for C64

Company: Steve Metcalf / Alternative Software
Year: 1993
Genre: Action
Theme: Flight / War
Language: English
Licence: Commercial
Views: 14741
Review by std (2004-04-16)

You know, there's one thing I haven't done since I started bugging you with my CBM-nostalgy. I haven't told you about any of those good-old-da...sorry, good-old-shoot'em'up-s. Which is a wonder since that's one of the things C64 was famous for:) and certainly not for the likes of LUnix and Geck/A65.

I remembered about this game after I saw Russel Crowe's picture in a magazine, near the one of an Apache helicopter. ;-) helicopters...gladiators...well, yes, this is a shoot'em'up, although the name may confuse you a bit.

In fact, Gladiators has nothing to do with ancient Rome. Instead of entering an arena with a sword in your hand, you enter a cockpit. Um...well, it's a way of saying, everything is top-down but let's pretend you're in a cockpit, okay? And then what? You're sent to kill. Mmm...I just love the sound of that :) it's that simple (and, besides, what were you expecting from a shoot-em-up, helping old women cross streets?).

Aside from the killing thing, there's not exactly a whole lot of complexity involved. Rather than over-complicating the game, the author decided to invest in landscape and enemies. Which are, indeed, quite good for a C64. I say “quite” because, in terms of design, they're okay, but after I've seen the likes of Defender of the Crown, they fail to impress me greately. So, graphically, it doesn't excel in detail - but in design, the enemies are well-balanced, and so is the landscape.

Gladiators is a completely linear, and the objective is gathering points. Which is quite fun :), with a bit of dry humour we _could_ say that Saddam Hussein is in the top-10 highscore list. This does have a bit of o problem though - there's no plot (or there is...but I didn't find it) and the whole thing is very shallow. Besides that, the designer has done a mistake, and although he had a whole 174 KB to show off, the 35 KB of the game don't hide as much as you would expect from the first run. All enemy types are shown in the very first sector, and there are no differences in sectors (aside from the order and strength of enemies). Speaking of enemies, while I do know the C64 isn't the place to program a really bright AI, creating a decent one is possible. Well, the author had something else in his head - the enemies are so dumb you won't have a single problem finishing this.

Even so though, Gladiators is quite fun - and a nice show-off of the genre. Worth a download...I guess :)

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