Title Guardian Game Type 3D Action Players 1 HD Installable Yes Compatibility AGA Submission Isaac Abraham firstname.lastname@example.org Review Anyone old enough to remember that classic arcade game Defender in the arcades will know what this game is all about. You see, Guardian /is/ Defender, only in 256 colours in fast 3D (albeit without texture mapping or anything like that :o[ ). Guardian tells the tale of a rapidly shrinking universe, where resources are at a minimum and crime is at an all time high. Rogue aliens pillage planets for resources until the bitter end of the universe. Earth and all of humankind`s planets have recently come under attack, and it`s your job to defend the planet from these marauding bad guys. Coming on two floppies, I was thankful to find out that this game was HD installable, but slightly baffled when, upon inserting disk two into the flppy drive, Workbench informed me that the disk was "????", i.e. NDOS. A quick recourse through the A5 piece of paper supposed to be the manual (although to be fair there is very little to this game), and I found out that only disk 1 is installable, the game requires disk 2 to be inserted before it will run. This, I assume, is some form of piracy protection, although, frankly, along with AB3DII, this seems to be punishing the honest people in the software buying public just as much as the pirates. Sigh. Anyhow, game installed, I double click the icon to be greeted with a screen of gibberish. Ooops, Workbench was in DBLPAL mode. So I reboot, and run from no startup sequence (not forgetting to run setpatch beforehand though!). The game starts with a nice title screen and classic high scores name going into the screen, a la Star Wars. Given the option of CD32 pad or Mouse, I was forced to use mouse, until I realised that you can use the keys, thankfully. There are six different buttons - laser, smart bomb, missle, flip, and the two shoulder buttons on the CD32 pad that do something or other, it eludes me for the moment. But needless to say, it will take you a few goes until you feel comfortable using keys. However, I recently bought a couple of CD32 pads cheaply, and I can say that the game is much improved with a CD32 pad instead of keys, and I would advise you to get one if possible. As I`ve already said, played in full 3D, you take up the role of a lone fighter pilot flying through a landscape, your job to destroy of drones on the level. This guys fly through the level destroying friendly installations (the more you save, the more points you earn at the end of the level (and what do points make? extra lives!) so it`s in your best interest to kill them a.s.a.p). Other "stragglers" also litter the level. These ones fire back at you, and come in all shapres and sizes, from fighters to tanks. Occasionally a destroyed drone will drop a power up, from shield boost to twin lasers. Get them quickly, because after a picosecond they disappear. Once all drones are destroyed, you make a quick trip into the mothership, before entering the next level. And that`s it. There`s no save game feature, no passwords, no continues, no save high score tables, nothing like that. But, oddly enough, this doesn`t actually detract from the game. In fact, in a strange way, it makes it better, really bringing you back to the days of Defender in the arcades, where every life was like golddust, and on telling your friends how you got x million points, they would simply laugh in your face :). There`s little to fault Guardian. It is very difficult, and may scare off those expecting to get to the end on your first try a la Sonic. But practise makes perfect - the game plays fairly at all times, thankfully. The visuals are a treat, and being able to change the camera angle means that you can`t blame the programmers for dogging you with a poor point of view. The sound is excellent - true arcade sounds, and the CD version apparently has a thumping soundtrack. (although you`d need to mix the CD and Amiga audio first, something that`s proved very difficult for me to accomplish properly in recent weeks...). The CD version is also HD installable I guess, as all Amiga CDs must be AmigaDOS compatible, and even if you don`t install it, there`s no disk swapping thankfully. The only fly in the ointment is the slightly haphazard nature of the code - it occasionally crashed on me, although thankfully only ever on the first level, and even then only if I mucked about with the camera angle. But beware. To sum up, then. Guardian is a real treat. It plays at breakneck speeds, especially on later levels, when you have 10 ships tailing you, dodging bullets and shooting drones all simultaneously. And it gets the adrenaline pumping, just like in the arcades. As long as you don`t expect anything more than a solid, dedicated blast `em up, you won`t come away disappointed. As for the rest of you, go back to playing the latest flight sim, or maybe TSOTTM.