Warhead logo

ACTIVISION £24.99 * Joystick and Mouse

The future. Earth has suffered a severe attack from a group of insect-like aliens from the nearby star system Sirius. Reasons for the attack are totally unknown. The resulting nuclear winter has caused terrible suffering and so the remaining people of the Earth have banded together in self-defence to form the Fist Of The Earth World Government.

The alien enemy was more technologically advanced than we were, so work had to be started quickly and now, at last, Earth has an answer: the FOE-57 attack spacecraft.

A space station called Solbase has been set up in the Sun's orbit and will be your home for the next few months as you help the Fist Of Earth defend the motherland from these six-legged aggressors.

A typical day in the life of a '57 fighter pilot starts with the reading of the day's orders. The first couple of missions are desgined to get you used to flying the ship and to practice docking. With that under your belt you are ready to take on proper missions, which usually involve 'Quad Jumping', a sort of hyperspace travel, to a different star system and then flying around using standard motors.

You view all the action through the ship's front window. To start with, flying around is very confusing - especially at high speeds. Fortunately, there are a number of automatic pilots to help you (though things still look very confused at times!), and these include autopilots that lock on to your primary target (which does not have to be the enemy) and onces that point you in the direction of travel - this may sound silly, but the laws of physics apply in space and yu may not always be going in the direction you thought you were. There are also artificial head-up displays just to prove you are moving and weapon status displays.

The missions range in complexity from simple patrols to runs after smugglers and encounters which fleets off the enemy. It's got long into the game, though, that you meet one of the nastiest creations ever to wander the galaxy: The Berzeker, an alien ship that seems to hate all organic life, your enemies and yourself alike. Dealing with him takes some fine flying and devious thinking but he can be destroyed, and you will have to discover just how it is done for yourself. A '57' pilot's lot is not a happy one, but it sure is exciting.


There is a very atmospheric intro soundtrack and the in-game effects are great too. The filled 3D used throughout is well done and everything moves swiftly and smoothly. All the information screens (star systems, planet orbits and so on) are also very good. The overall impression of Warhead is that it is a highly polished game which, though it does not rely on the graphics, has nevertheless been well designed with obvious attention to detail.


None of the missions take hours to complete, but some do take a while and you will be lucky to finish them all first time. More missions would be nice, but the ones there are will not disappoint.


Imagine all the special missions taken out of Elite and plonked into one game, and that will give you some idea of what Warhead is all about. Each mission is not as deep and won't take as long to complete as an Elite mission, but the number makes up for that. A great game, not brilliant but near enough to merit a good look.

Warhead logo

Immer und immer wieder versuchen Softwarehäuser abzusahnen, indem sie das Spielprinzip erfolgreicher Games kopieren. An die Qualitäten des Vorbildes reichen die Nachahmer aber leider so gut wie nie heran.

Unbekannte, insektenähnliche Aliens haben unseren Planeten überfallen, Billionen Menschen sind umgekommen, über die Erde ist ein nuklearer Winter hereingebrochen - kurz und gut, der Normalzustand bei Computerspielen eben. Also, ziehen wir mal halt mit unserem FOE-57 Raumschiff los, das bis oben hin mit Vernichtungswaffen vollgestopft ist, und jagen ein paar Ausserirdische!

Der Anfang ist noch recht vielversprechend, ein futuristischer gemachter Vorspann, untermalt von einem "Alien"-ähnlichen Soundtrack, stimmt den Spieler auf das Kommende ein. Dann darf man ein paar Trainingsmissionen absolvieren, bei denen das Andocken, der Umgang mit den Missiles etc. geübt wird. Hier taucht denn auch schon einer der gravierendsten Mängel des Games auf: die extrem schwer zu beherrschen Steuerung.

Gesteuert wird ausschliesslich mit der Maus, und das auf sehr ungewohnte und umständliche Weise! Ein weiterer Schwachpunkt ist das flache Spielprinzip, ausser rumfliegen und kämpfen gibt es nichts zu tun. All das, was "Elite" oder auch "Space Rogue" so abwechslungsreich und vielseitig gemacht hat (Handel, Piratenangriffe, etc.), fehlt völlig.

Nur die schnelle, wenn auch wenig komplexe Grafik und der ausgezeichnete Sound (Musik und Effekte) werten Warhead noch zu einem mittelmässigen Spiel auf. (mm)

Warhead logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Price: £24.99

If I told you that Warhead was a space bound strategy adventure with dozens of missions, you could be forgiven for saying you have seen it all before. If I then went on to tell you that the game is played from a first-person perspective from the cockpit of your spacecraft, with the outside world being represented, for the most part, by solid vector graphics, you would be perfectly within your rights to slam the door in my face. If I then followed up with the piece de resistance and told you that it offered realism to a degree that none of its predecessors had ever dreamed of reaching, you might just give it a chance.

Warhead is little short of amazing in all respects, from the ear-bending sound effects, right through to the tiny little rocket thrusts made by other ships. I will explain...

The plot is very simple. You are a sort of space bound security guard, who has to venture out on missions over a period of time, with the ultimate aim of stopping a giant alien invasion upon our solar system. All the missions are linked by a main plot, with lots of little subplots, and one thing you must always remember is that your actions on the mission you are currently undertaking could have serious repercussions in the later stages.

Flying the ship is a lesson in astrophysics in itself. In space there is no gravity and no friction, so flying the craft is a little like playing Thrust, except without any gravity and in three dimensions. You only slow down or stop if you make yourself slow or stop. Once you have started travelling in a certain direction and speed, you keep to those figures until you change them. I won't lie, this method of control is very difficult indeed, and takes a lot of practice to get used to, but this does not even begin to harm the playability. Remember Virus?

The autopilots make life a bit easier for you. There are ten of them, each with a specific mundane function, from driving the ship very slowly to a designated point through to just pointing the ship in the right direction. Dull but necessary tasks. Everything in the game follows this turn and thrust rule, and the attention to detail is amazing, even something as small as a missile rotates and guns its little engines to change course. How many sleepless nights went into this little project, I wonder?

However many it was, it paid off, just on the graphics. The game is nothing short of visually stunning. It is not sprite based and it is not solid vector based (I would used the term 'filled vector' but it seems to really annoy Glym Williams, the programmer). Basically, sprites are used where sprites look better than vectors and vice versa. All the ships are vector based so that they can move quickly and good. Things like explosions and stars, however, do not really move that much, so sprites are used because, in the two instances here, they look better.

Speaking of the starfield, unlike all other games I could mention, this starfield does not move at all, and why should it? After all, you are travelling neglible distances across the solar system. To give some feeling of movement to the game you can switch on 'movement dots' which act like the starfield in Elite, giving you some kind of clue as to which direction you are moving in.

Warhead also excels in the important playability category. There is at least thirty-nine missions, stacks of different outcomes, and many different ways of going about your tasks. The cast of characters, both bad and good, are topped off by a guy called The Beserker, who pops out to give you as much grief as possible.

Fantastic is probably the best word to sum up Warhead. Mainly because it is.

Rent-a-kill go on a galactic bug-hunt!

Warhead logo Zzap! Sizzler

Activision, Amiga £24.99

These past few decades have been the worst in our history. We must never forget how lucky we, the survivors, are. We must never forget our duty to those that died, to remember and ensure the 'roaches' never again find us so vulnerable.

When the aliens attacked Earth in 2045, they murdered three billion people and virtually destroyed the planet's ecosphere. We suspect they intended to reduce us to a state of barbarism, easy prey for a follow up attack. But those of us who survived dissolved all national divisions and set up the Fist-Of-Earth Space Force. It was the focus of all our energy and hope; soon we'd established a new space station - HQ Space Operations Command.

Twelve years later after the attack we finally developed a means by which to strike back; the FOE-57 interstellar spaceship. Now we need a pilot, Warhead is the operation to recruit that person - the spear-point of our war effort.

We know little about the aliens. Their motives remain obscure. An ancient race, they may share a common ancestor with insects on Earth. Like them they are individually stupid, only in groups of tens of hundreds do they become intelligent. Communication is via metal particles in their skins, radios which give the illusion of telepathy. A large part of your mission will be discovering more about them...

Your first missions, however, will be to get yourself familiarised with the ship. As you'd expect it's crammed with the latest electronic equipment. Crude directional control is by mouse, changing rotation, with reverse/forward thrust determined by the buttons. Further assistance is provided by the multi-mode auto-pilot, pressing '0' will stop rotation, '2' will point you at the target, '3' will move you toward it, and '9' will bring you to a full stop. No less essential are the Head-Up-Displays, general and weaponry. You can also choose a tactical screen which eliminates any planets from cluttering up the view; and two map screens - short and long range - which may be zoomed into/out of.

As you look through your view-screen you'll see the stars moving strangely. That's because your view is warped, just like a fishbowl to cram a bigger view into the screen. All the stars you see are real; mapped from the massive, and realistic galactic chart. There are also tiny, computer-generated squares to show your speed by their colour and velocity.

Your ship can be equipped with a wide variety of armaments. Besides the mass-driver cannon, there's homing Stinger missiles, proximity mines, X-ray lasers, and a few more yet to be developed. The first missions allow you practise using these on drones. Possibly the most important missiles however, isn't a weapon. It's a data-gathering probe which is crucial for revealing what distant objects are. Once the missile has 'hit', you can go into an info-screen showing all the details, complete with a spinning 3-D view of the object.

There are less than 50 missions, but as each is packed with detail and variety this is much more than it seems - so thankfully there is a save function.

Phil King Warhead's presentation is superbly atmospheric. Despite their oddness, the graphics soon begin to grow on you - particularly nice is the way your missiles fall, then ignite their engines before zooming off. Then there's the map and tactical screens, one of which looks like something out of a Star Trek movie. More unconventional are the non-vector graphics sequences - such as when you dock/undock - providing some variety.
The game itself is a bit of a relief after all those incredibly complex trading game - it's just a glorified shoot-'em-up really. However, what really makes it special is the 'realism' with which combat takes place. The enemy ships are very intelligent, swerving past, sending dozens of deadly missiles your way. And some of the insulting messages they send you are hilariously funny, adding to the tongue-in-cheek sci-fi atmosphere. Great fun.
Robin Hogg When I first heard about Warhead I was expecting a space game in the Elite/Damocles mould. When it arrived I was a little put out by the game's heavy emphasis on space combat, as I felt a little restricted. Now, having played it to death, I must confess I'm hooked! I like the way you're gradually introduced to the various weapons systems and enemies through the different missions. It makes for a great game atmosphere and is very much in the manner of a story with you as the central character.
Graphically and sonically Warhead is good but not a boundary pusher, the fast-moving polygons look quite weird through the novel 'fish-eye lens' view. Sound effects are atmospheric; and the data missiles, information acquiring effect is great! This is no Elite but it's a damn good blast with hidden depth.
Scorelord Well, this is a distinctly odd product. Firstly, the assumption that you humans could take on the most wimpy civilisation is completely preposterous. Then there's the slightly garish stars and the 'speed dots' which initially seem to move oddly. But once you read the instructions and start to play, things begin to slot into place.
The game-style may initially suggest Elite, but is in fact completely different: there's neither the ability or need to go around trading. Instead, you have to follow the missions - disappointingly there aren't that many, but their variety and imagination provide great compensation.
Playing the game is like progressing through a novel, with one set-piece incident after another. (One mission is just like Star Trek IV). The way the various aliens communicate with you is superb, and would be impossible to do in an Elite game. Warhead is much like the utterly compulsive Millennium 2.2, substituting arcade action for the latter's simplistic strategy. If you're tired of monotonously playing the trade routes in Elite or FOFT, this could be what you're looking for. There are definitely no quiet moments in this one!