More colourful than Rainbow Islands! Tougher than Robocop! Worse scrolling than Great Giana Sisters! Astro Marine Corps can, at times be a bit of a slog, but should the discerning gamesplayer look beyond the utterly pooh-ey screen movement and the learn-the-hard-way gameplay, he'd find a pretty sound game.
As an Astro Marine, your mission is to liberate the planet Dendar from the evil forces of the Deathbringers, using your wide array of weaponry, missus. Not only do you have to contend with the enemy troops and machinery, but some decidedly unfriendly locals features too.
If you've previously experienced Dinamic's games, you'll know what to expect when it comes to gameplay. AMC is very difficult to begin with. Beyond a mere challenge, it sometimes becomes damned frustrating. There are countless incidents where the ground collapses under you, or a huge carnivorous plant suddenly appears and swallows you whole.
Since you can't see any of these pitfalls coming, the only way to progress is to blunder along and note where you get wiped out and remember to avoid it next time. Once you've memorized these insta-death situations, though, it's possible to avoid them every time, and concentrate on killing the mobile enemies.
Again, in keeping with Dinamic's style, the game is broken into two stages, allowing major number of complex and detailed alien attacks. The first stage is a rush toward the Deathbringer's ship. The second places you on their home ground, after a flight through space. Here you are offered the opportunity to wipe out the evil force once and for all.
Probably the most dangerous alien foes are the Yurk Snakes; like sandworms on steroids, they shoot about on the planet surface and will swallow you whole on contact. Since they come in waves, jumping over them can be darned tricky, and by the end of their onslaught, you'll be lucky if you've got any grenades (or legs) left.
It's a pleasant experience to get that feeling of wonder with each successive alien wave. On top of the desire to simply blast away the slimey suckers, you also become fuelled by the need to see what the next army of fiends looks like.
It certainly isn't a game for novices, and it's got some irritating features but if you're after a stiff challenge with lots of variety, this is the game fer you.
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
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