Sunday, March 22, 2020

Liberator



Let's play something weird...

Here is something new and different plus its box intrigued me with screenshots that appear a mix of Toobin' and Mystical. It's almost like those games had a baby - then dropped it, picked it up, wiped away the blood, and then dropped it again. You might laugh but I really, really don't know what to make of this one.

Anyhow, it might look tacky but how often have we played a corker with terrible graphics? Exactly. Let's play...


Navigate by alien wreckages, remembering to collect the ammo caches while you kill the ugly aliens.


It looks like a bad dream!

Having never heard of Liberator, I obviously didn't know what to expect (which I've clearly demonstrated in my video recording?) It's a vertically-scrolling shoot 'em up that has us killing aliens, only this time we're sitting inside a hovercraft with 8-way movement/firing. As the screen scrolls downwards, aliens will climb out from the ground or walk towards you. They're easy to shoot because they're slow, but can often attack in hoards, so watch out!

Liberator was coded by Tim Moore who gave us excellent games like Verminator and also the legendary Beyond The Ice Palace. Okay, everybody has to start somewhere, so I can only assume he learnt many lessons from programming this shoot 'em up? Ahem... :]

Reaching the end of level one is easy unless a stray bullet hits. So that leaves the final task of freeing a captive - just shoot the bars of his cell. You're then sped off into a world of psychedelic gateways for access to the next level. Disclaimer, we guys never read the instructions: aim for the flashing square!! It's the only way to access the next stage otherwise, you're doomed to repeat the same level over again. Which is stupid!


The aliens might be slow but they're determined to play chase and it's a life lost if they catch you!


Aesthetics

Visually, the Atari ST is being pushed to its absolute limits. No, not really. Actually, it's pretty lame with poorly designed backgrounds and wandering aliens that you cannot help but laugh at. The scrolling is smooth albeit with some occasional slowdown, which is odd because there isn't ever a whole lot going on.

Sound effects are meek but do their job for firing, pickups, etc. Wally Beben composed the music which is shockingly irritating. Wally is very talented and I love the YM2149 but what was he thinking - turn it off!!


Free your man and then get ready for teleportation and make sure you chose the correct square!


The CryptO'pinion?

Liberator is fun for a couple of games. I came away thinking, "Hmm, not bad for 1987". Which is daft - so I slapped myself because that era gave us Oids, Goldrunner, Plutos and Ikari Warriors. All of which destroy Liberator!! Also, I noticed poor collision detection and landscape objects that blocked my movement and firing - Grr!!

Still, nothing is perfect (Liberator certainly proves that) but, I must admit I quite enjoyed this old shooter. Possibly because it's something I've never played before but it is weirdly entertaining. Sure, it's not the corker I might have hoped for, but it is worth booting up just to experience a rather odd release. Go, kill some aliens.

Grab the funky cool Zuul floppy disk from the Stonish website.

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