Amaurote


by Binary Design Ltd: John Pickford, Ste Pickford, David Whittaker
Mastertronic Added Dimension
1987
Crash Issue 40, May 1987   (1987-04-30)   page(s) 116,117

Forgotten Amaurote is a metropolis invaded by a lethal swarm of insects. The city's 25 sectors are under the mandible, with an insect colony, ruled by its own Queen, established in each. The Queen's job is simply to produce an army of scouts and drones. While she remains immobile, the scouts fly about and the drones (the most common - and expendable) patrol the ground.

A sector is selected from the title screen, after which the action begins (except on the 128 or + 2, when an animated sequence illustrates the hero entering Arachnus 4, the spider-like combat craft under your control).

The objective is to rid the sector of every insect, before progressing onto the next, and repeating the same procedure. Sectors are illustrated in forced 3D perspective, not scrolling, but with a flip-screen technique where the flip happens just before reaching the screen's edge.

Scouts and drones are exterminated by shooting, but as each one dies the Queen wastes no time in producing another to keep her army up to strength. Your arsenal also contains bombs, although these can't be fired until the previous one has detonated.

On Amaurote, the local currency is 'Dosh', and a Supabomb powerful enough to kill a Queen costs 5000 Bits of Dosh. This is requested over the 'Radio Menu', where additional options such as more Bombs, Rescue and a Repair Service are also available. Once requested, the Supabomb is dropped somewhere within the sector and must be located. The compass used for this task is also useful in discovering the whereabouts of a Queen or the scouts and drones.

When the Queen and her hive of insect subjects has been been destroyed, the Arachnus progresses onto another sector, and then another, until all 25 have been cleared. If the City Damage and Personal Damage metres reach 99 percent, you have failed, and you're not even worthy to swat a few pesky flies, let alone deal with the horror of Amaurote.

COMMENTS
Control keys: Y-P up/right, Q-T up/left, H-ENTER down/right, A-G down/left, B-SPACE to fire, CAPS SHIFT for Radio
Joystick: none
Use of colour: monochrome, but background colour change option
Graphics: superb, original, well-designed and animated
Sound: uninspiring on 48K, quite extraordinary on 128
Skill levels: one
Screens: 100 in each of 25 sectors


"Amaurote's concept is an old and simple one - seek, locate and destroy. However, with BINARY DESIGN'S now familiar style of presentation Amaurote is remarkably slick. The effects are pleasant to watch; the way the letters fade from the screen is superb, and the freaky use of colour linking front end and the game has to be seen to be believed. The graphics, although monochrome, appear solid and are suitably futuristic, making exploration of the 2,500 locations really enjoyable. You can change the preset colour too, so there shouldn't be much difficulty in finding one that suits you. There's plenty of action and thought involved in Amaurote to keep your attention for a good few weeks."
RICKY

"Well! What can I say, this game is just brilliant. I always like original games, and I've never seen anything like this before. There are so many different features to Amaurote that they would take too long to explain. The graphics are superb and the animation is unbelievably smooth - the only real disappointment is a lack of colour, but it's not needed anyway. I almost fell off my chair when I heard that this is a budget game - how can such a well-designed game be so cheap? It's a must for any Spectrum owner's collection."
GARETH

"Now this is more like it. I haven't seen a game as original as this for ages. Graphically, Amaurote is superb, although lacking in colour variation. It's also great fun to play. The scenery is densely detailed with all the objects decently sized, although I could have done with more landscape and less of the massive border around the screen's edge. Amaurote is full of little features - the 'Radio' being the best of them - and it has lots of content. But I did find the playing keys strangely situated and very hard to get used to. That said, you'd be foolish to miss this tremendous game at such a cheap price."
PAUL

Presentation: 98%
Graphics: 94%
Playability: 93%
Addictive Qualities: 91%
Value For Money: 96%
Overall: 94%

Summary: General rating: An amazing achievement in budget software, highly playable and addictive.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 40, May 1987   (1987-04-30)   page(s) 116,117

Forgotten Amaurote is a metropolis invaded by a lethal swarm of insects. The city's 25 sectors are under the mandible, with an insect colony, ruled by its own Queen, established in each. The Queen's job is simply to produce an army of scouts and drones. While she remains immobile, the scouts fly about and the drones (the most common - and expendable) patrol the ground.

A sector is selected from the title screen, after which the action begins (except on the 128 or + 2, when an animated sequence illustrates the hero entering Arachnus 4, the spider-like combat craft under your control).

The objective is to rid the sector of every insect, before progressing onto the next, and repeating the same procedure. Sectors are illustrated in forced 3D perspective, not scrolling, but with a flip-screen technique where the flip happens just before reaching the screen's edge.

Scouts and drones are exterminated by shooting, but as each one dies the Queen wastes no time in producing another to keep her army up to strength. Your arsenal also contains bombs, although these can't be fired until the previous one has detonated.

On Amaurote, the local currency is 'Dosh', and a Supabomb powerful enough to kill a Queen costs 5000 Bits of Dosh. This is requested over the 'Radio Menu', where additional options such as more Bombs, Rescue and a Repair Service are also available. Once requested, the Supabomb is dropped somewhere within the sector and must be located. The compass used for this task is also useful in discovering the whereabouts of a Queen or the scouts and drones.

When the Queen and her hive of insect subjects has been been destroyed, the Arachnus progresses onto another sector, and then another, until all 25 have been cleared. If the City Damage and Personal Damage metres reach 99 percent, you have failed, and you're not even worthy to swat a few pesky flies, let alone deal with the horror of Amaurote.

COMMENTS
Control keys: Y-P up/right, Q-T up/left, H-ENTER down/right, A-G down/left, B-SPACE to fire, CAPS SHIFT for Radio
Joystick: none
Use of colour: monochrome, but background colour change option
Graphics: superb, original, well-designed and animated
Sound: uninspiring on 48K, quite extraordinary on 128
Skill levels: one
Screens: 100 in each of 25 sectors


"Amaurote's concept is an old and simple one - seek, locate and destroy. However, with BINARY DESIGN'S now familiar style of presentation Amaurote is remarkably slick. The effects are pleasant to watch; the way the letters fade from the screen is superb, and the freaky use of colour linking front end and the game has to be seen to be believed. The graphics, although monochrome, appear solid and are suitably futuristic, making exploration of the 2,500 locations really enjoyable. You can change the preset colour too, so there shouldn't be much difficulty in finding one that suits you. There's plenty of action and thought involved in Amaurote to keep your attention for a good few weeks."
RICKY

"Well! What can I say, this game is just brilliant. I always like original games, and I've never seen anything like this before. There are so many different features to Amaurote that they would take too long to explain. The graphics are superb and the animation is unbelievably smooth - the only real disappointment is a lack of colour, but it's not needed anyway. I almost fell off my chair when I heard that this is a budget game - how can such a well-designed game be so cheap? It's a must for any Spectrum owner's collection."
GARETH

"Now this is more like it. I haven't seen a game as original as this for ages. Graphically, Amaurote is superb, although lacking in colour variation. It's also great fun to play. The scenery is densely detailed with all the objects decently sized, although I could have done with more landscape and less of the massive border around the screen's edge. Amaurote is full of little features - the 'Radio' being the best of them - and it has lots of content. But I did find the playing keys strangely situated and very hard to get used to. That said, you'd be foolish to miss this tremendous game at such a cheap price."
PAUL

Presentation: 93%
Graphics: 93%
Playability: 92%
Addictive Qualities: 91%
Value For Money: 94%
Overall: 92%

Summary: General rating: An amazing achievement in budget software, highly playable and addictive.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 19, July 1987   page(s) 64

There's something wrong in Paradise! Its capital city of Amaurote has been taken over by hordes of giant insects and guess whose job it is to get rid of them? No, not Rentokil, the line's been permanently engaged for the last six months. It's down to you to get out there into the city's 25 districts and 2500 screens and rid them of those evil creatures with the wobbly antennae.

You're not going out there unarmed, though. You're in command of an armoured vehicle known as Arachnus 4, deadlier than a dozen cans of Flit. And so it should be, at the price. Yes, if your Arachnus 4 needs repairing or replacing then you have to cough up the readies yourself, but as your boss gives you $5,000,000 pocket money you shouldn't complain too much. If it was me I'd say knickers to the insects and take the money and run, but no, a sense of duty prevails. Besides I want to see how these bouncing bombs work, not to mention the Supa Bomb you can also buy out of your pocket money. You'll need that if you encounter the Queen insect.

There are three types of insect around, all of them nasty. Scouts fly about and look for food and intruders, and as you probably qualify on both counts that's bad news. Scouts just report your presence to headquarters, though, so they're not too bad but always worth lobbing a bomb at. Drones are the ones on the ground, and they'll plod after you forever and a day, so if you don't want a mandible nibbling at your nether regions you're also advised to dispose of these pronto, if not sooner. The Queen is the third type, and she sits around giving orders, eating, and giving birth. Kill a minion and it's instantly replaced by Queenie, but this takes her longer if she hasn't been fed for a while, hence the need to kill drones and scouts as efficiently as possible. There seems to be more going on off-screen in this game than on-screen in some others!

On-screen is pretty impressive, though, and there are inevitable comparisons to be made with Ultimate games and the ancient but still revered (by me anyway) Ant Attack. Your craft moves about the 3D screen using keyboard controls - the cassette cover says joystick as well but the instructions don't mention this and there's no initial control option when the game loads. The ordinary bombs are great fun to use, though a little tricky too as you can only launch one at a time, in the direction you're moving, and then they bounce along till they encounter either an insect or a building. Radar tells you which direction the nearest insect, bomb or the Queen is, and the Z/X/C keys switch between these. V changes screen colours and CAPS SHIFT radios base to call up extra bombs, the Supa Bomb, repairs or rescue (in other words QUIT). You have to clear one area of pests before moving on to the next.

The sound on this is a bit feeble, but the smooth and detailed graphics more than make up for it. The trick in playing is to follow the radar arrows towards the nearest insect, then launch a bomb and run away as soon as you get it in line with you - drones are pretty dumb and travel straight towards you when they know you're there. If the bomb misses them then it's bad luck for you as it carries on bouncing merrily along till it hits something else and explodes, but your Arachnus 4 can shift itself just slightly faster than the average insect. And this game will probably shift itself swiftly off the shop shelves (try saying that after two glasses of Vimto) and be up the charts quicker than a rat up a drainpipe. Now there's poetry for you.


Graphics: 9/10
Playability: 8/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Addictiveness: 9/10
Overall: 9/10

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 62, May 1987   page(s) 54,55

Right. Here we are then. The follow-up to Zub. And Zub - as regular readers will recall - was totally fantastic and was awarded a Classic for it's sheer gameplay and general wonderfulness.

Amaurote is set in the future. It's all about a city and a bunch of insects. Having stumbled upon a new compound that acts in a similar way to concrete, the builders of the future set about building vast cityscapes made of the stuff.

Technology being what it is, there was a vital flaw in the chemical construction of the concrete-substitute. It emitted a strange form of radiation that, while virtually undetectable, caused strange things to happen to the insects...

You get hired by the city - now overrun with enormous insects - to sort out the mess.

The sub-plot of the game involves your continual battle to stay under budget. You can purchase more bombs, or repair your walker should it become damaged by alien attack. The more you spend, the closer to the budget you sail and going over-budget is severely frowned upon by your controllers

Graphically, Amaurote is superb. Your walker, which looks a bit like a grapefruit on legs, struts about the cityscape with pleasing speed. The legs work in a similar fashion to those of a spider - all four sort of jump inwards and push outwards. As you reach the end of each screen, it will flick and move to the next. Jerky scrolling and long delays are nowhere to be seen.

By hitting Fire, a sphere-shaped bomb will pop out of the top of your grapefruit and bounce along in the direction you were last traveling. Should you be fortunate enough to destroy an insect, a graphically impressive explosion is your reward. If, however, the bomb rolls further and hits a building, you'll be in trouble. You're not being paid to knock down inner-city decay.

The landscape is in twenty-five sectors and, each is occupied by a queen bee which must be destroyed before progressing to the next sector.

Amaurote is technically superb. The graphics are superior to many £9.95 titles and it's very, very big.

The biggest problem is that you can't use a joystick. I admit, too, it didn't immediately grip me in quite the same way as Zub.

It has an appeal all of its own and I'm sure I'm being churlish in not giving it a Classic.

Still, for £1.99 you can buy it and judge for yourselves.

Label: Mastertronic
Author: Binary Design
Price: £1.99
Joystick: None
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

****


Overall: 5/5

Summary: Brilliantly programmed and ludicrously cheap. Maybe lacks addictive qualities once the initial amazement has gone.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 9, June 1988   page(s) 83

Spectrum, £2.99cs
C64, £2.99cs
Amstrad, £2.99cs

As an officer in the Royal Army of Amaurote it's your job to rid the city of the recent insect invasion. Climb into your Arachnus and stomp around the 25 sectors of the city destroying the queen and any remaining insects in each one. The stunning graphics and smooth animation combine to make Amaurote a fantastic looking game that is both challenging and addictive, and all this for a budget price!


Overall: Not Rated

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 67, May 1987   page(s) 30

MACHINES: Spectrum/C64/Amstrad/IBM/MSX
SUPPLIER: Mastertronic
PRICE: £1.99

The spectre of Ultimate rears its head again in this new budget release from Mastertronic. Not quite as stylish as their last biggie, Feud, but reasonably playable to say the least!

Amaurote uses 3D isometric graphics to depict a vast futuristic city. The object of the game is to destroy twenty five insect colonies. At least 60% of the city must remain intact on the destruction of each colony for the player to continue to the next district.

The player is equipped with an Arachnus 4 armoured car, (a mechanical device with legs instead of wheels) and a small supply of "anti-everything" bombs. The bomb can be fired from the car at a variable angle and will continue to bounce until they hit either an insect or a building (the latter are extremely fragile so the bombs must be aimed carefully). The car can only carry a limited number of bombs so the player must return periodically to the city gates for fresh supplies, and, if necessary, repairs to the Arachnus.

The 25 districts of Amaurote are Tanelorn, Gotham, Heliopolis, Palatine, Vilmir, Ur, Capitoline, Agrippa, Canaan, Kaneloon, Traal, Dhakos, Esquiline, Offerton, Aventine, Valeron, Garathorm, Plato, Caelian, Ionia, Quirinal, Golam, Klant, Imrryr and Viminal.

Each district covers the equivalent of one hundred screens - although the play area is continuous so there are no such divisions.

The layout of each district is unique (there are no repeated screens) and different building are more prominent in different parts of the city.

On the destruction of an insect colony the player may progress to any adjacent district (making careful route-planning essential).

There are four basic types of insect, each with its own characteristics and purpose in life, they are: The Queen, Drones, Scouts and Rogues.

The Queen is the most important insect in the colony, if the Queen is destroyed then the whole colony is thrown into chaos. The Queen is the only insect in the colony which cannot be replaced, the Queen should be the player's main target.

The Queen has two roles to play in the colony. Firstly, she gives orders to the Drones acting on information provided by the Scouts: these could be to collect food or to attack an intruder (the player).

The Queen's other role is to breed; whenever an insect is killed, the Queen will create a replacement.

The Queen will usually be found near the centre of the colony and, as she is immobile and therefore vulnerable, but she will always be heavily guarded.

The Drones are the most common and least intelligent of the insects. They take their orders directly from the Queen, rarely making decisions for themselves. Their job is to collect food for the Queen and to defend the colony from outsiders. If you move too close to a Drone it will attack and continue to attack until either it or you, is destroyed. Drones are the strongest of the insects, it may take two or three direct shots to kill them.

Scouts are the only insects with the ability to fly. They are the Queen's information gatherers, they fly around the city searching for potential food supplies.

Scouts will not attack the player but they must be avoided as they will tell the Queen of the player's whereabouts. If attacked, a Scout will retaliate but they are the weakest of the insects and are easily destroyed. Killing a Scout also means that any information it carries will be lost.

Amaurote is an absorbing game, if you're into taking time and trouble to get through to the end. It's a bit short on frantic action though - and the graphics, although well drawn, get a bit repetitive after the first few districts.

A game for players with time on their hands and an attention span longer than half an hour.


Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 8/10
Playability: 7/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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