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 (email@example.com) 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.