Watchtower logo AGA

Reviewed by Andy Maddock

We previewed this game last issue and if you've played Commando in the arcades then you'll know exactly what Watchtower is based upon.

A lot of companies struggle to get a foot-hold in the computer industry because they tend to launch an original idea which will only appeal to a minority of gamesplayers, and that certainly isn't where the money is. The best possible advice I could give to a software development team is take the simple idea and inflict new technology upon them. This will undoubtedly appeal to the majority of gamesplayers.

One of the all time greats was Commando - and it wasn't because of the technology at that particular time. It was all to do with competition. You could crowd a good six or seven people around an arcade machine who could quite happily take it in turns to try to take the top spot on the high score table, and if you did manage it you would be rewarded with instant fame and popularity with your mates and the birds. Er, only kidding - because your mates will probably give you a good kicking in the car park for being 'too good'.

Although the bit about the birds is true, CyberArts, the Finnish development team, are the masterminds behind it and are responsible for the outstanding explosions and effects. These are truly superb and although they don't make a game, they certainly add to the atmosphere.

Watchtower excels in its playability. It's just like taking a trip down to the arcade to battle out a good few hours of Commando

As far as plots go it's the same old story. You are in big demand to help defeat some overpowering nation somewhere and your job is to face them and basically blow them off the face of the Earth with your pistol... hmm.

It's a sort of heroic story and if you manage to fulfill it you will be living in luxury and swimming in money for the rest of your life. So there's absolutely no pressure on you whatsoever.

There are six missions where you must take on the enemy which are all based over different terrains such as the desert, jungle, and city. Each one has a varied amount of baddies and end-of-level guardians. The best part of the graphics are almost certainly the backgrounds and explosions. The animation is smooth and the sound effects suit the action perfectly.

However, where Watchtower excels in is in its playability. It's just like taking a trip down to the arcade to battle out a good few hours of Commando.

Speed test

One of the main down points to these games can be the amount of sprites in the screen. In the later levels when there are more foot soliders and bigger tanks, there is a lot happening on screen all at once. Thankfully, Watchtower doesn't slow down one bit - and that was on a standard A1200.

Each of these soldiers takes two hits to kill and each tank, helicopter or bunker takes a good 10 accurate shots to destroy. However, when you do demolish buildings there will be power-ups waiting for you such as grenades, a shotgun or simly energy - all of them will help you in your mission at the end of the day.

Each mission is topped off with end-of-level guardians which are not so easy to destroy because you have to dodge flying missiles as well as ground fire. It all boils down to reactions - you must be able to react quickly with the joystick while continually pressing fire. The enemy's bullets are bright yellow and move pretty slow so you shouldn't have a problem until later on.

Final word

I can see people complaining that the originality of the top down, blast-'em-up has been lost - although I don't really care. If you enjoyed Commando you'll enjoy this. All you have to do is wear a ridiculously woolly jumper along with some tight trousers and some bright white socks, stick some 10p's in your pocket and stand up and play Watchtower - that should bring back some memories for all you kids out there!

Watchtower logo AGA

Steve McGill gets all philosophical about the latest offering from OTM... frivolous entertainment or market enemy?

The biggest question to be asked of Amiga owners when faced with a game like Watchtower is, does it give them what they want out of their Amiga games? If it's progress and entertainment that's required, then Amiga owners will unfortunately have to look elsewhere. Watchtower covers old ground and offers little that's worth writing home about. But that's not to say it's terrible or anything. Because it's not.

It represents a cogent attempt at an old style of game. Technically, the mechanics like the scrolling, the animation, the power ups, and the variety are all competent and smooth, if a little dated.

Despite some fatal flaws in the gameplay's execution, there are still people who'll find enjoyment playing a game like Watchtower. But even those people will balk at the price they're expected to pay for such a frivolous shot at entertainment.

Thirty pounds is a marketing attempt to extract blood from a ground down stone. For this wad of dosh, Watchtower offers a vertically scrolling shoot-em-up with a passing resemblance to the Chaos Engine.

The player takes control of a muscle bound protagonist whose sole aim in life is to reach the very top of the seemingly endless scrolling screen. Trying to stop him from doing this worthy and noble task are the various baddies.

These take the shape of assorted soldier types; commandos, river rats, snipers, grenade soldiers, and bazooka soldiers; various vehicle types; trucks, one turret tanks, double barrel tanks, solid barrel tanks, attack choppers, fighter planes, and submarines; there are even buildings and installations that offer threat; radar sights, watchtowers, and bunkers.

Now, reading all of the above, you're bound to be thinking that the game offers a lot in terms of variety. After all, there are loads of power ups; extra weapons, extra health kits, grenades, and money to be savoured.

But the game is crucified by its linearity and the limitation of the control method. As soon as you start shooting with the central character, his movement is limited. He can no longer move forwards, backwards or to the side. He can only rotate in eight directions.

With limited incoming fire from enemies it's easy enough to stop firing, dodge a bit, and take out the main problem. But when caught in a crossfire it feels hateful. Sometimes, it's practically impossible not to get hit and killed. And that's bad.

Rather than hitting blokes on the run and ploughing on through the game, a lot of time is spent dodging and weaving until there's enough time to get loose a shot or two. If you miss then it's curtains. What could have been entertainment has suddenly become a tedious workout in tactile relations between the player and his joystick. Not a great deal of fun.

To compound the firing flaw, there's also the matter of being fired upon by soldiers that can't even be seen on-screen. Your man can run faster than the screen scrolls. So, if he had been set upon by four soldiers, shot two of them and then decided t run for the safety of the top of the screen. He could reach it, have to wait for the screen to scroll to reveal more of the landscape and suddenly find himself shot dead by someone he couldn't even see. Incredibly, frustrating. Combined with the one stop shots, it just about kills the entertainment value stone dead.

The last of the criticisms, and it's one that some might consider has no place in the pages of Amiga Format is that of philosophy. Not philosophy of the Machiavelli, Plato, Descartes, kind, but philosophy of the Amiga UK videogame marketing kind.

There are now glimmers of light regarding the Amiga's future. The smartest companies are waking up to the fact that the SNES and the Mega-Drive, no longer represent a gravy train of 100% sales expansion. The brick wall of overpriced cartridges, restrictive Japanese sales practice (entertainment tax anyone?), and exponential consumer dissatisfaction has finally been reached. Only select games are bought in significant numbers and turn over a profit. Dogs are killing innovative development off, ensuring losses and minimal returns.

This forms part of my problem with Watchtower. You only have to play it for a short time to realise it's not going to sell in numbers; in effect, you could call it a dog. OTM may be the first to admit that themselves. OTM probably know marketing and the law of supply and demand versus margins much more than they know games. At the price of £30, a few thousand sales will see them able to pay the programmers and return a modest profit from the overheads of publishing and distribution. No more, no less.

As such the game has to be looked upon as an enemy of the market for two reasons:
1) Amiga owners deserve more for £. With a couple of changes it could have been highly entertaining. At £20 less it might even represent value for money.
2) Low sales of games at this crucial time act as a deterrent to bigger companies researching the viability of the Amiga market. In the face of the console collapse prospective developers might just figure that Sony and Sony's entertainment tax represents the better risk...

Watchtower's price and level of playability, is so out of killer with what the market needs that you can only conclude that everyone would be better off if it was given a miss.


Watchtower The more money you pick up, the more you score as a bonus.

Watchtower Luckily, these medi-kits are liberally spread around the battlefield.

Watchtower Weapon power ups aid in the killing efficiency of your bloke. Hurrah for that.

Watchtower Grenades would be easier to launch with a two button joystick.

Watchtower The pinnacle of a level. Collect this and you earn an extra life.


The success of missions depends largely on your tactile dexterity and the use of the objects found in the various crates scattered around the levels.
To see what a crate's hiding, you've got to shoot it. Miraculously it blows up using the Super Stardust explosion routine and looks really 'groovy man'.

Above: That legendary explosive routine in action. I've never grown tired of it. It's really good when you use grenades to kill tanks and things. Then it takes up most of the screen.

Watchtower logo AGA A1200 Speziell

Mit der an Straßenecken feilgebotenen Postille "Der Wachturm" hat dieses Spiel nur den Namen gemeinsam - mit einem indizierten Actiongame aus den 80er Jahren alles weitere. Und das wird auch Jehova sicher gerne bezeugen...

Bislang hat der englische Newcomer OTM ja nur durch die schrottige 3D-Schleicherei "Virtual Karting" von sich reden gemacht, doch in Teamarbeit mit den finnischen Programmierern von Cyberarts entstand nun ein überraschend brauchbares AGA-Actionspektakel.

Was vielleicht nicht ganz so überraschend ist, wenn man weiß, daß der vorliegende Drei Disketten-Turm im Verlauf von rund anderthalb Jahren mühselig aufgeschichtet wurde - nur damit ihn die Amiga-Söldner nun wieder Stück für Stuck in Schutt und Asche legen können.

Das Gameplay ist also schnell umschrieben: Der Spieler soll alles abfackeln, wegsprengen und umballern, was auf dem (von oben nach unten und etwas nach links oder rechts scrollenden) Schlachtfeld kreucht und fleucht. Auch vor einfach nur herumstehenden Soldaten, Panzern, Häusern, Kisten, Wachbooten, Flak-Installationen oder Hubschraubern darf aber nicht haltgemacht werden.

Denn zur Auslebung aller destruktiven Triebe hält die Anleitung schließlich eine treffliche Rechtfertigung bereit. Demnach sehen sich die Eurpäische Gemeinschaft und die UN außerstande, sechs über die ganze Welt verstreute Staatsputschisten zur Räson zu bringen. Nein, da muß sich erst ein Amigo in den Kampfanzug zwängen, um den Möchtegern-Diktatoren mit entsicherter Knarre die Leviten zu lesen.

So schwach(sinnig) die Story sein mag, so stark zeigen sich die feindlichen Kriegsherren in der spielerischen Praxis. Der Gegner läßt nämlich gewaltige Heere aufmarschieren und monströses Equipment auffahren: Die Infanterie trabt gleich im Dutzend über den Screen, Mörserbesatzungen feuern mit geübtem Auge, und große Mannschaftspanzer oder Kampfhubschrauber schicken im Strobokopakt ihre zielsuchenden Projektile auf das Spielersprite ab.

Keine Frage auch, daß von Landminen oder den extradicken Mittel- und Endgegnern genausowenig Gnade zu erwarten ist wie vom unablässig herabtickenden Zeitlimit. Und wer sich zumindest von Continues oder Levelcodes etwas Erleichterung erhofft, sieht sich ebfenfalls getäuscht - sind die fünf Anfangsleben erst über den Jordan gewandert, beginnt die Schlacht wieder ganz von vorne.

Alles in allem ist es daher wirklich sehr zu begrüßen, daß jederzeit Unterstützung durch einen zweiten Mitspieler hinzugerufen werden kann. Denn trotz des variablen Schwierigkeitsgrades scheinen uns Solo-Aktionisten hier doch klar überfordert zu sein!

Immerhin helfen ein paar Gimmicks schließlich doch bei der gefährlichen Pirsch durch die sechs langen Levels. So zeigen zumindest die Feinde größeren Kalibers ihre verbleibenden Energiereserven als Balken an, und man kann die eigene Angriffstaktik dementsprechend darauf abstellen.

Nützlich ist auch, daß Soundeffekte die Nähe von unbedingt zerstörenswerten Installationen signalisieren. Und nach dem im Actiongenre unabdingbaren Sammelgütern braucht man ebenfalls nicht lange zu suchen; sie liegen in Form verschiedenste Icons in Fässern verborgen oder werden von besiegten Gegnern zurückgelassen. Wer sie einsackt, erhält Lebensenergie, Punkte oder eine von sieben Extrawaffen: Die Flammenwerfer und Mehrwegekanonen sind klar kräftiger als die wenig durchsetzungsfähige Standardpistole und daher unbedingt zu bevorzugen.

Bei Attacken auf größere Ziele bewähren sich dann limiert vorrätige Handgranaten und Panzerknacker, auch wenn ihr Handling zu wünschen übrig läßt. Die Extrakracher können nämlich ausschließlich über die Tastatur ausgelöst werden, anstatt mit dem zweiten Button an Pad oder Stick. Noch ärgerlicher als diese unpraktische Lösung ist, daß man überhaupt nur jeweils schießen oder laufen kann, anstatt beides gleichzeitig zu tun.

In puncto Präsentation und Drumherum wäre ebenfalls noch etwas Feinschliff erforderlich, beispielsweise beim zwar soften, aber lahmen Scrolling. Denn oft rennt der Held schneller, als der Screen folgen kann, nur um dann von Bildrand im Tatendrang abgebremst zu werden.

Die Flucht vor Fliegerangriffen kann so durchaus mit dem unverschuldeten Exitus enden. Einer Fahrt mit der Berg- und Talbahn gleicht wiederum der Blick auf die hiesige Dschungel-, Urban- und Wüstenoptik: Hübsch detaillierte Kulissen wechseln sich da mit lieblos hingeklatschten Szenarien ab. Licht und Schatten auch bei der Animation, denn wo einerseits große und bunte Explosionen, Mündungsfeuer etc. das Auge des Söldners erfreuen, da wird es andererseits auch von teils schier lachhaft bewegten Endgegnern beleidigt.Und manche davon, wie eta der Helicopter, sind zudem noch laienhaft gezeichnet.

An Größe mangelt es diesen Objekten aber nur selten, und auch einige Zwischenbilder und die feine Soundkulisse konnten Pluspunkte verbuchen. So heitzen vor und nach dem Einsatz hervorragende Jungel-Soundtracks die Stimmung an, und mittendrin be- bzw. vertönen Hintergrundgeräusche und zahlreiche Sound-FX das Geschehen.

Schon aufgrund mangelnder Action-Alternativen ist der Blick auf diesen Wachturm also durchaus zu empfehlen. Wer mit der sehr schweren und etwas blutrünstigen, aber nicht wirklich brutalen Inszenierung der Schlachten klarkommt, kann bei Watchtower nämlich durchaus seinen Spaß haben - bald auch von CD. (rl)

Watchtower logo AGA

And we were so looking forward to it.

When Prince sang "there's joy in repetition" on the album Graffiti Bridge, I know for a face that he wasn't singing about tiling his bathroom. I spent two days doing it the other week, and six tiles into the bottom row (with 130 to go) lost interest in whole deal. Take heed readers - DIY is the world's dullest pastime, and anyone who willingly uses up their spare time to needlessly wallpaper, varnish or gratuitously be-shelve their houses are CLINICALLY BRAINDEAD SIMPLETONS who would probably choose to eat at McDonalds and actually look forward to the release of the latest Steve Guttenberg movie.

I'd also stake a month's wages on the fact that Price wasn't singing about playing Watchtower, partly because I doubt that it's reached Minneapolis yet, but mainly because it's rubbish. When this first came into the office a few months ago, I played it a couple of times and quite enjoyed it, but as I ploughed on and on through the game, I liked it less and less. In fact, there have been times when I've had more joy in regurgitation.

With the wonderful figt of hindsight, it's easy to see wy we thought it was going to be better. Daze Marketing had brought it in for us to look at, as they were umm-ing and ahh-ing about whether they should buy it. "It needs better graphics," we told them, and they nodded. "It's going out at £16 you say? That sounds about right," we advised, and they left, and promptly decided not to release it at all.

This release then, from OTM, is the full version of the one we previewed and is a shining example that more can often mean less. A one level demo of this for example, might be entertaining for a while, but a full version of it provides relentless one-track gameplay.

Watchtower is a poor man's version of the arcade game Ikari Warriors, which came out in the year dot and inspired The Chaos Engine (AP22, 89%), one of the best Amiga games of all time.

That it's not as good as The Chaos Engine is understandable; it is, after all, a release from a pretty small company. But that it's not even as good as Ikari Warriors, a game that was stealing my ten pences when I was still at school, is a software crime of Interpol proportions.

And the tedious thing is that it comes back to the same set of reasons we constantly harp on about and immortalised in the now famous Kangaroo Court sessions. In fact, if I stop my chatter now and list them, I might just pack them all in. Here goes...

COMPATIBILITY: It's an A1200 game, despite there being nothing flashy about the graphics, the sound or any other bit. This scores a tentative '9' on the Sloppy Programming-o-meter.

LOADING: Of the three disks, you have to use exactly three of them before you can start a game, which means that even though it supports a second disk drive, you're still knackered. In one sequence, a drawn picture of a screaming soldier, a digitised photo of a hand grenade and a 3D image of a helicopter appear, suggesting that they were just throwing anything they fancied onto the front end. Not that it matters at all since none of them resemble anything in the game.

CONTROL: It's just terrible in a sort of mid '80s no-one's-worked-out-a-better-way-yet sort of style. The problem is that you can only fire in the direction you're moving, which works in The Chaos Engine because you clearly a way through each cleverly designed level. But since Watchtower relies on endlessly reproducing baddies who lumber on from all sides, or lurk just round the corner where they'll hit you the moment you come into view, you need to move in one direction and fire in another.

Locking off the direction of fire by holding down the fire button would have improved the game considerably, but whenever I tried anything as hectic as moving and firing at the same time, it just resulted in me lobbing all my grenades away thanks to the "press fire then tap the direction of grenade twice" method of lobbing.

On the album Graffiti Bridge

LIVES: You've got just two life points, so you're healthy, you're hit, you're in trouble, you're hit and you're dead. Every time. While the programmers have clearly gone to great pains to place the life bonuses in exactly the right places on the levels, it's completely ruined because you can't add to your initial two life points, so avoiding being hit isn't rewarded in any way.

Having two hits all the time cuts out any do-or-die, run straight into an enemy camp heroics, as it's guarantee that you'll be killed. Instead, you've got to wimp your way through the game by creeping forwards and taking on soldiers one at a time until you've cleared out every one.

GRAPHICS: Well, they're just a bit nob aren't they? The perspective's all wonky, the men are grubby little blobs and the vehicles are laughably simple. This game's from half of the team that wrote Stardust (AP33, 89%), but the only link between that excellent Asteroids update and this is the explosions. They appear to be exactly the same in both games, and very pretty they are too.

SCROLLING: Compounding the bad control system and the crap life allocation and the unimaginatively designed levels is the lock-off scrolling. This is triggered when you reach certain points in the level, carrying on relentlessly until it scrolls to the new bit of the level.

So, if you haven't killed everyone, there's every chance that some baddies will slide off the screen only to continue their attack on you from off-screen. And you can actually run faster than the screen scrolls.

VARIETY: There isn't any. Don't let the different graphics fool you, each level presents you with the same kinds of baddies doing the same things and, apart from a tank every so often and something huge and hard to kill at the end, every section of every level is the same. There's no thought, no pacing, nothing; the game's a flat pancake of experience from start to finish. As a final insult, despite having six levels, there are only three different locations. Very poor.

What's left to say? That there are problems that plagued 8-bit games? That Watchtower's learning nothing from the last decade of video games? That OTM are supremely native to think this'll be a prestigious launch, despite being clearly inferior to dozens of existing Amiga games? That we've gone over everything that's wrong with this game a billion times in a billion other game reviews over the last five years?

Watchtower's as stillborn a release as any I've ever had the misfortune to play, and all of a sudden, starting to sand the stairs doesn't seem like such a chore any more.


On level one, laughingly titled 'boss', is a boat. With a big gun.

Level two presents you with a tank. With two big guns.

Level three has a flying Mars bar. Sadly, it also has just three guns. Zzzz.

Watchtower logo AGA

Price: £25.99 Publisher: OTM 01827 312302

If you wanted tips on the following game, just try the age-old advice "If it moves, shoot it". This would also be a good time to find a friend, 'cause you're gonna need as much help as you can get!

Upon loading Watchtower, the immediate thought that springs to mind is "Cwor, this don't 'arf look like Chaos Engine" - and quite rightly so. The graphics certainly owe more than just a passing nod to the Renegade classic. However, after a few minutes playing you realise that Watchtower's contents is more akin to elderly titles such as Commando and Rambo, not to mention the Sensi classic, Cannon Fodder.

The game's creators have mercifully spared us of a twenty page plot, instead opting for the more easily digestible "You're one well-hard geeza up against the enemy army in its entirety" theme - and before you know it, you are off up the screen armed only with a pea-shooter and a handful of grenades.

The game itself is split into six missions, each with a different objective and a different setting (e.g. desert, enemy base, urban). The truth, however, is that the gameplay is pretty much unchanged throughout, with only graphical changes and the odd new enemy type making the different levels identifiable.

Whether you are on level two or five, you can bet your granny's space teeth that most of your time will be spent shooting hostile enemy soldiers and blowing up installations, tanks, aircraft, and... well, pretty much anything that will react to a well placed grenade really.

The aforementioned explosive apples come in limited supply, so creates and boxes must be blown open along the way as you search for fresh supplies and point-rewarding items. The programmers have obviously spent time perfecting their explosion graphics - and very nice they are too - but this is more than just a special effect, as it can also be exploited by the player. How? Well, let us just say that any enemy units near exploding items, er... 'fly away to meet their maker'. Hurrah!

Guns, guns and more guns
As previously mentioned, the player starts off with a full compliment of grenades (the maximum allowed being nine) and the standard issue pistol, namely the Desert Eagle Magnum .44. Unfortunately, this has a fairly low damage rating, a pretty pathetic range, and a limited rate of fire, so you will need to find some crates as soon as possible and blow them apart in the hope of finding a better weapon.

There are a number of guns to be found, but due to weight, only one type of gun can be carried at any point. It is therefore down to the player to become familiar with each gun's attributes and on-screen appearance so that you do not accidentally swap, for instance, an M60 machine gun - with excellent range and rate of fire - for a rocker launcher that, while having the best range possible, can only fire one rocket at a time.

Other toys to play with include AK-47 Kalashnikov, Israeli UZI Sub-Machine gun, M16 Assault Rifle, Minigun, and a Flame Thrower with continuous flame and high damage - grrr! Of course, as well armed as you are, you can expect to encounter enemy soldiers with the same level of weaponry as yourself and what with you starting each new mission back with the pistol, well, let us just say that complacency is not advisable.

As well as engaging enemy troops, you can also expect to come up against some fairly serious military hardware in the form of tanks, supply trucks, and even bombers that fly across the screen dropping their deadly payload right on the old noddle. Fortunately, careful rationing of the ever-popular grenades will ensure that you are always in a position to reply to such challenges in kind.

The level designs are well thought out, so ambushes are frequent enough to keep the player on his toes, while narrow (not to mention well protected) bridges call for some sharp shooting skills. As well as a large number of obstacles that can be blow to clear a path, there are also buildings and installations that must be worked around as the screen scrolls slowly to reveal new areas on the map.

As if that was not enough, later levels are covered in land mines, but thanks to the fact that many of the enemy soldiers are not only single-minded but pretty damn thick, they can be tricked into clearing routes through such deadly grounds (and a very good impression of chopped tomatoes they do too!).

Reap the many rewards
As you progress through the missions your performance is evaluated, and if you have been a good boy, you could even find yourself being awarded with a nice badge or even a shiny medal. How does a Legion of Merit grab you? Or perhaps a Medal of Honour, a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, a Distinguished Service Cross, or a United Nations Medal.

One to avoid, however, is the Purple Heart, as this is generally only rewarded to those who have died as a result of standing in front of enemy snipers shouting "come and get it big boy". You can also impress your friends and family with promotions throughout the campaign - right through from Private to Brigadier General.

And the final verdict is...?
To be honest, as simplistic as Watchtower is, it is actually pretty good fun. It is certainly of the 'old school' as far as gameplay goes - but as long as it is still fun, who cares? The comparisons to Chaos Engine only really go as far as the presentation, the fact that you can have two players trundling around at the same time, and the graphical representation of the extreme questionable coins that appear throughout the game as point bonuses. Other than that, it is all very basic in as much as you just wade through the levels killing everything that crosses your path.

At times the screen can get a tad crowded, as large numbers of soldiers all appear at once, adding to the on-screen confusion with bullets spraying in all directions (though I am sure you will be glad to know that only once in my entire testing sessions did I encounter any slowdown).

The only other comment worth noting with the screen is that you have to sometimes wait for the scrolling to catch up with your position, otherwise you will be standing on the edge of the screen just as a new soldier appears, which is - needless to say - a bit of a git.

The choice of weapons is impressive, although once you get yourself a decent weapon with a good range and fair damage, there is no real need to swap around. As for the grenades, well... they are great! I would say, though, that due to the game's general difficulty (i.e. bloody hard for the most part!) a few more grenades would not have gone amiss.

And that is about it really. The three difficulty levels do not appear to do much more than make the soldiers tougher (not in intelligence, but where one bullet would suffice on the easy level you will need two for the medium level), while the six levels are progressively more busy and generally nasty.

As for whether you are getting twenty six quid's worth of value, well... that is really down to how much you personally go for 'bread and butter' arcade games. My personal advice would be to give Watchtower a go, because while it ain't Earth-shattering, it is not at all bad.