Testament (Second Review)

Title           Testament (Second Review)
Game Type       3D action
Company         Signum/Insanity, Published by APC&TPC (& Islona in the UK)
Players         1
Compatibility   AGA
HD Installable  Yes
Submission      Brian C. Horner (nairbrian@hotmail.com)

I recall when people were saying that the classic "Doom" on the PC just
wouldn't be possible on the Amiga. Of course, these people were some
select PC goons who were adamant that only their 'better' machines were
capable of "Doom"-action. Over time, this was definitely proven false with
the likes of "Breathless", "Genetic Species", and eventually "Doom"
itself. Testament is yet another nail in the coffin.

In the game you are in a battle with some unpleasant denizens of
the horrible underworld. There are outside areas, dungeon-like buildings &
sliding doors. Yet it is true that there are no staircases or elevations,
making it closer in gameplay to the old "Wolfenstein 3D".

This is a rather 'calm' game. By that, I mean that the music and sounds
are spooky and atmospheric. In the opening scene, you will find your first
weapon and some ammunition. There is an eerie sense of being there and all
alone, with the multiple moons above the wasteland that contains naught
but dead trees. Though mom wouldn't approve, I like playing in the dark...

Once inside a building, the enemy will appear. You won't be surrounded by
them at the beginning; they'll be more plentiful as time goes on. Of
course, this is how it should be. I find that the difficulty steadily goes
up and is right on target.

I especially enjoy the sounds. There's a satisfying squelch upon hitting
those floating eyeballs, weapons sounds fine, and the opening/closing
sound of the doors is great. If I open a door, it sounds loud. Then, when
I move further back, the door automatically closes and it sounds quieter.
I like it when I hear a door open nearby; the monsters open the doors
by themselves and go through (and you can even catch this). If this is
evident in other games, I never noticed it. You might think this isn't
much at all, but it is very cool to me and adds much to the sense that you
are the prey. Sneaking up on a creature who's starting to leave a room,
firing and seeing him turn around and fire at you is neat.

You can have a little map in the upper left corner of the screen during
play; it's nice to see, doesn't slow things down, and the screen switches
to a full map with a press of the M key. Of course, it only displays
locations you already have been to. The arrow keys will move the map
around the screen, allowing you to view all of it.

All the keys in use are positioned well: either shift with an up/down
arrow allows you to run; either ALT key fires a shot of your weapon; an
Amiga key with a left/right arrow causes you to side-step; and the
spacebar opens a door when you come upon one (certain doors require an
appropriately-coloured key first).

You can resize the play area's window with + and - [but from the numeric
keypad only]. With my setup, everything went very smoothly and I didn't
need to shrink the screen one bit. Although you might expect any game like
this to be costly to your system's resources, this one didn't take up much
chip RAM at all. To give you an idea, with about 55% of the chip free, I
was able to: open my PLAY partition; the drawer I have set aside for games
of this nature; the "Testament" drawer; and click on the start icon
without closing any of the windows. My system was in 256 colours, I had a
disk manager running at the same time, and there were the usual bits of
software in use from the WBstartup drawer. "Testament" automatically boots
in PAL mode, multitasks, exits cleanly, and has never crashed the system;
a fine job here.

So, there's no story to the game (as is usually the case with these
types). Just find weapons, ammunition, health, coloured keys for certain
doors, and stay alive until you can find a scroll that completes the
level. There are plenty of save slots and also a cheat patch on the
Aminet, which allows you to start at any of the 17 or so levels.

Although "Testament" can be considered rather basic next to other game
engines - and due to its many similar textures - the mazes are well-done,
speed is great, and the atmosphere is just right. It's a good
Halloween-time game I had fun with and I recommend it.

You can get the full game free on the CD "Amiga Classix".

TESTED ON A1200/68030@40mhz/32 megs fast RAM

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