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Classification: Game / Run and Gun
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Publisher: Protovision / Psytronik Software
Programmer: Bernd Buchegger
Music/Sound: Roy Widding
Year: 2020
Rating: ★☆☆☆
Disk:

Outrage is a run and gun style platform game, where you're some sort of space marine out to blast a lot of alien riff-raff. It's the sort of thing that one has come to expect with this style of game.

According to the write up on Psytronik's website, the game contains five levels with boss battles at the end. They also mention that the game was first conceived of and developed back in 1992. In 2001, apparently the game was resurrected and it was planned to be released in 2005. But, due to some problems with the code, it didn't make it's release. In 2020, with a lot of rework, the game finally was ready for release. Seems like a lot of work to me for a game that sounded relatively short, having only five levels to it.

When I first loaded up the game, it seemed more to me like something from the Commodore demo scene. The Protovision splash screen was the first to appear, then it loaded up some sort of backstory / instruction screen, with PETSCII graphics. Then, after that, another splash screen for the game with some pixel art appears. After this, another splash screen with some animated banner sort of artwork. Am I ever going to get to the game?

After all of this, the first level of the game begins. Strangely absent, however, is any sort of title or hi-score screen; rather, you're just thrown right into the game.

The background music for the game is boring. From what I've been able to play, it sounds like there's a different tune for each level (I've only made it to level 2). However, the actual tunes themselves aren't very long, so they loop quite a bit. After about fifteen minutes of playing, I had to turn the volume down. This is where a title screen would have been nice, to perhaps choose whether to listen to music or sound effects. As for sound effects, I could only discern two: when you shoot your gun and when you die.

During game-play, you collect coins, which you get after dispatching baddies, which you use to upgrade your weapons and replenish energy. But you have to be darn quick to collect those coins, as they disappear in just a few seconds.

The graphics are good, but certainly not anything that makes the game stand out from other run and gun games. In fact, they remind me a little bit of what you'd see on a Spectrum, with bands of colour, rather than individually coloured objects. I'm not trying to belittle the Spectrum, I've just come to expect more from a C64 game.

There's a few oddities that I noticed, in regards to the graphics, like not being able to see your gun when you run. It just sort of vanishes when you're moving. It puzzled me at first, but it doesn't affect game play at all. Also, from what I've seen in the first two levels, the backgrounds are static, although it looks like you're supposed to be walking over sections of water or lava/fire. So, not a big deal, but drawn waves aren't the same as waves that actually move or change in some way.

As for the game play and mechanics, this is where the game feels like it could have used more time in development. Player movements are responsive enough, but I struggled with the ability jump onto and off of platforms. I just found myself falling off of the edges just too easily. Shooting the gun was also a bit frustrating, as it just seemed a little to slow for what was happening around me. Sometimes I even found myself standing too close to enemies and having to back up in order for my bullets not to go straight through them. There's also a “quirk” (or who knows, maybe it a feature) where enemies just vanish if they walk off the edge of the screen, even if you're just half a second behind them. If you care about collecting coins to upgrade your weaponry, don't let anything walk off the screen.

What I found to be the most frustrating was the “little tricks” that are typically use in these kind of games to ramp up the difficulty level. That is, hiding obstacles in the scenery so that you either have to memorize where everything is or tip-toe around trying to expose / hit them, when all other sorts of action is happening around you. Look, it's a RUN and gun game. Having to pussy foot around, looking out for that slightly differently shaded pixel showing me that there are spikes in the floor waiting for me is not something I enjoy. At least not in a platformer like this, anyway.

Lastly, even though you do have a score counter, it apparently doesn't have any purpose. When you lose your last life, you're taken right back to the beginning of a new game. What was my score at the end? I have no idea. Again, this where a title screen with hi-score table would have been nice.

Outrage is an okay run and gun platform game and may be right up some people's alley. But, this isn't anything that keeps my attention and I don't have any motivation to see what's past level 2. I just think that, even though it's taken so long to make it to market, it could have spent a little more time in development.

At least it plays fine on NTSC machines and on TheC64Mini.

Conclusion

★☆☆☆ - Just not interesting enough for me to want to return and get to the next level/boss. For me, it doesn't stand out. As an action platform shooter, there are better games on the C64 to spend time playing.



Composed using ArcheType on my C128

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reviews/outrage.txt · Last modified: 2023/10/29 22:57 by David