Saturday, October 17, 2015

Chaos Engine

Not too dissimilar to the mighty Gauntlet, the Bitmaps unleashed Chaos Engine back in 1993. It's a top-down arcade shooter where you get to choose from a selection of cool characters before running around sexy-looking levels with only one purpose - killing baddies. Okay, there is a [minor] puzzle element but this game is all about reaping death!


Each character has their own unique skills so I advise that you should play each one to find out which you prefer. The environments are extremely interesting, both their wicked mechanics and visual styles which create a wonderful Victorian England theme and more. Co-op is enabled whether you're alone or with friends and I love having a computer controlled player fighting alongside you. This really helps, especially in the later levels, and is implemented well without ever taking over. However, it is embarrassing when he grabs the coins quicker than I can.


The graphics are literally outstanding - from start to end - with their beautiful artworks, detailed sprites and gorgeous landscapes. It's obvious just how much time and commitment went into its production and then those talented Bitmap Brothers decided to take it a step further and make use of the hardware scrolling on the Atari STe. It's only a shame they didn't use the DMA coprocessor for the audio which I feel is a missed opportunity.


I have always ranked the Bitmap Brothers as one of the best 16-Bit developers and the freakish charm of Chaos Engine certainly helps to prove this. I couldn't say whether it's better than Gauntlet because it's similar but also very different. However, I can say that this is a remarkable and addictive shooter stuffed full of action and I love it!!


 - 8BitChip and D-Bug have created hard drive installable versions which are both superb!!
 - If you need Chaos Engine on floppy disk then Stonish have Adrenalin #37A  #37B Menu CDs.
 - Fancy some level codes? Well of course you do, right?
          -> World Two = T6MV6J4LGLCZ (Thug + Mercenary)
          -> World Two = 73VBPXY1PZV1 (Brigand + Navvie)
          -> World Two = QLVKM4YKJQVS (my own code!)
          -> World Three = 4WQZTTRG61MZ (Navvie + Gentleman)
          -> World Three = 2#YNLN7SR94W (Navvie + Brigand)
          -> World Three = JSP99G416LY2 (I've no idea where I found this!)
          -> World Four = PK2R9J6G5W4K (Navvie + Gentleman)
          -> World Four = C8737KFPBCDB (Navvie + Preacher)
 - ST Format featured a fantastic guide and a walk-through solution (issues: #51 #52 #53 #54)
 - Bitmap Bros have a cool website with maps, guides and more!
 - Let's Play have a great page with many info.
 - I love this game so much I went "out" and bought the Apple Mac conversion!

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