Title Obliterator Game Type Arcade Adventure Company Psygnosis, 1988 Players 1 Compatibility All Amigas Submission Seppo Typpö (firstname.lastname@example.org) Profiled Reviewer Review 1988, the year after introducing Barbarian to the unsuspecting Amiga game players, Psygnosis returned to their mouse-driven 2D arcade adventure format with Obliterator. Having actually listened to the criticism Barbarian received, they enchanced the graphics and sound side, rectified some of the control problems, added a save game option and generally produced a much nicer game. Obliterator has a simple background story. A huge, indestructible alien battle cruiser is approaching Earth. The only way to stop the vessel is to beam a lone soldier onboard - he must then disable the vital functions of the ship and after that, escape from it before Earth forces destroy the defenceless cruiser. The player controls Drak, the last Obliterator. Obliterators were natural born super soldiers, who were called in to handle missions mortal men had no chance of completing. It is the player's task to guide Drak through the hostile environment, collect the five special components and generally survive through the mission. The ship is full of strange hostile aliens, and the player needs to find armament and ammo which allows Drak to fight off the monsters. There are several different weapons littered around the ship. The final challenge comes from escaping - after finding the final component there's a limited amount of time to evacuate Drac from the ship - not an easy task as he needs to fight his way out to the escape pod before the time counter expires. The graphics and sound are a huge improvement over Barbarian. The animation is better and the backgrounds more detailed, giving a believable impression of the interiors of a huge space ship. The main character and the aliens are imaginatively drawn and they move around in a convincing manner. The biggest enchancement must be the soundtrack - the excellent, haunting music is accompanied by good quality sound effects. The main tune is one of the all time Amiga classics - a proof that Psygnosis musicians had learned a lot about the Paula sound chip since the Barbarian days. The game controls are overhauled, too - it is possible to control Drak with mouse (recommended), joystick and keyboard. Mouse is still the most accurate option - by clicking the command icons in the strip on the bottom of the game screen, the player can 'program' Drak to perform several various actions in a row - like running through the screen, taking the turbo lift to a lower deck and exiting from the lift on the next floor. Unfortunately (like in Barbarian), there is still a slight delay between issuing the command and Drak performing it, and it is still possible for Drak to completely ignore some of the issued commands. A nice control feature is the 'mouse cursor aiming' - it is possible to fire diagonally and aim Drak's weapon fire with the mouse cursor - very handy if the player needs to eliminate a tricky enemy standing on the above floor. It is possible for Drak to shoot through the ceilings and the floors with this technique - curiously, the aliens are incapable of doing the same. The game design is quite challenging - the player needs to plan and execute his actions carefully in order to succeed. The same kind of ruthless gameplay was introduced in Barbarian - fortunately there's now much less unavoidable traps and sudden death situations. What's even better, Drak has a power bar which is slowly depleted when he is hit by enemy fire - no more instant deaths after one enemy hit. This bar can be replenished in shield generators which are located in certain parts of the alien ship - find one and you can return to it when Drak's energy is running dangerously low. Locating these generators should be one of the top priorities of the player's plan - they become extremely important and useful in later stages of the game. Probably the most welcome thing is the much needed save game feature - no longer must the player fully restart the game if he dies - this makes the high difficulty level much more bearable and makes the game slightly easier to complete. One annoying feature is the way enemies reappear when the player returns to a screen he has already visited. Fighting off the same aliens again and again is boring and also depletes lots of ammo - luckily ammo also reappears in previously visited rooms - so it is possible to collect hefty amount of ordnance just by leaving and re-entering the same room again and again. Graphically, aurally and gameplay-wise Obliterator is a definite improvement over Barbarian. Most of the problems in gameplay are fixed, and the difficulty level is challenging without being frustrating (thanks to the save game feature). Certainly it looks dated when compared to many more modern arcade adventures and the controls do take some time to get used to - but for the adventurous player Obliterator offers an enjoyable ride in one of the most original arcade adventures that ever appeared on the Amiga.