The intelligent man's Desert Strike; the fighting man's Gunship 2000; the sentimental man's Virus; the intuitive man's Conqueror. The list goes on. Zeewolf is the most talked about and most played game we've ever seen in the Amiga division of Future Publishing. To help understand the impact, excitement and buzz surrounding the game, you've first got to look at its history and the philosophy behind it.
Wheat and turnips
The game plays on an undulating patchwork terrain which enhances the feeling that you're flying over a theatre of war taking place among wheat, turnip and corn fields. This patchwork quilt effect was first revealed to the fledgling 16-bit market with a game called Virus.
Virus put you in control of a spaceship which could hover, flip and turn in 560 degrees of longitude and latitude - probably the ultimate controllable combat craft. In order to harness this incredible flexibility, the control system relied on the mouse -no joystick. The main drawback was the precision required of the gamer. Unless you practised for hours on end, it was no use. Inevitably, you ended up flipping on to your back and crashing into the ground - dead. Those who did spend hours practising, of course, will point out that it was one of the most intuitive control systems around. And for them, it was.
That's why top marks go to Binary Asylum for Zeewolf. The chopper can't be flipped on its back and crashing into the ground doesn't waste a life. This lets you concentrate on actually playing the game rather than struggling with the controls. Which is a good thing, because it's one almighty hovering, rotational collective of an experience.
Zeewolf's theatre of war takes place over 32 missions, each progressively more difficult than the last. The first four sorties help train potential pilots in the control system as well as familiarise them with some of the forthcoming missions such as escort duty, hostage rescue, seek and destroy and airlifts (taking various ground assault vehicles to heavily-defended areas to help even the odds for the Zeewolf).
Bangs and crashes
To give you an edge in these missions there are three types of weapon -cannons, rockets and air-to-air missies. Intelligent use of these arms pays dividends but a mindless spree of blasting brings no reward other than the limited satisfaction of unloading large amounts of firepower and enjoying the accompanying bangs and crashes.
For example, if you line up the chopper properly, you can take out tricky targets before they manage to shoot back. But this requires practice, skill and a cool head. Something you're not always likely to keep when under fire with extreme prejudice.
In play, the Zeewolf handles faultlessly. Although it's an over-used platitude these days, the control system is intuitive. You can opt to use a joystick, but then you're limited to a turning circle sliced into the eight directions that a 'stick can handle. With the mouse, you can learn to turn in small increments at a time, which is incredibly handy when manouevering around the gun turrets of the enemy while spitting out death in the shape of high velocity cannon or rocket fire.
There's nothing more satisfying than taking out a battery of surface-to-air missile sites without taking a hit yourself. In fact, this is the first game I've played since joining Amiga Format that had me shouting for joy and cursing with rage oblivious to the tut tuts of the technical people and the derisive laughter of everyone else.
You see, Zeewolf draws you in to its hypnotically spooky, violently surreal world. You get emotionally involved and that brings things down to a personal level - compelling, obsessive, all-consuming and dream-invading. Oh, and just in case you missed it, it's addictive as well.
No sleep till bedtime
Zeewolf's graphics are not going to make you sit back and gawp in wonder, but in terms of gameplay it's excellent. Zeewolf is a return to the old days where gameplay counted most and sleep didn't count at all. Don't miss out on Zeewolf, it's the natural successor to Virus and Conqueror and that's not only a good thing, it's a great thing.
Zeewolf is a very interesting, vector graphic based military action game. You have to fly your helicopter and complete all the impossible hard missions.
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