Alien Breed 3D 2 (The Killing Grounds) (Second Review)

Title           Alien Breed 3D 2 (The Killing Grounds) (Second Review)
Publisher       Team17 / Ocean (1996)
Game Type       3D Action
Players         1 (2 by modem or serial)
HD Installable  Yes
Compatibility   AGA only (unofficial GFX card version available soon)
Demo            aminet/game/demo/ab3d2-tkg*.lha (2 parts)
Game data/utils Speed-up patch - aminet/game/patch/TKG-Patch.lha & TKGTurboPatch.lha
                Alternative editor - aminet/game/hint/AB3Dedit.lha
                New levels and cheats - in aminet/game/data/ and game/patch/
Submission      Isaac Abraham

In fact, let`s make that "AGA only, much faster processor highly, highly
recommended", because AB3DII is so slow that I defy anyone with anything
less than 030-50 to even attempt to play it in a small window, let alone
full screen. AB3DII is a doom clone, but was the first on the Amiga to
demand a very fast processor. The only problem that I can guess happened
whilst Andy Clithero was programming this monster of a game was that if
it seemed slow on whatever machine he used, he said to himself "oh well,
it`s designed for fast machines, maybe it`ll be playable on an 060" instead
of taking the time to optimize the program even a little. DoomAttack can be
run full screen on 030-50, in about 15 fps. This worked at about 1.5 fps,
and that is no joke.
It doesn`t look bad, a little better than Doom, and it has more weapons.
Shotgun, plasma, rocket launcher, mines, they`re all there, and all have
their uses in the game. However, there are two inherent problems with the
game. Well, there are more, but two biggies. Firstly, because the game has
such high spec requirements, a cut-down version was made which is designed
for 020 machines. And, slow though that processor is, this game makes a
mockery of it. Texture mapping is non-existant in this version, it plays in
2x2, and in a window about 4" x 3" on a 14" monitor. The bigger version can
be played full screen, in 1x1, with full texture mapping, light sourcing
etc., but even on an 060 it`s too slow. On my old Blizzard A1230/IV, the
fastest 030 on the market, I had to keep it on the smaller window, maybe
5"x5" to be able to run it reasonably in 2x1 with texture mapping. 1x1 was
out of the question.
The second problem is the difficulty setting. Boy, it is hard. From the
second level onwards, you`ll know what I mean. I played this game a lot, but
was unable to progress past level 6. The game has 20 levels. I have played
games for years on my old C64 and Amiga, but this is up there amongst the
hardest games ever. The fact that the screen jerks about a lot doesn`t help
matters much.
There are other faults as well. The installer is bugged, and a manual
installation was required. The codebook is an atrocity - VINYL letters on a
BLACK page. By the time the code had been typed in, I had a headache and
couldn`t even be bothered to play it. Why make us, the games buying public,
But, in it`s favour, it has lastability, with the game being coded with the
devil in mind, the difficulty level so high. And there is a reasonable scope
for tactical play, because the aliens apparently have "special" intelligence
which means they apparently team up on you or run away or whatever, and
every weapon does have a different effect. There are quite a few aliens. And
let`s not forget about the "editors" - These let you create your own
monsters, levels, sound, etc. But they`re coded in, of all things, Amos, the
bane of the Amiga, are impossible to use, poorly documented, and buggy, so
it doesn`t count as a plus point at all.
So, to summarise, then. Avoid this game unless you fall into the following
criteria. [i] You are an expert programmer, and can recompile the C source
code (kindly put out as freeware by Andy C) into a reasonably speedy form
[ii] You don`t mind playing in a teeny window or making cups of tea in
between frames [iii] You have an 060 + gfx board. You lucky devils can use
an 060 + RTG patch available on aminet which makes the game quite nippy, and
may yet yield some pleasure out of it. Until you finish the game, see the
incredulous excuse for an end sequence, throw your Amiga out of the window
in frustration, and ask yourself why you wasted your time doing this (Thank
god I wasn`t dumb enough to play it to see what the end sequence was like, I
was clever and got a cheater before selling it). [iv] You enjoy playing
games which are not fun in the slightest.

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