Liberation CD32


Title           Liberation CD32 (version "Ratt V2.00b : Wyvern V2.00")
Game Type       RPG
Company		Mindscape
Programmers	Tony Crowther and Ross Goodley
Players         1
HD Installable  Not necessary - runs from CD
Compatability   CD32/AGA+CD
Submission      Brian S Mogged

	This Amiga Report review appears here by courtesy of Jason Compton

Review
The world of Liberation is set in the 29th century, where Earth is
dying. Earth is being destroyed by commercial exploitation from large mega
corporations. One mega corporation, Bio-Corp, developed a variety of high
technology items for its sister corporation, Securi-Corp. Securi-Corp
handles almost all law enforcement activities for the government. Since
the government is concerned with other affairs, these corporations are
truly in control of Earth. Your hero (the player that you control) has
learned an important fact: Androids sold by Bio-Corp for police security
go berserk when they are exposed to magnetic interference. These berserk
androids usually cause a few deaths. The corporation is covering it up by
placing people into detention centers. The object of the game is to
explore the detention center, rescue these political prisoners, and find
enough evidence to bring the mega-corporation to justice. The hero cannot
go into the detention center himself, so he sends four robots into the
detention center.

Liberation is a sequel to Tony Crowther's "Captive." Since I have
not played Captive, I cannot say how similar this game is to the original,
but I can say that it is completely playable without any knowledge of
Captive.


GAMEPLAY
In Liberation, the main display may be changed by the user. By
default, the top of the screen is your Device VDU (Video Display Unit).
The middle of the screen is the three-dimensional view, with the "droids
panel" on the sides. On the bottom is the text screen.


THE VDU (VIDEO DISPLAY UNIT)
Each robot can have two active devices which can be scanners, video bug
surveillance, game preferences, city mappers, and other items that I have
not seen yet. Most of these items have a display and an option panel that
can be selected and changed. Since there are eight robots, there can be up
to eight displays active. The default display plan displays four of these
panels.


THE DROIDS PANEL
The droids panel lets you instantly see the current status of your droids,
switch position of members in your party, let you select an android's
backpack, and allows you to split up the party. This area of the screen
can be turned off so you can have a larger 3-dimensional view.


THREE DIMENTIONAL VIEW AREA
This is the first-person, three-dimensional window where you see
everything that the currently selected robot sees. This landscape is very
lush with some of the best texture bitmaps that exist in any Amiga game.
People and objects represented by textured-filled polygons (which look
good too!). You can tilt the robot's head to look up, down, left, and
right. You have not played this game until you tilt your head upwards just
in time to see a police copter in the sky.


TEXT WINDOW
This window has all the text from the current session of the game. I have
played it for ten hours straight and it STILL stores everything that was
said.


TALKING AND MANIPULATING
In this three-dimensional environment, you can talk to people, pick up
objects, give objects, shoot people, and use objects. When the player
talks to a person in the game, the text of what that person says appears
in the text window. Sometimes the game describes what is placed on the
screen, sometimes not. But most of the time, it will bring up a response
screen that has a menu with your possible responses. The conversation will
continue until you move away, shoot the person, or say "good bye", or the
other person decides to end the conversation.

Grabbing an item is just as simple as moving your cursor in the 3-D view
window or the current android window and holding down a button. The player
can now move the cursor with the item into any window to be dropped, given
to other people, or placed back into the inventory.


SHOOTING A PERSON IN COLD BLOOD
To shoot, swing an object, or punch in the game, you press the joypad
button. Since you have four robots and you have four buttons, each button
controls one robot. Fire fights in this game go very fast, and the outcome
of the battle becomes almost painfully apparent in this game.


DOCUMENTATION
Documentation is a 64-page pamphlet approximately the same shape and size
as a booklet inside a normal CD. It gives a very brief description of the
world, and then describes how most of the functions work and how to use
the CD-32 joypad. The rest of the manual describes how to use the mouse
and confusingly describes the repair systems of the droid.

The game manual is very informative, but is very hard to read. Even after
reading the manual about five times, I could still learn something if I
took the time and read it a sixth time. The manual is too brief in most
parts. For example, it mentions only off-handedly that you cannot save
inside of buildings using the CD-32 built in non-volatile RAM. I still do
not understand the system for doing self-repair on the robots. But still,
the manual does not tell you important facts, like that the current
mission information is in the scroll text window when you start the game.
So for four days I really did not know where I should go until I (by
mistake) scrolled up the text window and saw the mission briefing.


LIKES
What pulls me back to play this game every night for the rest of my life?

I love the demo. It is about six minutes long, very good, and gets you in
the mood for the game.

Both the mouse interface and the CD-32 controller interface are very good.
The CD-32 controller at first felt awkward, but after a few hours of play,
I felt as if I had played the game throughout my life.

The graphics are excellent. I haven't see this style of graphics on the
Amiga done with so much detail!!  You really feel like you are there. The
outside graphics look very dark and gritty. The interior views look very
close to what I would expect to see inside a building. I loved the picture
of the dog on the wall.

The configurability of this game is incredible. You can move around
windows, turn on and off selected windows, turn on and off voice, sound
and music, and select levels of detail that you can turn on and off. This
allows you to have information on the screen that you consider important.

The scrollable text window holds previous conversations. It makes
remembering old information just a scroll of the window away.

The music is not annoying. I find the music very soothing and enjoyable.

The sound and voice are pleasant. Gun shots ring out. Very clear sound
complements the music and the game. Voice (when present) is very welcome
and give some good atmosphere.

Very fast CD-ROM access gives this game a very smooth feel. The waits when
loading are very short, and loading is necessary only when going inside or
outside of a building.

VERY BIG. You won't run out of places to explore in this game!  This game
is huge. I was just blown away on how big it is. What is even better is
there are over 4000 missions in the game. Even better still is that it
randomizes elements in the game so it will play different every time. This
almost promises a longevity I have not seen in a game for a while!

And any game that gives you an opportunity to kill K-9 is a good game in
my book!


DISLIKES
Maybe the game is TOO BIG and COMPLEX. I still feel overwhelmed when I
play the game. If you want to play this game, plan to spend a huge amount
of time.

Combat is a little on the blah side. Not very much you can do. Just shoot
your gun and run away.

I get many of my items robbed from me too often!!!  It happens too often.
I just get really upset about it. The worst part is that I usually realize
that my gun is stolen right when I try to shoot it.

Voice is not always running in the game. Sometimes the person that you are
talking to speaks and sometimes the person doesn't. It really drives me up
the wall.


IMPROVEMENTS
Well maybe a little better CD-32 control pad system. I still sometimes
shoot people while I am talking. Voice should be used throughout the game.
Maybe a training game that is just in a small house. Maybe let me walk by
a person without getting robbed!


COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS
Hired Guns by Psygnosis came into my mind instantly when I first started
to play this game. I believe that Hired Guns is much better at combat, but
Liberation has a very good plot and good graphics.

Since I do not have the original Captive, I can not compare this software
to the original game.


BUGS
There are a few bugs with this game. The list of bugs that followed was
produced by Dave Cole (Dave_Cole@guru.apana.org.au). Dave ran Liberation
on a PAL CD-32 with a version number Ratt V2.00 : Wyvern V1.92.

* Guru's occasionally (only 2 times for me). It has reset for some
     people, when there are too many people in the room. (I haven't
     noticed this however.)

* When initiating a conversation, sometimes a person will accuse
     you of "clobbering" them. Other people have said that if you
     shoot a thief, then everyone else say that you have shot them.
     (Haven't noticed this myself, but could be the reason.)

* Sometimes when you go to talk to someone, garbage such as "87#&^j"
     will come up in their window, and your response window doesn't
     always have a response (have to cycle through several responses
     before one actually shows up).

* When using the Mapper - Comms, in a taxi, it will say "Autopilot
     initiated" (or something like that), yet it will not go anywhere
     if the destination is in the current zone.
     (You have to leave the zone, and then re-select the destination).

* When talking to people about the "Captive", and they ask you for
     some dosh, you can select "well.." or "let's see.." and then
     select something like "I'll have to go to the bank and come back
     later.." they will give you the info anyway. Now this could be
     on purpose, as they can't be bothered waiting around, yet one of
     them said at the end of their speech "..Thanks for the dosh".

* The amount of time played, displayed in the disk access menu, is not
  always accurate. To start off with (up to about 8 hours), it was
  Okay, but then it said that I'd been playing for 386 days, then 1058
  days, and finally 2685 days!

 * The percentage of game done is sometimes stuffed for a little while
      (usually just after saving), as when you've only completed 1%,
      it may say that you've completed 99%.

 * Harri Pesonen (harry@elfuerte.fipnet.fi) says:
      I have noticed a strange bug. When I check the different body
      parts in the Repair state, it seems that the left leg of one
      robot is the same as the head of another, and the same as the
      right leg of the third, and the same as the left hand of the
      fourth, etc.

 * When you look "up", the wall image is upside down (i.e., the down
      image reversed).

 * Percentage of game played sometimes just stays as "New Game"
      (I haven't noticed this yet, but it has reset the time for me).

 * The most annoying (and worst bug), is as follows:  Game wouldn't save
  in flash RAM, as it said that it was "too big and to try in the
  city, and that if that didn't work try another zone."  The thing
  is, this happened while I was outside, in the city, and I did try
  other zones, but to no avail. It did save to the RAM disk
  though. HOWEVER, because of its being unable to save to the
  flash-RAM, it somehow WIPED the game which was previously there,
  thus still not allowing me to save the RAM-disk version to
  flash-RAM. When looking at the game-save slots (after I had
  removed the recoverable ram disk), all I had in there was one
  locked save game of Diggers (seven slots in length). Now surely
  the game doesn't need 93 slots?  I have had saves which take only
  47, and with the most that I know of about 80. Because of this
  bug, about 15 hours or so has to be replayed. Hopefully, all the
  info that I wrote down will still be valid (wishful thinking).

I had the "reversed graphics when looking up" problem, but I myself have
not had the other problems as of this time.


VENDOR SUPPORT
Since Mindscape has no known address in the United States,  I have written
them a letter since I can not find an e-mail address for the company. I
have not received a response from the vendor at this time.


CONCLUSIONS
Liberation - finally, a product that gives you a reason to own the CD-32.
The game is so big, it is guaranteed not to be pushed into a corner for a
long time! I haven't had this much fun with an RPG style game since Final
Fantasy II for the Super Nintendo.

	I definitely give it five blasters rounds out of five.




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