The Executioner

Title		The Executioner
Game Type	Shoot-em-up
Players		1
Developer	Hawk
Publisher	Tactix
HD Installable	Yes (with WHDLoad)
Submission	Chris Burns

Being a huge fan of the old BBC Micro game "Thrust", I  just  HAD to have
a clone of it once I had bought my Amiga.

I would have liked a copy of OIDS but it looks  like  that  never made  it
to the Amiga, at any rate I couldn't find a copy. So I made do with this,
the dark and ominous Executioner.

There IS actually a plot, which is more or less this :- It is the bleak
and  brutal  22nd  Century  and  an  interplanetary war is raging. You,
as a crack pilot, have  been  withdrawn  from  the front  line  for  a
special mission; you must track down and kill the opposing Emperor - hence
you are the titular Executioner. To do  this  you  will  need to find 4
parts of a key that have been scattered  throughout  the  galaxy. (A
master  tactician  would probably  say  at  this  point  "Why don't we
just decapitate the regime by bombing the Emperor's palace instead of
messing  about finding keys?" but there wouldn't be much of a game then).

The galaxy is split into a number of areas and each  area  has  a number
of  planets  for you to visit, a shop and a space station (of which more

The idea of the game is pretty  much  the  same  as  Thrust; you control
a  drone  ship which  immediately begins to fall towards the ground. You
move it around - and stop it crashing! - by means of left and right and
occasional bursts of the rocket motor.

The object of each planetary level is to find and activate a transmitter
pod, using your ship's tractor beam, whilst avoiding enemy fire and other
annoying obstacles and keeping an eye out for key parts. One difference
in  the gameplay  between  this  game and the original Thrust is that the
pod is simply absorbed, rather than connected to your drone ship by an
umbilical cord, so you don't have to try and manuever it back up through
the caves. This is a bit easier of course, but hardly in the spirit of the
original Thrust!

There are two main types of planetary terrain; Type 1 is swampy, muddy
coloured landscape dotted with castles(!), trees and branches. In
the great Thrust tradition there are plenty of caverns to drop down into
and explore. Vexingly, a number of 'trees' turn out to be guns whilst
every now and again a branch will suddenly reach out of the ground to
attack you. Soldiers will take a pop at you from the castle battlements
and  some  of the guns regenerate after being destroyed but in fairness
the enemy fire is irritating rather than heavy. Type  2 is ice-crystal
caverns. These are a great deal easier as, although the terrain  is  a
bit  more  jagged  and  requires more careful maneuvering, there aren't
so  many  errant natives shooting at you. Once you've picked up a
transmitter pod, a vortex appears at the beginning of the planet level;
flying into this will allow you to escape the planet.

You can also pick up people on the ground who attract attention to
themselves by leaping up and down on the spot. However, once you've
used your tractor beam to pick them up  they are now your prisoners!! Ha!
I bet that made them feel stupid!

If you dock at the current area's Space  Station, then you can actually
torture your prisoners in order to discover where the various parts of
the  key  are, a fact which led to Amnesty International condemning
the game. By the time I got around to picking up a copy of this, there
was a disclaimer in  the  manual along the lines of "this is the barbaric
22nd century and nobody should  think that we are condoning torture".
Tactix also voluntarily limited the sale of this game to people over the
age of 14.

But anyway, back to your prisoners. You can torture them by electrocution,
stretching or simply beating them up. You don't actually get to see the
torture, which is probably just as well, you just select your desired,
er, 'incentive' and the prisoner's response appears in a little window.
The responses seem to mostly consist of "I'm telling you nothing" with
occasional really cryptic clues along the lines of "The Key segment is on
a planet close to here". Well, thanks for that, insolent dog! Have another
dose of electricity!

If you're feeling merciful though, you can also offer food to the
prisoners to try and loosen their tongues. You need money in order to buy
food though, which can be obtained by selling some of your prisoners at
the shop. While you're at the shop you can also use your money to buy the
usual array of ship power-ups, fuel and extra weapons. It's also possible
to save your position on a blank disk or visit the Entertainment Area;
this is a bit surreal as it just consists of a barely-animated view of a
bar with cheesy music in the background. Still, takes ones mind off the
grisly business of assassination, eh?

All in all, The Executioner is not particularly breathtaking in animation,
graphics or sound but it's not a bad implementation of Thrust, if perhaps
a bit ethically questionable.

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