Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Army Moves

Reliving Christmas 1987

The last time I played Army Moves was probably on my Spectrum +3 back in 1987 before getting my Atari ST. I remember it being part of Ocean's Live Ammo compilation and what a great compilation that was. However, it was extremely sluggish and I was also rubbish 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 it's 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 to safely reach the other side. Sound familiar?

This jeep is ace! Realistic handling with fantastic leaping abilities! Yeah!! ;)

When variety isn't the spice of life!

The next levels have us flying a helicopter over enemy territory protected by planes blindly shooting, 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 later levels take us through the jungle avoiding grenades and silly buzzards before it flips into something resembling Joe Blade. Sigh...

Oh all the levels, I enjoyed the first the most whereas the others are too hard and irritating.

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

Speccy aesthetics?

Visually, I quite liked Army Moves but that's probably because I'm 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 detailed sprites. The helicopter levels feature parallax scrolling, which is a neat touch. However, there ain't anything that's gonna blow your mind and certainly nothing to push the Atari ST to its limits.

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

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

The CryptO'pinion?

I like some of Dinamic's ideas but it doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. Plus they spoiled it with ludicrously-long levels and high difficulty 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 - just play Moon Patrol, Silkworm or Joe Blade instead.

Army Moves could 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 what little playability it had thanks to faster gameplay mechanics; scrolling, enemies, etc. I don't get it, what were they thinking? Overall, the first level is the best but the rest of the game is far too difficult to be entertaining.

Wear camo and then grab the floppies or hard disk version!

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