Originality. A word that doesn't get used very much when describing the state of today's computer games. In just one year you might only get a handful of software that could call itself original.
Apart from a selected few, almost every game that is currently sitting on the shop shelves can be instantly compared to another product.
It now seems that game designers are looking back to when computers were new, fresh and exciting for ideas. Take a look at the evidence. Qwak is a game so like Bubble Bobble that somebody somewhere should be suing somebody else, but is also a brilliant piece of game design. It's gone right back to basics with simple gameplay and playability, enhancing the original idea via the use of improved graphics and sound.
The same goes for Disposable Hero, Gremlin's latest shoot-'em-up extravaganza which more than places a nod and a wink in the direction of Z-Out and R-Type. The old style game is back in business and Mindscape are about to prove it with their latest release, Overkill.
Let's not beat about the bush, Overkill is Defender with knobs on. Defender for those who don't know, is a game whereupon you piloted a spaceship around a screen which scrolls horizontally. You 'defend' a number of men who are being accosted by several nasty looking aliens.
Overkill is along a similar theme, but has been updated and enhanced for the 90s thanks to the increase of quality in the graphics and sound departments.
You progress towards the centre of the solar system by eliminating all alien resistances on each planet. Your ultimate goal is the Enemies Fortress Planet, orbiting nearest the sun. A number of Trilithium Crystals have been scattered about above each planet. Aliens will launch dangerous drones in an attempt to collect the crystals in order to transmute into even more deadly and menacing aliens.
However, help is at hand in the form of support troops who are capable of blowing up the crystals using deadly Helicium mines. Once a crystal has been destroyed, the trooper will await your return in order to be stocked with a new mine. To do this, you must fly your spaceship at the trooper as he leaps in the air.
Once he has caught hold of your ship he will be restocked with a new Helicium mine and can continue his destruction run. All you have to do is simply return him to the ground and the nearer a Trilithium crystal, the better!
The joystick controls your direction of flight and the Fire button unleashes a variety of laser beams, all of which can be powered up, at the enemy. In addition, you have a limited amount of Antimatter shield at your disposal. Hitting the space
Once a planet has been cleared, you are presented with a map of the solar system. By using the joystick you have to guide the cursor to the next planet you want to conquer. You start the game with five ships and a small amount of shield. An extra ship and extra shield are awarded every 25,000 points.
That's basically everything you need to know simply because Overkill is perhaps one of the most uncomplicated games you're ever likely to meet. For the moment forget about the comparison to Defender and let's concentrate on the actual game itself.
Overkill is an appropriate name for the game because there are loads of enemies to kill and at times there are perhaps just too many to cope with.
The graphics are particularly impressive with alien guts flying around the screen in abundance plus there are some psychedelic introduction screens to boot (yeah man!).
The sound is plentiful with loads of swooshes, blasts, explosions and a couple of sound samples placed where and there. Playability wise you can't go far wrong with this intense shoot-'em-up and it's so addictive that it should have a government health warning placed on it.
The only slight problem is the fact that it is a Defender clone and the people who like to keep an eye on those pennies might not want to splash on it.
Overkill has great graphics, excellent sounds, a wealth of playability and a copious amount of addiction. What more do you want from a piece of computer software? A highly recommended blast form the past updated for the 90s.