Baal


Title		Baal
Publisher       Pygnosis/Psyclapse, 1987
Game Type	Shoot-em-up
Players		1
Compatibility	All (With Patch)
HD Installable  Yes (With Patch)
Submission	Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer

Review
Baal is what you might call an action-based platform game, in that you
take control of a team of action heroes that must blast their way through
horizontally and vertically scrolling levels, which involve platforms,
ladders, a lot of enemies, and, of course, a fair amount of blasting. In
principle, not unlike the superb Turrican, then.

Apparently you (a futuristic archeoligist) discovered that the Demon Baal
is about to take over the world by using a dreadful weapon that will help
him enslave or destroy the unfortunate population. As far as I can tell,
you then assemble a group of Time Warriors to seek out and destroy Baal,
and recover the weapon. I say a "group", but this in reality simply means
you have several lives. There are no individual abilities, and only "one
of you" appears at a time. Well, experience teaches one not to expect too
much from these background plots....

Essentially then, the order of the day is: Move the character about, being
wary of walking into projectiles from various demon minions, avoid the
land mines etc, and find the various "switches" that control forcefields
which restrict your access to other areas. Its also one of those
irritating games (for me at least) where if you return to a screen where
you have killed an enemy, it has miraculously returned to life and will
happily reciprocate your earlier aggression. How I hate that! The look of
the game is very much like a polished C64 title, or an arcade game from
that era, and although some effort has been made on the static screens
there is little to enthuse about in the visual department generally. The
early Pygnosis hallmark of looking relatively good until it moves is in
evidence here. I have to say though, that the sound, while quite basic, is
actually highly effective, with the metallic footsteps of your character
moving across platforms, and the low hum of nearby generators creating a
suitable atmosphere.

There is also some pretty good game design, and some people are going
to enjoy cautiously finding their way through the game, re-charging their
weapon, and emerging relatively unscathed from the many encounters. I, on
the other hand, found it just too much like hard work, with little flair
or reward for the player. In fairness though, more patient players, with a
penchant for this sort of game may well consider it to be great fun, and I
must admit to being quite pleased on successfully completing an area and
travelling in a small flying vehicle to another location. In the end
though I have to say the game is just too frustrating and demanding of
patience for my taste, and I'll take the polish and seductive graphics of
Turrican over this any day.




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