreren übereinanderliegenden Plattformen, Fließbändern und diversen Maschinchen. Weil der ganze Krempel ohne Strom keinen Mucks von sich gibt, darf man sich als erstes auf ein Generator-Fahrrad schwingen und kräftig in die Pedale treten (Joystick links/rechts).

Damit wäre die erste gute Tat des Tages vollbracht - jetzt können wir uns langsam daranwagen, zu den einzelnen Maschinen zu hüpfen, Schalter umzulegen, sowie Dampfkessel und Rührmaschine in Gang zu bringen. Wichtig ist, dabei immer darauf zu achten, daß die Puppenteile auch richtig weitertransportiert und zusammengesetzt werden.

Zu allem Überfluß müssen zwischendurch auch noch diverse Schrauben angezogen werden; dummerweise lassen sich die Werkzeuge dazu nur einmal verwenden, weshalb man ständig auf neue aufsammeln muß.

Und das Allerschönste: Die ganze Produktion läuft unter Zeitdruck ab!

Auf den ersten Blick macht Night Shift einen recht verworrenen Eindruck, und es ist tatsächlich auch relativ mühselig zu erlernen. Aber es lohnt sich: Das Game steckt voller Puzzles, die teilweise echt knifflig sind. Wer sie nicht schnell genug löst, baut seine Puppen entweder falsch zusammen oder wird einfach nicht rechtzeitig fertig.

Sobald man dann die Funktion der einzelnen Maschinen und ihr Zusammenspiel begriffen hat, kommt wirklich Spielspaß auf, und das nicht zu knapp! Auch technisch wurde das Game erstklassig in Szene gesetzt: Die Grafik ist ausgesprochen farbenprächtig und zudem hervorragend animiert. Die Geräusche der ratternden Maschinen klingen zwar ein bißchen übertrieben, aber immer noch realistisch.

Wer also die Geduld aufbringt, den anfänglichen Motivationstiefpunkt beim Erlernen des Spiels zu überwinden, dem können wir ein paar sehr vergnügliche "Arbeitsstunden" versprechen! (C. Borgmeier)

Night Shift logo CU Amiga Screenstar

George Lucas' films have always been praised for their special effects, created by Industrial Light and Magic. Here we find you working the night shift at the Industrial Might and Logic factory (thinly disguised, huh?). IML are responsible for turning out Stormtroopers, Obi Wan Kenobis, Luke Skywalkers, Indiana Jones' and every other conceivable Lucas character in toy form for all the kiddies.

You've just been appointed operator and maintenance man of the Beast, the huge machine responsible for churning out the movie stars. Your job is to make sure the machine doesn't go wrong while filling production quotas. This means juggling repairs while flicking the right switches so as to make sure Admiral Akbar doesn't come out malformed.

The character you play is Mario-like, to say the least: dungarees and a red cap add to this impression. Alternatively, you can become a rather nimble little girl called Fiona, who does the job as well.

Naturally these two characters come complete with a repair kit containing matches, spanners, a balloon to travel up the machine, an umbrella so you can fall along distances without taking a damage, and a Venus fly trap.

The machine itself is several screens high and it pays to learn what can go wrong, and what happens when you switch certain levers or kick the odd thing or two.

If something bad happens you don't die - the clock runs down, which is probably worse. Should time expire before your quota is met the boss calls you into to watch him sack you and stamp "fired" all over your job application.

Level one is fairly straightforward. You need to turn out just five Stormtroopers (in any colour). The first thing that needs doing is to connect the machine to the electricity. This is done by jumping onto the exercise bike, slamming the joystick left and right in a steady rhythm and powering up a couple of light bulbs.

Next is a leaky pipe at the top of the machine, which required fixing. Jump up and clobber it with the wrench. Finally you need to kick a plug into its socket. This bit stumped me, I knew the plug was supposed to be in the top left corner of the machine, but I couldn't see it, so I went hammering everything with my workman's DMs until a red lump jumped left and the machine came to life. It still didn't look anything like a plug.

On my way back down to the exercise bike (the Beast was running out of juice) I thought I would be clever and flick one of the many levers. This proved to be a dumb move. A batch of Stormtroopers came down the conveyor belt standing on their own heads. The later levels get even more bizarre and hectic - you are ordered to turn out half the cast of Return of the Jedi in Red, Green and Brown, which is by no means easy.

Initially I had reservations about this game, but the more you play it the more you get into it. This is quite a through to the run around puzzlers which were popular early last decade, though this is executed in a manner which is as up to date as it is fun. The only drawback is working out what does what, but there's a run through of the first few levels in the manual which is infinitely helpful.

The graphics are colourful and fun, with plenty of send ups on George Lucas' most famous characters. There's a nice interlude screen where the boss issues you with new orders, and a fruit machine code system for starting on later levels.

Smart, well presented and fun, Night Shift is a must for the family crimbo stockings.

Lucasfilm/US Gold, Amiga £24.99

Forget Kenner and Palitoy; Industrial Might and Logic are the toymakers to watch. Their bizarre factory produces a whole range of Lucasfilm toys, from R2-D2 to the Loom creatures. The assembly line begins with raw materials and finishes with the toys being packaged.

There are machines to do everything, but on the Night shift there's only one worker to correct mistakes: yours truly either Fred or Fiona Fixit. If you earn enough money an intermission screen shows your worker buying goodies But if you fail to meet toy quotas its the sack!

The sprawling production line is informally known as the BEAST! It stretches over four screens push-scrolling vertically. Raw materials are piped in at the top, where they need to be heated to the correct temperature in a massive glass flask. Use a match to light the Bunsen burner, then select the right setting. There's also a plug on the raw material feeder and a bolt on the resin mixer which tend to work loose. Once all this is working, blocks of plastic are sent down the line. There's countless conveyor belts, all of which must be moving in the right directions.

Along the way, the plastic blocks are punched into doll shapes, each doll coming in two halves. On later levels they need to be painted. You have to mix the right colour, as well as ensuring the paint sprays and drying fans are on. After being painted the dolls have to be put together - all too often legs are on top of heads, or two heads together! Then there's Quality Control, a bike to generate electricity and packing cases at the bottom.

All these elements make for a pretty sophisticated production line with a natural tendency to go wrong at almost every point. You have to scurry up and down the line correcting the faults, as well as being harassed by a lemming and an accountant who hits you over the head with some bills. This leaves you stunned for a few seconds, as does falling too far.

Naturally you have a toolbox: down and fire to access it with left/right scrolling through items such as a wrench, match, balloon (to go up the Beast quicker), umbrella (to go down quicker), vacuum cleaner (to suck up the lemming) and venus flytrap (to eat the lemming!). All of these items can only be used once, so you have to keep an eye out for more to collect.

Phil King This is one of the most compulsive games I've played in ages. There always seems to be something going wrong on the production line, so seeing properly finished dolls emerge is very satisfying (while the muddled-up rejects are often amusing - like C-3PO's head on R2-D2's body!). It's all marvellously hectic fun with later levels adding even more machinery to juggle with. Thankfully, the password system avoids frustration, the only slight annoyance being the lengthy interlevel disk accessing.
Stuart Wynne The great thing about this game is how more and more factors are introduced with each new nightshift. Moreover you can never tell where faults are going to develop: each time you play a level it's a little bit different than the last time. Combined with a permanent high score table there's a big incentive for going back to the start to clock up mega-earnings. But if you haven't got that long to play, you can use the fruit machine password system to go to whichever level you want.
Title graphics are initially a little confusing, and also clearly betray their EGA PC origins with not much in the way of subtle shading. But unlike Loom, which cries out for Amiga graphics, this doesn't matter here. Sound is impressive with a great industrial soundtrack.
All in all, this is one of the most playable Amiga games this month.