Title           Guardian
Game Type       3D Action
Players         1
HD Installable  Yes
Compatibility   AGA
Submission      Isaac Abraham

Anyone old enough to remember that classic arcade game Defender in the
arcades will know what this game is all about. You see, Guardian /is/
Defender, only in 256 colours in fast 3D (albeit without texture mapping or
anything like that :o[ ). Guardian tells the tale of a rapidly shrinking
universe, where resources are at a minimum and crime is at an all time high.
Rogue aliens pillage planets for resources until the bitter end of the
universe. Earth and all of humankind`s planets have recently come under
attack, and it`s your job to defend the planet from these marauding bad
Coming on two floppies, I was thankful to find out that this game was HD
installable, but slightly baffled when, upon inserting disk two into the
flppy drive, Workbench informed me that the disk was "????", i.e. NDOS. A
quick recourse through the A5 piece of paper supposed to be the manual
(although to be fair there is very little to this game), and I found out
that only disk 1 is installable, the game requires disk 2 to be inserted
before it will run. This, I assume, is some form of piracy protection,
although, frankly, along with AB3DII, this seems to be punishing the honest
people in the software buying public just as much as the pirates. Sigh.
Anyhow, game installed, I double click the icon to be greeted with a screen
of gibberish. Ooops, Workbench was in DBLPAL mode. So I reboot, and run from
no startup sequence (not forgetting to run setpatch beforehand though!).
The game starts with a nice title screen and classic high scores name going
into the screen, a la Star Wars. Given the option of CD32 pad or Mouse, I
was forced to use mouse, until I realised that you can use the keys,
thankfully. There are six different buttons - laser, smart bomb, missle,
flip, and the two shoulder buttons on the CD32 pad that do something or
other, it eludes me for the moment. But needless to say, it will take you a
few goes until you feel comfortable using keys. However, I recently bought a
couple of CD32 pads cheaply, and I can say that the game is much improved
with a CD32 pad instead of keys, and I would advise you to get one if
As I`ve already said, played in full 3D, you take up the role of a lone
fighter pilot flying through a landscape, your job to destroy of drones on
the level. This guys fly through the level destroying friendly installations
(the more you save, the more points you earn at the end of the level (and
what do points make? extra lives!) so it`s in your best interest to kill
them a.s.a.p). Other "stragglers" also litter the level. These ones fire
back at you, and come in all shapres and sizes, from fighters to tanks.
Occasionally a destroyed drone will drop a power up, from shield boost to
twin lasers. Get them quickly, because after a picosecond they disappear.
Once all drones are destroyed, you make a quick trip into the mothership,
before entering the next level.
And that`s it. There`s no save game feature, no passwords, no continues, no
save high score tables, nothing like that. But, oddly enough, this doesn`t
actually detract from the game. In fact, in a strange way, it makes it
better, really bringing you back to the days of Defender in the arcades,
where every life was like golddust, and on telling your friends how you got
x million points, they would simply laugh in your face :).
There`s little to fault Guardian. It is very difficult, and may scare off
those expecting to get to the end on your first try a la Sonic. But practise
makes perfect - the game plays fairly at all times, thankfully. The visuals
are a treat, and being able to change the camera angle means that you can`t
blame the programmers for dogging you with a poor point of view. The sound
is excellent - true arcade sounds, and the CD version apparently has a
thumping soundtrack. (although you`d need to mix the CD and Amiga audio
first, something that`s proved very difficult for me to accomplish properly
in recent weeks...). The CD version is also HD installable I guess, as all
Amiga CDs must be AmigaDOS compatible, and even if you don`t install it,
there`s no disk swapping thankfully. The only fly in the ointment is the
slightly haphazard nature of the code - it occasionally crashed on me,
although thankfully only ever on the first level, and even then only if I
mucked about with the camera angle. But beware.
To sum up, then. Guardian is a real treat. It plays at breakneck speeds,
especially on later levels, when you have 10 ships tailing you, dodging
bullets and shooting drones all simultaneously. And it gets the adrenaline
pumping, just like in the arcades. As long as you don`t expect anything more
than a solid, dedicated blast `em up, you won`t come away disappointed. As
for the rest of you, go back to playing the latest flight sim, or maybe

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