Rubicon logo

Er sieht aus wie eine Keuzung aus Arnold Schwarzenegger und einem Affen. Er stöhnt, ächzt, schnauft und ist zu allem Überfluß noch bewaffnet. Und dieses Urviech soll die Welt retten?

Es soll, zumindest, wenn es nach der haarsträubenden Vorgeschichte geht: Das Ekelpaket von einem Helden hat den Auftrag, die strahlenden Reste eines zusammengeschmolzenen Kernkraftwerks unschädlich zu machen - während ihm alle mutierten Kreaturen dieser Erde an den Kragen wollen...

Was dabei auf dem Bildschirm abläuft, ist der 999ste Aufguß eines horizontal scrollenden Ballerspiels, wobei (wie bei solchen Arcade-Rangeleien üblich) das Scrolling solange stehen bleibt, bis alle Feinde am Screen in den Mutanten-Himmel geschickt wurden.

Auf diese Weise hat der Einzelkämpfer sieben Level im toll gezeichneten Endzeit-Look zu überstehen, zur effektiveren Vernichtung der mannigfaltigen Angreifer können die üblichen Extrawaffen (Laser, etc.) eingesammelt und über die F-Tasten angewählt werden.

Leider fällt das aufgrund der trägen Steuerung nicht eben leicht, überhaupt ist das Gameplay etwas konfus geraten: Mal tut sich so gut wie nix, dann hat man wieder kaum eine Chance, sein bißchen Lebensenergie gegen die oberfiesen End- und Zwischengegner zu verteidigen.

Soundmäßig wird eine klasse Titelmelodie von Maniacs of Noise geboten, im übrigen ist bis auf ein paar Explosionsgeräusche nicht viel los. Wer sich daran nicht stört, der ärgert sich vielleicht über die ständige Wechselei der zwei Disketten nach jedem Game Over, denn ein Zweitlaufwerk wird nicht unterstützt.

Und wem auch das nichts ausmacht, der hat unseren Segen - rein optisch kann sich Rubicon ja sehen lassen. (pb)

Rubicon logo

Just in case you are making any holiday plans, whatever you do, do not book up to stay at the Soviet nuclear powerplant on Koala Island in May 2011. You see, according to the plot of Rubicon, it is going to explode, spreading radiation of 1,230,000 units over 300 square miles which, it has to be said, could be a little irritating if you happen to be suffering from sunburn at the time. There is also a chance that you will feel the side effects of total mutation.

You see, in this game, all the animals have mutated beyond recognition and now possess the intelligence of mankind. It is your job to make your way through the various radioactive areas, reach the Nuclear base and disarm the nuclear weapons stored here. Needless to say, I have not got even a seventh of the way towards doing this yet (I cannot even get off the first level) as things, sideways shoot- 'em-up speaking, are a bit hard. In fact, if anyone can bat Keith on the highscore table with 900,000 points, then mine is a pint of bitter and some dry roasted peanuts, please.

Other things, graphically speaking, are pretty great, though as the screenshot should show; it all looks very arcadey and Ghosts 'n' Goblins, doesn't it? What you cannot see here are the two solid layers of parallax scrolling, the 32 colour graphics, the fast action and all the other things boasted in the press release. Graphics wise, Rubicon does justice to the Amiga and should be congratulated for it. Um, well done.

However, as ever in the case of shoot- 'em-ups, the gameplay is decidedly shallow. Shallow in that all you do is run in one direction and shoot baddies, stopping to pick off the occasional stationary dragon or dinosaur - quite how innocent animals mutated into the sort of fantasy creatures to be found here is something that eludes me completely, by the way. It is almost as if, heaven forbid, the game was written first, then the plot scrawled down at the last minute. (Not that that could ever happen of course, oh no).

Anyway, back to the point. The point is that the gameplay is a bit shallow. Rubicon is a fine, fine shoot-' em-up, but it is blatantly unoriginal with not one surprise in store. The weapons system is quite nice - an arming canister floats down Bionic Commando-style, you select which of the seven weapons you want armed (you learn which weapons to arm first as you progress into the game), but I am sure we have all seen this somewhere before. Still, what the hell, eh? Having said all the above, I still find it pretty good fun.

Rubicon logo

It's the 21st Century and a massive explosion at a nuclear weapons factory has spread a radioactive cloud over much of the old Soviet Union and Finland. Now sealed off, reports have started to trickle in of strange mutated creatures roaming the 300 square miles of radioactive wasteland.
Beyond recognition, these once-human creatures have been transformed into hideous abominations intent on gaining control of the abandoned nuclear plant and unleashing its nuclear arsenal on the rest of the world.

As a genetically-engineered super soldier you've been hand-picked for the task of stopping the mutants from carrying out their plans and destroying the nuclear weapons plant for good.

This somewhat hackneyed scenario is the basis for 21st Century's new horizontally-scrolling shoot 'em up which pits the player against hoards of mutant nasties and renegade soldiers in your attempts to save the day.
The first three levels of the game involve yomping across a variety of radioactive wastelands including a volcanic area with steaming pits of lava and firebreathing dragons to contend with, a frozen landscape full of ED-209 lookalikes and huge super tanks, and an ancient castle which comes with its own resident collection of sub-normals waiting to kick your butt.

Once you've managed to blast your way through that lot, it's onto the nuclear base where a motley collection of super mutants lie in wait, including a huge mother alien spitting its acid-based venom in all directions.

Despite the game's graphical finesse, Rubicon attempts to cram too much action into too small a pace with the result that some poor coding ensures the action slows up considerably when the screen becomes unduly packed with flying pterodactyls, rockets or some of the larger sprites.
Most of the sprites are also poorly animated which only serves to undermine the mood created by the lush level graphics.

There's a whole host of power-ups on offer, ranging from a bog-standard laser to jetpacks, heat-seeking missiles, a napalm thrower and laser bolts, but these are merely window dressing used to tart up a game that offers nothing new and to hide the fact that the game offers little challenge to the experienced gamesplayer. Nice graphics, shame about the game...


There's certainly a lot of action squeezed into the game's seven levels and the playability has been set so it's not a walkover but isn't incredibly hard, either. The 32-colour graphics are superb and some of the sprites are gigantic finely-detailed creations, making your tine sprite seem even smaller by comparison. The super-soldier you control looks just as much a mutant as the creatures he fights as he's a rather squat character in much the same mould as the sprite used in Ocean's < href="totalrec.htm#totalrecallcu">Total Recall. Each level comes with its own graphic style ranging from the molten lava pits and volcanic landscape of the first level to the futuristic wasteland populated with all kinds of mechanical and robotic monstrosities.