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Ocean * £24.99

Arnie loses his mind and flies to Mars to uncover an interplanetary scam. A multi-style film game - à la Batman The Movie - Level One was featured on the January coverdisk so you should already have a feel for the excellent music.

Odd-looking sprites initially spoil the 'realistic' look of the game but are soon forgotten as the toughness sinks in. A mix of puzzle and platform it is high paced, if a tad formula. A solid, polished package, only its late arrival, due to slipping in the schedules, deprived it of a full review.

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Zusammen müßten sie eigentlich ein unschlagbares Team ergeben: Ocean als Spezialist für Filmumsetzungen, und Arnold Schwarzenegger, der wohl erfolgreichste Muskelprotz aller Zeiten. Oder vielleicht doch nicht?

Die ersten Filmlizenzen von Ocean ("Knight Rider", "Street Hawk", "Miami Vice") waren zwar nichts Berühmtes, aber in letzter Zeit sind aus Manchester fast nur noch gute Umsetzungengekommen - man denke nur an "Batman", "The Untouchables" oder "Robocop 2". Auch mit Arnold gibt es mittlerweile haufenweise Computerspiele, das Problem bei ihm ist bloß: in seine Filme kommt man häufig erst ab 18 Jahren rein, und die meisten seiner Games darf man sich (nach Meinung der BPS) überhaupt nicht anschauen. Soweit wird es aber bei der totalen Erinnerung wahrscheinlich nicht kommen, denn Arnie wurde diesmal recht soft versoftet.

Total Recall erinnert eher an ein Actionadventure als an ein blutrünstiges Shoot 'em up, obwohl natürlich schon fleißig geballert wird.

Die Hintergrundgeschichte entspricht naheliegenderweise im wesentlichen der Filmhandlung: Wir schreiben das Jahr 2084, die Erde hat gerade den Dritten Weltkrieg überstanden, der Mars wurde kolonisiert, und der Held hat schlecht geträumt. Genauer gesagt, wird er von Erinnerungen verfolgt, die befürchten lassen, daß er gar nicht der Mann ist, für den er sich hält. Um dem Geheimnis seiner Identität auf die Spur zu kommen, fliegt er zum Mars und... Um es kurz zu machen, es geht darum, worum es immer geht: Man muß alle Bösewichte killen, eine verfolgte Unschuld weiblichen Geschlechts retten und ein Planeten vor dem Untergang bewahren.

Im Spiel selbst darf sich Arnold dann überwiegend als Sammler und Jäger betätigen: Verschiedene Gegenstände (Aktenkoffer, Ausweise, Masken, usw.) müssen eingesammelt werden, um in den nächsten Level zu gelangen, andere bringen frische Energie, zusätzliche Munition und ähnliche Extras mehr. Zum Jagen gibt es natürlich auch genug: Schon in der allerersten Plattformwelt (fünf Level insgesamt) tauchen mehr Marsmännchen auf, als man auf dem ganzen Planeten vermutet hätte. Die Kerle sind übrigens nicht einmal grün, auch nicht besonders intelligent, aber halt wahnsinnig zahlreich. "Robocop 2" war schon ziemlich schwer, aber im Vergleich wirkt es wie ein gemütlicher Sonntagsspaziergang - da helfen selbst die fünf Continues nicht mehr viel...

Dazu ist das Gamedesign nicht sonderlich geglückt; man fährt halt mit dem Lift von Plattform zu Plattform, klaubt alles auf, und wenn Gegner kommen, läuft man am besten davon - das klappt viel besser als kämpfen! Trotzdem ist Total Recall kein totaler Reinfall, denn die Grafik ist sehr detailreich und hübsch (bloß das Helden-Sprite ist schrecklich unproportioniert), das Scrolling funktioniert tadellos, und die Musik ist ein "echter Whittaker"; sie kommt sogar erstaunlich nahe an den Film-Soundtrack heran. Auch die Joysticksteuerung ginge durchaus in Ordnung - wenn nur die Schwierigkeitsgrad nicht so elend hoch wäre... (mm)

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Film licences can't be the easiest games to do. It's not a criticism I'd usually levy at this particular label, but far too often originality takes a back seat, and the game ends up seeming tired and defeated. A few slabs of race game in a platform sandwich.

Unfortunately, a couple of slabs - or platforms to be precise - is precisely the sort of fodder dished out by Total Recall. It's by no means a bad game, just a little stale. It follows a very successful formula but fails to rise above it. And that's down to the sameness of its levels.

You know what you're getting with an Arnie game - your trigger finger is primed. In that sense Ocean have come up trumps - with simple ideas (and that's not necessarily a bad thing), wrapped in decent graphics and big name appeal.

In the first section you run around picking up objects including a nose gun, a suitcase, a ticket and your passport. Hot in pursuit are Cohaagen's thugs upon whom you heap your renegade brand of violence.

Arnie himself doesn't much resemble the real life thing but he's suitably orangutangish (which is neat) and - especially if you can find the high speed power up - a fairly nippy sprite. His fight manoeuvres are somewhat limited but there's enough in this level to keep you occupied for quite some time, although, personally, I find that's down to the difficulty in finding the objects rather than the size of the map.

Level two is an adjunct to the first, as Arnold emerges in a Martian whorehouse. This one is a straight find-your-way-through-to-the-exit affair as you are tracked by white suited villains and teleoperated machine guns.

Level three is the first of the car chase sequences. This one features the gloriously wacky android chauffeur. You rip it out of its seat and commandeer the car, followed by the enemy.
There are a number of large gates which you've got to smash through, but first you've got to lose the people tailing you. This is followed by a different race; you go careering through a tunnel en route to the shady cafe. Dodge the articulated moles which are being used in the Martian construction.

The final sequence is another platform section. You go looking for Kuato, and when you find him go back to the top of the map, go through a secret passage and get into the lift. Richter will be there. Knock him off and take the lift to the top. SO begins the final fight with Cohaagen.

I was quite surprised by the graphics. I was expecting a lot of digitised stills, but the loading screens and a fair chunk of the intro are done surprisingly nicely in comic book style. To be fair, the programmers deliberately opted for NOT giving Arnie a full range of unarmed combat moves because they felt that would be a bit "Bruce Lee"; but to my mind this merely adds - despite the additional elements, such as the lift fight in level five - to the impression that there's not enough difference between levels one, two and five. The version I saw recently was strictly pre-production, but following discussion with the development team I can't see the game changing drastically.

It's said to be churlish in this profession to compare one person's game to another's (although why I don't know; it happens in other media), but I can think of other. Ocean licences which do this sort of thing better. Movies are about letting your imagination go rip - and so should games.

THE MOVIE The plot, of course, is taken from the film. A quiet construction worker, Douglas Quaid, learns to take the law into his hands when, plagued by reoccurring memories, he's drawn to Mars and into the web of evil spun by Cohaagen, his security force cronies, mutants, terrorists and android cabbies. It's in rip roaring slaughterama...

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Ocean, Amiga £24.99

Although the scenario remains the same, with Quaid the amnesiac secret agent revisiting Mars, the Amiga version is considerably different from the C64 one (76%) with two more levels. Level One is a side-on view platforms-and-ladders action game, with four objects to collect before Quaid can exit.

Level Two's cab chase has a side-on, horizontally scrolling perspective. Quaid must shoot or avoid the baddies in his attempt to escape and there's even an end-of-level tank to beat.

Level Three is similar to One, only set in a warehouse packed with security devices. Simply find the exit to escape to level Four, which continues the format only with Martian graphics. Similarly Level Five is virtually identical to Two except for different graphics. The final level is another platforms-and-ladders game, but it's by far the biggest and involves finding the keys to open locked-off areas. There's also a short puzzle section, the infamous lift fight (no gore though!) and a climatic confrontation with Cohaagen.

Robin Hogg Standard platform action is all well and good in a C64 game but on the Amiga it needs a lot of game depth to justify its use. Total fails to provide this, and three big levels of similar platform action is a bit much with so little originality and unremarkable graphics. Further damage is done bu the very basic horizontal blast-''m-up section and poor presentation. I think this Total Rehash deserves the 'Uzi 9mm!!!' treatment!
Stuart Wynne Oddly enough the C64 disk game completely outclasses the grainy unatmospheric Amiga presentation (why no digitized pics?). However the game itself isn't too bad. The platforms sections are tough and playable with a nice variety in structure - combat is emphasized in Three and Four, while Six require extensive exploration. Sadly the rewritten car chases are overly difficult and poorly done - far inferior to those in C64 Batman. Nevertheless, Total offers a big challenge, reasonably well done, and deserves consideration.