Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Army Moves

Reliving Christmas 1987

The last time I played Army Moves was probably on my Spectrum +3 before moving onto the Atari ST. I remember this coming as part of Ocean's Live Ammo and what a great compilation that was. However, it was extremely sluggish and very hard plus I was rubbish at it too. Yep, so I never managed to beat the first level (stop laughing).

Army Moves was developed by Dinamic, the same guys who brought us After The War, and this is a scrolling shooter with many ingredients 'borrowed' from a variety of great(er) games. It begins with us happily trundling over a damaged bridge in a surprisingly well-armed jeep. Firing the infinite supply of rockets at the constant flow of enemies whilst hopping over potholes in the hope of safely reaching the other side ...cough...Moon Patrol.. cough...cough!

I think we need a screenshot of this opening level so here it is...

The jeep is brilliant with realistic handling and fantastic leaping abilities! Yeah!! ;)

When variety isn't the spice of life!

The following level has us flying a helicopter over enemy territory that is protected by planes - who blindly shoot whether you're in their sights or not. The controls are agonisingly lethargic and it makes avoiding the enemy rather difficult. Oh, and don't forget to manually land on the helipad at the end - otherwise, you suffer a suckers death!

The next part is more of the same theme, ie nothing-you-haven't-seen-before. The final levels take us through the jungle avoiding grenades and silly buzzards before it flips into something resembling Joe Blade. Oh all the levels, I oddly enjoyed the first the most whereas others are far too tough with too many enemies.

Wanna see another screenshot? How about one that feels wrong as it scrolls in the wrong direction...

Reversed scrolling is pretty weird and doesn't feel right so makes stage two quite frustrating!!

Speccy aesthetics?

Visually, I quite liked Army Moves but that's probably because I'm fondly reminded of my colour-clash days on the old 128K Speccy? The graphics are barebones for the Atari ST but, I must admit, everything scrolls along nicely and I do like the detail in the sprites. The helicopter levels feature parallax scrolling, which is a neat touch I appreciated.

David Whittaker's music plays throughout and isn't his best work but is still good. Nuff said.

Honestly, I swear that jeep doesn't fly all the time!

The CryptO'pinion?

I like some of Dinamic's ideas here but it tries too much so doesn't seem to be great at anything. Plus they spoiled it with ludicrously-long levels which is made worse by being sent back to the start after losing a life!! Ignoring the nearly-fun Jeep stage, I find it difficult to recommend this game - just play Moon Patrol, Silkworm or Joe Blade instead.

Army Moves could very easily have been great but feels like a rushed 8-Bit conversion offering little fun and a massive fist full of frustration. Unlike the Spectrum game, our conversion feels like a glammed-up quick port and one that lost much playability thanks to faster mechanics; scrolling, enemies, etc. I don't get it, what was Dinamic thinking?

Overall, the first level is the best but the rest of the game is far too difficult to be entertaining.

Wear camo and grab the floppies or hard disk version!

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