Title           Testament
Game Type       3D Action
Company         Signum/Insanity, Published by APC&TPC, (& Islona in the UK)
Players         1
HD Installable  Yes
Compatibillity  AGA
Submission      Joachim Froholt Profiled Reviewer

Testament arrived somewhere in the middle of the second wave of
Doom-clones for the Amiga. The first wave consisted of games such as Alien
Breed 3D, Gloom, Fears and The Citadel - games which were all playable on
an A1200 with no extra memory or processor power. The next wave came with
Breathless, which was soon followed up by Alien Breed 3D 2 and Gloom
Deluxe. While these games mostly worked on an unexpanded A1200, they
really needed some extra power to show what they could do.

Compared to the other games released at about the same time, Testament
looks a bit simple. It plays more like Wolfenstein 3D than Doom, with no
staircases or elevations, and plenty of similar looking mazes. Yet it
received some very good scores in the magazines - Amiga Format, for
instance, awarded it 92% in July '96. Were these scores justified or was
Testament overrated?

As I said, Testament is more of a Wolfenstein clone than a Doom clone. The
controls are quite simple, and you can't jump, crouch or anything like
that. This will no doubt put some people off, but I quickly got used to
it. Each level consists of a maze laid out on one floor. The goal is to
reach a scroll at the end of the level, but this is easier said than done.
In addition to the enemies out to kill you, you'll have to find a set of
(usually) four keys to unlock doors blocking your progress. There aren't
any buttons to press or other things to play with. And character
interaction is very simple (but quite gratifying) - Shoot or be shot.

Speaking of shooting, you'll notice right away that the collission
detection is a bit off. It's usually enough to shoot in the general
direction of an enemy to hit him, and it is also usually enough for an
enemy to shoot in the general direction of you to hit you. Because you can
see all the bullets as they fly through the air, you'll often get
frustrated when you know that you've dodged a bullet and still get

What Testament scores high on is atmosphere and tension. It has
bucketloads of both. The mazes are dark and scary, and the levels feel
very claustrophobic. The feeling of claustrophobia is enforced by the
limited control system and the poor collision detection (in fact, this is
one of the few games I know of where apparent flaws actually enhance the
gaming experience). You really don't have much room to maneuvre in, and
one wrong step will bring your character lots of virtual pain. To get
anywhere in Testament, you have to be patient and very, very careful.
Sneaking around the mazes and peeking around corners is the only way to
win, and racing around with your guns blazing will swiftly send you to the
Shadow of the Beast-esque Game Over screen. Lightning fast reflexes are
also required.

The difficulty curve feels just right. Levels get progressively harder,
but they're never completely impossible. I do think there could have been
more medikits available, because it's very easy to lose lots of health
very quickly if you're unlucky. One potential problem is that you can only
save the game at the end of a level. This makes the tension rise a couple
of extra notches, because you need to keep concentrating at all times. You
must also make sure you complete the level with as much health and ammo as
possible, because this will be crucial to the completion of the next
level. You can't restart a level with full health (as you can in, for
example, Doom), you have to restore your saved game.

The levels are relatively varied, and the designers got a lot out of the
limitations of the game engine. Even though you see the same textures over
and over again and the levels are essentially just mazes, every one of
them feels like a fresh challenge. Also, the levels are just the right
size. You never really feel lost. In addition to the very handy mini-map
which is displayed in the top left corner of the screen, there's also a
handy fullscreen map which can be brought up by pressing M. This could
have been a bit more helpful (doors that you haven't passed through aren't
marked, for instance), but it's really not bad.

Your enemies come in four flavours and range from floating eyes (which
pop in a delightfully icky manner when you shoot them) to evil monks and
ant-headed monstrosities. To dispose of them, you have four different
weapons, each with their own strenghts and weaknesses. Admittedly, though,
the weapons at your disposal are all very similar, and you won't find
stuff like mines or grenades in Testament.

The presentation is good. While the 3D engine is simple, it is also very
fast. Textures fit the style and mood of the game well, and are of a
relatively high quality. The sound effects do a good job of enforcing the
dark, gloomy atmosphere of the game. There's also simple (but effective)
background music playing on each level. The music in the rest of the game
is quite good too, with a sinister title tune and a fast-paced loading
tune (you're well advised to listen through to this tune, even though
loading only takes a couple of seconds). The other tunes in the game (game
over & game won) are also of a high quality.

All in all, Testament is a worthy addition to your first person shooter
collection. It'll take some time getting used to the simple control system
and the limitations of the engine, but the game is well worth perserving
with. And even though there aren't any groundbreaking gameplay features in
Testament, it is a hugely entertaining and atmospheric game which stands
up surprisingly well when compared to the best 3D shooters of today.


Category list.

Alphabetical list.